Mini-Game Reviews: End of 2010

Throughout the year, I’ve started many reviews of random games I’ve played. Many of those reviews got side-tracked by my projects, so I’ve decided to consolidate as many of them as I can into one post. This isn’t a complete list – just random games I can remember off the top of my head in no particular order.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game (PS3)
Got this one for Christmas last year. Really fun. Although I remember one of the opening levels sucked a lot. We spent most of Christmas morning just running around stuck in a hotel and chasing Slimer. But once I got the game home and continued playing the rest of it, it got so much better and a lot more fun. Otherwise, it’s a great game. All the original cast reprises their voices, the dialogue is written by Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis themselves, and there’s some really epic battles later on in the game (you get to fight in the Civil War and then defeat a Giant Slor.)

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (PS3)
Here’s one that had great word-of-mouth, but when I played it, I was disappointed. I did like how they were trying to give it an authentic movie feel, but all of it was lost on me since 90% of the game is still nothing but endless gunfights. And the AI drove me crazy since these guys kept moving out of my sights before I could finish lining up my shots. Seriously, who brings hundreds of enemy mercenaries to a dig-site anyway? This isn’t WW2, and this isn’t the Third Reich I’m fighting. There’s logically no way to organize all these henchmen throughout the jungle.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)
This one was a huge improvement for three reasons. 1) When I aim my gun, he always points it in the right general direction, making the gunfights a lot easier. 2) The number of enemies are now more realistic and the gunfights aren’t as tedious, and 3) the action sequences in this one are freakin’ sweet. It’s a lot more fun to play this time around.

Assassin’s Creed (X-Box 360)
I only played the first three missions. They were all the same. Climb tower. Find vantage points. Pick pockets. Fight guards. Kill man. Run away. By mission four, I asked my brother if the rest of the game was like this, and he said yes. So I switched over to “Kung Fu Panda.”

Kung Fu Panda (X-Box 360)
Hurray! Licensed game from Activision! Pretty standard movie-based platformer. Nice in-game fur effects. About halfway through, Activision shut down our King’s Quest project, so I quit playing this game in protest (that’ll show ’em!) I finished it later after they re-instated our commercial license.

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (PS3)
BATMAN: “I’m Baman!”
SCORPION: “I’m Scowpian!”
BATMAN: “I come over the house!”
SCORPION: “We’re best fwiends!”
Only three people in the world really know the meaning behind that.

Katamari Damacy (PS2)
I think the whole point of this game is to unlock the last level and roll up the whole world. Before that, there’s just no point. All you’re doing is running over cheese and buttons. Screw that. I want to run over a giant octopus and a rainbow!

Dark Forces (PC)
I used to be so pro at this game when I was a kid. I could describe an exact walk-through to someone with my eyes closed. Then I pick it up again after all these years and get stumped. Everywhere. Some things just don’t come back as easily.

The Hobbit (PC)
Finally got around to finishing this. Good game. Follows the book well. Turns Bilbo into freaking Kratos but it’s all in good fun. I like the last level where they turn the Battle of Five Armies into a ridiculous Rube Goldberg puzzle.

Mass Effect 2 (PC)
Ah, the big one. I had to finish this one twice because I had both my Paragon and Renegade saved over from the first game. This time around, the whole game’s about putting together a team so you can fly into a suicide mission. It also features the first time in years where a mainstream game can land you in an un-winnable state. If you forget to do certain things before going to a certain place, you stand the chance of losing team members to random accidents during the end-game. It’s pretty awesome like that, actually. I still like how my entire crew will justify every evil decision I make.

Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People (PC)
Episode 1: Homestar Ruiner: Fun episode. Decent opener for the season.
Episode 2: Strongbadia the Free: Awesome episode. All the characters turn their houses into different countries and you have to go around invading them. I love it.
Episode 3: Baddest of the Bands: Epic episode. Features cameos by Limozeen!
Episode 4: Dangeresque 3: Cool episode. The whole game is shot in the style of a home movie where all the props are cardboard and the bloopers are left in.
Episode 5: 8-Bit is Enough: TROGDOOOORRRRRRR!!!!!!!

Back to the Future; Episode 1 (PC)
My first impressions of the new BTTF game are pretty positive. It has the feel of the movies, lots of great dialogue, some excellent remixed music, and has lots of fan-service (but with twists.) Marty’s voice is spot-on, and Christopher Lloyd still delivers. My only quirks: the animation can be a little blocky, and the puzzles are way too freaking easy. What gets me is that they actually put several hint systems inside the game – as if anyone would ever need them. But back on the plus side, this is probably the best season-opener of any Telltale series. And since the season-openers are almost always the weakest episodes, I can’t wait to see how the rest of the season turns out.

January 10 2011 02:57 am | Video Games

9 Responses to “Mini-Game Reviews: End of 2010”

  1. jolly_old_saint on 12 Jan 2011 at 6:45 am #

    Is that hobbit game the same as the gamecube one? I quit playing that in frustration when I saw there weren’t any damned riddles in gollum’s cave.

