Sunday, 20 December 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Okay so I am a few days early in posting this but I'm hoping to be busy playing new games after Christmas so I figured I might as well get this up now.

Here are my (gaming related) New Year's Resolutions!

1) No day one purchases unless it's a day one play. I've bought far too many games on release (or even shortly after) that have then just sat on my shelf gathering dust until I've got around to playing them, all the while I am seeing their price drop in various special offers and sales to the point where I could have picked it up for half the price or less. If I am going to start playing it straight away then I don't have a problem with paying day one prices, but not for a game that is going to sit idle. An obvious exception to this will be FIFA 11 and the inevitable World Cup game (assuming it follows the same mould as Euro 2008).

2009 offenders: Batman Arkham Asylum, Halo Wars, Gears of War 2 (technically bought 2008 as a Christmas present for me, but I've still not started it!)

2) No special limited collector's editions. Unless they are cheap! I've had my fingers burned this year on Batman Arkham Asylum on which I shelled out for collector's edition and found the contents to be less than awesome.

Mind you on the flip side I picked up the Alone in the Dark Limited Edition for around a fiver!

2009 offenders: Batman Arkham Asylum, Halo Wars

3) Stick to the £25 limit. I've gone into detail about this before, but basically you shouldn't pay more than £25 for a game. With this in mind I have cancelled all my pre-orders except for Battlefield Bad Company 2, which I am not sure whether I will keep it open or not as I never finished Bad Company 1!

2009 offenders: UFC Undisputed 2009

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

2010 is looking REAL good...

With 2009 drawing to a close and with Batman Arkham Asylum firmly installed as my pick up game of the year (with honourable mentions to Forza 3, FIFA 2010 and UFC 2009) my attention is beginning to turn to 2010.

I already have Dark Void, Dead Rising 2 and Super Street Fighter 4 pre-ordered and a further ten games on my watch list, all of which are almost certain to be purchased unless something goes horribly wrong late in their development.

Of course that's always a possibility. The one I am currently most worried about is Alan Wake. It looks fantastic, but then so did Alone In The Dark up until the first reviews rolled in - and even then it was pulling down high scores to start with. I hope, given all the time and effort that the developers have put into it, that it is awesome. I'm reading a Stephen King book at the moment (Duma Key) and have several more lined up so I can quite see myself getting well into the storyline...

I'm also hoping for great things from Alpha Protocol. I have Mass Effect on my shelf which is a similar game albeit from a different developer (Bioware rather than Obsidian) but the sci fi plot isn't drawing me in as much as I am hoping the espionage antics of Alpha Protocol will.

Dark Void looks like loads of fun and being someone who loved The Rocketeer (the movie and the comics) and Cinemaware's Rocket Ranger title on the Amiga, I am looking forward to flying about on a jetpack. There have been some question marks raised in previews about the camera and controls, but I hope that the game can rise above these - no pun intended!

Of course there is another top reason for hoping for good things from Alan Wake, Alpha Protocol and Dark Void, which is that of all the games I am currently watching and/or have pre-ordered, these are the only three based on an original IP. It's getting more and more rare these days for big publishers to take a chance on a project based on a new IP, so fingers crossed that these do well.

We can then, of course, look forward to their inevitable sequels...

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Batman Arkham Asylum

So I finally got around to starting Batman Arkham Asylum last week. I pre-ordered the 360 Collector's Edition and it has sat on my shelf waiting for me to make a start on it. I started playing Condemned and it's mix of detective work and action wasn't really doing it for me, but it did serve to remind me that I had Batman waiting for me.

Of course the "Collector's Edition" is absolutely dire. The batarang looked awesome in all the press photos, but in real life it is a hideous plastic-y piece of crap. The game itself comes in a flimsy little cardboard wallet with a second "making of" DVD, so you can't easily accomodate it with the rest of your 360 games if you slot them into DVD racks like I do. The booklet which describes the characters will be of little interest to a confirmed bat-fan like me, so all in all a complete waste of money. Let's face it, I (and probably at least 90% of the other people that opted for the Collector's Edition) wanted it for the batarang. I was ridiculously excited about it and was considering grand schemes of a little glass case to house it, maybe with a cool blue light to really show it off. I was convinced it would be utterly awesome and the crushing reality almost turned me off the game completely.

Fortunately I finally got over it and have been playing the game all week when I've had the opportunity. I'm currently around 40% in and can confidently describe it as my game of the year. It's not just an awesome game, it's an awesome Batman game which is no mean feat. I really hope this gets a sequel, maybe with the action taking place in Gotham itself rather than on Arkham and would love to see a co-op mode added, especially if you can have a choice of partner, e.g. Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Azrael, etc.

It's also popping up in places pretty damn cheap now (which again makes that awful Collector's Edition and it's pricetag all the more galling) so if you haven't got it then get it. If you're not a Batman fan (or a fan of superheroes in general) then please do not let that put you off, you will be missing out on an awesome experience if you do.