Game of the Month -- January 2014

So what was your Game of the Month for January, was it something you recently bought, or a backlog game you finally got around to playing?

My GOTM ( yes dlc’s count!):
Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches (This is how you do excellent DLC, and wrap up a story.)

Honorable Mentions:
State of Decay (So much good here, but it needed a better overall story and ending.)
Batman Arkham Origins (I finished the city map quests and got all the hidden items.)

A Study in Emerald.

Boardgames are allowed, right?

 -Tom

As long as its a game. :)

For the first half of the month I just dabbled in games I picked up over the Steam Winter Sale, but for the past couple of weeks I’ve almost exclusively played Starbound, which is my GOTM for January.

Risk of Rain probably comes in second place (and was certainly my GOTM for December). Just Cause 2 multiplayer rounds out the honorable mentions.

Jumpgate, Skyrim and Wings over Flanders Fields. There are other games? ;)

Vampire Savior, Marvel Heroes (which I put way too many hours into), Ys: Memories of Celceta, and completely out of nowhere, Defender’s Quest. Honorable mention goes to Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds.

My predictions from last month were waaaay off. My “play 360 JRPGs” project completely stalled out early in the month, my Genesis has done nothing for weeks, and I still haven’t replayed The Wolf Among Us EP1.

On the other hand, my February predictions should be much safer. The current plan is to spend the month playing through a few dozen visual novels, probably alongside Vampire Savior, Marvel Heroes, probably some Pokémon X and Spelunky (both of which I did play in January, but not enough to put in for this month), and when it comes out, The Wolf Among Us EP2.

Marvel Heroes - God, I’ve fallen for this game so hard, and I’ve barely played anything else all month. It wasn’t much of a much back at launch, but I think it’s safe to say at this point that it is officially my favorite Diablo-style ARPG ever, especially since it’s literally the only one I’ve ever beaten every difficulty mode in (not that they’re all that long, admittedly) or maxed out a character in, and I’m still putting in plenty of hours working on alts. I think three things explain this:

  1. It’s really really good at offering large packs of enemies to mow down in spectacular fashion, which is one of the core appeals for me. Even at the very earliest levels there’s still enough going on to be entertaining.

  2. It has the best loot I’ve seen in any loot-driven game ever. I normally don’t get excited about loot because all it does is up numbers. And that’s fine and all, but levels are where it’s really at because you get new powers, you enhance the ones you’ve already gotten…your play experience actually changes. But in Marvel Heroes, loot grants and/or boosts powers even on the basic greens in addition to providing significant stat boosts. And that’s just basic gear. As you level, you find Medallions (off defeated bosses) with very distinct ability profiles, cosmic quality items that boost all your powers and give one of several handy additional effects (plus a large stat spread), artifacts that can do a huge range of different specific things (including give you new activateable powers and summon pets), character-specific unique items that give huge boosts and powerful bespoke effects appropriate to that character (not to mention uniques that are all-hero or apply only to specific groups of heroes), team insignias that give groupwide buffs based on characters associated with teams that hero has been part of, and recently also Uru-Forged gear that will support socketing runewords. And you can buy levelling Legendary items that give huge boosts at each level. You also have the chance to find an in-game currency that eventually unlocks new heroes and all kinds of other stuff, fortune cards that are like a lottery ticket for all sorts of goodies, (almost never) cosmetic costumes, etc. And if you find stuff you don’t need? Well, you can use it to advance a crafter that lets you upgrade, reroll, and otherwise modify most of the above loot types.

  3. Although you run the basic story mode a lot and it’s not super content packed, it has a lot of different environments and enemy types and when you get tired of dealing with that, there are alternatives such as a zone with constant patrol spawns including event bosses, a horde mode defense scenario, PvP, remixed chunks of the story framed as challenge runs with boosted difficulty and rewards, and more such options are on the list.

Honorable mentions for Broken Age which is neat, and very much rewarding my faith in the project, The Walking Dead seasons 1 and 2, the former of which I finished this month and the latter I’ve played as far as is currently available - excellent storytelling and brutally effective at forcing you into hard, hard choices, Kentucky Route Zero which is like if David Lynch made a videogame, and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons which is fantastic but was killing my hands so I shelved it temporarily. It’s been a good month for very light, low puzzly adventure gaming for me.

