Posts tagged ‘xbox 360’

Random things.

Couple of things I wanted to mention.

Thing One

Had you told me last year that I would still be putting hours into Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer game, I would have said you were crazy. Yet that’s exactly what I’ve been doing, even though I’m not typically a fan of shooters.

Why? Two reasons that I’ve come up with. First, I really love the ME universe and the multiplayer is a way to stay engaged with it. Second, I’ve come to realize it isn’t actually the shooters that I dislike, it’s their competitiveness. ME3’s is cooperative against bots. After hundreds of matches, I’ve yet to run across any of the type A-hole personalities that I associate (rightly or not) with games like Call of Duty, Modern Warfare, or Counter Strike.

Thing Two

Guild Wars 2 has its head start this weekend. I’m excited to play but it’s a low-key kind of excitement. I’m looking forward to playing but if ArenaNet came out tomorrow and said they were delaying headstart for a week or a month, I wouldn’t mind in the slightest.

I haven’t been thinking about the game much, or keeping the patcher updated, or coming up with the character names I want to use. Yet I am excited enough that I’m planning to stay up late and to try to get into the headstart as early as possible.

Possibly my excitement has been blunted by getting to play in a few beta weekends (the stress tests always happen when I’m working). I’ve already had the chance to explore the starting areas and try out different races and classes. I’ve already settled on an Asura Elementalist as my main (at least initially) and the guild I’m planning to join has already chosen a server.

Thing Three

LotRO delayed its expansion until October. I’ve seen a lot of surprised comments about that. I’ve also seen a few comments believing that it was done to fix bugs and improve the game a bit more before release. I’m sure Turbine will use the extra time to improve the game, but I don’t think that was the reason for the delay. September is already super crowded and since Blizzard has already set their expansion date in an effort to compete with ArenaNet, it would be stupid of Turbine not to push the release a bit and give themselves more space.

Mass Effect 3: My Ending

This post is going to have lots of spoilers. If you haven’t played any of the games or haven’t finished the third one yet and you plan to then you should stop reading now.

Mass Effect 3: No Spoilers

I’m not going to give any spoilers or talk about the ending (see here for that), I just want to address the story and game mechanic changes from ME2 to ME3 and give my general impressions.

Story

There was one often asked question when Mass Effect 2 was released that’s been making the rounds again, “Should I play from the beginning or just start at 3?” My recommendation from then is as true if not more so:

You don’t have to play the first to enjoy the second, but it is a better experience having played both.

The game is much better if you’ve played both 1 and 2. There’s two entire games worth of emotional investment in the characters and events. This is one of the few video game series where I’ve laughed so much, and it’s the only game I can think of that’s made me tear up. And ME3 did it twice.

I have been consistently impressed and amazed with how many characters from previous game I ran into. I got to see how people I helped from both prior games had gotten on with their lives and what difference my Shepard’s actions had made in their situations. My only regret was that it’s been so long since I played the first game that I often had to be reminded (conveniently enough there was always an option via in-game dialog) who they were.

One disappointment for me was how few crew from either the previous two games were available to return to my ship for use on missions. The extended dialogs available on the ship are great, but there are also some awesome lines available during the missions. Of course all of the ones that were most important to me were there, but after the wide selection available in ME2, the mission team selection screen seemed a little empty.

Combat

For the most part, the combat in ME3 is the same as ME2. You have powers to set an ammo type, thermal clips to handle reloads, and a cover system.

You are no longer restricted to certain weapon types because of your class though. Instead all weapons have a weight value, and the more you carry the slower your powers recharge and become available again. I really liked this as it let my Soldier Shepard load up on several different types of weapons to handle sniping, general combat, and close range situations, and accept a hit to how fast powers became available again. Had I been playing an Adept or something similar, I could’ve gone the other route and just carried the lightest pistol possible and had super fast power recharges.

The weapon customization system has also a changed. You can add two upgrades to any weapon. Upgrades can be found on missions or purchased (either at the Citadel or through your armory once you’ve visited a Citadel store the first time). I especially liked that you could put a scope on any weapon and have a scope sight when you actually aimed it. For someone like myself, who’s not all that accurate with a sniper rifle, having a pistol with a scope and damage upgrade was really good as a high rate of fire rifle replacement.

The pace of combat has sped up. Enemies will use grenades to force you out of cover (and vice versa), so tactical movement become much more important.

