I never played the first Borderlands, but based on the rave reviews from peers and from online sources, I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and try Borderlands 2. My initial impression was quite positive. I like the comic strip graphics, the voice acting, and the plethora of weapons available throughout the game. The gameplay is smooth and crisp. I caught on to the story pretty quickly. In short, I am a vault hunter and some guy named Handsome Jack controls all of the Pandora’s Eridium. Power, hunger, and greed you get the picture. It’s my job to get the vault key and take care of business. It seems quite simple, but following the game for its actual plotline is such a small part of the game. Ultimately, I found myself spending about 70% of my time on the optional side missions. That’s funny because they are optional, but if I didn’t take the time to do the optional missions, I would never be able to build up my character’s attributes and weapon upgrades necessary to beat bigger and badder bosses and bad dudes. The frustration sets in…
I would have to say that I am a lifetime gamer. I had the early Atari and pretty much every system that followed. I did take a break and went a couple of years without having a system. One of the games that brought me back into gaming was the original Resident Evil on the Playstation. Later on down the road it was Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64 that really took multiplayer to a new level. I spent many hours laying proximity mines on those multiplayer maps. It took some time, but the gaming industry seems to be interested in recapturing some of that old Goldeneye glory. The Nintendo Wii released a new version of Goldeneye in 2010 for which I never noticed. Recently Xbox (and I assume other platforms) released Goldeneye 007: Reloaded. It didn’t take much convincing to want to try this game out. Though tweaked from the original, it was a nice to reminisce with a game that “I” say laid the foundation for all the shooters we have today – especially concerning online multiplayer gaming.
Continuing with a post I made about some cool games to check out if you’re on a budget (but should still check out even if you’re not), here’s some more great games I’ve played that are worthy of your attention. I’ll highlight both great indie games, classics that have aged well, as well as some modern AAA game that you can now find on the cheap. If you have any suggestions on some great games for those of us on a budget give them a shout out in the comments, as with music, I’m always on the lookout for great games to play. And if you are interested in hooking up with me for some PC gaming, you can find me on Steam with the user name RiffRaff79. So without further ado, here are some cool games to check out.
Where do I begin explaining the sheer over-the-top, off-the-wall, bat-shit-crazy, out-of-its-mind awesomeness that is Bulletstorm. On the surface it may seem like an ultra-violent romp through a tough military guy story filled with immature cussing and dick and fart jokes. And it is, but it so, so much more. The violence finds its place weaved wonderfully into the cheesy and cliché’ narrative as well as the copious amounts of toilet humor. The game play is traditional as well as insanely innovative at the same time and it leads to some of the most fun I’ve ever had while playing a game. The graphics are some of the best I’ve seen on my Xbox so far and feature the full use of the color palette, something many game developers have forgotten was there. The set pieces are gargantuan and the action is non-stop. Simply put, every single thing about this game is absolutely amazing and you should not hesitate to play it.
Once again, the city of Steelport is under fire; caught in the crossfire from rival gangs. Saints Row: The Third (or Saints Row 3) takes the fight to the streets in this open-world action/adventure game. In this third installment, the Saints attempt to regain control of Steelport from the gangs that comprise The Syndicate. It’s a complex story of organized crime, but a simple plot…regain control.
What’s the worst thing a developer can put in a video game. Escort missions. Bring the mentally challenged, paint-chip eating AI controlled character from point A to point B without letting him/her be killed. These type of missions always end up with said AI character running face first into a storm of swords, wandering off a cliff, or skipping into a hungry horde of zombies. Somehow in Resident Evil 4, Capcom addressed this issue with the escort missions by letting you toss your escortee, Ashley, into a dumpster while you ran around and killed off all the lurking zombies. This method worked to an extent, but was not perfect. There were times I wished I was able to give her a shotgun and have her blow away a zombie when they found her in her comfy little dumpster. Well, I guess I wasn’t the only person to want to be able to do this, because in RE5, Capcom lets you give your “partner” an entire arsenal of weapons.
Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii is the complete package for any fan of old-school side-scrolling platformers. Its got highly diverse level structures, crisp and colorful graphics, great upbeat music, and great charm. It also has a level of difficulty that has been forgotten for a long time. Nintendo doesn’t pull any punches to ease the difficulty of this game at all, you will lose many balloons(lives) playing through this game. On quite a few levels I went through 40-50 lives(DKCR is quite generous with the 1ups) just to reach the end. But the great thing of the challenging nature of Donkey Kong doesn’t come from bad controls or cheap enemy shots, it’s from the amazing level design that Nintendo and Retro Studios created. Never once does a lost life feel cheap, you fell into that pit or got hit by that enemy because it was your fault(ie. mistiming a jump, running too fast, ect.). And no matter how many balloons I was popping, I never stopped playing because the levels are just that fun and engaging that you will want to keep playing through them. If you lose enough lives on a level a little pig shows up and offers to show you how to play through the level, but I never used this feature.
While digging around in the bargain bin at my local media shop I came across a game called Darksiders. I had remembered hearing some decent press about it, the screenshots on the back of the box seemed interesting to me, and the price was right so I picked it up. When I got home and finally got around to popping it into my Xbox360 I found myself rather impressed by a title that I had thought would be an average time killer.
What would the world look like years after the apocalypse? I bet images of nuclear fallout, grey skies, and world devoid of any plant life pass through your mind. In our modern way of thinking the most likely way of our civilization on the plant Earth coming to an end would be through nuclear war, and at this moment in time, you would be right. But what about possible another angle? Like another classic end of the world scenario, our obsession with computers, convenience, and technology turning against us and wiping out the human race. That’s the angle that developer Ninja Theory took when developing the world that inhabits Enslaved: Odyssey to the West.
It’s that angle that works in spades in the favor of Enslaved. Since there has been no nuclear war plant life is allowed to flourish, and because plant life is allowed to flourish the Earth is able to retain all its majestic and natural beauty. With all this natural beauty that the Earth provides for us the world of Enslaved is able to utilize just about every color under the sun and give the player a lush and alluring world to explore. We get beautiful vistas, color drenched landscapes, ruins of old cities overgrown with foliage, and on top of all that, we get one hell of a narrative.
“What a horrible night to have a curse.” In Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest that phrase would appear to signify a change from day to night. And for some reason, big changes, like day to night, were a curse upon the Castlevania series. The series has adopted minor changes throughout its life, such as using the Super Metroid style maps and incorporating an experience point system, but anytime the series tried to make a major change, such as, let’s say move from 2D to 3D, its curse would rear its ugly head. A couple of the 3D attempts were mildly decent, the rest were complete failures. A big reason for that I believe is because the people who were working on the games lost way and forgot what made the Castlevania games so great in the past.