Sunday, 20 June 2010


It has been many long months since I graced this blog with an entry. Mainly it would seem because I am currently a happy and contented gamer, and as a rule happy contented people don't need to blog about stuff. Also, between work, my burgeoning hobby as a photographer, and actually playing games, I've had very little time to actually write about playing games. So for tonight I'll just run through a brief re-cap of what I've been up to, and then over the next few days I'll hopefully get around to focusing more closely on a few of the areas that have caught my attention recently.

Last time I was here I was extolling the virtues of the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 single player campaign. After that I moved on to Batman: Arkham Asylum, a game I'd been looking forward to playing for quite some time. It's a nicely atmospheric, story lead third-person action game, set in a world that is exquisitely realised and suitably dark and brooding. A delightfully mischievous Harley Quinn and a fine performance from Mark Hamill as The Joker give you some interesting and unusual villains to go up against, and there are the regulation big fights against the likes of Bane and Killer Croc. It's a fine game, but for one reason or another I ended up moving on before I'd completed it. Silly of me really as I know I'm not very far from completing the main story arc... I 'll definitely go back in though, Arkham Asylum's Batman is a hugely enjoyable character to play, it's a fun universe to visit, and I'd like to see how the story ends before I forget what it was about in the first place! Definitely one for the to-do list.

Next up was a brief sojourn into the world of Gears of War 2, again, a great game on first impressions. Mad, relentless action, huge set-piece battles and more fire-power than you can shake a (boom)stick at. My time here though was cut short by the announcement of a free week in Lord of the Rings Online, a game which I have played and enjoyed, on and off, for about 2 years now. I rolled two new characters during the week, a Champion who I managed to get into the mid level 20's and a Warden that I got to about level 17 or so. I won't go into LOTRO to much here as I'd like to do a few more in-depth posts on it in the future, but, suffice it to say, I enjoyed the week enough to be tempted by the massively reduced Lifetime subscription offer that was running at the same time. I'll also definitely be heading back into Gears 2 at some point. It was a lot of fun and I'd have probably played it through to the end if the new shinys hadn't gotten in the way.

My journey through Middle Earth was soon halted by my old clan mates making a return to my all-time favourite all-time game of all-time - PLANETSIDE! PlanetSide is one of those games that, as long as I have friends playing it, I can come back to time and time again. The website count-down to the games 7th anniversary event was the main reason everyone had signed up again, and as with all things PlanetSide over the last 3 or 4 years, it turned out to be a massive let-down. But, the old gang all back together in the old stomping ground was priceless. When you've got a good bunch of friends all on voice in that game and things are going your way on the battlefield, I don't think there's anything out there still that can rival that experience. After the let-down of the event people started drifting off again, and after missing a few weeks due to a busy work schedule I found myself back in the land of the console again. Though I am still subbed to PlanetSide for now, and hopefully we'll get some more sessions in before my sub runs out.

Back in console land I found myself taking on the role of Rico Rodriguez, secret agent, regime-change specialist and all-round ice-cool Latino bad-ass in Just Cause 2. This is 100% the MOST fun single-player game I've ever played. EVER. A huge open world to explore (400KMsq to be precise) and cause chaos in. A living, breathing country full of civilians, revolutionaries, corrupt police and military and one mad ruthless dictator. And your job is to run around blowing stuff up and killing bad guys in the most comedic ways possible. Probably another game I'll do a more in-depth look at as there's just so much to say about it, so for now I'll just say, if you are looking for a fun single player experience, look no further than Just Cause 2.

JC2 is now nicely wrapped up, although there's still plenty to see and do even after the main story is complete. I can see myself dipping into that one for a long time to come, but not before I've finished my current game, the almost equally awesome Red Dead Redemption form Rockstar Games. I'm currently having a blast roaming the not-so-old west as retired gunslinger John Marston, in a quest to find and kill a member of the gang I once rode with. The story so far is fantastic, the characters are believable and increadibly well realised. But the biggest star of the show is the world itself. It is staggeringly well made. Every time I play it I feel like I'm in an old cowboy movie. The light is perfect, the landscape is stunning, the place is alive with wildlife, the interaction between your character and the locals feels real and believable, and there is just so much to see and do. I'm 25+hours in and just over 50% complete; and that's before we even start on the multiplayer aspect of it all!

So, that's pretty much what I've been up to, and if you read all that, well done! Between LOTRO, PlanetSide, Just Cause and Red Dead, there's enough material to keep me blogging for months. They are all fantastic games in their own right, all unique in their own way and all fine examples of where gaming stands as this century heads into it's teens. PlanetSide is the old man of the group, a dying game with an ever dwindling playerbase, but with ideas and mechanics decades ahead of its time that needs to be learned from. Lord of the Rings Online, a traditional MMORPG very much of the old-school, but currently being injected with new life as whole new subscription and "free-to-play" models are being introduced. Just Cause 2 and Red Dead Redemption are at the forefront of gaming, to the point where they almost feel like a hybrid of traditional games and MMOs. A Massively-SINGLE-player game if you like. These are turbulent and exciting times for the games industry, and I for one can't wait to see where it goes next.

No comments:

Post a Comment