Video Game Diary 2011/2012
Played in October of 2011, finished
Final verdict: 9/10
Best puzzle game I've played in... ever.
482 8.81. Portal - PC Games
Amazing! I can't wait to get the 2nd one. This game was way too short for how fun it was. It was really cool playing a puzzle game in first person view, I liked that. The game was also hilarious, for having only 2 main characters the plot was highly entertaining and ever line of dialogue made me smile if not laugh out loud. Portal sets the bar for other video game writing.
It was also really creepy at times, which I wasn't expecting, but that only increased the entertainment value.
Everything was challenging too- I actually had to find a guide for one of the rooms (18 I think?).
Shadows of the Damned
Let's Play in January, played about half the game in March
~20 hours of gameplay
Final verdict: 6/10
Gorgeous graphics and fun characters, a strange and interesting story, horror elements though not particularly scary, and less fun than anticipated gameplay.
26 7.42. Shadows of the Damned - PlayStation 3
Watched on the 1Up network's channel, let's play by supergreatfriend. Played some of the game myself in March.
This video is worth a minute of your time at the 8:10 mark, where you are introduced to the sushi lamp and it's amazingly crazy badass theme song.
The horror elements are what I thought was keeping me from owning, but the game isn't that scary, it's actually really amazingly designed and even beautiful at times. The shooting aspect seems less awesome. I am awful at shooting games.
But the game is really great, I might end up buying it after all. It's funny (not especially clever but still gives me the chuckles) and the characters are neat. The voice acting is ace! The plot is cool, where it lacks in originality it makes up for in badass-ness. And the graphics are fantastic.
Finally through most of the game myself during spring break. It's... still awesome. But, not as fun as I imagined. While the game is worth playing for the humor, beautiful graphics, and even the story, it's not my favorite when it comes to gameplay. It's not as fun and in some parts it's just really challenging- okay I'm terrible at aiming game guns, just awful, so others might have a better time of it than me. Still, I'd say rent before you buy. But do find time to play it!
Let's play: Catherine
Watched January 2012- I really like the puzzle levels, while I don't love the story a whole lot. I might buy this someday, but for now I won't.
84 83. Catherine - PlayStation 3
Watched a let's play because I wasn't sure what the gameplay was all about.
Very different game than what I've played or seen before, I liked it.
The actual plot is pretty bland, so I probably won't buy this any time soon. But the gameplay part looked fun. I don't know if my heart can handle the stress- it's 85% timed puzzles that get harder and harder- but it's solid fun.
Assassin's Creed 2
Started playing in December of 2011, finished March 11 2012
Final verdict: 7/10
Interesting and fun, but nothing too special.
271 8.74. Assassin's Creed II - PlayStation 3
I've never played the first in the series :(
Taking my time with this- I want to get as many as the side missions and collectibles as possible. This game is very addicting, I can put in hours without advancing at all plot-wise, just trying to collect everything.
The controls- I'm probably just too reckless with them, but I hate how one button has so many actions. I have on countless occasions accidentally tackled guards and civilians when trying to drop from a ledge, or dived into water when trying to climb a building. Especially infuriating when trying to complete a race or timed assassination mission.
But I love the open world, how you can climb almost everything, how fun the combat is, the collectibles, and the interesting and complex plot.
The ending... a bit of a let-down, definitely feels like just one chapter in a story. But it was fun, gameplay was enjoyable, not too difficult but I don't mind games that stay about even the entire playthrough.
Started playing February 25th, finished
~ 2.5 hours
6+ hours replay so far
Final verdict: 10/10
Absolutely fantastic, and a game that non-gamers will enjoy.
79 8.15. Flower - PlayStation Network
This game isn't for everyone. It was definitely for me, though. A lot of the reviews I read used words like emotional, beautiful, art. They were all right. This game, simple and meandering as it is, was so soothing, refreshing, and by the end empowering, I couldn't possibly describe what I was feeling. My only wish is that it was longer; while I am still playing through it and exploring, I'm completely finished with the "plot" aspect after the first day I got it. This is a game that would have been perfect if it lasted a month.
Still, one of the most unique and beautiful games I've ever played. It was entirely different from what I'm used to, and I was really excited with using the tilt feature of the controller. I didn't even know that existed until I played Flower.