Speaking of cover, I’ve read a lot of reviews complaining about the fact that going into and out of cover as well as jumping from one cover spot to another shares the same button as sprinting. While I got caught on that a few times myself, I didn’t find it frustrating. I imagine that has a lot to do with the fact that I don’t play shooters often. Mass Effect is a hybrid RPG/shooter (action?) game and as such doesn’t do either as well as a more specialized game does. Someone who doesn’t play a lot of shooters won’t notice the rough edges as much.

Multiplayer

I was really not happy about the addition of multiplayer to the game. It felt to me like something that EA was pushing so they’d have a way to add more revenue streams, like selling multiplayer maps. After seeing some of the videos I was a little less leary of the idea though, and I tried to keep in mind the lessons I learned from ME2 that the PR tone of a game often has little to do with the tone of the game itself (such as the aweful Jack promo videos).

Just after the game released, there was a bit of drama related to War Assets versus Readiness where people were upset that you had to play the multiplayer in order to get the best ending. Basically BioWare designed the system so that for every fleet or unit you recruit to the effort to free Earth you get points. However the points are adjusted by a readiness percentage, with the idea being that the more combat practice units get the more effective they’ll be. This incentivises people to play the multiplayer, which a lot of people didn’t want to do.

For myself, I had planned to give the multiplayer a shot, and I’m super glad I did because it turned out to be a lot of fun. How much fun? My final playtime for the single player game was roughly 32 hours. My overall playtime is 66 hours (or at least it was when I wrote this), and I’ve been continuing to play even after beating the game when my Galactic Readiness doesn’t mean anything.

I’m enjoying it so much because it’s co-operative multiplayer not competitive. You’re on a four person team fighting through 11 waves of enemies. You can revive fallen comrades for a short time and anyone who gets killed before they can be revived automatically revives between the waves.

An interesting side-effect of playing the multiplayer is I’ve gotten a chance to play the non-soldier classes, and this has started me considering additional play throughs of ME3 to try out the other classes in the full game.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve loved ME1 and/or ME2 but haven’t picked up ME3, you should. I know there’s a lot of drama around the final minutes of the game but that’s 15 minutes out of 32 hours, and even then it’s a matter of personal taste. Lot’s of people like the ending, lot’s of people don’t, but there’s only one way to find out for yourself.

Looking Back at 2011

Xbox

Last January, I wan’t looking forward to much on the Xbox. In fact, there were just two games: Mass Effect 3 and Batman: Akham City. Unfortunately Mass Effect 3 was delayed, but Akham City more than made up for that. The game had everything I loved about the first Batman game but added improvements, and even though I’ve finished the game, I still pop it into my console occasionally to beat on some thugs.

Outside of Arkham City, my Xbox didn’t get much playtime, which I guess is why it decided to red-ring on me in December. I had hoped by waiting through the first few manufacturing runs and getting an Elite, that I had dogged all of the overheating problems with Microsoft’s console. I was wrong. The repair process was relatively painless: go online and submit a repair request, print out a label, box and ship it out. I just wish it hadn’t cost me $99.

PC

The PC had a few more titles I was excited about: Minecraft, Portal 2, Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War 2 – Retribution (could the title be any longer?), and Warhammer 40k: Space Marine. Well okay, Minecraft was a bit of a cheat since it was pretty much already released. Portal 2 was as good as I hoped it would be, and I got to have some extra fun by playing through the co-op version with MMOGamerChickDoW Retribution I’ve barely touched. I really really loved the original Dawn of War games, but the shift in focus from base building to boss battles has soured me a bit on the franchise. Space Marine made up for my disappointment in Retribution though, the game was over the top gory fun. Some people may try to tell you that using a chainsword on an Ork get’s old, but they’re lying to you.

Unlike with Xbox, this last year also had two big surprises for me on the PC platform. First there was the colossal disappointment of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. This was a game I was not anticipating in the slightest, but ended up buying because of the wave of good press and excitement from friends. Unfortunately, I only put five hours into it before running headlong into a boss battle geared for the exact opposite type of character that I was playing. I realize I’m in the minority opinion on this game, but I still strongly believe that you don’t build a game around choice and then take it away during the central moments of the game.

The second big surprise happened in exactly the same way, but with opposite results. Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim was another game that I wasn’t anticipating at all. Like DXHR, I hadn’t played any of the earlier games in the series, and even though the screenshots looked good and I thought I might like it, I was wary of letting myself get sucked along with the ground again. In the end, I did end up going ahead and getting it, and I’m so glad I did. Skyrim has been a Minecraft-like experience for me (which is ironic given the legal battle between the companies). Just like I got sucked completely into Minecraft last year and played nothing else for months, my gaming time was wholly subsumed by Skyrim. Today, I’ve put 117 hours into just one single-player game. One hundred and seventeen hours. That is incredible, considering a good single-player game usually lasts me no more than 40 (like Red Dead Redemption or Arkham City). But even more incredible is that after more than a hundred hours, I’m not even halfway through the main story line.

