Another week on and I’m still going strong, must be some kind of record for me. This week I’ve mostly been playing Bastion (see below), which I enjoyed so much I ended up finishing it in a couple of days. I also added another game to the completion pile and finished of The Secret Of Monkey Island: Special Edition. Max Payne 2 and puzzle/platformer Braid took the place of these games and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve played so far.
Max Payne 2 has received some obvious updates from the first game, mainly the graphics and slightly altered bullet time abilities, but has still managed to keep the noir story telling and dark themes that made the previous game so unique. Having just started this game I’m eager to find out what kind of mess Max will land himself in this time. In Braid you play out the classic tale of saving a princess from a ferocious monster. The story is explained in stages at the start of each world in text form and whilst this is not the most exciting way to convey the tale, the story has been well written and is just as engaging if you take the time to read it. Braid‘s puzzles revolve around the manipulation of time, with each world allowing for a slightly different effect. I’ve already encountered some very tough puzzles and have the feeling I could be playing this one for a long time yet.
Game of the Week
This weeks game of the week goes to the brilliant Bastion. I ventured into this game knowing nothing of the gameplay mechanics or story, only that it had received some great reviews when it was first released back on XBLA. Within an hour I was hooked to the wonderfully narrated story and the way that the gorgeous game world literally unfolds before your eyes. As good as the story and its delivery by the narrator is, my favourite part of the game is the customisation. Just as the world unfolds before you, the customisation of your weapons, upgrades and buffs (known as spirits) are slowly released to you as you complete objectives within the storyline. You can even customise the difficulty you play at allowing foes faster reaction times, regenerating health and a variety of other abilities. Bastion may be short and fairly easy but I have thoroughly enjoyed my time playing it.
In other news I recently discovered Backloggery (pictured above), a super handy website which allows you to list and organise your backlog of games into neat little piles. You can include games from a multitude of platforms and sort them into unplayed, unfinished, beaten and completed categories. Your overall progress is depicted by a neat little percentage bar across the top of the page. You can also add comments to each game explaining what you still need to do if you happened to stop playing the game mid way through the story/completion of achievements etc. I definitely recommend this to anyone who has problems keeping on top of their backlog of games.
As I’m sure many of you will know, buying games on Steam is a very addictive experience indeed. With seasonal sales regularly knocking up to 75% off my favourite releases it’s no wonder I have accumulated over 50 unplayed games in little over a year. Now I wouldn’t really call myself a PC gamer in the sense that I play 95% of my games on console. The time I put aside to play any titles I own on Steam is fairly minimal comparatively and so I class myself as a console gamer.
All this time spent with a controller in my hand, my Steam backlog has been slowly mounting up to the stage where it’s getting ridiculous and I’ve decided to make a stand. So for the next month I will don the suit, learn the secret handshake and take my place as a PC gamer. Any time I would usually put aside for gaming will be spent tackling my Steam backlog and these articles will be documenting the highs and lows of my experience.
I decided to start things off with a classic and finally finished my first playthrough of the original Half-Life. I know, about time right? I needn’t say much about the game itself as most of you probably know more than me. It was interesting to see how big an improvement there was between Half-Life and Half-Life 2 especially in the story telling side of things. Gameplay was very familiar however and after finishing off Nihilanth I can happily say that I’m making good progress to reduce this massive backlog of mine.
Next up is The Binding of Isaac, a dark and bloodthirsty dungeon crawler from the makers of Super Meat Boy. While this game was interesting at first, after a few attempts and a few deaths it soon became monotonous. The continues repetition of enemies, rooms and random collection of items was not enough to keep me interested for long and after spending about two hours with The Binding of Isaac I have consigned it to the Recycle Bin of my desktop.
Game of the Week
Game of the week goes to The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition. This was recommended to me by a friend after hearing how much I enjoyed playing Deponia at the end of last year. Much like Deponia, this is an adventure game with a unique artistic style and a dash of humour in the gameplay. Although released back in 1990 with the updated special edition in 2009, it stands the test of time well and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with it so far.
As a newly self appointed PC gamer, one problem I have noticed myself having with PC’s as a platform and also with Steam is immersion in the games I’m playing. Whether it be the fact that the screen of my laptop just doesn’t match the quality of my TV screen. Or maybe that I’m not as used to keyboard and mouse controls and have to focus on that more than I usually would. Or quite often when I’m playing a game and one of my friends will message me on Steam for a chat (which I’m more than happy to do), detracting from my gaming experience. Or maybe it’s just the fact that I know only an alt+tab away are all the videos, social media pages and sporting score lines that could distract me for hours. Either way there always seems to be something to take away my attention, a problem that I rarely have when playing my console.