Game of the Month - November 2012

And another month has passed, and I am a day late in posting once again!

With a few new AAA games, and a Steam Autumn sale to damage your wallet and add to your backlog, what was your game of the month?

For me, The Walking Dead: Episode: 5 No Time Left. What a ending! What a series overall! Epic!

Honorable mention to Natural Selection 2 and Hitman Absolution.

This was an awesome month (again).

I think I have to say Chivalry, that game really captivated me (and still does!) in a way that few multiplayer games have, and every new duel, melee, and desperate bum rush is a total thrill. Great, great game.

Runner-up goes to Assassin’s Creed 3, which was a fantastic kick in the pants for a great franchise.

While much time was spent with Fallen Enchantress, Borderlands 2 and Dominions 3, I would have to say Dwarf Fortress as it has me totally wrapped up in it and I am even surviving through my 4th year for the first time!

Still Guild Wars 2.

It’s been all about XCOM and Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning for me and highly enjoying both going into December.

I finished XCOM

…then I picked up (for the millionth time, but first time in awhile) Shadow Watch.

Oddly enough, for me is was Dragon Quest Monster Joker 2. With all the traveling and craziness of the holiday, it was nice to just carry the game around with me on the 3DS. Easy to pick up and put down. A close second would have to be Ascension on iOS.

For me, even though I very recently bought it during the Steam sale, Chivalry. I’ve got 24 hours playtime all in the last 7 days. I can’t remember the last time a game has consumed that much of my time for that long of a period.

It’s easy and approachable by anyone since all you need to do is click to swing a sword/mace/axe. But it’s hard to master with more subtle and nuanced actions such as feinting (something I’ve barely even touched), parrying, when to block with the shield, when to roll mouse wheel forward to stab or backwards for an overhead swing, and how to string multiple moves into sweet combinations. And, most vital of all, getting the timing right.

Excellent animations and a first person you-are-there perspective is bloody icing on the cake.

Barely played anything, momentarily restarted Bioshock and then dropped it, also played a bit of Hitman 2 on the PS2.

Dishonored, just finished it. Cracking game, came out of nowhere for me as I hadn’t paid any attention to it until RPS covered it around release time.

Singleplayerwise, it’s been Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. I did a fast run through the last few sequences of Assassin’s Creed II earlier in the month, but I put the bulk of my playtime into that one quite a while ago and on a gameplay and graphical level Brotherhood is better in pretty much every respect. It’s really pretty impressive. Rome may be a single city versus the three and surrounding environs in ACII, but it’s a much more memorable and varied city, and dealing with Borgia towers, renovating shops, buying landmarks, investing, and treasure hunting (because of the rare items that they drop - they’re still pretty inconsequential monetarily) is both compelling and leads to really feeling like you know the game world in a way that I never really got with the previous two games.

Similarly, combat is significantly more involved (though still trivial) and quicker, with more moves and weapon types available to you, incentives to vary your approach some (via guild challenges), the ability to quickly chain kills (in impressively brutal fashion), and horses (and mounted guards!). Also enemies have less health on average than in ACII, which doesn’t reduce their threat profile but does prevent needing to pound on them for a tiresome length of time with even the most damaging weapons.

The platforming sequences are significantly better thought out, with none of ACII’s timed bullshit so far (though a couple have optional timers for full sync) and still have all the tricksy spectacular parkouring that was good about them in ACII, in a variety of interesting settings and circumstances. They still overuse “detection means desync” sequences, but they’re a bit more forgiving and the layout often is reasonably good at conveying intended ways of getting through undetected.

And finally, of course, it’s just plain delightful to have badass assassins backing you up to summon at will.

The story’s the only real downside. It doesn’t do a lot to further the overall metanarrative (which for me is the biggest appeal of AC’s storyline), and it’s definitely slighter even for Ezio’s tale. But it does well enough, really.

Multiplayer, it’s been Dead Island. With the introduction of a third player to our coop, I switched to Xian, and while I was enjoying Dead Island just fine before as Logan, Xian is much, much more enjoyable. Her ludicrous damage output and tendency to dismember at the slightest touch are so much fun. And of course Dead Island is clearly based around the melee combat - throwing and guns both work acceptably (though thrown weapons do have an unfortunate tendency to get lost or interact strangely with the physics and embed themselves in solid objects/stick floating in the air), but the visceral appeal is melee.

I’m really quite impressed with it overall. It’s beautiful, the worldbuilding is excellent, and combat is always tense and exciting, even at higher levels when you are a murder machine. The story’s nonsense, but oh well.

Chivalry was my pick last month (I think) and is probably a good pick this month too. Looking at this thread so far it seems to be catching on! Great stuff.

If there was a no-consecutive months rule I probably would’ve picked Hotline: Miami, though I think it tailed off in quality towards the end (thought they struggled to amp up the difficulty without compromising the more freewheeling and experimental aspects that really made the gameplay for me). I didn’t find it as revelatory an experience as say, the RockPaperShotgun writers or Eurogamer seemed to think. My personal thoughts would go more towards “very good” and “well-executed” and “unique” rather than “brilliant” and “masterpiece” and “vital” and “important”. But whatever.

I started out the month by finishing up XCom (after being interrupted by a hurricane.) But the game of the month is Dishonored, a game that hadn’t been on my radar at all and came as a very pleasant surprise.

Warlock master of the arcane and Walking dead (which I finished in a weekend).

Close Combat: Panthers in the Fog.

Yes, I’m a wargamer.

The most hours have gone into Darkstar One, which has turned out to be surprisingly addictive, the most space sim fun I’ve had in a while. It’s the little details that keep me playing, such as the hilarious ship chatter, and the occasional undocumented anomaly / pirate base.

But in terms of quality, I’m giving the nod to The Walking Dead. Just started Episode Four. The only downside has been the infuriating save game system which, if you’re not paying attention to the little wheel that pops up momentarily in the corner of the screen, can cause you to replay large sections of the game simply because you wanted to quit before you’d somehow reached one of the invisible “checkpoints”.

Finally got around to Just Cause 2. Enjoyed and finished it, but found it surprisingly buggy, and the lack of joystick support for the aircraft takes it down a peg or two.

Planetside 2.

Another month, another upgrade added to my Gentech on 3scapes.

I’ve moved on to the Ember Mage in Torchlight 2. The ‘bizarre effects’ power in the lightening skill set, for wands, is the most fun I’ve had since I started playing this game! I love the meteor that falls out of the sky, and makes the screen shake!

Borderlands 2 on my PC and Lego Lord of the Rings on the 360 played co-op with my wife.