And I love the hidden trophies. It's nice having mystery trophies for once, knowing how to get them ahead of time is less fun (cough Assassin's Creed cough).
Awesomely, this is also a game I got both my parents to play as well. They haven't been in to gaming since the arcade golden years, so I was pretty psyched when I gave them the controller and they both ended up playing through the whole first level willingly. Even my dad, who complains that all our games look the same, thought Flower was pretty unique.
154 8.56. Minecraft - PC Games
Linger in Shadows
Started March 18, finished?
~ 2 hours of gameplay
Final verdict: 9/10
A non-game "interactive art" that's just my cup of tea.
14 4.47. Linger in Shadows - PlayStation Network
I wrote up some nice comments but closed the browser before hitting save. :E More later.
Started March 15
~5 hours in (incomplete)
A PSN game that feels like an arcade game and looks like... not any type of game I've ever seen before.
45 6.48. flOw - PlayStation Network
It sort of reminds me of old style arcade games, using the same format through the entire game, and you've just gotta last through it all. It would have made a great joystick game, that's for sure.
It's fun, and also challenging, more so than the other two by thatgamecompany. It can even be frustrating at times. But it's also easy to skip over the challenging parts. I'm not sure if that's good or bad.
Of course it's pretty, got great visuals and atmosphere. The controls are a little weird, especially if you play it coming directly from Flower. Sixaxis, but only 4 directions you can go, making them a little clumsy. They are much less precise and on some of the playable creatures, it is a little bit difficult to direct them. But that's part of the challenge, and it's still fun to play.
Repetitive in a way that a puzzle game would be, though it's not really a puzzle game at all. So it gets a bit numbing, I can play for an hour or two and feel like I haven't made much progress. But it's a fast game if you are determined, simple and easy to speed through. But it's fun and relaxing, good stress relief and great to leave on in the background as you do other things around the house.
So I've been going at it in very small doses, trying my best just to get through the levels in a timely manner. The trophies here will be more of a challenge for me and I might just skip them over.
Started March 19, finished
6+ hours of replay so far
Final verdict: 10/10
Excellent in all counts. I'd recommend it to everyone.
75 9.19. Journey - PlayStation Network
What a stunning game! I enjoyed Journey so much. It was a really strange but interesting experience. It's like I was actually that little guy in red trying to make a pilgrimage to the top of the mountain.
I won't spoil anything, because it's an inexpensive and short game and it's worth it to just play through even if you think you won't like it. It took some unexpected turns, not really twists but exciting things go down. I was expecting a very repetitive (in a good way) game like Flower and flOw, but it's actually a bit different. A little more dynamic.
Of course it's just as beautiful as its predecessors and has wonderfully smooth controls and lovely sounds. I was a little bummed that the sixaxis only controlled the camera angle, but it was clearly the better choice to have the standard controls for this one, and it wasn't limiting at all.
Journey's multiplayer aspect is really really really cool. It makes the whole journey seem more real- you're trying to get to your destination and you meet a stranger on the way, who happens to have the same goal. Then you can either team up and help each other up the mountain, or choice to go at it yourself. It was just very neat, and I appreciated not having a chat option though some people probably won't. It's not about the interaction, but the journey, if you excuse the pun.
And kudos to it for destroying the monopoly that rock band had on the word "journey."
Started March 15, finished
Final verdict: 7/10
A puzzle platform game of easy difficulty, average gameplay, and above-average cuteness.
3 710. The UnderGarden [Download] - PC Games
The UnderGarden is unbelievably cute. Everything about the visuals is either adorable or pretty. There's lots of glowy objects and flowers and cute critters, and it's got some really fun, soothing music as well.
A lot like Flow, it's not a "plot" game but a puzzle game, so it's repetitive. But it's got enough challenge and variety to be worth it.
From the hub level there are a large number of levels to be unlocked, in order, and all replayable. Not only do you need to reach the end of the level using a number of different tactics, your side goals are to find all of the hidden items (special flowers and gems) and bloom 100% of the flora. This gives it some replayability and complexity which I appreciate.
Not only that, as you complete more levels, there are "outfits" you can unlock for your little demon. Different colors, styles of horns, and even a top hat and monocle. This is great incentive to keep unlocking levels.
