mini-reviews for games I played in Nov and Dec 2009

I figure I’d start off this year with a massive list of games I’ve played recently and then post individual game reviews as I play them. Also, for the new year, I’m going to try to endeavor to think more critically and reflectively about the games I play. But here’s a non-critical list of the games I remember playing in the last two months of 2009:

PC

  • Torchlight – level 35 or so, finished main quest. Fun Diablo clone with great art. Not sure it has legs, but it’s good for when you need a 30 min wind-down diversion.
  • Dragon Age: Origins – twice, on third iteration now. Google for reviews. I can’t really add anything more other than to say that it has very strong introductory chapters for the different origin stories you can choose for your character, drags a little in the middle (massing an army can be tedious), and has a relatively short end-game (what we’d get that army for again?), but all in all, classic Bioware and a triumphant return of deep(ish) party dialog. Looking forward to community mods.
  • Broken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon – I bought this game years ago but it never installed on my various computers I’ve owned over the last few years. Buggy install is a bitch. I saw it on Steam 2 weeks ago and figured I’d give it another shot. It worked! and it’s a pretty good game. Odd Tomb Raider-esque ledge climbing given its pedigree (the first two were point-n-click 2D adventure games), but they didn’t really bother me. The art did take a turn backwards though when they moved to blocky 3D. I played Broken Sword 4 a couple of years ago and remember it being much prettier.
  • Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy – Yes, I’m a sucker for Nancy Drew games. They’re all generally the same with not much innovation between iterations, but that lets them pound out… what two dozen games? in the last few years. Kinda like trashy romance novels.
  • Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships – Sailing and driving around was pretty fun, I have to admit. That was new.
  • Mirror’s Edge – the first-person pakour game that came out a year or so ago. Most games I play are at least a year old so I can afford them… But anyway, yes, this game was fun. Shortish. Captivating music. The cutscenes were done in cool Samurai Jack-esque cutout-esque artwork. It was frustrating a few times, but overall good. Racing game combined with platformer combined with FPS. Neat.

DS

  • Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes – Best DS game of 2009 for me. Though, admittedly, I haven’t played GTA or the new Zelda. Essentially, a puzzle game with RPG elements. Engaged me more than Puzzle Quest did.
  • Broken Sword 1: Shadow of the Templars – haven’t quite finished it yet. Just as good as I remember from playing it years ago when it first came out and then replaying it a couple of years ago on the PC. For some reason, Nico’s apartment as a sort of home base works really well and is missing from the later games in the series. Also, being able to talk about everything to everyone and get (mostly) unique dialog is pretty cool. The DS version adds some nice 2nd-screen portrait close-ups when talking with NPCs but the small main screen makes seeing the various environment elements a little harder, though they tried to make up for it by making things highlight when you touch the screen with your stylus. I bet the Wii version is great, so go buy it if you have a Wii!

Xbox 360

  • Fable II – Got this pretty much right after I (finally) bought an Xbox 360 in November. I think I liked the original Fable more. The morality system was pretty meaningless since it didn’t affect the story at all, just your character’s visuals.
  • Lego Batman – Playing with Robin. We aren’t done, yet. It’s fun. 🙂
  • various incarnations of Rock Band – Fun as always. The main reason we got an Xbox 360, actually. Well, that and the fact that it hooks up nicely to my home network and Windows Media Center.
  • Forza Motorsport 3 – When we get a house and a dedicated home theater room some day (I want to take you to a monster-free city), I’ll be getting a racing chair and a wheel to go with whatever version of Forza exists then… It is sooo beautiful. Damage modeling, too!

Wii

  • New Super Mario Bros. – Haven’t actually gotten to play it much, but I like it. The kids we sometimes hang out with like it.
  • Wii Sports Resort – borrowed from Steve. I spent a few hours just flying around. 🙂 Sword fighting is fun.
  • Wii Fit Plus – We had to rearrange our office to make enough room between the couch and TV for the Wii balance board. Now that we’ve set it up, we’ve used it maybe once a week, which is better than sitting on our asses all the time. Pretty fun so far, actually.

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