Monday, September 6, 2010

And We're Back!

Since we're approaching the arse-end of the year I thought we'd take a look at how those games that I had mentioned as "games to watch for 2010" have been received. For those who missed them the first time around you can find part one here and part two here.

The first game I talked about was Mass Effect 2, and I think it is fair to say that this was quite the success. A glance at Metacritic shows the PC version with an aggregate score of 94, likely putting it in the lifetime top 10. I thought that ME2 was an amazing game, that built solidly upon the first title while streamlining those things which were clunky or really didn't work well (i.e. the inventory system and some of the combat). BioWare have also knocked out a fair bit of DLC (both free and paid) for the game, with the most recent one hitting just a few weeks ago, so they clearly believe in post-game support.

In short, expect ME2 to figure in many people's "Game of the Year" lists in 3 months time. Hopefully we will hear more about Mass Effect 3 over the next year, as the current ETA on that game is "sometime in 2012."

Next up I had Star Trek Online on the list. While it wasn't everyone's cup of tea (mine included) I didn't think it was an absolutely terrible game. In fact I have heard that it is much improved recently, though since I only subscribed for a couple of months I cannot attest to this fact personally. BioWare, hard at work on The Old Republic, are probably breathing a collective sigh of relief that STO has not been a breakout success with Cryptic beating them to the release date punch.

After that, we have Rage. id have pushed this back to September 2011 though, so come back in a year and we'll talk about it then.

Next, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. I had predicted a summer release date for this, and was apparently completely wrong. No release date yet, although Blizzard were recently quoted as saying it was still on track to be out this year.

Finally on my part 1 list we had APB. This was a solid, breathtaking, stylish take on...ok it sucked. Everybody gets one right? Well, this was mine. I had faith that Realtime Worlds would not simply make Cops 'n' Robbers Online and call it done, that there would be more depth and strategy to it. Well, it turns out I was wrong, and APB tanked accordingly. A poor business model coupled with underwhelming gameplay meant that Realtime Worlds is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and the future of the game remains unclear. Listen up kids: this is the very definition of a great concept executed poorly.

On to part 2 and we had BioShock 2 at the top of the list. I have yet to finish it (though I did buy it) but the consensus seems to be it was a solid sequel to the first, although the unusual multiplayer did detract from an otherwise positive experience in places. Metacritic agrees, and shows the aggregate score for BioShock 2 as 88 (compared to 96 for the original game). I will get around to actually playing this one sometime this year and see how it shapes up versus the original. Probably.

Next up we have Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. I'm not much into RTS' myself, but the people that I know who bought the game said it was a fair upgrade over the first. Metacritic gives it an aggregate of 93, and it has apparently been quite a moneyspinner for Blizzard. Expect to wait a good couple of years at a minimum until Heart of the Swarm (Zerg expansion) is released, and even longer until Legacy of the Void (Protoss expansion) is in your hot, sweaty hands. I guess you don't change a winning formula. Especially when you can make people pay three times for one game.

Brink was next on my list, and although this game still looks amazing it has unfortunately been pushed back by Splash Damage for a second time, and is now slated to be released Spring of next year. Some of the developer diaries available on PSN and Youtube still make the game look extremely interesting. You can even pre-order it on Steam, so if giving the developers a 6-month interest-free loan for the full price of the game is your thing then head on over to the Steam Store and knock yourself out.

Black Prophecy is still not released, so there isn't much I can say about it. The most recent video (which you can download here) for GamesCom shows how the game has come along, and the closed beta apparently began a couple of months ago. BP is still meant to be on track for a 2010 release, though there is no firm release date as of yet.

Last but not least there is Battlefield: Bad Company 2. I was on the fence about buying this and I'm glad I didn't, not because it turned out to be a bad game (quite the reverse) but because it really isn't my sort of game. It seems to have been quite commercially successful though, with an average metacritic rating of 86 on the PC which is certainly well over average. Game of the Year though? Somehow I doubt it. A solid title, but not exactly a trail-blazer.

So that's it, a state of play for all of the games I had mentioned at the beginning of the year.

Upcoming posts here will be going into detail on some hefty upcoming MMOs, namely Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Secret World, Guild Wars 2, Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online, TERA: The Exiled Realm of Arborea and Rift: Plains of Telara, as well as a little game called League of Legends that I have been playing a little over these past couple of months.

Stay tuned!

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