I can’t believe we’re already on the third iteration of this passably new Grinding Down feature, which, in retrospect, I should have put together years ago. The months surely do seem to be flying away, but even that won’t stop me from writing a wee bit about the handful of games I got to play a wee bit of in the last thirty or so days. Again, this is probably not everything, just the ones that stick out like bright red sticks in the mud, and I solemnly swear to return to several of these at some point. Heck, I might even still be playing a few of them right now. Besides, I always seem to get a lot of gaming done during the Thanksgiving break, as I rarely go out shopping, preferring to spend those chilly days warm inside, hands on a controller, eyes somewhere far away. Which is all just to say that appearing on the Hitbox does not mean you’re a one-hit wonder, destined for forgetting.
Okay. Here’s October, in a nutshell.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Many moons ago, on the Xbox 360, I downloaded and played the huge demo for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. I swear it was around 2 GBs or something near that. Anyways, I found it an okay experience, with the bright, fantasy-ready colors being my favorite part of the standard action RPG fare. However, it suffered from tiny text syndrome, which made the lackluster dialogue and subsequent dialogue trees even harder to endure. A shame, as I am always mildly interested in big, epic RPGs, the kind that hold more than enough to keep one busy for a few months. Thankfully, this month, the game was given out for free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, and so I got to try again, and the tiny text is no longer a problem. However, I have only played a sliver further than I did in the demo, and I just can’t commit to it right now.
Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes
A puzzle game with a surprising amount of attention spent on story and characters. The actual puzzle part revolves around grid-based battles, wherein you have to move units around to create super units to deal damage and protect yourself. It’s easier seen than described, and I thought I was doing well with it, but the difficulty ramps up dramatically fast after the first chapter, leaving little room for error. Might & Magic certainly has a lot of style, but its hooks aren’t very deep in me; I also tried battling online and got my tush handed to me by, what definitely sounded like, two little boys.
Another free game on my Windows 8 phone. It’s Tetris on speed. Speedy Tetris. Speed the Movie: Tetrisication. Whatever you want to call it. Basically, you have two minutes to clear out as many rows as possible and score big. This is helped immensely with power-ups. Of course, since it is a free-to-play title, there’s microtransactions and ads for them everywhere, and it seems sort of hard to get a really high score without paying a little money for those killer power-ups, which are quite expensive if you are attempting to pay for them with the in-game currency. Meh, that’s not me. But it’s a decent two minute killer, and who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and score over 200,000 points all by my lonesome one day. Stay tuned for that…
Another month, another Halo game tried. This time, it’s Halo 3, given to us petty Gold members for free from the Microsoft overlords, and I played the first two levels on whatever the default difficulty is–and it went all right. Not really following the story much, since I never played anything in the series before it, but Master Chief is found on some planet, told to go forward and shoot aliens, and, well…there you go. Died a bunch of times, actually, as I don’t yet have a grip on the combat. And at some point, Tara came over and said, “You’re playing this again?” She thought it was Borderlands 2. Not sure what to make of that.
Poker Night 2
Already wrote a bit about how bad technically Poker Night 2 is, and I’ve not really gone back into it since then. Sorry, Brock and Claptrap–not your collective fault. Though now I am tempted to at least check out some of those Sam & Max games I have on Steam…
There’s a good amount to like about Dead Island, but I just can’t get over its breakable weapons. Now, for starters, I’m actually okay with weapons having durability and such; in fact, some of my favorite games, like Fallout: New Vegas and Dark Cloud 2, have you constantly repairing your gear to ensure you are in tip-top shape. However, on this island of living dead things, your weapons break fast, and you can only carry so many with you, which left me a number of times empty-handed and surrounded by enemies. Not an enjoyable system, especially when you can still lose a weapon you spent a lot of money on improving and upgrading. I get that it’s more realistic, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Otherwise, it’s good, with plenty of side quests to keep you busy. Love the kick button and looting every suitcase I come across. Some of the voice acting and character models are sub-par, but the zombies are effective and varied. Also, I’m going to admit that it took me several tries to get a vehicle moving, as for the longest time I didn’t realize the steering wheel was on the other side. Oops!
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Despite my lackluster love for Batman as a superhero character, I’m quite enjoying my time exploring the inner (and outer) workings of Arkham Asylum in…um, Batman: Arkham Asylum. It’s a mix of Super Metroid, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and the combat from the more recent Assassin’s Creed games, and it’s totally a blast. The attention to detail is perfect, and everything really gels with one another, from the Riddler stuff to the exploration and even the boss fights. Alas, of the bunch, this one seems like the best, so I’m trying to take my time with it.
The Half-hour Hitbox is a new monthly feature for Grinding Down, covering a handful of videogames that I’ve only gotten to play for less than an hour so far. My hopes in doing this is to remind myself that I played a wee bit of these games at one time or another, and I should hop back into them, if I liked that first bite.