Console side first - Thin Lizzy tracks came out for Rock Band last week, so I downloaded those and tried them out. They're from a forthcoming live album, so it's the first anyone's really ever heard them, though each of the songs (Jailbreak, Cowboy Song, and The Boys Are Back) are fairly well-known. Love me some Thin Lizzy! I also played some of the awesome Megadeth DLC, Peace Sells.... But Who's Buying?
On top of that, I played some Burnout the other day after downloading the re-start patch (which institutes a previously unavailable event re-start option, among other things), and got my B liscense. I also downloaded the Halo Wars demo and have booted that up a couple of times since. I dig it! It's like a streamlined-for-console-controls version of Starcraft. I was a little skeptical--cautiously optimistic--but playing the demo has cemented it for me. I'm definitely going to be picking that up. I'm glad, because I'm a big fan of the Halo franchise, and I'd hate to see it shitted up.
PC gaming-wise is where it starts to get a little hazy. Let me just go through each of the games installed on my computer this week, and you can assume that I've spent an hour or two at the very least with all of them: Team Fortress 2, Diablo II, Starcraft, Oblivion, WoW, Mount and Blade (demo), and Half-Life: Source.
Mount and Blade is an interesting Indie game. The closest comparison I can make is Oblivion, but M&B is much more about factions. You can join one of several in the game, and you actually accrue your own army as you go along. I played for only a couple of hours so far, but it's pretty cool. You start out on a giant overworld-style map, and you go around to the tons of little villages and castles that dot the land, encountering armies and bandits along the way that take you into a battlefield mode to fight. It's your army versus theirs in a full-on medieval battle, done in a way unlike any I've ever seen before. If you're mounted, you can gallop by enemy dudes and strike them with your sword, or feather them with arrows if you can figure out how to shoot halfway decent; I couldn't! You can take prisoners or recruit guys from local villages, you can become the vassal of a local lord, or just do whatever, it seems, and the local economy is effected. Towns become richer or poorer based on how the war is going, or one of several other factors you can no doubt influence. I want to get back to this one eventually for more in-depth play.
The other main thing I focused a lot on this week was Half-Life: Source, the most-current (for now) version of the original HL game. I played Half-Life some back in 1999, during my first year at college, but I'm pretty sure that was all LAN deathmatch. I may have played the first hour or so of the campaign, but that's about it. I'm beginning a full series playthrough now (probably to continue to about the point when HL2: Episode 3 is released), though, and it's still pretty great, even 10 years later. I'm to a point now about maybe halfway in (or less), where there's a big tentacle monster in a missile silo, if you're familiar with the game. Now I really understand people's aversion to headcrabs...