Here’s a look at what I played last week, ranked roughly in order of how much time I spent on each game.
“Deathsmiles” (rated T, $50 on Xbox 360): When my weekly multiplayer session fell through, I spent the evening with Cave’s shoot-’em up. I’m not quite sure why I’m guiding winged teenage girls around and not, say, a spaceship, but whatever. The thing I like about this game is that, with the easiest difficulty level and unlimited continues, it feels like just about anyone who cared to could get really good through sheer practice and repitition. A playthrough takes less than an hour, and it’s kind of a great way to unwind.
“Mafia II” (rating pending, due out Aug. 24 for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3): I spent several hours at a press event Thursday playing a few chapters in this open-world mobster game set in the 1940s and ’50s. But I can’t talk about it until Tuesday, per publisher 2K’s rules. Stay tuned.
“Sin & Punishment: Star Successor” (rated T, $50 on Wii): I’ll be doing a double-review of this shooter from Treasure and “Deathsmiles” in the coming week. So far, “Deathsmiles” gets the nod. But the new “S&P” has quite a few fun wrinkles and feels pretty accessible so far. I think I’m going to start over on easy and get the hang of the game, then try again on Normal.
“Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords” (rated E10+, $10 Xbox 360 download): I finally closed the books on the first “Puzzle Quest,” notching my last achievement for defeating Lord Bane. Gotta say I took the cheap route and changed the difficulty to easy because I hadn’t bothered to level up my wizard in an optimal way and had a tough time setting up combos geared toward denying the final boss turns. I wasn’t about to start all over with a new character, so after several butt-kickings, I dialed down the difficulty level a notch and annihilated Bane on the first try. I’ll probably pick up the downloadable content when it goes on sale. The current price of $8.75 is more than a bit steep when the full sequel only costs $15.
“Metro 2033” (rated M, $50 on PC or $60 on Xbox 360): I also started 4A Games’ post-apocalyptic shooter set in Moscow’s subway system. There’s supposed to be a great story at the heart of “Metro 2033,” and it’s also supposed to be scary and difficult. Sounds like my cup of tea. I’m finding the Russian accents a little odd thus far and will probably change over to Russian voice actors with English subtitles.
“Culdcept Saga” (rated T, out of print on Xbox 360, prices vary): I did some fine-tuning of decks for my upcoming matches in Season 8 of the league I run. Of course, I won’t have time to face any real-life opponents for at least a week.