And, best of all, you can play in a co-op mode if someone else picks up the second controller in the hub level. It's twice as fun with two people and I've easily put in at least 8 hours of play without being half finished with the game yet.
Demo: I Am Alive
17 611. I Am Alive - PlayStation Network
Looked much cooler than it was. In its defense it got some hype and high expectations with its announcement 4 years ago, and it really does make a good 2008 game. Not a great one, but a good one. However as a 2012 release it's lacking.
Survival games aren't my thing usually and this seemed pretty average. The whole game looked a little lame visuallye. Everything is gray and sepia- why??? A lot of models looked boring as well.
It has interesting NPCs when the point is to not interact with them: I liked having them threaten you and not want anything to do with you, it felt real. But most others (either ones that attack you or ones that ask for help) aren't anything new. The AI is pretty bad as well.
I like the expansive scenery and large complex map. I LOVE climbing the huge buildings! Being able to scale up a skyscraper is really cool. That alone might be worth buying the full game someday, especially after a price drop. Am I being cheap? It's only $15 for the full thing, but if I'm not interested in playing it might as well not put it on my machine.
The controls really sucked, I don't know if I'm just challenged but I couldn't find out how to invert the X axis (maybe only on the full game?) and it was hard to direct the guy, worse than Assassin's Creed. It's annoying that he can't jump when he's standing on the ground but you have to hit X to pull him up on a ledge when climbing. I admit I'm such a noob when it comes to different control schemes, I don't have much patience learning new buttons.
I dunno about the story, it seems like the average end of the world scenario from what I saw. Not really a bad thing, the end of the world in itself is worth playing through.
Already deleted demo on accident, so probably won't revisit it for a while...
Started April 16th, finished
Final verdict: 8/10
A non-game. Enjoyable but not for everyone.
47 7.912. Dear Esther - PC Games
What a pleasant surprise. There's something about interactive drama that I really enjoy. Many people won't like it because it's just not their thing. It's not a game in the usual sense, there's no action or violence or hardly anything except in the story the narrator describes. It's unusual that a video game of all mediums leaves so much up to the imagination.
Calm, eerie, atmospheric. When playing it's like you're sitting still in time.
I'm a sucker for a good story. If I where just rating the story, Dear Esther would get an 7/10 for the plot and 10/10 for presentation. While the story itself isn't entirely new nor surprising, it's emotional, dramatic, and has a depth not seen too often in video games. The way the game is made, it all comes together so well. From the stunning graphics to the bits of narrative you stumble across quite by accident in most cases, it held my attention for several hours. I hadn't realized how long I played until I checked out my Steam account and it informed me well over six hours had been put into it. And I didn't even experience everything: most of the first couple levels I still have to explore completely.
There were a couple things I didn't like so much. You can only walk at one speed, which is really aggravating when having to double back to an area you've already been through. You will get now narrative if you die and come back to an area, but not if you just walk past it. So checking out the entire explorable area, especially in the first level, can get dull in places. This is avoided if you just go straight along the path given to you by the narrative, but for those who want to find more tidbits and clues you are gonna have to deal with stretches of monotony.
The second problem, which comes up a lot when I see other Dear Esther reviews, is that you can't do anything but walk around. Even where crouching or a flashlight is necessary, the game performs those actions for you. Again in the first few levels I was wishing I could do things; poke at old buildings and shipwrecks, maybe. The atmosphere of the game lends itself to drawing things in the sand or skipping pebbles, and even minute actions like that would have been interesting enough to fill the void.
Despite that one issue, I really loved experiencing Dear Esther. I felt involved and eager to learn more of the main character's story. The game's design was intriguing and genius, and it was worth the money to buy it. I really want to see more like Dear Esther in the future.
Let's Play: Silent Hill Homecoming
Let's Play: Amnesia: The Dark Descent
I am too damn scared to ever play this. I didn't even finish watching it. Real solid gamemaking though, hardly any true survival horror coming out these days. If it was for the Playstation I might try it, it's not as scary playing on a console in the living room. But the PC leaves you too vulnerable... your back turned to the dark, empty room...