PC was much more exciting this year than I thought it would be. I’m not sure that 2012 will be though, but I’ll save that for later.

MMOs

Rift

Trion had the perfect situation this year. From January to November, they had the only new major MMO title. I think they capitalized in it very well too. They’ve been continually releasing new content and making tuning changes. Honestly if anything, I think Trion’s proved it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. They’ve been updating the game so much, that when I came back after a month away, it felt like I’d been gone for six months or more.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

BioWare ended up releasing much later in the year than I expected. This ended up being a good thing both because they had more time to get things right, but also because they managed to get through the hype backlash I was expecting before release (or even beta). There’s not too much more I can say about TOR as far as 2011 goes beyond I got in at launch, had no problems, have seen no queues, and am immensely enjoying the Jedi Knight story line.

Champions Online

Champions has been a fun game to hop into of f and on over the year, especially the few times I’ve gotten to play with Scott. The game had a successful F2P launch and has released some good story content with their first Comic Series and a third Adventure Pack. While I haven’t had that original love of the game rekindle, I’m sure I’ll continue to login anytime I get an urge to play superheroes.

Lord of the Rings Online

Last year, I was feeling pretty down on LotRO. The F2P conversion caused an explosion of gold store buttons in the interface that just got under my skin. My disinterest continued for most of the year, including well into the development cycle for Rise of Isengard. It wasn’t until I saw a developer diary with some video about the making of Orthanc for the game, that I had any interest in returning to Middle-Earth.

Once I got back in the game, I was motivated enough to finish Volume 2 of the Epic Quests, get caught up on Volume 3 in Enedwaith, and charge on towards Isengard. I didn’t make it to level cap before Skyrim started dominating my playtime, but I was really happy with the new work Turbine has done on the game and I’ve finally trained myself to not see the store buttons.

Star Trek Online

And lastly, we come to the MMO that I’ve had both the most and least fun with during 2011.

The game started out very well. We had an anniversary event, an excellent renovation of Earth Spacedock, and then a third Featured Episode Series, Cloaked Intentions. The Series 3 was the best one so far and featured great missions, fun voice work, and the music from Amok Time.

Unfortunately, that was the high point of the year. We did get the Foundry followed by a good revamp of ground combat in Season Four, but we also got Atari selling Cryptic, Dan Stahl leaving the Executive Producer role, Free-to-Pay announced, and no new story missions.

Whether it was Dan leaving, the change in ownership from Atari to Perfect World, or the announced F2P transition, the high level of communication and transparency that I loved in 2010 has vanished. The last Engineering Report was released in August, with no word about if or when it’s coming back. The last Ask Cryptic was in September. Granted, the temporary Executive Producer Stephen D’Angelo did write a lot of blogs during the F2P development, but I found them pretty thin on details.

Overall, it’s been a disappointing year for me in STO. I guess I have to have at least one MMO to be down on at the end of every year.

I love Arkham City, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

Batman: Arkham City is an excellent sequel to Arkham Asylum. If you are a fan of Batman, then I assume you’ve already played the standard game.  Arkham City is just like it except it’s more and better. Go play it now, although if you haven’t finished Arkham Asylum and intend to then do that first or Arkham City will spoil the ending for you.

It is the Mass Effect 2 of the Arkham series. Rocksteady has improved the combat with more animations, gadgets, and moves. I particularly like the smoke pellet and I can remember panicking and dropping down into a group of armed enemies in AA many times, so it’s nice to have a countermeasure. The boss fights are also better here. They are challenging but not stupidly so, there’s always a trick involved and they don’t require multiple deaths to figure out. There are no hitpoint sponges. In general, the game does a good job of introducing new mechanics, training you to use them, and then building on those with additional challenges. There are no sudden increases in difficulty, and no sudden shifts in play-style.

I played and beat the game on normal difficulty, which is the mode I usually pick. There’s a hard mode which removes the counter indicator and makes the enemies more difficult, but I prefer to err on the side of too easy than too hard. After all, I mainly play games for the story and the experience of the environment, not for any sense of achievement.

