Here’s a look at what games I’ve been playing the past few weeks, ranked roughly from most-played to least-played.
“Dead Space 2” (rated M, $60 for PC, Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3) [review]: I played through the campaign on “normal,” started anew and spent a few hours with the multiplayer before writing up my review. Even though it’s taken some lumps from online multiplayer diehards, the tactical, teamwork-dependent gameplay appealed to my inner “Left 4 Dead” nut.
“Stacking” (rated T, $15 download for Xbox 360 or PS3) [review]: The latest downloadable game from Double Fine Productions features the novel setting and clever, subtle humor that fans of games like “Psychonauts” and “Brütal Legend” have come to expect. Its Russian nesting dolls, though, can’t emote much and the game feels a little colder than past efforts as a result.
“Dragon Age: Origins” (rated M, $50 for Xbox 360 or PS3, $40 for PC ) [review]: To get ready for for “Dragon Age II,” mentioned below, I’ve been going back and playing the downloadable content from my 2009 Game of the Year. As much as I loved “Dragon Age: Origins” while I played it, the game hasn’t aged well when contrasted with BioWare’s “Mass Effect 2” or the demo of “Dragon Age II” I played at a media event. The storytelling in “Awakening,” the chapter I’m playing now, is as good as I remember, but the combat is inelegant and clunky, completely unlike what I played in the “Dragon Age II” demo.
“Gears of War 2” (rated M, prices vary on Xbox 360): Even though I played the heck out of the co-op mode in the first “Gears of War,” the sequel got short shrift because it came out sandwiched between “Fallout 3” and “Left 4 Dead” back in 2008. Recently, a friend of mine have been going back and revisiting this classic in preparation for “Gears of War 3,” due out later this year. We’re maybe halfway through the campaign but on Friday night, we hooked up with a few friends and powered through all 50 waves in Horde Mode. Even though pretty much every multiplayer shooter on the market now has some variant that pits humans against waves and waves of computer-controlled enemies, the original holds up quite well.
“You Don’t Know Jack” (rated T, $30 for Wii, Xbox 360, PS3 or DS, $20 for PC): THQ’s recent revival of the popular 1990s trivia franchise is the next game I’m reviewing. I’ve been playing it off and on the past couple of weeks and should have a review up by mid-week.
“Culdcept Saga” (rated T, out of print on Xbox 360): I let a couple of friends rope me into a game of this Japanese hybrid board/card game a few weeks ago. For newcomers to the blog, I played this obsessively for a good year-and-a-half. Now, it’s more of a change of pace game.
“Fallout: New Vegas” (rated M, $60 for Xbox 360 or PS3, $50 for PC): I finally encountered my first glitch in Obsidian Entertainment’s famously glitchy role-playing game. Upon exiting a solar power plant, I suddenly found myself under attack by a pack of previously friendly junkyard dogs I’d encountered earlier in the game. I wasn’t sure why they were suddenly transported to my position a mile away from where I first met them, or why they were attacking me like they’d all gone rabid. But I killed them all and made a mental note to apologize to their owner the next time I passed through.
“Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers” (rated T, $10 download on PC, Xbox 360 or PS3) [review]: I finally finished playing enough single-player games to unlock the rest of the cards included in the last downloadable add-on. With my inner completionist sasisfied, I’ll probably set this aside until the next add-on comes out.
“LittleBigPlanet 2” (rated E, $60 for PlayStation 3) [review]: I’ve been going back and playing community levels every so often with a friend or two. I know it’s early in the year, but “LBP2” is probably the first shoe-in for my end-of-the-year top 10. Thanks to a lack of cross-game chat on the PS3, it is a little bit of a pain in the butt to get a game going. My friends and I have taken to partying up on our Xbox 360s, then using Microsoft’s console’s superior chat system to coordinate setting up our games on PS3.
“Monopoly Streets” (rated E, $40 on Wii, Xbox 360 or PS3):
“Dragon Age II” (rated M, due out March 8 for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3): I recently spent an hour or so playing a demo of BioWare’s upcoming swords-and-sorcery sequel. My thoughts are here, but you can play the demo yourself and form your own opinions on “DAII’s” streamlined combat when the demo hits the PC, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live later this week.
“Call of Duty: Black Ops” (rated M, $60 for PC, Xbox 360 or PS3, $50 for Wii, $30 for DS) [review]: After my friends and I finished off our 50 waves of “Gears,” we headed over and played Zombies on “Black Ops” for a bit. While we tore through “Gears 2” like a buzzsaw bayonet through Locust, we’re still getting our feet wet when it comes to Zombies. We died early and often.
“Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix” (rated T, $15 download for Xbox 360 or PS3): A couple of Thursdays ago, I attended a launch party for “Marvel vs. Capcom 3.” I decided against playing the game against the mix of pro players and seasoned fighting game vets who attended the party, but it did look cool enough that I went home, requested a review copy of the game, bought myself an expensive, arcade-style fightstick and ordered a strategy guide for “MvC3.” Of course, that still didn’t put a fighting game in my hands fast enough to scratch my newfound itch, so I fired up this classic, which I bought off of Xbox Live for $10 one of the times it was on sale. That fightstick can’t arrive soon enough.