Watched on TheRadBrad's channel here:
255 8.415. Mass Effect - PC Games
Okay so it's a good game, I really enjoy it, and I'm gonna keep playing it. I'm probably gonna play all the way to 3 to see what the big deal is about the ending. But there are some huge issues I hope are changed in the 2nd game:
1) The FUCKING MAKO and how impossible it is to drive
Who thought of these controls? Absolutely insane.
2) The auto-save is useless, I end up re-doing such huge sections of missions. It's not a hard game and dying doesn't happen too often, but it's a real pain when I have to start over a significant amount of story. Or if I have to drive the FUCKING MAKO again. I haven't ragequit a game in so long... but the auto-save reminded me what it was like to ragequit.
3) The "pick your squad" thing, not being able to use the level up points unless they're actively on your squad, not being able to switch out members conveniently (until you give me a plot-related reason to this I will forever complain about a limited squad).
4) FemShep's voice and general actions are super annoying. Whatever, maybe it's just preference, and I just don't like it.
5) The FUCKING MAKO.
But there's a lot of things I love as well! Firstly it's my kind of game: space marine opera rpg + 3rd person shooter. Hell yeah! I feel like I'd get bored with games like Skyrim, but convert something like that to a sci fi space adventure and I'm in. It's probably my favorite video game genre.
2nd, I love customization! I enjoy game concepts like getting points as you level up and modding weapons. This RPG does those things very well. I like that you can micromanage your squad. And I LOVE that the classes you pick are actually legit, useful classes. Nothing like "thieves" that I'd never actually use. Mass Effect lets me specialize in sniper rifles + tech infiltration. What more can I possibly need?
And also under the customization topic, I love that you can choose Shep's appearance. Rare enough that I get to play as a female in video games, but also a black one? Thanks so much for that, Mass Effect. It's nice to have a break from the usual white male protagonist.
The story is... interesting, though a little trite. But I'm not complaining. I'm not very far in yet.
Demos: PixelJunk Eden, Eufloria
18 7.716. PixelJunk Eden - PlayStation Network
The things I liked about PixelJunk Eden weren't so much the gameplay or "story" but the beautiful graphics and original music. It was so pleasant to just leave on the TV while going about chores. I couldn't get in to playing it, though. It felt lacking. It's definitely a multilayer game if you can get the people to play, but even when I tried co-op with a friend it was still sort of dull. Even though it's adorable it's not exciting enough for me.
16 6.317. Eufloria - PC Games
Similar to PJ Eden above. It's really, really neat looking. Very pretty. Calming, beautiful music. The game itself just wasn't very engaging. I like the idea a lot, though. I might give Eufloria another try later. While the actual game wasn't exciting I like the idea a lot, it's something I'd be interested in playing with a few more features.
These both make me want a screensaver type thing for the ps3 that I can just leave on as I do daily things. I'd pay two to three bucks for a screensaver version of both these games.
29 8.518. Limbo - PlayStation Network
Demo - might buy full game
I am torn between really loving the gameplay and being a little repulsed by the morbidity. It is actually not a graphic game at all, it's just disturbing enough to bug me. For all my gore tolerance I can't handle disturbing death-stuff very well, especially when it's in cartoon form. But it was fun! And a little scary too, which was awesome, and the puzzles where also great. It was like the perfect side scroller game. So I might buy this someday. Just not for right now.
Full game: June 1st-ish
~18 hours, still unfinished
Excellent tower defense game with lots of need for strategy and, if you're a perfectionist, hours and hours of replay value
Final verdict: 8/10
4 719. Crystal Defenders - PlayStation Network
Demo & full game
Fuck having a life, Imma play tower defense all day.
Update: still loving this game. I think I have clocked about 20 hours by now, usually only in 1-2 hour sprints because damn this game gets challenging. I don't play a lot of tower defense because I hate the thought of neverending waves of enemies, but these are all 100% beatable levels if you play right (read: encorporate legitimate strategy), so it's the perfect tower defense for me. I got this on the ps3 but it's also available for mobile devices- it's actually better suited for the latter I think, the graphics aren't anything great on my giant tv screen (see above). I still really enjoy playing it however. It's great stress relief.
