It’s New Year’s Eve, a day to reflect on the past year and make promises for next year that we will all break by the fifth. However, you haven’t made the promise to spend less on games quite yet, so here’s a chance to pick up a few guilt free.
Dungeons and Dragons: Daggerdae – $5.09 – Since it’s New Year’s eve, I’m going to assume that anyone buying this game is black out drunk. Sadly, this is just a little worse than waking up to an extra five bucks in your wallet and a thank you note. This is a bland game with a plethora of issues. Stay away.
Dead Island – $19.99 – I really wanted to like this game. The initial trailer was downright amazing, the premise seemed unique and it promised to offer something we haven’t had yet. The actual product left a lot to be desired. The game is essentially a first person brawler with occasional gunplay. The gunplay is subpar and the brawling gets repetitive and stale alarmingly fast.
This is not a single player game by any stretch of imagination. With coop the game does start to shine a bit more. While it’s not a first class title it does offer some mindless fun with a buddy. One thing worth noting is that the characterization is …. Well it’s strange. It’s poking fun at best and downright racist at worst. I’ve got fairly thick skin, but reading through the background of the playable characters still caused me to wince a bit. If this game was going for 5 or 10 bucks, it would be easy to recommend it, however at this price it’s just a bit too much. Wait a few more months and you’ll see the price plummet some more.
L.A. Noire – $12.49 – I may be in the minority here, but I was extremely disappointed with this game. Let’s get a few things out of the way first. The game looks gorgeous, and the facial techniques they used are amazing works of technology. The characters are believable and the setting is exactly how I would imagine LA in the 1940’s. As for the gameplay, it’s a detective game, not a sandbox destruction game.
You don’t have a cache of weapons to choose from and you’re penalized for harming innocents. Hitting one with your car can be nigh impossible as they do everything they can to protect themselves. However, that’s not my qualm with the game. If you do shoddy detective work, you may arrest the wrong guy or miss clues that open up the story more. Essentially, if you don’t play the game exactly how it was intended, you won’t get the full story. L.A. Noire is a fantastic detective interactive film, but it’s simply not a very good game.
Magicka – $2.49 – Magicka has ruined more friendships than all of the Mario Party games combined. This game doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and is easily one of my favorite titles as of late. The coop is extremely well implemented, however friendly fire is unavoidable. I’m fairly positive that certain spells actively target your friends before even looking at the enemies.
That said, there are a few bugs that have yet to be patched out and it’s more demanding than it would appear. Griefing is a bit of an issue with the multiplayer community and the auto saves just don’t quite get it right. That all being said, this game is an absolute blast with a few friends and is very deserving of your money, especially at this price
Hoard – $2.49 – Have you ever felt bad for the dragons when playing Skyrim? Than have I got a title for you. In Hoard you play as the dragon as you raze villages, kidnap princesses, ignite knights and slay thieves. The game isn’t very deep, but what it does it does well. The multiplayer is a blast and stealing from your friends treasury as he’s looting a city never gets old. You should probably try the demo to see if it’s up your alley but it’s definitely worth looking into.
Counter Strike – $2.49 – $4.99 – There’s really no excuse to have not played Counter Strike at this point, and I find it near impossible to even imagine someone who isn’t familiar with it. So Mom, if you’re reading this, Counter Strike is a team based FPS where the terrorists have to set up a bomb while the counter terrorists try to defuse it while both are set on eliminating the other team. It’s really as simple as of that. If by some strange coincidence you haven’t played this yet, pick up Counter Strike: Source. The multiplayer community is massive considering the age of this title, and it’s easily worth a buy. Oh and Mom? I need socks.
Bioshock 1 and 2 – $4.99 – The Bioshock series has quickly become a favorite of mine. The first one was one of my favorite games of this generation, and while the second doesn’t hold a candle to the first one it offers a very competent game as well. I’ve been hoping for a case of amnesia so I can play Bioshock for the first time again, but I’m starting to accept that it’s probably not going to happen. When Bioshock first arrived on the scene, it was touted as the game that would finally be able to prove that games were art.
While we may not have broken down that barrier, this should be part of every gamers required playing list. The romp through rapture is a first person shooter, but somehow it manages to offer something more than originally expected through compelling storytelling, a magic system in the form of plasmids and some moral decisions. While these moral decisions really didn’t influence anything except the ending video, it was still a great inclusion to pull you deeper into the story. If you haven’t played Bioshock 2, it’s worth looking into. If you haven’t played Bioshock 1, congratulations you just booked your next few days. For new comers, this is the steal of the day.
Rochard – $4.99 – I honestly haven’t played Rochard, and after doing my homework I’m not quite sure what to think of it. It’s a puzzle platformer with a bit of combat thrown in, and the main character seems to have personality to spare. According to some friends, the puzzles are fairly easy and the combat is given too much weight at times. There’s a demo here which I fully recommend checking out, but I’m not comfortable giving a recommendation with the very little knowledge I have.
GRID – $3.74 – Another racing game, and another title I can’t really comment on. Codemasters did shut down the official severs some time ago, so playing online can only be accomplished through outside means. If you’re willing to put in the effort for that, I’ve heard there’s a quality title here.
Hitman – $2.49-$6.24 – With the announcement of a new Hitman game in the works, interest in the series has been on the rise. These games are an exceptional amount of fun if you have a bit of patience. With Hitman, you’re not meant to run and gun through the stage, you’re expected to be professional. Take your time, find your marks, make the assassination and get out, preferably without being seen. It’s everything you expected from Assassin’s Creed but just weren’t offered. I personally recommend Blood Money as it’s a bit more polished, but you can’t really go wrong with any of the titles in this series
Heroes of Might and Magic – $1.99-$24.99 – Let’s start with the black sheep of the family Dark Messiah. Dark Messiah is a hack and slash brawler with visceral combat that is almost unmatched. I didn’t expect to enjoy this title nearly as much as I did, and it’s easy for me to recommend it to anyone who’s willing to take a chance to try something new.
The rest of the games in the series are more straight forward strategy games set in a fantasy world. I lost days of my life playing the third installment with friends in high school, and even now my old group will get the urge to play a couple of rounds. The third installment will always hold something special to me, and it’s only 5 bucks at Good Old Games right now. That being said, you can’t really go wrong with any of these titles, and all except 5 have demos. Take a bit to try them out and see which ones suit you the best before jumping in.
Bit Trip Runner – $2.49 – The Bit Trip series is all based around music. With Runner, you’re playing a platformer who has to jump or slide to avoid obstacles while picking up pellets that enhance the music. Honestly, the Bit Trip series are the best rhythm games outside of Rhythm Tengoku and if you have any interest in music games this is a must buy.
For those of you going out tonight, have a great time and be responsible. AAA is offering free tows if you or your driver has had a bit too much to drink in certain areas. Call 1-800-AAA-Help if you need it, and I’ll see all of you tomorrow.