Backlog: May 29, 2009
Time for the backlog!
It’s been a spastic two weeks for my gaming appetite. I finished a “hard” playthrough of Battlefield: Bad Company, and I was reminded just how great of a job DICE did in their first real singleplayer console game. Hell, the multiplayer’s a lot better than I remember, too. Team Fortress 2 has been my true online obsession however, thanks to the recent Spy/Sniper update. Itemization issues aside, it’s one of those titles that remains constant fun, plain and simple.
Thanks to Xbox Live’s Deal of the Week, I caved and picked up (or should I say downloaded) Bionic Commando: Rearmed for the low price of $5. I never played the original NES title so $10 wasn’t that much of a motivator for me, but the half-price deal certainly was worth it. GRIN — despite their current issues with layoffs and mediocre releases — did a wonderful job making a modern 2D/3D shooter feel fresh and challenging.
I also went achievement-hunting in Gears of War 2 and started Tomb Raider: Underworld, something I look forward to reviewing down the road. Ms. Croft has certainly improved in her digital raiding antics (which might not mean much considering I haven’t played one of these titles since Tomb Raider 2), but I can’t help missing Prince of Persia’s Elika and her guiding hand during the similar acrobatic feats found in Underworld.
Oh, and the Red Faction: Guerrilla multiplayer demo is some of the best online chaos I’ve ever played on a console. Fire a few rockets at the support structure of a three-story building hiding the enemy team and you’ll know what I mean when you watch the entire thing collapse in on itself. Ah, deconstruction. Poetic.
This week has seen quite a few games come and go for me, but there’s one undeniable standout: InFamous. After a half-dozen hours or so, I’m certifiably in love with this game. Of course, when its toughest competition is the heavily flawed Bionic Commando, maybe that doesn’t mean so much.
I sought relaxation in Myst on my iPhone. When it first came out for the Mac, I was too young and impatient to enjoy the slow-paced, rich exploration. Fortunately, the iPhone port allows for a balance between blissful immersion and pick-up-and-play puzzle solving that’s essential for an on-the-go game. And coupled with my new Sennheiser headphones, it’s the same surrealistic adventure I remember from fifteen years ago.
I also tried to play the universally abhorred Rock Revolution. Just…don’t even get me started.
I’ve been down with a nasty head cold for most of the week, but I’ve still had some time to game. I’ve finally started digging into Fallout 3 — I’m really getting engrossed into the story, combat, and now not feeling totally overwhelmed by the Wasteland. I’m not all that far in and still a measly level 7, but it’s awesome – I played until 2 a.m. last night and, more importantly, am totally getting ahold of VATS. Nothing like being able to pop ghouls in the dome with my hunting rifle.
It seems like I’ve been (strangely) getting my RPG on this week – the other game I’ve sunk some hours into is my second play-through of Mass Effect. This time, instead of the goody-two-shoes guy I made the first time, I’m not taking any shit – and while it’s not a straight-up fully evil character, I’m not afraid to be an asshole. It’s very fun. Between playing through it some more again and all the new info coming out about Mass Effect 2, I’m getting super stoked to see the second part of this series.
And it also wouldn’t be a week for me without playing a sports game – this time, it’s the Tiger Woods 10 demo that hit Xbox Live and PSN last week. I golf a little bit in real life (not very well, granted) and am a big golf gaming fan. I’ve skipped the last two Tiger Woods games, but heard 09 was good – well, based off the gameplay in the demo, 10 is spectacular. Same great swing physics that the series has had nailed down since the 2005 edition, but with even better putting controls and amazing graphics. I wish I could play it in HD.
Lastly, the one thing I want to get done with soon is finally finishing Braid. Time to redouble my efforts and get past the puzzles that have stumped me for the better part of a year.