Thursday, 24 December 2009

Games I've Not Played in 2009

Looking back on my year of gaming in 2009 makes me realise I'm stuck in 2008. With the exception of Torchlight*, I have bought no major commercial releases this year, and Torchlight is not a full priced game. With the ability to buy games as cheaply as the sales that Steam and other digital distribution services have on now, as well as the discounting curve that most major release games follow, I have no incentive to pay full price for a game. I am prepared to shell out not very much money for iPhone games, of which I've bought a few. Unfortunately, the only one I play on a regular basis is Civilisation Revolution.

Of the games of 2009 which interested me:

  • Borderlands: Procedural weapon goodness. I'm there. Ridiculous Australian pricing. I'm not.
  • Left4Dead2: Censorship Australia has censored my wallet. Yes, I can hack around it, but I'd rather not buy, on the basis that Valve has more chance of pressuring the Australian government to change that set of ridiculous laws then I do (I'm a foreign national, so I can't vote in Australian elections). Besides which, I'm more angry about other ridiculous laws that are getting passed here...
  • Section 8: My multiplayer experiences this year have been cramped by a poor ADSL connection. And is it better than the continually evolving Team Fortress 2?
  • ARMA 2: Waiting for the patch that fixes everything...
  • Men of War / Order of War: Just didn't get into the demo enough to justify buying at this stage.
  • AI War and Solium Infernum: Played the demos. I can see how these games could be good in a world where I had a lot more time than I do now. What I want is a strategy game that plays like Civilisation Revolution on the iPhone. On the iPhone. Uniwar doesn't feel like it has the depth I need. And I'm sick of tower defense.
  • Dragon Age: I have Baldur's Gate disc sitting in the package, unopened. I've played the first 30 minutes of Oblivion and the first two hours of Morrowind. Why buy another RPG I won't play because of time constraints and the paralysis of 'which mods do I load?'
  • Captain Forever / Successor, Spelunky, other critically lauded indie games: I'll play these as soon as they start developing them in a genre I enjoy. Just not platforming / scrolling shooter... to be honest, this is the one area I regret not spending more time on.
  • Some console games which have got rave reviews: I still don't have a Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii. And I'd only want to play Metal Gear Solid anyway. To the point where I might go look for a PSP second hand.
  • Some great sounding Nintendo DS games: Since I bought the iPhone, I haven't picked the DS up once. Actually, since Brain Training...
So a disappointing year all round. But it's been entirely my fault...

So what have I been playing?
  • Civilisation Revolution: I had to stop playing this, and start functioning as a human being. So I did what I always do to stop making a game enjoyable for me. I redesigned it.
  • Canabalt: Great two minute filler. Should really download the improved version. Review is here.
  • Puzzle Quest: Challenges of the Warlords: Parts 1 & 2 for the iPhone: Review is here.
  • Rolando 2: Bought this on the Edge's recommendation as iPhone Game of the Year (or at least #1 in their top 50 lineup). I can appreciate the vibe, but it just doesn't click for me.
  • Far Cry 2: Haven't reviewed this beyond some snide comments, but the game is surprisingly pick up and playable if I have a spare hour or so. People complain about the check points, but I enjoy the flow of planning a path through or around check points and having it go horribly wrong. Feels repetitive if you play it too long in one sitting.
  • Team Fortress 2: BFF.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: So apparently this is a 2009 commercial release. Consumed it in one sitting. Never went back. Will get my wife to play this over Christmas some time.
  • Defense Grid: The Awakening: Consumed it in two sittings - one with no sound due to a Windows bug, one with sound to see if the sound track and dialog was worth it. It really wasn't. Never went back.
  • Red Orchestra: If you ever want to feel like a hero, play this game. I cannot recommend this FPS highly enough.
  • Day of Defeat: If you ever find that all the players on your Red Orchestra server are bots, play this instead for a slightly slower, more cerebral version of TF2.
  • Torchlight: Played the heck out of the demo. Bought it, while feeling ambivelent about the poor monster path finding, resulting kiting gameplay and the slot machine loot fest. Haven't touched it since.
  • Stalker: Clear Sky: Ended up trapped in a warehouse that was just a buggy as the Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl release. Never made it out with enough motivation to keep playing. Would go back, but suffering from mod paralysis.
  • Strange Adventures in Infinite Space and Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space: Really fun pick up and play games. Would be perfect for the iPhone other than screen size constraints. I'd recommend the Weird Worlds demo ahead of downloading the free version of SAiIS if you want to try before you buy.
  • Vampire: the Masquerade: Absolutely enjoyed this while feeling guilty about playing this now I'm married. Stopped at the painful sewers section, which I understand is for the best.
  • Dystopia: Still playable. Still fun. Still only play Mediums with Assault Rifles and Mediplants.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butchers Bay: Really enjoy the production values and story. Couldn't figure out the stealth sections so shot everyone. Ended up in the second Super Max facility, where I apparently turned into Link from Zelda and have to do fetch quests for everyone. Will revisit this with an FAQ.
  • Spore and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare: Went back with the new computer, for an honest reappraisel and to give these games a second chance. They failed.
  • Research and Development: This is my GotY. And it's a free single player map pack for Half-Life 2.
* And the Void, which I just picked up this morning off Steam.