Demo: April 29
Full game: June 15
About 10 hours of gameplay, pretty much non-negotiable- finished
An interactive drama with game elements- QTE's dominate, but in a surprisingly great way, with lots of possible endings and a great story. Tons of replay value.
Final verdict: 9/10
366 8.620. Heavy Rain - PlayStation 3
GOT THE GAME. PLAYED THE GAME. LOVED THE GAME.
Heavy Rain is one of the most immersive gaming experiences of my entire gaming life. I was emotionally attached to everything that was going on. I was constantly second-guessing myself and trying to piece together the plot. And I wasn't terribly great at it either- I did miss a few opportunities and let's just say I didn't get the achievement for getting 4+ characters to the ending. But all the more reason to play again!
And I probably will play again, though I have no desire to get all the trophies for this game. I am too emotionally attached to the characters to explore the negative paths the game can take. I can't imagine leading Ethan Mars purposefully to a dismal ending, hasn't that guy been through enough?
I guess my only complaint is that the ending (at least the one I got) still left me some questions on one of the characters, but that's hardly an issue and I'll just have to play again and see where else I can take him. The game as a whole was also pretty dark and I found myself needing breaks from some absolutely dismal parts.
I really liked the interactive drama aspects. I love that there is no game over, no matter how badly events go. You have to deal with the consequences, which is terrifying. But it's neat to see how much effect you actually have on the story. In some scenes people used to high action games might be a little bored: plenty of times the whole point is to get someone talking and find clues, or give your side of a conversation without giving too much away to the other person. But for every (relatively) calm moment there is a moment filled with high voltage excitement and/or terror.
This first time around my sister and I played together- we'd pass the controller off if something was too intense or we were just sucking at it (those stupid unfold actions, like the ones by Norman's feet in the image right above, really kicked my ass, though my sister was pretty bad at the "move slowly" commands). [Breif Spoilers!] Somehow she managed to cut off Shawn's finger where I was totally freaking out, but she couldn't even keep her eyes open when fighting with the drill doctor. [End Spoilers!] My mom watched the last hour or so with us and kept calling it a movie on accident.
So long story short (and I could keep blabbering away on how awesome Heavy Rain is, beleive me) this is a FANTASTIC game. It's NOT a traditional game and I LOVE that is pushes boundaries in ways that would make a GTA game proud but still considerably more classy. If you're thinking about buying the game, get it!
OH, one more important thing about GLITCHES. I did experience glitches. The game froze once early on, and I had to restart. Fortunately the auto save is perfect so I lost almost nothing of the story. Then near the end there was an awful glitch where everyone's clothing and/or hair twitched, vibrated, and blinked in and out for maybe 15 minutes. Eventually it stopped, but a restart did not fix the problem. Be warned that some people experiences no glitches on any type of ps3 and any type of ps3 can get these glitches as well. Ours had some but nothing devastating, and I'd still recommend it.
Demo: Infamous 2
138 8.121. Infamous 2 - PlayStation 3
I was hoping I would love the Infamous series because I like Sucker Punch's Sly series, but sadly I just didn't get into it. I might come back to this franchise when I become more able to adapt to different controls (give me a break I have been a casual gamer all my life, I'm used to Spyro games where you only need X, square and the right analogue stick). It's worth looking into again.
Noby Noby Boy
27 4.922. Noby Noby Boy - PlayStation Network
I just sort of gave up on poor Noby Noby Boy. It was such a strange game. No objectives, no deaths, no enemies, no actions except for eating and stretching. You can eat almost everything, including the other inhabitants of the world, and you can stretch to other planets. People will either LOVE this game or not get it at all. I sadly did not get it at all and deleted it from my ps3. But it's a modest price if you wanna try it out. It is certainly a new experience.
186 8.323. Dead Space - PlayStation 3
Some exposition: In Dead Space you're Isaac Clarke
Dead Space is awesome. It's awesome to me for a few of the reasons some people don't like it. Most importantly, it's not the same type of scary that typical survival horror games are. The many weapons, ammo drops, and suit upgrades give the player much more power. I love this. It makes the game bearable to play for my fear-motivated brain. While I've gotten through maybe 3 hours of Silent Hill 3 in 2 years, I can play Dead Space every day and not lose sleep- as long as I only play during the day that is. Anyone in my shoes wanting to play something scary but not mentally damaging, if you can handle the gore, you might like Dead Space.
