I feel like we’ve played a lot of video games lately – I think we moved into a video-game phase when we bought a new (for us) console, the PS3. And I don’t feel like we’ve written much about the games we’ve played lately, because we’ve almost moved too quickly through them. We’ve mentioned them in passing, as we’ve started them. Or as we finished.
And maybe that’s okay, as many of these games have been out a while. Maybe the point where talking about them is interesting has passed. However, I’m sure there are many games you, faithful reader, are also considering and haven’t played yet. So maybe we’ll spark a thought for you.
Lightning Returns arrived today (finally!) and I have a feeling it is going to consume our time, and pull us away from other games. Which is too bad, but it also means I kind of want to get these games out of my system before we move completely on! So here’s a lightning round (pun intended?) of the games we’ve been playing lately, my quick thoughts and recommendations on them. Onward!
So when I was thinking of this, I felt like the list was longer. I suppose I also finished Final Fantasy XIII-2 recently, but I’ve blogged on it quite a bit, so I’ll let those posts speak to that. We’ve also beaten these games, while still getting pretty close on several others, so that could lead to my feeling that we’ve played far more!
Holly beat Uncharted 3 and it was a pretty fun ride. We had not played either of the first two games, but did not feel too far left behind. There’s a crew of characters, and they seem like the sort who would have inside jokes, references, and old stories even if it was game one, in the first few minutes. It’s just how they talk – and it makes them seem very real, normal, and human, actually. Was this a must-have, must-buy game? Does the thought of Uncharted 4 make us want to run out and buy a PS4? Nope. But if we had one, we’d end up with the game eventually.
We’re also borrowing a friend’s copy of Uncharted 2… we’ll see if we ever actually play it!
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
I was amazed by this game, rushed through beating it before going on vacation in the New Year. The strategy is great, the graphics are great, the story is great, the tech progression is great, I just really had a genuinely good time playing this game. The missions worked pretty well to be discreet things, where I could play one before work, or at other times, without needing to commit hours to play. This game is now available on a lot of different systems, so you likely have access to it. If you like strategy games, or resource management, or even really puzzle games or board games, you may like this game like I did.
There’s an expansion, and I am trying to keep myself from replaying this game until I have the expansion, and can play all the way through them both.
I think I will probably do another post on this game and its spin-off game, ODST, together. I had played Halo and Halo 2 a lot in the past, beaten the plots multiple times on high difficulties with friends. I think I had been waiting for that same sort of situation to play Halo 3, but that was college, and this is life… or after-college, which I think we call life. And Holly has gotten into FPS’s – but we prefer, say, Borderlands now for the co-op. So a variety of Halo games have graced our shelf for a while. I have decided to try to get through all of them just for the story, and have been playing on normal.
Quick thoughts on Halo 3? It finished up the plot well enough, had some action, but you can tell they had ideas that we’re not as well developed as they could be. This led to some awkward button assignments. I’ve played a little bit of Halo Reach, and things like the new items system were handled better – or at least differently – there. If you’re looking for multiplayer Halo, get one of the newer titles. If you want the story, you gotta stop here – it ends the initial Halo trilogy.
So here are the games that we’ve put some time into, and are getting close on – just not as close as I think we were trying to get before Lightning Returns arrived!
Ni No Kuni
I recently have read statements (many swirling around Lightning Returns) that the JRPG is dead. I don’t know that I see that; I’ve blogged before on the fantastic Final Fantasy Dimensions, available on iOS, and have picked up Final Fantasy V on iOS which seems to have picked up those same excellent controls to port this classic. However, if you have a PS3 and are lamenting the setting sun of the JRPG… have you played Ni No Kuni yet?
This game, with art by Studio Ghibli (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, tons of other great movies) and a system reminiscent of Final Fantasy, with hints of what I am assuming is Pokemon (have not played Pokemon before), this game is a blast. Fun story and system, with lots of the upgrading, side questing, and leveling that I am looking for in a JRPG. One complaint: it would be nice to be able to feed your familiars without an animation for them eating. This game can eat all your time; Holly is well over 60 hours into it now, and we’re getting close. Good game.
Halo 3: ODST
How did I forget that this game is the Firefly reunion tour? With Nathan Fillion as the sarcastic but beloved leader, Adam Baldwin as the trigger-happy muscle, and Alan Tudyk as the understated pilot… it’s like they were typecast. I’ve also had a few moments with Tricia Helfer doing voices, but then she disappears most of the game. But I think I’ll probably be blogging on that soon. This game avoided the things that made me frustrated in Halo 3: gone are the awkward item system and dual-wielding controls. It’s back to playing more like the previous Halo games, in a good way. And as I’m mainly playing it for story and voice talents – which is the reason to pick up this game – it’s doing quite well for me.
Little Big Planet
One of the first PS3 titles we got our hands on, just because it’s so iconic of the system, this game was a little harder to get into. Most of the (amazing) Stephen Fry narration was trying to explain to you just how awesome this new technology is… which just does not translate when it’s no longer the new system. You can tell this was a launch title for the PS3, it really shows. I don’t know if we’ll finish this one – it looks like a trap for completionists, with tons of hidden things to find or come back for – but we might check out Little Big Planet 2, and see if it loses the Sony triumphalism of the first title.
Burial at Sea
We haven’t felt a strong pull to play this Bioshock Infinite DLC yet, as it seemed better to wait until both episodes were out. However, Holly got started into this, and it was pretty excellent. It’s interesting that it almost plays like a complete game – with you having to unlock plasmids and find guns, for instance – but then it progresses you through these steps quickly. It’s a mini-version of a Bioshock game. And with this week’s news that Irrational Games is closing shop or shrinking down, I guess these may be a last hurrah for the titles – so I think we’re going to savor them.