Nick said...

What, no roguelikes?

Unknown said...

Question about Red Orchestra - what makes it so appealing to you? I found it quite inaccessible, stilted and just not engaging. This is to be expected somewhat as it's based around realism rather than arcade stylings.

What makes it special, and worth investing the time getting to know it? If not a full response, even a link to a review that explains it would be appreciated. Thanks!

Andrew Doull said...

BertieB: Start with

Nick: You should know by now I don't play roguelikes..

Unknown said...

Thanks Andrew, another very well written piece by Quinns (I read his bit on The Void the other day). I think thanks to him (and you) I'll have to give it another go, this time with a friend or two. The camaraderie was definitely missing when i first played.

Cheers for the link!

The Mud Hutter said...

Borderlands - the weapon generator is awesome, incredibly fun, and works really well, except it's too unbalanced - you spend ages struggling, then suddenly get an uber weapon which makes the game a breeze for the next 8 levels. They should have consulted a roguelike developer! Still, it never stops it from being good fun.

Scott said...

Borderlands is fun but, in my opinion, it's only *great* fun when playing with friends in co-op. Solo, it's ok. Much like Left 4 Dead, it was pretty much designed around co-op and that's where it truly shines. If you have to play public games though, I don't know that I'd recommend it. Again I can use L4D (either of them) as an example that public co-operative games are more frustrating than fun because "the public" is full of jerks.

Section 8 is... interesting. I play it semi-frequently, but that's because I enjoy larger, "sandboxy-ish" and most importantly, objective-based shooters. It has a few wacky bits but overall the sum of its parts makes it a lot of fun, especially if you're in a good group who communicates and uses teamwork. But just because it's a shooter, don't ask if it's "better than TF2" because they are two entirely different games. Ironically, I bought TF2 when it came out, and keep it updated, but I'm unable to enjoy even the best arena-style shooter anymore, including TF2.

The Mad Tinkerer said...

You should check out Eufloria. It's basically an arcade-style 4X game, which sounds crazy but they managed to pull it off.

It has some procedural elements to it, though since it's primarily a game about logistics (making sure you send enough of your vicious flower buds to attack your enemy's flower buds) and tactics matter most in the beginning of a level, you can "save scum" if you don't like the initial planets you're given. In that sense it's very much like a Roguelike.

50% off temporarily:

orillian said...

Borderlands with 4 player co-op is one of the best times I've had playing games on PC for a while.

I do have to say though that even though getting the best loot is part of the appeal, playing 4 player co-op when you have crappy loot is the best part, especially if you get the Zombie DLC, Much more engaging then L4D2