What I’m playing

I’ve actually been rather busy with school and a top secret project I am working on, but I’ve managed to get a bit of gaming in on the side. Most of it happens to be trials, but I’ve found some gems that I plan on purchasing in the next few days.

Firstly I finished Gothic 3. Thank God. I doubt I will ever play through that game again, let alone play the expansion I bought along with the game. Thankfully it only cost me $3. I don’t want anyone to take away from this that there was nothing redeeming about the game, though. If that were the case I wouldn’t have finished it. The game starts out fine, though a little glitchy (even with all official and community patches), but things go downhill the longer you play. Especially once you realize that the game is a very repetitive pattern. Find a town, get your rep up, liberate town, repeat. The only great thing I have to say about Gothic 3 was the landscape design. Taking the player from a lush, green environment to a sandy desert, then up to a snowy Norse-ish area, was a great idea. By the time I left each area I had ‘forgotten’ about the other areas and was excited to see the change in landscape.

Second, me and the wife picked up the demo for Lara Craft and the Guardian of the Light. It’s only one level but it was enough to hook us. We plan on buying it right away. There is a caveat to this though: If you don’t have someone else to play it with, it won’t be nearly as fun. Still, for $15.00 I imagine it could be worth it even solo. I’ll let you know how I feel after we play through the entire game.

Another trial I played, one that I had never heard of but was so interesting that both me and my wife wanted it, was NyxQuest. I bought it on steam. The closest game I can compare it to is a single player Trine. You are mostly platforming, and you are given the power to move objects around by grabbing them with the cursor. This leads to physics puzzles of moving blocks and columns, but also to fights. Imagine in Mario Bros. jumping over a put, having a fireball shoot out of it at you, catching it and throwing it at a goomba. Oh, and you can fly, so there’s that.


The final demo I got excited about I played just this afternoon. Comic Jumper on XBox Live Arcade.

I haven’t played the full game yet, but from what I’ve seen I will say that this may be the only true successor to the Earthworm Jim style of game. For those of you that don’t know Earthworm Jim, and Comic Jumper, are platformers that throw in gunplay and a heavy dose of comedy. If you haven’t tried the free demo, and you have an XBox, give it a shot. The gameplay can vary wildly within a level and I was enjoying every minute of it, especially the comedy.

The final game I want to mention is Left 4 Dead 2. I was one of those people who didn’t buy it when it came out. Not because I felt it was “wrong” in some way for Valve to put out another great game, but because I was still playing Left 4 Dead and I didn’t see any reason to upgrade.

Then the Steam sale happened yesterday. Left 4 Dead or Left 4 Dead 2 for only $5.99! How could I pass that up? That is roughly the same price as The Sacrifice DLC on the consoles (which is free on PC and Mac by the way). So for the “cost of the DLC” I got the sequel to go with it.

The first time I’ve noticed, after playing through one of the campaigns, is that I like the new cast much more than the old. That is probably partly due to the fact that they talk and interact more, but I think they really fleshed out the characters a lot more in this one.

The melee weapons are ok, but they aren’t anything game changing. It’s nice to have a melee weapon if you run out of ammo, but most of the time I find myself carrying a pistol and a shotgun, like usual. The most exciting thing for me is the level design. It’s mostly just “Get from here to there alive” like in the first one, but they’ve added some really cool events this time. My favorite is in the fourth part of the first campaign, where you are in a mall and you need to go get 13 cans of gasoline and bring them back to fill up a car gas tank, so you can escape. It’s a blast. We had two people roaming the mall gathering cans, and two standing by the car. When the first two found a can they would just throw it off the third story, we would grab it and fill up the tank while the other people acted as guards. For $6 I don’t see how anyone who enjoyed the first game could say no. Just don’t expect a “story mode” really. It’s mostly an online cooperative game with a thin story. The fun is not in the roughly 4 hours of campaigns there are, but in the cooperation and teamwork as you try to survive, honing your tactics each time you play.

Oh and don’t worry about being a solo gamer, I am for the most part, but the game will randomly assign you to a team if you let it and I’ve never been let down yet. I highly recommend the game to anyone who liked the first, or like zombie movies.