Besides the combat improvements, Arkham City has similar pacing to Mass Effect 2. The game’s plot is a combination of urgent main storyline and explorable open world with side-missions. I know that mix of pacing really bothers some people, but I’m not one of them. If you prefer to just focue on the main story, most of the side-missions are completable after the main story mission is finished (and the one or two that aren’t are obvious, or were to me). In some ways that might be a better way of finishing the game, since there are areas you can’t reach until you get certain gadgets which you don’t get until you’ve completed sections of the main story. I spent a lot of time trying to get to certain Riddler trophies before I had the means to actually do it.

One item I was a little worried about was the number of villains being added to the game. As a child of the 80’s and 90’s, I’ve seen several comic book hero movie franchises including fall prey to the “too many villains” trap, where they try to pack so much into a single film in order to top the previous one that they don’t have from for plot, dialog (beyond one-liners), or character. Fortunately, Arkham City pulls it off. The main story focuses on Joker, Penguin, and Strange, and they are all fleshed out well (although the Joker steals the show as always). The cool part was the side-missions which included Bane, Mad Hatter, Deadshot, Riddler, Zsasz, and several others. The Catwoman/Two Face side story was fun too. With the exception of Joke and Riddler, I enjoyed the shift in focus from Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, and Killer Croc in the original game. Hopefully in the third (I’m assuming they’ll be one) game Rocksteady can pull out a few more interesting villains for Batman to face off against.

So like I said at the beginning, if you liked Arkham City then Arkham Asylum is that plus a little bit more. More combat, more gadgets, more environments, and more villains.

Last minute Asylum.

I am a procrastinator, I just finished Batman: Arkham Asylum last night. I’ve been meaning to finish the game for months, yet every night when I sat down to play I always ended up firing up the PC first and losing my night to a game there instead of turning on my 360.

Despite my tardiness in finishing, Arkham Asylum is an amazing game. It completely nails the feeling of being Batman. I could say it’s the best Batman game ever, but that’s hardly an achievement. Instead I’ll say that Arkham Asylum does for Batman what Spiderman 2 and Hulk: Incredible Destruction did for their respective heroes. If you’re a Batman fan, go play it. Except if you’re a Batman fan you probably already have.

So now, I can play Arkham City tonight guilt free when St. Amazon brings my present, although I’ll have to set an alarm so I don’t forget about the Adventure Company roleplaying session.

The other cool thing for me about finishing Arkham Asylum: this is the first time, as far as I can remember, that I’ve ever picked up a game I’d stopped playing and finished it.

Catwoman: Arkham City?

I’ve watched this trailer more than a dozen times today and I’m still not sick of it yet.

Ironically, I haven’t actually finished Arkham Asylum yet even though I keep planning to. Maybe this’ll provide the missing incentive?

When Catwoman was originally announced I didn’t really care. She’s an interesting side character but Batman is always the main attraction of Gotham City. The gameplay footage in this trailer looks amazing though, it almost seems like she could carry the whole game. Almost.

Catchy song too.

Catching Up

Lots of newsworthy events this week.

Minecraft Beta 1.4 is out and has cookies and wolves. Beds will now your spawn point too. This will be great for going on long distance exploration where I can setup a base camp and not have to worry about getting killed and going all the way back to the original spawn point of the world.

Cryptic brought the Foundry online. The launch seems to have gone smoothly, and players are busily remaking old mission from the beta on Tribble as well as making new missions. The Delta Flyer crafting mission is also up and involves a daily mission to scan anomalies in a shuttle.

Rift’s patch 1.1 is out and adds a ton of fixes plus the River of Souls event. One of the great quality of life updates is separating the cool down on potions by type, so now I don’t have to worry about throwing an explosive philter and locking myself out of using a healing potion for the next two minutes.

One the Xbox side of things, there’s new DLC for Mass Effect 2, apparently this is the last bit of content before Mass Effect 3 comes out. I can’t image the new content tops lair of the Shadow Broker, but anything the puts me back in the ME universe is good fun.

Lots of stuff for me to play this weekend, too bad it’s not a three day holiday weekend.

Looking Forward to 2011 – Console/PC

I debated just tacking this onto the end of my 2011 MMOs post, since it could be condensed down to:

Mass Effect 3! Mass Effect 3! Minecraft! Minecraft!

But that feels a bit lazy and January is way too early for me to give into laziness, that’s what March is for.

Console Games

There’s only two games I’m excited to play on the Xbox 360 this coming year:

  • Mass Effect 3
  • Batman: Arkham City

Do I really need to explain why? Fine.