Yeah, I'm a survival horror coward, but I'm so drawn to the genre and I can't say no to a good stuck in space story. And so far I'm enjoying the story of Dead Space. I've seen a little of the 2nd game already so I am not in suspense about the ending. But it's still compelling, even for a generic white male protagonist. I like his motivation for getting through this disaster. Clearly they all wanna survive, and this causes a lot of tension between Kendra and Hammond. But Isaac puts up with their (especially her) nonsense to get to his (girlfriend? lover?) Nicole. And yeah Nicole's role as save the princess fodder is also generic, fortunately the 2nd game fixes that up a bit. Basically it adds just the right amount of narrative
Horror elements: Jump scares abound, which I actually appreciate since solid psychological horror would put me off from playing. But there are some key moments where I am afraid to go forward because something genuinely creepy just happened. In between all the jump scares you get a lot of weird, eerie stuff: a room full of smashed TV screens all simultaneously spring to life, occasional strange whispers and echoes in seemingly empty rooms, shadows that move despite nothing being there. Sometimes you will come into a room and, instead of a monster bursting through a vent at you, you'll see it turn around a corner or climb into the ceiling, or maybe just stand there for a moment and watch you before walking away. Sometimes you might stumble on a disturbed, dying NPC doing something like banging their head against the wall before falling over dead. Then you're left with an empty room to explore and a strong desire to run in the opposite direction. The further you get in the game, the more often those types of things happen.
The game also looks great. All the graphics are top notch. The atmosphere is pulled off perfectly; tight corners and narrow hallways, chaotic and loud rooms, bloody handpritns on the walls next to disturbingly jolly posters giving crew members instructions on proper protocol. The dynamic environments are awesome too. There are some really great moments where you go unexpectedly into areas of the ship exposed to space, and all sound except for the ones in Isaac's suit stop. It's strangely beautiful, even the floating corpses and limbs are beautiful. And the gore- oh the gore. It's an art form and Dead Space nails it. It's hideous and disgusting and bloody, lots of blood, and it's all terribly fun. Not only do you get to see lots of NPCs turning into awful deformed bloody aliens, there are also a million ways to kill Isaac off in creative and amusing ways that make getting a game over a little less awful.
I'm playing on the easiest setting and it's a little too easy, but I'm gonna finish it once before amping up the difficulty. I decided to try just using the plasma cutter for the first run so that should make up for the difficulty.
Professor Layton and the Mysterious Village
222 8.224. Professor Layton and the Curious Village - Nintendo DS
Finished this game while on vacation. When I first started it over a year ago I wasn't so into it, but this time around I found it much more enjoyable. The whole game is adorable and has some cute humor. The characters are appealing and interesting. It is a great game on the DS, which is one of my least favorite ways to play games. And all of the puzzles are great. It's the perfect amount of brain activity. I only had to look up 2 answers to puzzles through the whole game- mostly because I hate the pitcher puzzles and am too impatient to work through them. But it's really satisfying knowing that, with enough work, I can solve pretty much anything it throws at me. I'm still going through the bonuses, which include some very difficult puzzles, but they're still just as fun.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery
Plants Vs Zombies
Started playing in December of 2011, finished Started July 20th
Final verdict: 5/10
Frustrating and addictive.
182 8.326. Plants Vs. Zombies - PC Games
Fuuuuuuck. Thiiiis. Gaaaammmeee.
I have over 65 hours into this damn game, and I don't really enjoy it at all. I think this is excellent game design, otherwise I can't explain why I'm so compelled to finish it. :C It's sort of nice in the first few levels, but as the game advances the ratio of fun to difficulty changes where I'm constantly struggling with it and getting almost no pleasure in the process. It's a busy and chaotic tower defense style game game, hard to micromanage without being overwhelmed. Oddly, it is not so difficult that I can't finish it myself without lots of strategy and planning- something I usually don't have patience with. Somehow all this comes together to create a game that I desire to complete from an achievement standpoint but once it's done I want to put it away forever and never look or think about it again. It's really frustrating.
Games I own, either unfinished or unopened or unreviewed.
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