The Backlog: Back to the Grind edition
Well, it was fun while it lasted.
With December and its myriad holidays out of the way, everybody's got something to keep them busy. Doug's back to work on his master's program, Aaron has transformed into a job-applying machine, and I've thankfully found a job once again. Unfortunately, that means we all have a whole lot less time to be playing games, but that doesn't mean we're going to turn a blind eye to our sacred obligation to Silicon Sasquatch. Don't worry! We've got a couple great articles that are almost ready for publication, and we're anticipating a full run of content next week.
In the meantime, here's what we've been keeping ourselves busy with.
This is a stellar opportunity to gush over the many games I played during the Holidays, but I'm not going to. No, I'm enacting the 135th amendment to the Constitution, the Right of Laziness, and throwing out a non-alphabetical list of what I've played over the past three weeks. I will then highlight one game in particular, providing a short blurb on why I'm enjoying it. Is this acceptable? Are you not entertained? Never mind. Here's the list: Machinarium, World of Goo, Torchlight, Team Fortress 2, Shadow Complex, Modern Warfare 2, Rock Band 2, The Beatles: Rock Band, Borderlands and Suikoden Tierkreis.
Now, the game I actually have something say about is Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Maybe it's because I only paid a meager $12.99 at GameFly's used game store (with free shipping), but I can't help but like what I've seen. I'm perhaps halfway though the story now, and while the camera and controls are a bit rough around the edges, Ghostbusters is pure fun for fans of the movies. It's by no means perfect, and that's fine. The humor is there, the attention to detail in the firehouse headquarters is there, the proton packs are spot-on and the thrill of catching a ghost in a trap still makes me giggle just like my 6-year-old self used to with my toy Nerf proton pack and authentic jumpsuit. Ghostbusters is simple fun layered over a strong IP, and I truly hope Atari gives Terminal Reality another shot in future sequel. Maybe when the third movie finally (maybe) sees release next year, a tie-in game could coincide with the film's debut.
Much like Aaron, I'm just going to list out most of what I played over our holiday break because, being a degenerate graduate student, I had almost nothing productive to do between Thanksgiving and this week, when classes re-started up in earnest. Because that means a lot of time to play games, I'm just going to cut the fat and go list-happy.
I finished Brütal Legend (which seemed like it lost its storytelling steam a bit at the very end) and am close to finishing Batman: Arkham Asylum (trap-laden gargoyles are my kryptonite right now). I almost have what the gentlemen at Giant Bomb would term an "S-rank" (or 1000/1000 achievement score) on Forza Motorsport 3, which I also did a lot of online racing on during the break. I was definitely happy to hit Level 50 in that game and get the last gifted car.
The only game really worth the meagre Xbox Live sale over the holiday break was Marvel vs. Capcom 2, which was marked down to almost 60 percent off the regular list price and is worth every penny. Better than arcade-perfect, with every character unlocked from the start and online multiplayer capable? Yes, please. I also received a kind gift in the form of Shadow Complex, which scratches my Metroid-vania itch in so many ways. Definitely one of the best Xbox 360-only games of last year.
Lastly, my sports game fix has come in two forms — first, as part of multiple trips to downtown Portland old-school arcade Ground Kontrol, I've fulfilled my basketball jones by playing a bunch of NBA Jam. Nick and I (and friend of the site Andrew) went to GK on New Year's Eve, and besides crushing the X-Men 6-player arcade game, the most fun had was running the two-man game with the Blazers on NBA Jam. The other sports game I picked up was, finally, Pro Evo Soccer 2010...which definitely lives up to the expectations I had for it based off my playtime with the demo. It may not be as pretty as FIFA 10, but it provides a much more challenging and fulfilling soccer experience. Crank the difficulty all the way up and enjoy smart AI in a sports game for once.
As a test to see who's interested in the blog, I offered up a vote on our Facebook page to ask people which game they'd rather see me purchase and review first: Demon's Souls or Bayonetta. Although there was support for both, Bayonetta got the nod and I picked up a copy last night. While I've only had time to play about ten minutes of the game, those ten minutes were extraordinarily promising. I just hope the game's rampant, bizarre sexuality doesn't weird out my friends and loved ones.
The majority of my free time has been spent on -- yeah, you guessed it -- Dragon Age: Origins. I keep thinking I'm getting close to the end, and then another 15-hour sequence of quests pops up. I'm absolutely enamored with the game, so I think I won't have any complaints if it turns out the game just never ends.