Sunday, November 20, 2011

Monday Musings - 21st Nov, 2011

It's almost December. 2012 is almost upon us. The big release window is pretty much over. I have SO SO much catching up to do game wise. Let us muse.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC)

I might have been too hasty when i downplayed the visuals in this game last week. I had just come off L.A. Noire, and the facial animation of the characters in Deus Ex did not impress me, and probably influenced my over-all opinion of the visuals. Truth be told though, until L.A. Noire, i held up Half-Life 2 as still the best facial animation i've seen in gaming (well at least that made an impression on me)... and that was released in 2004.

So game wise i am in the upper city of Shanghai. Shanghai was actually what brought me back over to praising the visuals. It was the street signs. Just all the neon going on with the glows and reflections. I've visited densely populated Asian cities and they definitely got the feel right. I also like how the game rewards you with interesting side quests for exploring and actually paying attention to the conversations of random people. I've found more than a couple praxis points by completing side quests and exploring elevator shafts and the like.

Upgrade wise, am i the only one that feels reactionary to how i level up? I mean there are plenty of areas i have no intention to put points in because of how i play, but in the areas that look useful, i find i'm always thinking about upgrading them too late. Case in point, there's a section in the upper city where you can come across a fan shaft with the grating removed. Quite a ways down, something is glowing (i bet it was a praxis point). So then i decide it might be a good idea to save up two points and upgrade the back so i can safely land a fall from any height without damage. Who wants to bet that i'll hardly use this new ability? I felt that way about the silent walking actually. It was the first thing i upgraded... and i never use it. Partially because i didn't initially realise it was an activated ability, but mainly cause i always move around crouched.

On the other hand, the cloaking has already been very useful.

Deadly Premonition (360)

So another Friday night of heading over to Kenneth's for some Deadly Premonition. We made some solid ground story wise. We decided to visit Harry (so says Mr. Stewart), and we solved his puzzles and fetch quests and he told us his story. Intriguing.

Also, now that shotgun ammo is dropping off almost every enemy, the shotgun has become the weapon of choice. It definitely makes things less difficult (even though most of the zombies still are bullet sponges).

I've started tweeting during out play sessions. Not too much was overly hilarious this play session (nothing to rival the line of "Becky is dead.")... but we fished at the waterfall. We caught the gift box. That had us in stitches for a good 5 minutes. I think Kenneth had trouble breathing. Playing the game with a friend definitely creates a joyous mood.

I kind of worry now thought that the story seems to be heading towards a climax that the game will lose some of its charm. Part of what makes this just a great experience is how crazy everything is. The characters, what's happening, and especially Francis York Morgan himself. Now as many of the questions are being answered, some of that is going away. I expect to be entertained right up to the closing credits, but this is a concern none the less.

Wonderputt (Indie)

Style over substance. Mechanically and control wise, this is a pretty awful mini-golf game. The courses and how its presented make it worth playing all 18 holes. The course morphs and changes. Sometimes the hole you just finished reforms into another. All up, it's a really fun experience full of wonder. Yes, the name Wonderputt is apropos.

Final Thoughts

This week i thought i'd use this section to tally my progress in experiencing all the games that have been released this year that i want to play. Every year since 2007 i've had some form of 'best of year' in regards to my opinion on videogames and which ones delighted me. My fear the last couple months has been due to my financial issues in 2011, i would not be able to experience much of what's on offer. Luckily over the year this column has helped steer my gaming habits in the right direction and especially the last month or so, i've been quite hopeful about at least covering some basics.

Also, even though there are some HD collections i want to purchase, they will not be included on this list because they are games from years past that just have a new coat of paint.

These are the games from this year i wanted to play and have...

Portal 2
L.A. Noire
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Child of Eden
Rock of Ages

Not a big list. This year was more about catching up on last year. Civilization 5, Fallout: New Vegas, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and Kirby's Epic Yarn were 2010 games that got a lot of play this year (not to mention all the time spent on Persona 4).

Now here are the games i have waiting for me.

LoZ: Skyward Sword (ordered online. It's in the mail)
El Shaddai (Borrowed from a friend)

I forsee Zelda taking up most of my December, but here are the remainder of my must plays for this year

Gray Matter
Batman: Arkham City

Finally i'll add a category for games i'd like to play once everything else is out of the way.

Serious Sam 3
Uncharted 3
Rayman Origins
Super Mario 3D Land (i'd need to buy a 3DS first and that isn't happening anytime soon)
Dark Souls (i'd like to play Demon Souls first)
Radiant Historia
Shadows of the Damned

Heh, i think 2012 will be another big game of catch up. This used to be no problem but for the last couple years, Q1 has been a release window as well. I'm really looking forward to whenever The Last Guardian and Journey drop. Those are probably the future releases i'm most hyped for... and we may get Diablo 3 next year too.

Yeesh. This is on top of all the great old games i want to play or revisit. It's extremely daunting when looked at in this fashion, but i think if i take it one game at a time and enjoy myself along the way, everything will turn out fine!

Till next week, happy gaming all!

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