Ibb & Obb
We got access to this PS3 game for free through Playstation Plus, and as it was a 2-player puzzle game, we gave it a go. The gravity-defying ridiculousness, and minimalist approach to the game, was fascinating. You have almost no controls, but then pull off doing some crazy things by just walking and jumping. We reached a point, however, where the difficulty seemed to shoot through the roof, and we went from doing good to completely stumped in no time. This might be a fun one to pick up again later, but for now, it’s good sitting on our virtual shelf.
Still Yet To Start
Here are just some of the many games I could mention; for instance, I’m leaving out some playing that will likely happen, like me playing games Holly has beaten (like Tomb Raider) or her playing ones I have beaten (like Dishonored). I’m also sticking with console games… so the four games we got on Steam for Christmas, or Baldur’s Gate 2: Enhanced Edition will just have to wait for other posts. So many games to play! Here’s a few:
Metal Gear Solid Collection
Holly got me this collection for Christmas, and other than installing the parts that were digital, I sadly haven’t touched it. I guess in part because I picked up the Halo series instead. I played Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2 years ago, but never got to 3, and almost bought a PS3 just for 4. Now that I have them all, my thought would be to go through chronologically – so 3, 1, 2, then 4. That’s a lot of game to commit to… but I’ll get to them. Probably play them on lower difficulties like Halo, to experience the story. And with a fifth installment coming out this year… the clock is ticking!
Neither of us have played too much of the Devil May Cry series, so we won’t feel betrayed by this reboot if it’s different from what came before. We played the demo that was released on the X-Box 360, and it was pretty good… but didn’t seem good enough to warrant buying new. We’ve been watching the price drop… right up until it came out free on Playstation Plus. Now, we’re definitely going to be playing this game – the price is right. It sounds like it’s a fairly short, fairly excellent action and adventure game, and may just be a great palate cleanser after some of the longer games we have on our plates.
Halo Reach and 4
Following my Halo 3 experiences, the plan would be to play Reach, which I have, and then pick up Halo 4, to start the new trilogy. Of course, if I get sucked into the new trilogy, does that put an exclusive in the X-Box One camp? Troublesome, I suppose. However, with the surprising-no-one reveal of Master Chief alive at the end of Halo 3… I do want to see where this plot goes. I’ll start with 4 and see. If my current experience tells me anything, it’s that I can probably wait on Halo 5 and be alright.
The Last of Us, Beyond Two Souls
Another couple that are on our radar, but that I don’t know much about – other than that they are both heavily plot-driven, excellent PS3 exclusives. These are the sorts of games we got this console to play, but they’re still new enough that with new prices… well, we can play these other games we have first, right? But we’ll be getting to these soon enough, as all we hear about them is good.
To be honest, I don’t know much about these titles, but someone loaned us the first one to try it out. Just reading the box, with a character ending up with extraordinary powers and all… looks fun. The whole series is another set of PlayStation exclusives, so if we stack more exclusive in the PlayStation column, we may just have to end up with a PS4, right?
Got Sidetracked From
And then there are the games still on our radar because the PS3 sidetracked us from them. I think we may have played a bit of a couple of the co-op ones since then, but really, they’ve just completely been set aside – but we still need to beat them! As many of them are co-op, we’ll definitely get back to them, when we want to both play a game – which may happen if we end up at different points in Lightning Returns, and don’t want to cause each other spoilers!
I still have yet to finish the plot of this game! Something I talked about probably about a year ago. Holly and I got further than I did alone, but we’ve been whisked away. Act IV so far has been interesting – almost all boss fights. Meanwhile, with an expansion on the horizon, I will definitely want to play that… but will it make it to the console? Or will I have to pick it up on my computer?
Lego Marvel Super Heroes
This game was phenomenal, showing their continued growth and advancement in making the Lego video games. It was topped then by The Lego Movie… and then I see there’s a Lego Movie Video Game!!! Madness. I feel like we need to beat Lego Marvel Super Heroes first… which for us means 100% completion, and as many of the achievements as is feasible. We were well into free-play antics, but we didn’t have Doctor Strange yet, and dang it, I want my Illuminati!
Dragon Age 2
Alright, I haven’t actually touched this one since this post last year… but with Dragon Age Inquisition coming out later this year, this game is back on my radar as a game I need to beat. But I’m still waiting to hear what they are going to do with my save files, to see whether beating the game actually matters. It is telling that there doesn’t even seem to be a placeholder for this game on Amazon… what consoles will it end up coming out on? I really hope they release it on the X-Box 360, so we can play it as a completion of our current playthroughs. After all, that’s a strength of the Mass Effect series – the whole trilogy was out on the one console, to go with the importing of your character.
Batman Arkham Origins
Holly was playing this one, having fun, beating guys up… and then got to a ridiculous fight. If you’ve played, you probably remember it: the fight that’s all about countering. She can do that part… but then they want you to do some crazy fast-batarang stuff or something, and it’s ridiculous, and she put it down and we’ve been playing other games. We’ve looked online and seen other people describe this as the hardest fight of the game… which helps, I guess. Then there’s the news that they don’t plan on fixing any more bugs, and are just working on new DLC… this game has lost some goodwill with us, and we have a lot more that we could play. But this will probably see some playtime at some point.
That’s the stuff! This game is amazing – the humor, the ridiculous narrator, the puzzles! If you have not played this game, and have an X-Box 360, go get it right now! We’ve beaten a lot of this game, but there’s more, and I’m sure we’ll get to it. We have to save Hatty, after all. An excellent successor to Castle Crashers, I can’t wait for more from The Behemoth. And if they stay working on X-Box games… it’s another reason to consider an X-Box One. But we’ll see.