Mass Effect 3

Bioware has shown marked improvement in the game-play from 1 to 2, I can only imagine 3 with be even better. Honestly, I’m not sure how though, the mining mini-game was really the only part that was below excellent.

The story, characters, and dialogue have been consistently good through out the first two games, despite my concerns based on the way Mass Effect 2 was marketed. It will be shocking if they somehow manage to drop the ball for the finale.

Batman: Arkham City

It’s the rare superhero game that really recreate the experience of being an iconic hero from the comics. Besides Batman: Arkham Asylum only Spider-man 2 and Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction come to mind. I’m very interested to see if Rocksteady Studios can pull off a sequel. Will they be able to improve on the combat and the detective mode issues without losing the magic from the first game?

PC Games

I’m sure I missed one or two, but this was all I had in my wish-lists on Steam and Amazon.

Minecraft

Obviously there’s going to be a lot happening with Minecraft this year. Notch’s company, Mojang, is up and running, he’s got developers and an artist helping out now, and he’s got big plans. While I’m excited to see Notch does this year with all the resources at his disposal, to be totally honest, I’ve already gotten more than my $14 worth.

Portal 2

I hate puzzle games and platformers, yes even Mario Bros. I loved Portal though. The game did an excellent job of training you on how to solve the puzzles in the game and the difficulty curve always managed to challenge me without causing my to break my keyboard. I’ve been on a complete media blackout regarding this game, all I know is that it’s scheduled for 2011 and I want it.

Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 2 – Retribution & Warhammer 40k: Space Marine

An expansion for DoW2 and a 40k shooter are both due out this year. I loved the single player game for DoW2 but it took a while before I really started to like the multi-player mode, mostly I just missed the base building. Still, I’m very excited to get to play my favorite race from DoW1, the Imperial Guard.

The shooter, Space Marine, looks interesting and given Relic and THQ’s track record with DoW 1 and 2, I’m definitely going to give it a shot. I’m assuming I’ll get the PC version, but there is an Xbox 360 version scheduled as well.

Looking Back at 2010

December is done and 2010 along with it. Seems like a lot of people are happy to see 2010 go, but the last twelve months of gaming here in Kae-land have been pretty good.

New MMOs in 2010

There were four MMOs scheduled or rumored for 2010 that I was keeping an eye one.

Star Trek Online

The game launched on time and pretty smoothly. At least smoothly enough that I don’t remember encountering any problems eleven months later, unlike Anarchy Online’s launch which I still rememberyears later.

The game had a larger flood of launch players than I expected, but it seemed like that initial wave passed through pretty quickly. Say what you will about Cryptic, but I do like their single world architecture. Not only do you not have to play the server-coordination game with your friends, but there’s also no drama over server queues or merges.

For such a new game, not quite a year old yet, STO has made a lot of improvements. Cryptic has added a diplomacy system (months before I expected them to), several new sectors of content, revamped the crafting system (twice, although more work needs to be done on it), updated sector space, done two month’s worth of weekly episodes, and done an excellent job of following through on their promises of transparency with their Engineering Reports. They’re also close to releasing a user-generated content system, the Foundry.

Of course, Cryptic has caused a lot of drama and made a lot of mistakes this year as well, but I have to give them credit for their responsiveness. The Star Trek team has been especially good at gathering community feedback and then acting on it. Daniel Stahl has done an excellent job since taking over as Executive Producer, and I’m very optimistic about the future of the game.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Even with all the new information this year, my expectations haven’t changed much.

I like the emphasis on story. Going fully voiced will be an interesting experiment to see how players react and the impact on adding content. I’m sure I’ll buy this even if I don’t subscribe past the first month just to see for myself how Bioware did. Besides the original Knights of the Old Republic was one of my favorite games on the first Xbox.

One thing has changed though, I’ve been surprised about how poorly Bioware has managed the hype for the game this year. In 2009 they’d been doing an excellent job of keeping people excited for the game without letting community expectations get unreasonable. I can’t say the same about Bioware for 2010. It seems to me like the backlash I was expecting to follow the game’s launch has already started.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

My expectations for Cataclysm were set at “wait and see.” That was where they stayed right up until the expansion launched. Despite my general lack of enthusiasm, I did end up buying it. I blame Twitter.

I played through the Dwarven starting zone again (up to level 11) to see what the old world was like now and came away pretty disappointed. It was different, but it was just streamlined a bit and not the Azeroth shattering new experience I expected.

I also started a Worgen Mage and I’m about halfway (just judging by levels) through their starter area as well. I have to say, it’s fun so far but it’s not living up to the hype. That’s the tricky part of this. There’s a lot of hyperbole out there about how amazing Cataclysm is and how fantastic the new zones are, and I don’t think that the game lives up to it’s reputation.

