Saturday, January 2, 2010

Fall 2009 Wrap - Up

Let's start out 2010 with another quick review of what I've been playing over the last few months. The fall of 2009 was a hectic gaming season, as usual, and my work schedule hasn't allowed me the time to write an in-depth review of each of these titles.

Mass Effect Galaxy (iPhone)
This top-down, singe-screen-at-a-time shooter from EA was a fun little diversion, introducing players to some new characters that are supposed to appear in the upcoming sequel. The battles are bookended by cut scenes and the same "choose your adventure" conversations that Mass Effect had.

While enjoyable, the adventure was short, and the gameplay suffered from drastic onscreen slowdown when the bullets were flying. While I was able to adjust my playing to the game's loss of speed during those moments, such issues are barely forgiveable in this day and age.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 (XBox 360)
This little-known first-person shooter did a lot to recapture the intense action and over-the-top storytelling of its predecessor, and for the most part, it pulled it off. There was one mission, however, that was so over-the-top as to be nauseating, and seems so pointless in the story's bigger picture that it all feels gratuitous.

But everything else about the game, including the extremely accessable multiplayer and the gorgeous graphics, was stunning to behold. More gamers need to to be made aware of this fledgling game franchise, so get out there and tell every gamer you know about Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2!

Assassin's Creed 2 (XBox 360)
Everything I complained about in the first Assassin's Creed game seven months ago seems to have been addressed in some manner in the sequel, which takes place in Renaissance Italy. Assasin's Creed The Next Generation's Ezio can swim, more of the background story in the future has been explained, and the missions seem less repetetive.

There are more combat options, more cinematic cut-scenes, an economic system with shops, the looting of corpses, Tomb Raider style tomb raiding, and some intense observational puzzles featuring classic and historic works of art. I've played about halfway through the game, and am once again having a fantastic time, in what is once again a unique videogame setting with great historic credibility.

Little Big Planet (PS3)
Did I mention that I picked up a PS3 back on Black Friday? Oh, I did, and it came bundled with this game and the next one I'l talk about. Little Big Planet came into my sights with not-so-little amounts of hype, and I've yet to delve deep enough into the game to say for certain whether or not the cutesy 2.5D platformer with questionable jumping lives up to it all.

I understand that it's supposed to be played online, with others, as puzzles start to show up where 2,3,or 4 players are required to solve them. There's a whole custom level design thing, and tools/items are acquired along the way for this, but I haven't the time or desire to get into that either. Nor do I really want to stop and put stickers on stuff in the game, or change my character's outfits every few minutes.

Little Big Planet is a game I may enjoy eventually - but right now the "game" seems like too much "work".

God of War Collection (PS3)
The other game bundled with my PS3 was this compilitation of the PS2 classics, the first of which I had tried a few years ago and found to be to frustrating. I tried again, felt the frustration building again, and haven't picked it up since. Maybe later.

This concludes my lazy half-assed wrap-up article. There was one more major game I've been playing, but it assuredly deserves its own write-up and will get one soon.

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