Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Backlog Gamer 1/29-2/4

Up until a few weeks ago, I hadn't played more than an hour of videogames in more than four years.  Full-time School, that great and massive force, took all of my free time.  Like a breastfeeding mother of triplets, I just didn't have any time for anything but the necessities (that being family, school, and work).

That has ended.  From this moment on (or until I get too bored with it), I'm going to burn my gaming-candle at both ends.  I will have to take occasional breaks for continuing education (the bane/boon of the IT industry), but for the most part every second of extra time that is not used to chip away at my large honey-do list will be spent working on my massive videogame backlog.

Enter the Backlog Gamer.  I know, the name is lame.  It's all I have at the moment, and will likely change in the near future.

I finished the first game on the list, Alan Wake, before I decided to write this series of articles.  Because of that I will make a few comments on it then banish it to the "In The Bag" completion list and speak of it no more!  Suffice to say that it is a great game that uses (but does not overuse) a light/darkness element as well as a spoken narrative by Alan Wake himself.  I loved the combat, even though I heard endless bitching from reviews and other gamers about it.  I plan on at some point purchasing the two DLC packs for it and maybe even making it a yearly or bi-yearly play.

                                                         Games List For This Week

Game 1: Dead Space 2 
Game 2: Enslaved
Game 3: Dig-N-Rig


Title: Dead Space 2
Platform: Steam (on PC)
Purchase Date: 1/1/12
Cost: $9.99

I am almost done with this game (I think).  I could be wrong I guess, as I was sure I had reached the ending about three times now.  I was surprised by the strategy required to play this game.  Sure, you might be able to play the game by blasting everything in sight, but I wasn't able to.  It took longer than I care to admit that this game is as much a strategy/survival-horror game as much as a third-person shooter, requiring that you spend as much time learning to use the right tool for the right necromorph encounter as possible.  The story is also quite good.  I especially like the way it is told, not just with cutscene footage and the audio/text logs scattered about, but also the settings and props in the rooms themselves.  Some rooms will tell a story of a struggle, with mutilated corpses scattered about, while another shows whole families still on the floor next to ominous white cups.

Great game.  Great buy.  You should probably play it.

Title: Enslaved
Platform: Xbox 360
Purchase Date: 9/29/11
Cost: $9.99

I bought this game on a whim after hearing about someone talk about it on some gaming podcast.  Overall the game is fun, but it does have some very generic gameplay progression (explore, fight, explore, learn new ability, fight, boss).  I'm not a big fan of Monkey, the male protagonist, who seems as much a typical male macho-protagonist as possible.  The real star of the show is the female protagonist, Trip.  Her writing and acting are done in a way that conveys fear for herself, but also a great deal of empathy for Monkey, whom she enslaved.  The environment, which consist of a Earth-like city overgrown by nature, is also very interesting to me.

It's not a great game so far, but the story has a hold on me, so I plan on slogging it out to the end.

Title: Dig-N-Rig
Platform: PC
Purchase Date: N/A
Cost: N/A

I downloaded this game after hearing a guest on the Giant Bombcast (it might have been Paul Barnett, though I can't remember) gush about it.  The game is quite fun, if a bit on the simple side.  You basically drill stuff, which creates resources, which you funnel to your home base by way of conveyor belts and lifts, then you buy new stuff, upgrade your old stuff, then dig deeper.  There is an overall goal, that being to reach the core of the planet, but it may prove unattainable for some.  Usually after about two hours of gameplay my drill disappears (?), so my digging activities are limited to using explosive devices.

Like I said, the game is fun, but I don't think I'll be playing this next week.  On a positive note finding this game also revealed the massive game vault over at Digipen (the folks who created Portal), so regardless of the outcome this game was totally worth the time.

In The Bag For 2012
Alan Wake - 1/25

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