Who knows, maybe I’ll change my tune once I finish the starter area. December just hasn’t been a good month for me to spend enough time with any MMOs.

DC Universe Online

DCUO was supposed to release in November, but SOE pushed it to the beginning of 2011. I think this was smart for two reasons: Cataclysm was scheduled for December (duh) and they listened to the feedback from their beta testers (something more developers should do).

I said back in January that I would wait until I’d had a chance to beta the game and make a decision close to launch of whether or not I’d play it. Well both of those things have happened, and I’ve decided to give it a pass. The reasons for that decision deserves a more in-depth treatment than I want to go into just now, so let me just say that there’s nothing that DCUO does for me that I can’t already get from playing either Champions Online or Arkham Asylum.

Old MMOs

At the start of 2010, there were three MMOs that I was playing regularly and/or subscribing to: Lord of the Rings Online, EVE Online, and Champions Online. (I’m thinking of making a New Years Resolution soon to boycott the use of the word Online in MMO titles.)

Lord of the Rings Online

Whew, what a year it’s been for LotRO and Turbine. It started out as my favorite MMO. I was (and still am) in a great Kinship (which it still is) and was having lot’s of fun in the game. Then came June 4th and the Free-to-Play bombshell. I was completely blindsided by the announcement. Maybe it’s because I played on Landroval, which was always one of the most populated servers, but I had never considered the possibility that Turbine would go the DDO-route for the game. Eventually, after the shock wore off and I was able to look at the details, it really didn’t seem like the F2P change would have a huge impact on my playing experience.

Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be quite correct. My minute to minute playing experience is mostly the same as it ever was, and I’m not paying any more to play the game than I was before, but the level of store integration into the UI really started to get to me. Between the alert that shows up anytime I do something that earns Turbine Points and all of the little gold buttons that link to the store (of which there are three on the crafting panel alone), I’ve found that my interest in logging in and playing as dwindled down to nearly nothing.

EVE Online

I was doubtful that I would still be subscribed to EVE by the end of the year. I did end up stopping the subscription on my second account, and would have canceled my primary except that it renewed before I got around to it. That’s not totally a bad thing as I’ve continued to train skills (towards no particular goal) and I’ll get a chance to try out the new character portrait generator when it comes out. Regardless though, I’m definitely letting the account lapse in March when the current six month cycle is up.

Champions Online

My plans to have this be my other primary game besides LotRO turned out to be true until I go my first hero to max level in March. After that, I played with some alts and returned for the Serpent Lantern Adventure Pack, but my playtime has dwindled down quite a bit this year. I have to be in a certain (rare) mood to enjoy re-experiencing content, so once I’ve been through the game once my playtime almost always declines (which is true for me in all MMOs).

Console Games

Mass Effect 2 was my favorite console game of the year. Great story, great graphics, and much improved combat over the previous game.

Red Dead Redemption was my second favorite console game, and one I almost missed. I hadn’t paid any attention to it at all until Scott from Pumping Irony asked me if I was getting it. I’m glad he did, because it turned out to be a really good game and the first Rockstar game I’ve ever finished.

Star Wars: Force Unleashed wasn’t new but I’d skipped it on release because of poor reviews. I ended up picking it up after news that a sequel was going to be release, and it turned out to be surprisingly good. So good, actually, that I was able to add it to my very small list of completed games. Ironically, based on several trusted sources, it seems like the sequel is a stinker. That’s too bad, but at least it got me to buy the first one.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions turned out to be a disappointment. The game was way more linear than I wanted it to be and has ended up in my limbo games stack. These are games stacked up next to my 360 that I feel I should finish but probably won’t.

Fable 3 was also a disappointment and will likely be joining Shattered Dimensions in limbo soon. It’s really too bad considering how much I loved playing Fable 2.

PC Games

Minecraft! Minecraft! Minecraft!

I’ve played and enjoyed a lot of PC games this year, most of them acquired via Steam sales, but the stand-out PC game for the year for me has been Minecraft.

I’m still surprised by how much I enjoy this game. I’m usually a shallow gamer. Good game-play is important of course, but no more so to me than the good graphics. Generally when a sequel to a game comes out I stop playing the older version, even if I don’t enjoy the new version as much, because it just looks better. What can I say.

If you qualify as a Crafter or Explorer personality type, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. If you do end up liking it, come check out the multi-player servers I’m running.