The Backlog, Vol. 2 – “Oh hey, is that the sun?” edition

Rain’s no stranger to Portland — it’s something you just have to come to terms with if you’re gonna live here — but I’m completely done with this relentless cloudy-rainy shtick Mother Nature’s been pulling on us. Thankfully, the sun’s eager to demonstrate that it hasn’t forgotten about us, and with any luck we’ll finally get some decent weather this weekend. If that’s the case, Aaron’s gonna have to fight me tooth and nail to get any game-playing done.

 

 

Nick:

I wouldn’t call myself an achievement hunter, but I’m definitely playing through Prince of Persia once again for 100% completion. While it’s not quite as breathtaking as the first time I laid eyes on it, it’s still a remarkably enjoyable experience. If it doesn’t satisfy the hardcore (and we’ll see about whether the Epilogue DLC scratches that itch next week,) well, I guess I’m proud to represent casual platform gamers. Hey, I beat Ninja Gaiden II — I’ve earned some rest.

I’m hoping to wrap up the single player component of Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars as well. I’m still not finding much of a draw within the storyline, but I’m still holding out for a touchscreen-powered chainsawing minigame. Somehow, the scalpel in Trauma Center just didn’t quite cut it for me.

And finally, I picked up a ten-dollar copy of Marvel Ultimate Alliance today. After a couple hours of bruising a cast of hallowed comic book villains with an ensemble of the big-name heroes, I’ve come to realize that comics really are as cheesy as they always seemed. I mean, what kind of name is Dum Dum Dugan? Seriously. I thought I was watching The Venture Bros. for a minute there.

 

Aaron:

This week, and by week I mean over a day and a half, I beat Mirror’s Edge. I’ve been postponing playing the game since its November release, partly because the demo didn’t wow me in a major way and also because GameFly is unreliable.

It’s a fairly decent title overall, and definitely a case where the experience of first-person free running is more fun for being unique than for gameplay-related purposes. I’m mostly impressed that DICE can do more than excellent multiplayer war titles. Mirror’s Edge was frustrating in some parts, and completely illogical at later stages with its “runner’s eye” gimmick of red-hued pipes and ledges. Plus, as I’m not into time trials and all that (except for Mario Kart 64), the lasting appeal really, well, didn’t.

The other day I put Fable II back into my 360’s (very loud) disc tray and found myself enjoying it all over again. This time around I’m trying to propel a fresh character to some undetermined place in the game world to justify purchasing the Knothole Island DLC. Unfortunately, I still don’t think I’ll ever complete the “Dollcatcher” achievement. So annoying.

Next week I look forward to some DSi action, which you’ll be reading about!

Doug:

I’ve been trying to make room for games I really want to play…and that’s gotten me sucked back into the world of soccer, like clockwork.

I’ve started Assassin’s Creed and gotten a few hours in. I’m really enjoying the experience – the controls fall to hand really easily, I like what the game’s story is doing so far, and the ambiance is really good. Now to get busy killing people – should be good fun.

Along with Assassin’s Creed, I picked up a game I missed until it was in the bargain bin – Xbox 360 racer Project Gotham Racing 4. I loved multiplayer in PGR2 back on the Xbox, and enjoyed PGR3 well enough when I first got my 360, but I just wasn’t enthused about this most recent title. Racing-game newbies would enjoy it, as it’s very approachable, fast, and fun. The single-player progression is very fair, too. I’ll have more on it as I wind my way through single player.

Lastly, I’ve been pouring more time into FIFA 09. Even more of my life has gone into Be A Pro, and I’ve also picked back up the “regular” manager mode. After comparing a bit with one of my all-time favorites, Winning Eleven 9 on the PS2, I have to crown FIFA 09 as the best soccer game I’ve played – at least, within the context of playing a match. FIFA still gets some of the ancillaries wrong, but the gameplay on the pitch feels oh-so good. Now I just need to justify spending the money to unlock the Ultimate Team add-on mode, which plays like a sports game crossed with a collectible card game…