    …I was in a riddlin’ mood at the time.

    Bilbo is totally as badass as kratos, though. I used to watch that spider-killing scene from the movie and go “sting, sting, do your thing!”

    …Only three people in the world really know the meaning behind that.

    …Its the people who watched this:

    …Oh my god, they re-aired it!

    …Back to the future was swell for all the three hours that it lasted. But yeah, kinda insultingly hand-holdy. And not sure it was the best opening for a season telltale’s done, I’m partial to monkey island theres.

  2. Chris on 12 Jan 2011 at 10:30 am #

    I think that’s where I quit the first time I played it too, but was because of how stupidly large the mine cart level was. I saw the “Riddles in the Dark” chapter screen and was so eager to meet Gollum – only to find it all over in a twenty-second cut-scene.

    And “The Thing meets Fred & Barney?!” This exists?! I’ll have to dedicate my life to finding more of that.

    I think TOMI qualifies as the best overall season. As a season-opener, I liked BTTF just because of all the stuff that goes on between Marty and Young Doc, and the clever twists they put on old ideas (like showing us the parking lot scene from Marty’s perspective or being able to choose your celebrity alias.)

  3. Murray on 12 Jan 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    I enjoyed almost all of Uncharted except the final boss which I refused to play. AIs that don’t just stand there and take your bullets, that actually run and hide are kinda considered good AI.

    If you didn’t find enjoyment in Katamari Damacy then I don’t know what to tell you.

    Dark Forces has not aged well though. A lot of people say recent games are too linear but going back and playing something like this, the endless key and secret corridor hunting is almost unbearable.

    I want to play the Back to the Future game but I’m just afraid that they’re gonna run everything into the ground like they usually do. (If Tales of Monkey Island part 3 had had another jungle area and a ‘-ishing well’ I would have stopped playing right there, seriously) They don’t make bad games they just need to learn some pacing and self restraint with the content recycling.

    From recent playing I would highly recommend Alpha Protocol. It’s basically Choose Your Own Adventure Spy Fan Fiction, but there’s something about it that works so well and it’s just so gosh darn open.

    If you haven’t tried it yet Plants vs. Zombies is the most fun defense game I’ve ever played.

  4. Chris on 12 Jan 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    Don’t get me wrong – I loved Katamari Damacy. But the last level is the only one where you can roll up the biggest ball in the world AND listen to the theme song. Once I beat the game, that ended up becoming the only level I would ever replay.

    Heard good things about Alpha Protocol. I’ll leave that near the top of the maybe pile. I still have a ton of games I haven’t even started on yet.

    I remember playing Plants vs. Zombies a year or so ago on my co-worker’s iPhone. Definitely fun stuff!

  5. Jeyradan on 13 Jan 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    1) Katamari is awesome. Thank you for the song I now have stuck in my head for the rest of the day and for freaking ever.

    2) Baman and Piderman?

    3) So! Mass Effect 2! Did you save everyone? Everyone-everyone or just everyone-who-apparently-mattered-everyone? Did he (well, they) join your crew? What did you think of the amazing POV switch at that one point in time? Can you tell I’m trying to write this without spoilers? We need to talk ME2 details!

  6. Chris on 13 Jan 2011 at 9:35 pm #


    1. You’re welcome! It’s a great song, isn’t it?

    2. That’s half the reference. The other half comes from actually seeing how me and Brittany play the game.

    3. I got the perfect ending on the first try, actually. But that’s because of how anal-retentive I am with searching for side-quests when I can sense an end-game is near. Yes – we indeed need to discuss this more since I don’t know what POV you’re talking about.

  7. Jeyradan on 15 Jan 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    3) So did I – I think we play games the same way, perhaps. I didn’t leave a single quest undone, a single planet un-scanned (and I mean scan scanned, not “is it rich or poor” scanned), or a single codex entry un-read. Do you click “investigate” every single time it’s an option, too? ’cause yeah.
    There are actually achievements on the Xbox 360 for stuff like that… in the original game, there was one called “Completionist,” where you had to do a certain percentage of the game (because it’s possible, of course, to win while only doing about 20% or something). In the new one, there’s one called “Detail Oriented.” I got them both, and I’m pretty sure you would, too…

  8. Chris on 15 Jan 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    I don’t bother with achievements anymore since the last game I tried that with unnecessarily ate up so much of my life. But I was pretty thorough while playing the game.

    The only part where being thorough doesn’t save your teammates is during the suicide mission when you have to hand out assignments. I got that part right by accident the first time. Some assignments are obvious (like sending Tali to hack the doors and using Jack to hold up the force field,) but you really have to know the characters before you start naming team leaders.

  9. Jeyradan on 15 Jan 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    I’ve got to be honest, ever since the very beginning of the first Mass Effect, I have never done a single mission without Garrus. So he was the natural choice for team leader, every time. And it worked for me.

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