So, after the bit of a rant, here’s some stuff about the games I’ve played recently.

Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara (XBLA)

Two Golden Axe -esque beat ‘em ups based on Classic Dungeons & Dragons. What could be nicer.

This game pack is pretty cool, mostly because it seems to ride entirely on the strange nostalgia I have for Classic Dungeons & Dragons - a pen and paper RPG that I have several books for, yet I have only played it a few times. (Which is still a few times more than I’ve played other, more recent pen and paper RPGs.) I’ve always been kind of intrigued by the whole Mystara setting. I guess it just didn’t fly too well in AD&D and D&D3e era when it was basically Just Another Fantasy Setting. AD&D already had Greyhawk world for that, and if you wanted a really cool world, there was always Forgotten Realms.

But D&D: Tower of Doom and D&D: Shadows Over Mystara, the two games included in this collection, are bloody spin-off product of a TSR product, and TSR wasn’t very keen on those back when they were around. Also, it’s interesting that the games took a Japanese cartoony look at the whole D&D world… yet they wouldn’t pass for anime/manga at the first look. So essentially, the games are Not Quite TSR Products and Not Quite Unquestionably Japanese Beat ‘Em Ups either. They pretty much exist in their own little bubble of reality.

The games have some really cool depictions of various D&D monsters and races, and the player classes are pretty spot on. They also have some good English voice acting with a bit Japanese accent. Seeing a lich boss shouting the names of spells was bloody incredible. (“ANIMATE DEAD!!!!”) Shadows Over Mystara also has air ships. And gnome villages. Dammit, this is cool.

The games could use a few new achievements, though. Like “20G - That’s Not In The Rules.” I specifically had to dig out my D&D Cyclopedia to see if Magic Missile was automatically hitting in Classic D&D. Yep, it is, my memory serves me well. It’s an automatically hitting spell with no saving throw in all D&D games ever since. Yet, in this game, it can miss if the target is lying down after a hit. Or if there’s no targets currently on the screen. This is what happens when RPG logic and beat ‘em up logic collide!

And there’s a scene that could use “10G - Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies” =)

Trials Evolution (XBLA)

I got some spam from an aquaintance long ago about the levels he had made for Trials Evolution. (I downloaded them now.) I have a strange soft spot in my heart for this sort of advertising. I really wish I had saved the messages somehow and I hate when XBL automatically deletes old messages.

So I guess my experience of Trials Evolution would be best summed up as “bittersweet weirdness”.

This is a fucking brilliant game. Hilarious, clever, and has challenge of all kinds and all levels. Really weird and inventive levels too. Including the one based on—

LIMBO (XBLA)

I had this thing from Humble Bundle, never really got around to playing it, apart of briefly trying it out in Linux (spoiler: it’s based on WINE so it’s not exactly a native port). I got it for XBLA too. I can just say that I bloody love it so far. The graphical style is fantastic.

Only thing I really hate are the timed puzzles, though. Okay, not a criticism on LIMBO in specific, but… =/

Max Payne 3 (360)

Argh. Rockstar trademark: The game has achievements. You just aren’t mean to actually get them at any point.

Still, I was curious about Max Payne 3 just because people have been saying it’s been decent enough. Based on a brief attempt at playing it, it seems to be a competent continuation on the basic principles of the precedessors. What I didn’t really like is that the graphic novels were nixed and I’ve yet to run into any Interesting Funny References for the Finnish Audience. =) (Then again, they had plenty of those in Alan Wake. Guess Remedy keeps doing their thing.)

So far, it’s giving me much more Rockstar vibes than Remedy vibes. Which isn’t a terrible thing because I like both studios for different reasons.

Catherine (360)

I randomly ran into this thing on used games shelf, which was cool because I had been looking for this for a long while. My sister seemed also interested of this title because she goes for Weird Japanese Shit. =) I tried it out and only got a brief look at this thing. Seemed pretty neat so far.

