Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Embark: Holiday 2009 & Games Of The Year

I was just packing things for the annual pilgrimage to see family around the Christmas holiday. Not games; I've not yet completely decided what I'm going to take. I'm tempted to try installing Planescape: Torment on my wife's shitty old laptop just to be able to take that with me. I don't have any sort of Windows virtual machine on my MacBook, unfortunately. I am bringing the game files and my saves with me on a USB HDD, on the off chance that my parents' old-by-2002-standards machine can be coaxed into running it. I think it just may.

I've been playing a lot of Torment lately, and I'm still in Sigil, the starting city, though I've got four members in my party now, and will probably soon recruit a fifth. The writing in this game is remarkable, and the way it parcels out the background of The Nameless One irresistibly compelling.

Aside from the aforementioned epic, which roots me to my chair for three to eight-hour stretches, I've done some dabbling this week with Red Faction: Guerilla multiplayer, enticed by a 5x (!) XP period, and Torchlight, goaded by the game's new Steamworks and Steam Achievement integration. I also was forced to rush out to Best Buy this weekend to pick up the Metroid Prime Trilogy on Wii for the insane bargain price of $20. It's a hell of a package to begin with, and that good of a deal made me turn in my Borderlands completion token to get it. Now I'll need to complete something else (Torment, maybe) before Mass Effect 2 arrives on January 26th.

At first the Trilogy disc wouldn't load up on my Wii, and I was afraid I'd gotten one of the bum one that has trouble reading dual-layer DVDs, but after a couple of tries it booted up. It was probably just the fact that I hadn't turned on the Wii since whenever I posted about the Legend of Zelda. I actually had to replace the AA's in the wiimote, which is a regular occurrence when I go to get my waggle on. I played through Metroid Prime 1 when it came out on the gamecube, (but never touched either of the other games in the series), so I thought I probably wouldn't replay the entire thing, but that it'd be a good place to jump into to test out the new Wii motion-control scheme. It takes some getting used to, but by the end of the intro space station segment and descent to the planet the game takes place on, I had more or less become accustomed to it, and I actually quite like it. Swapping of visors could maybe done a better way, but it's not hard to come to the conclusion that given time and evolution, such a control scheme could obsolete the twin-stick method--which is really not that great to begin with, merely the best we have at the moment.

Starting up Metroid Prime 1 again, though,... I don't know... I might want to replay the damned thing. It's probably a bad idea; I should probably just move on to the second game in the series whenever I feel like playing it after the holidays.

This week also happens to be a week of Pure White World Tendency for the Demon's Souls universe, so I took the opportunity to jump into 1-1 to go to the execution grounds to the left of the beginning area and kill Miralda and collect some loot. While crawling around the Boletarian Palace now at soul level high 30's, I decided to pay our old friend Red Knight a visit and kill him. It was an especially sweet victory. From there I moved on back to 2-2, the level I have been working on, and got summoned as a blue phantom to someone else's world and shown the way to the boss, Flamelurker, and how to fight him. We killed him and I won my body back and then promptly went and fought him with my own summoned companion.

I wouldn't have won that battle alone, at least not without several attempts under my belt. My companion and I kept trading hate back and forth, attracting the beast this way and that, taking advantage of backstab opportunities as they came, using almost MMO-like tactics. What an awesome game. I think it's safe to call it my Game Of The Year 2009, and since I'm going to go ahead and name it, why waste time? I'll lay it out here:

My 2009 GOTY: Demon's Souls

Runner-Up: Red Faction: Guerilla

See the posts I've made about each game for my reasons why. There are a whole host of 2009 games I haven't even touched, but if I can't be compelled enough to buy and play them, then they don't deserve a spot in the running, then, do they? Similarly, there are some outstanding games I played in 2009 (Far Cry 2, Torment to name a couple) that, were they 2009 games, might belong in one of those spots, but alas; they aren't. I would like to give a shout-out to a few honorable mentions that were just edged out of the Runner-Up spot, though: Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II, Demigod, and Torchlight.

For those keeping track:
2007 GOTY: Bioshock, Runner-Up: Halo 3
2008 GOTY: Metal Gear Solid 4, Runner-Up: Gears of War 2

I guess I really like to shoot/slice stuff?


Count Elmdor said...

In case the shoot/slice thing didn't register: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=381946

Greg said...

With all due respect, Kim Stanely Robinson's Red/Blue/Green Mars series is the epitomy of boring. If you like to read about geological formations, then you might enjoy it. The first book is by far the most interesting but books 2 and 3 get progressively worse with the focus shifting to a political struggle between Mars conservationalists and terraformers. Interspersed between the story elements are long, drawn out stretches of page after page of fucking landscape descriptions. It is practically unreadable.

Count Elmdor said...

lol I think we've had this conversation before. I agree, he pretty much lost the plot, but I did still enjoy the latter 2 books.

On my bookshelf here at home in Arkansas are two of my favorites I've ever read: The Stand and Shogun. I started Shogun again last night...

Greg said...

Lol, oh well, you have to cut me some slack man, I'm getting old and my memory is fading....

I broke down and purchased Assassin's Creed II today for 39.99 on special at Best Buy. I wonder if I will ever play all the damn games I'm buying.

My lovely fiancee got me a slingbox HD pro for x-mas. Very cool little gadget. You can use it to record video game footage in HD so I plan to mess around with that. I doubt I will have any useful purpose for recording my crappy gaming sessions but at least I can use it to entertain myself/ learn how to goof around with movie editing.

Count Elmdor said...

That sounds pretty cool. If you record anything cool you should put it up on Youtube or something.

I got AC2, Halo Wars, and COD4 (lol) as Xmas gifts, so I have just that much more to play in the new year.

Greg said...

Yeah, that's the idea. I'll see if I can record something entertaining to post on youtube.

Nice games for Xmas! Did you actually get COD4 (the one you completed) or did you mean Modern Warfare 2?

BTW, Happy New Year man.

Count Elmdor said...

Yeah, COD4. My mom got me the GOTY edition as a gift. I had just borrowed it from a friend after it came out. Maybe now I'll try out the multiplayer. lol

Happy 2010 to you, too!

Greg said...

That's pretty sweet so I guess you got all the DLC maps for COD4 then.