BannerSaga
Defense Grid (after reading an update on DG2)

I am pretty sure that I can predict Banished will be number one in Feb

Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn
Might and Magic X Legacy

What about Thief? (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA). :p

Dominions 4, unsurprisingly.

Dominions 4 for me also between setting up the QT3Ascendancy game, running tests on nations, strategies, and map starts, it took up most of my time this month.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing
as I picked up the DLC during the holiday sale and my wife restarted as a Thaumaturge and me as an Arcane Mechanic and the game is just clicking a lot more this time around. Add in the new Blue Blood skill tree for Lady Katarina and it is almost like a new experience. We have made it further than the first time around and nearing level 20 now and should get back to it soon, but are messing around with the new Starbound build too.

Guacamelee!, which I just beat the final boss 3 days ago. As a platform game, I found this “easier” and less frustrating than any given Mario games, for simply teleporting me back to the last stable reached platform whenever I missed a jump and die. As for fighting, there’s never any hidden tricks to any bosses or rooms…you see the obstacle or color, you know what you need to do, you just have to go do it. Thumbs up!

Ys 1, also finished this month. Neat Zelda-like adventure game, where you fight by running into enemies (but not head on!). It’s short, and not too difficult at Normal. I then made the mistake of starting Ys 2 at Nightmare…the first boss becomes completely impossible to kill. I’ve moved on to other games, but I’ll go back to Ys 2 on Normal to finish the story.

February preview: Borderlands 2 on PS3, HoMM 2 just started, and I though I was gonna just clear Loom because it’s short. Just do it!!!

Might and Magic X Legacy

Disciples III: Reincarnation and Blackguards have kept me the most busy.

Star Wars: Empire at War with the Imperial Civil War mod. It succeeds at breathing a bit of new life into a game I’d long since written off as dead, as long as I can amass an army large enough to just auto-resolve 99% of land battles. The strategic layer and the space battles are so much more fun.

After all, who doesn’t want to subjugate the galaxy as Grand Admiral Thrawn six years after the Battle of Endor? Who wouldn’t want to take the Imperial Remnant from nearly two decades after the movies and reclaim the galaxy in the name of Imperial authority? There are even campaigns in there for all the Rebel scum out there who love freedom, democracy and all that crap.

Been in a bunch of great Pro Strategy Football games over the last couple of weeks. Loving it (even if I’m losing it)!

Might & Magic X Legacy. Good old fashioned challenging gameplay.

KaoFloppy, I’ve been playing through all the Ys games for the first time on Nightmare difficulty, and while I’ve been enjoying them a lot, they vary a good deal in terms of how well the massive difficulty increase works. In most of them, you can grind to make boss fights slightly less ridiculous, but it’ll take a long time due to XP gains scaling based on your level, such that it can be worth just learning how to fight that boss instead of grinding; meanwhile, since you hit the level cap in Ys I halfway through the game, you never get grinding as an option, and completing the game on Nightmare takes a great deal of practice and patience, plus a bit of RNG luck for a couple of fights.

Saints Row IV Weird that I like this one so much when I don’t like Just Cause 2 or GTA.
The Swapper The best puzzle type game I’ve played in a long time.
Might and Magic X Legacy Some good old fashioned monster thumping. Some flaws, but good.
Europa Universalis IV Only played one game (as Portugal) but I liked what I saw.
Papers Please Amazing that something so mundane can be fun.
Race the Sun Perfect little game to play in small chunks, chasing scores on the leaderboard.
Civilization IV : Revived a classic. To me, stacks are better than 1UPT. I keep getting my ass whooped on Monarch difficulty. I used to win…
Typing of the Dead Overkill I actually enjoy the campy story going on in this.
Gridiron Solitaire Very simple game that captures the feel of football.
Castlevania Lords of Shadow I liked this to start, but by the half way point I was getting bored so I put it away.
Triple Town: A simple little match game time filler.