You get both of us this week! Ben and I have been keeping ourselves busy, and we’re trying out a new format for this playlist. Let us know what you think in the comments below.
StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty
I hate RTSes. I can’t staaand em. I hate base building, I hate commanding units in real time, I hate managing my arbitrary supply cap, I really just hate the genre. So what is it about StarCraft that I can’t resist? Okay, that’s rhetorical, I know what it is. It’s the art style, it’s the writing (cheesy as it is), it’s the world they create that is just so cool. It’s the little animation flourishes that make Blizzard the best in the business. I keep coming back to it, and getting punished by the gameplay, but still somehow walking away feeling happy. It’s a strange, abusive relationship. Not sure what to think, but I’ll probably buy Heart of the Swarm soon.
I’m also pretty terrible at playing RTS games like StarCraft, but that doesn’t deter my love for the genre. From the minute detail of every unit and the complex tech trees to the act of starting from nothing and building an unstoppable army, watching two expert players face off in this advanced battle of logic is truly a sight to behold. Outside of an easy campaign mission or a co-operative battle against dumb AI, I’ll never achieve victory, but that doesn’t deter my deep admiration for the systems and its greatest competitors.
Spec Ops: The Line
How did I not get to this one until now? I’m still not very far- I’m told there’s “a point” where everything changes, and I’m definitely not there yet, but things are getting pretty strange here in Dubai. The shooting is just good enough to keep the experience rolling, and I’m noticing little things changing in some messed up ways… now I need to see how deep the rabbit hole goes.
There’s definitely a point where your squad’s day takes a turn for the worse, but taken a whole, the game is one long slide into insanity and inhumanity. There’s something beautiful about the way the sands of Dubai slowly erode everything before your eyes, from the gigantic skyscrapers to the men inhabiting them. It’s definitely a journey worth taking, even if the shooting bits are pretty bland.
Trials Evolution Gold Edition
The level creation tools are nothing short of astounding. Within 20-30 minutes, I stitched together a challenging course that would make the Evel Knievels of the world grin from ear to ear. Maybe it was a little too impressive because I couldn’t finish my own level, preventing me from uploading it to RedLynx’ servers (a much-appreciated feature after subjecting myself to the “Recently Added” tab in LittleBigPlanet). It’s only been officially out for a few days, but with strong community support, we’ll likely see an endless fountain of content that will keep me coming back to Trials for a long, long time.
The Great Work (Amnesia: The Dark Descent mod)
It’s not often that a fan-made modification rivals the length, complexity and quality of its parent game, but The Great Work managed to do just that. While you’re still exploring an abandoned castle (at least in the beginning), solving puzzles and evading frightful monsters, the three core tenets of Amnesia are thoroughly remixed in inventive ways that will impress and frighten in equal measure. I’m something of a wimp so I’ve only been able to digest this one in 15-30 minute chunks, but the well-written story keeps me coming back, right before some growl sends me scampering under my covers again. There’s more than enough content here to tithe me over before the long-delayed Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs comes crawling from the murky depths of thechineseroom’s office.
Horror games… there are some incredible games in that genre, eh? Powerful games, emotional games. Condemned. Alone in the Dark. Silent Hill. Masterworks. It’s too bad I just don’t have the stomach for them. I can make all the excuses I want– I have too good an imagination, or whatever— but the simple fact is, I just get scared easily! I’ve played through a few horror games, but it’s always a struggle. I have to tab out every five minutes to watch kittens on YouTube to get my morale up. It’s not pretty.