Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cleared: Hydrophobia: Prophecy

I just finished my play-through of Hydrophobia: Prophecy, and I have to say that I found some of the criticism of it to be over-harsh. (PC Gamer, for example, only gave the game a 39%, which seems way too low for my taste. (I'd probably rank this one somewhere in the low 70% range.) The voice acting is hit or miss, but the game does some really fun things with the water physics (good thing, too, as that's the game's whole point, really) and I thought the story was quite passable. I think the thing I liked the most about the game, however, was Kate, the player's avatar in the game world. She was tough and resourceful, but not fearless or stoic. She routinely says things like "oh come on!" when confronted by obstacles in her path and is obviously scared by the situation she finds herself in (who wouldn't be, really) but presses on anyway. She's also not some sexed-up barbie doll. Kate is pretty, but not gorgeous, and her clothing isn't designed for maximum sexiness at all. She dresses very much like what she's supposed to be: a systems engineer on a HUGE ship. I also give the story writing team props for not having her "handler" betray her, and the relationship between them was obviously a coworker-coworker one, rather than a strained or forced romance. The game was, in the end, genuinely fun, but it is very, very short.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Cleared" Terraria

Once again, I have selected for the list a game with no "end." You would think I'd learn by now. Anyway, Terraria is a charming little indie platformer/exploration/construction game. If you mixed Minecraft with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, this is about what you'd get. The game is fun, open, interesting, and very very free-form. You start out on the surface with some very basic tools and start tunneling, fighting monsters, and building stuff. The game is a lot of fun, but also a bit of work, so I would recommend it, but I would also recommend it not be the ONLY game you're playing. Still, very enjoyable and charming. It's also quite inexpensive, and the creators have released 5 content updates since it came out, which was less than a year ago. A fantastic value for a $10 download-only game.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Some list Clean-Up (additions and removals)

PC Games (Additions):
Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War II: Retribution

PC Games (Removals):
7.62 High Calibre
Beyond Divinity
Company of Heroes
Zombie Shooter 2

Fiction Books (Additions):
The Unremembered

TV Series (Additions):
Battlestar Galactica, Season 1
Battlestar Galactica, Season 2
Battlestar Galactica, Season 3
Battlestar Galactica, Season 4

Off the List: True Grit

I pulled a copy of True Grit from Redbox on an impulse last night after work. It's been a while since I've watched a good western, but this was definitely a good one! It's interesting how you go into the movie with the assumption that it's the Jeff Bridges character who has "grit" but it's not just him. Hailee Steinfeld plays on of the strongest, toughest, canniest, smartest, strongest-willed, and youngest western heroes I've ever seen. The movie is excellent, but the grit isn't just reserved for the characters; the film has plenty as well, and it doesn't shy away from depicting some rather unpleasant injuries. Well worth seeing if you like westerns. I would definitely recommend it.

Vacation and Plug

I'm off work for the upcoming week, so I plan to clear at least a few things. (Expect at least one more Off the List entry, too.) I'd also like to plug a favorite podcast of mine for those of you reading this who are also RPG fans: Postcards from the Dungeon. They have been responsible for at least a couple of backlog entries, a trend I see continuing. PftD discusses RPG storytelling as it relates to various media and vice versa. In my humble opinion, they're one of the best RPG podcasts out there, and as an added bonus, they are part of Fear the Boot's network.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Off the List: Captain America: The First Avenger

I just got back from Captain America: The First Avenger. The film was a LOT of fun. They did an excellent job of staying true to the characters, and the story was great. The action felt solid, and Cap fought like a 1940s brawler rather than a super ninja, which I thought was cool. Ironically, I think this one would have benefited from making the setting a bit less "super," primarily by toning down Hydra's technology. Still, the movie was a lot of fun. One fairly common movie critic's complaint I'd like to address: Captain America is not supposed to be "dark" at all. If you're going to compare him to one of Arthur's knights, he's Sir Galahad. He is noble, righteous, and decent through and through because that's just the way he is. And actually? That's kind of refreshing now and again. I won't spoil it at all, but I will say that if you go see it, make absolutely sure you stick around for the short film after the credits!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In Progress: SpaceChem

I picked up SpaceChem (and a nice batch of free DLC for it) as part of the big Steam sale a while ago, and it is seriously messing with my brain. The game is one of the most cerebral puzzle games I have ever come across. It's truly unique, has some of that nice indie game charm and is truly challenging. I'm not sure I've ever run across a puzzle game that made me actually think as much as SpaceChem has. It will probably be quite a while before I can cross this one off the list, but that's okay. I am having fun with it, just in small doses.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The latest additions

Well, I exercised (a bit) more restraint than usual on the Steam Sale. Here's the new additions:

PC Games:
Garshasp: The Monster Slayer
Gothic II
Gothic III
Hydrophobia: Prophecy
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Here we go again.

Steam is running another huge sale (and Direct2Drive seems to be following suit.) I'm not going to bother listing new entries until the sale is over, because who knows what will fall into the sub $5 category for me to snap up before then, but the games list is liable to get even longer soon. And here I thought I was done adding stuff...

"Cleared:" Battlefield 2

This game doesn't have an actual single-player element to it; just multiplayer maps with bots. It is, therefore, off the list. It seems like it would have been fun if I'd gotten in while it was hot, but then again, maybe not. I've only just recently gotten into multiplayer gaming, and still prefer single-player except in the case of co-op Magicka or Left 4 Dead 2 with friends.