The Backlog: Rocktober Begins edition
Another week, another flood of good games — some of the biggest, most anticipated titles of the fall have hit store shelves, and the Silicon Sasquatch crew are digging in. Brütal Legend, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Champions Online, and more are taking over our attention this week, and though it might seem overwhelming, it's not necessarily a "bad" overwhelming.
You know what they say about too much of a good thing? It's true. I'm being pelted left and right by amazing games, and instead of feeling overjoyed I'm left gasping for breath and wringing my aching hands.
I picked up Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Brütal Legend on Tuesday -- both among my most anticipated games this year -- but I've only managed to play through Brütal Legend so far. Although it has garnered a relatively wide range of reviews, I couldn't be more thrilled with how it turned out -- I'm still exploring every nook and cranny of the game's wildly imaginative metal-inspired open world, and the multiplayer stage battles have hooked me.
And in case you missed it, I donned my thick-framed glasses and turtleneck sweater and got mad philosophical with an unassuming little iPhone game called Canabalt.
This weekend I'm hoping to pick up Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II on Steam for a paltry $19.99. Aaron's raved about it for months, so I'm eager to see what I've been missing.
Oh, and if you see me playing Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard on Xbox Live...it's for an experiment. Don't judge me!
Unfortunately, I'm not one of the cool kids. No, I haven't purchased Brutal Legend, and I can't play Uncharted 2 because I'm sans PS3. It's been a big week for gaming, and instead I've spent my time with Titan Quest, Burnout Paradise and, as of yesterday, Champions Online.
Champions was one of my most-anticipated titles of 2009, yet I skipped its release date. Another tragic case of too many games to play with not enough funds available -- let alone the fact that MMOs are notoriously unstable at launch. However, another fantastic Amazon deal ($15.98!) forced my hand to purchase a second game in two weeks that I was previously iffy about.
Champions is, with only a few hours played, instantly gratifying. The character customization is much better than what was in Cryptic's first superhero MMO, City of Heroes, and I've created a lighthearted character in "Energene": a force-blast powered, mild-mannered janitor who worked in a lab, and had a mishap with a radioactive mop. His name's Gene...in case you didn't catch the pun.
Next week is Borderlands, a game Nick and I have been anticipating for quite awhile. Look for another groundbreaking co-op review of ours later this month.
After finishing off The Beatles: Rock Band (which is brilliant), I turned some of my attention last weekend to the Forza Motorsport 3 demo again to spend a little more quality time with that.
For gamers with an Xbox Live account that’s signed into the Internet, it’s easy to access a free-run time trial mode that allows you to run as many laps as you want on the demo’s track with any of the five cars available. It’s a great opportunity to judge the changes made to the physics engine for this game, and also to put some fast times on the leaderboards.
Something that stands out related to the physics is how flexible the engine feels. The cars in the demo range from a stock Mini Cooper S to a racing-spec Porsche 911, and all of them feel connected to the road in their own separate way — but never underwhelming at all, which was a trap the Gran Turismo games have been known to fall into.
The other game I put some time into this week is Brütal Legend (rock dots absolutely necessary). It's easy to say it's living up to the expectations. Everything from the menu presentation to the voice acting to the game design is great, and despite some minor issues it’s still a very enjoyable experience. I'm struggling a touch to come to grips with some of the game design choices — some puzzles seem a bit obtuse from time to time — but otherwise it's a labor of love, and it shows.