What We’re Playing – September 23rd
The weekend is upon us and it’s time to play some videogames. Here are a few games we’ve been playing away from the office this week. What’s on your agenda? Share what you’re playing!
Cthulhu Saves the World
Traditional Japanese RPGs are dead to me for a while. JRPGs used to be my favorite genre, but I weary of the tedious battles, nonsensical storylines and whiny characters. The new Final Fantasy games don’t impress me. After playing the 16-bit parody Cthulhu Saves the World and its successor, Breath of Death VII, my love for the genre has been rekindled. That’s an impressive accomplishment for a $3 XBLA indie game.
Cthulhu has a real honest-to-god sense of humor. Drawing upon rich references to H.P. Lovecraft’s work and excellent dialogue that often breaks the fourth wall, this game is one of the best-written games I’ve played in ages. The characters, such as protagonist Cthulhu (an evil creature with a heart of gold), the senile wizard and the green alien cat, are delightfully unconventional.
Perhaps my favorite part of the game is the speed of the battles. Cthulhu embraces the dungeon-town-dungeon-town formula that the classic RPGs rely on. This could go tiresome, but the random battles are so insanely quick that they’re actually fun. Excellent writing and decent gameplay makes Cthulhu a must-have for classic RPG fans. The $3 price point strengthens that claim.
I had hit one of the worst gaming dry spells in my life. Work, commuting and life all prevented me from enjoying games and playing anything new. Now that things are calm again, it’s time to get back into the swing of things. I picked up Deus Ex: Human Revolution on a whim and couldn’t be more satisfied with my decision.
Immediately I’m reminded of one of my all-time favorite series Metal Gear Solid. Stealth appears to be a big factor in the gameplay, which I prefer over running-and-gunning. I’ve only played for a couple of hours, but already the story has me wanting to know more. I’m also enjoying the RPG elements, which include a deeply engrossing story, gaining EXP and being able to make dialogue decisions that can change the outcome of things. I have a very good feeling that I’ll be playing this one through to completion in no time.
What has really struck me with Human Revolution are the visuals. I’ve played a lot of impressive looking games, but the art direction, particularly the attention to detail to the drab, futuristic setting I’m sneaking around in, is fantastic. I can definitely say that I’m looking forward to hanging out with Mr. Jensen today, sneaking and neutralizing our way to the truth.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
Here I was thinking this game was a fairly standard Gears of War clone when it first came out, and it turns out that it’s an above-average God of War style hack-and-slash with a total understanding of what players really, really want: hardcore gore and precise controls. Space Marine is all about bringing about death on a massive, personal scale. Early on in the game, one of the side characters mutters something along the lines of “100 Marines against 10,000,000 Orks,” and that’s no exaggeration. In nearly every battle forty or fifty of the bastards rush out to try to kill you. They can be quick to surround, but then you’ll swing your chainsword (yes, it’s a sword with a chainsaw instead of a traditional edge) and take out six of the bastards at once. Threat reduced. You can then stun one with a kick and move in for a health-replenishing execution to recover from any shots they landed. The camera zooms in, the action slows down, and you see Captain Titus jam his chainsword into the sternum or an Ork. Or cut off their head. Or … well, I’ll leave the rest for you to discover.