Golden Axe: Beast Rider (360)

Reviews for this title seemed to say that it’s rubbish. It’s weird, I played some of this and thought it was actually quite allright. I mean, not the most in-depth game so far, but I like the mechanics, graphical style and general feel of the game. I’ve seen much worse games. Heck, I’ve enjoyed much worse games. (I still play Bullet Witch religiously in Halloweens. That game is a living testament to the fact that it’s impossible to fuck up a zombie-slaughter game. =)

I’m planning on a video that shows a bit of various Golden Axe titles I’ve owned. I’m not super-mad about the series - the original game was innovative, but hardly the best example of the genre. At least GA:BR won’t even randomly crash like the Commodore 64 game. I got a random chuckle out of the remixed imp music from Golden Axe arcade game. I hope the game also remakes the best video game sound effect of all time, from the same arcade version. (“ÄYYGHSHLÄIGJSHLÄ!”)

The game also reminded me that I’m not quite done with another Sega title—

Bayonetta (360)

This bugger has sat on my game shelf for 3.5 years and I’ve still not finished it. Goddamn it.

I tried out the legendary easiest difficulty level meant for one-handed playing. Contrary to beliefs, the game seems quite challenging enough even in that mode, so I remain sceptical of the use of one-haded mode for the (*ahem*) intended use, if you catch my drift.

Still, I somehow managed to get my shit together, and finished the bugger of a level (bloody Space Harrier!) in Normal difficulty.

I guess the fact that I’ve apparently not tried to play the game in the entirety of 2012 seems to have done wonders to me - I’ve managed to forget my bad habits and managed to learn good habits.

I’m approaching competence here! I can finish this shit!

(This is a great and hilarious game, by the way. I just have no idea why Famitsu gave this and Skyrim their supposedly hard to get highest rating. I mean, Bayonetta is a great game, but not that great. Guess they just ran out of numbers with Skyrim. =)

Halo 4 (360)

Have I played any other games in this period of time?

I guess not.

There’s new DLC with an awesome new gametype, Ricochet. I loved getting some new appearance bits and a new pose.

I’ve been a bit depressed with my Halo 4 experience, but that’s only because I’ve only seen my CSR ratings wobble. Staring at the statistics never solved anything, dammit! I need to start kicking ass! …and I’m very happy to announce that I’m indeed over with my doubts and I’m kicking ass again.

I just have to say that Halo 4 is goddamn tough these days. I used to go to Big Team Infinity Slayer if I just wanted to slack off. The map update, however, has made both Team Infinity Slayer and BTIS much tougher. And 343i has plans of consolidating more Slayer gametypes to the same playlists. Goddamn it. People like Infinity, Pro/Rumble and Legendary for different reasons, and I really hope they’ll manage to come to some kind of a solution that gives space for people who want competitiveness and more relaxed experience. I mean, didn’t SWAT get split from Slayer playlists because everyone was voting for SWAT, especially the losers who suck at other gametypes and hate people who want to play real Slayer modes? (Yes, I’m being heavily, heavily, HEAVILY sarcastic here.)

It’s also compounded by the fact that BTIS has some terrible maps, and too few of them. Every time Settler is available as a voting option, the unverse dies a little. Every time Settler appeared it could have given us an option for a better map. Really, having to play Settler and Vortex over and over again gets old really fast. Ragnarok is also getting noticeably unfun in BTIS, but it’s awesome in Big Team Skirmish.

Basically BTIS used to be my hangout, but I think TIS is my new one. TIS is quite fun as long as people don’t vote for Adrift. …actually, I think I should start playing Skirmish more.

The August monthly challenge was murder. I’ve always tried to complete them as some kind of a testament of my dedication. I needed 75 victories and I got half of them over 2 days of playing. The last day with 25 victories or so started at 2 PM and finished at 3 AM - it was a little bit exhausting. =)

Assassin’s Creed III (360)

I unfortunately didn’t have that much time to check out the multiplayer mode, but I did get my feet wet. Okay, toes wet. Only as much to tell that a) it’s quite playable while drunk and b) I’m totally mental, which is always a good strategy. They never see it coming

Runes of Magic (Windows)

My netbook actually runs! Woooooo! The hard drive is kind of temperamental. Okay, the reason I didn’t post this entry yesterday was that the hard drive had another hickup and I decided to get drunk and watch like 8 episodes of Mythbusters. Because the netbook works.

Having access to Windows means that I can actually play Runes of Magic again, even if it looks like crap and I pull whole frigging 4 FPS when I play it. But it’s surprisingly playable, all things considered!

I’m dualclassing and shit! This is going to be fun.