Here’s a look at what games I’ve been playing, ranked roughly from most-played to least-played. This allows me to offer some thoughts on some titles that I may not devote a full review to, plus sound off on some ideas that might not have made it into full reviews of the games I play. Games are listed roughly in order of most- to least-played, with assistance from my Raptr profile.
“Catherine” (rated M, $60 for Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3): A review of this is coming later in the week. In the meantime, I don’t want to spoil too much other than I’ve been surprised thus far how genuinely smart and rewarding “Catherine” is. Its blend of relationship drama and frenetic puzzles is both charming and stressful, but it’s still very much a niche title. I just happen to fit into that niche.
“Infamous 2” (rated T, $60 for PS3): After the first “Infamous,” I was looking forward to getting my hands on the sequel. While I spent much of the early part of the game thinking, “‘Infamous 2′ isn’t as good as the first one,” everything clicked once I got Cole McGrath over to New Marais’ Floodtown district. The constant threats that water hazards posed to my electrical superhero added some fantastic gameplay elements lacking in “Infamous.” And, as I said in my review, I was blown away by the way “Infamous 2” ended.
“Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012” (rated T, $10 download for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3): Still playing through this to unlock all the cards, dabbling a bit in online play. “Magic 2012” got some love in a recent post looking at some of the great non-Summer of Arcade games to hit Xbox Live Arcade recently.
“Trenched” (rated T, $15 download for Xbox 360): Another game featured in the aforementioned blog post. Normally, I don’t play a lot of co-op on my Xbox Live Arcade games, but I’m glad I hooked up with a few different friends for some “Trenched.” Coordinating with squadmates to master the game’s blend of shooting and turret placement hit a strategy sweet spot. The quirky humor, superb sound design and gorgeous “Tubes” that serve as enemies made the game worth the $15 price tag. I’ll be revisiting until I lock up the last two achievements I need, pining for downloadable content all the while.
“Dungeon Siege III” (rated T, $60 for Xbox 360 or PS3, $50 for PC): Looking over my Raptr profile’s Played Games list, I’m amazed that my three most-played games all boast middling review scores. “Dragon Age II” is simply a long game, but “Dungeon Siege III” and “Brink” have kept me coming back largely because both games offer online multiplayer that’s largely unlike other console games. “Dungeon Siege III,” which I reviewed a while back, stands apart from the action role-playing game pack by allowing up to four gamers to play together online. While it has its limitations, mainly locking all the players into a single camera view that discourages exploration, it’s nothing seasoned RPG vets can’t work around. A friend and I are trying to finish the game on the hardest difficulty setting. Just a few hours in, we already feel like we’ve got our work cut out for us.
“Rage” (due Oct. 4 for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3): I played through the first few hours of Id Software’s next game and wrote up my thoughts here.
“Brink” (rated T, $60 for Xbox 360 or PS3, $50 on PC, though if you can’t find it for less, you’ve failed as a consumer): I dusted off this much-maligned, objective-based shooter because of last week’s free downloadable content. (If you missed it, “Agents of Change,” the first add-on for “Brink,” is free if you download it within the next week or so.) As I said in my review, “Brink” is at its best when you can get together a group of like-minded individuals who all communicate well with one another. Playing with computer-controlled bots as teammates just isn’t much fun. Failing to get more than two of us together, a friend and I played the old maps as a refresher course and chased a couple of achievements. I’m hoping to get a few more people I know on this week to run through the two new maps from “Agents of Change.”
“Bastion” (rated T, $15 download for Xbox 360): This hand-painted is probably the best $15 downloadable game I’ve played yet. If you don’t own an Xbox 360 and want to see what all the fuss is about, “Bastion” will hit the PC on Aug. 16.
“MLB 11: The Show” (rated E, $60 for PS3, also available for PlayStation Portable and PS2): A couple of my nephews were over recently, and one of ’em is a huge baseball nut. He fired up “The Show” and played solo for a while before the two of us tried Home Run Derby together using the PlayStation Move. It didn’t go very well. As a quick note, my Raptr profile also shows some action for “Kinect Sports” and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” My nephews largely played those games while I helped them set up and watched, so I’m not claiming credit for those. I do hope to get in some more time with both titles in the near future, though.