The In-Between-Games Game
I always have some games that I play "during" other games, usually a racing game or a sports game because there's usually no storyline (or one so uninteresting that I simply don't care about) so I can play without mixing up plots or characters or whatever. Plus I can play those game on mute or with a very low volume, which is practical for someone like me who listens to many podcasts per week (sports related, all of them). So during those past two months I've been playing a lot of Forza Horizon and a bit of NBA 2K12 and Shift 2 Unleashed.
The Early Contenders
Earlier this year were released two superb games I had preordered ages ago : Tomb Raider & Bioshock Infinite. Both lived up to the hype and one could even argue that Tomb Raider exceeded it (although it has to be said it wasn't as hyped as Infinite). Anyhow, Tomb Raider proved to be as good as the so-called Tomb Raider clone, the Uncharted series. Perhaps the story or characters, besides Lara herself, weren't as developed as the Uncharted cast, but the gameplay was simply superb and I was glad the developer didn't copy Uncharted's infamous "everyone is shooting at me from everywhere even from places I've cleared 1.5 second ago" moments which kinda infuriated me at times (I'm not hating though, that trilogy is hall of fame worthy). Also, I liked how they didn't feel obligated to follow Drake's globe-trotting expeditions and managed to exploit a small island and transform it into a semi-open world with tons of stuff to find, even the area to explore clearly was not that big. Great stuff!
As for Infinite, I was expecting sooo much out of Irrational's masterpiece it was practically unfair. But, amazingly, it lived up to the hype. I wasn't that fond of Booker for the first few hours, but that was mainly because I was speculating on the man's story. When you learn a bit more about him, you have to like him. As for Elizabeth, nothing wrong can be said about her. Charming, useful, deeply attaching, she's basically the best A.I. partner a video game has ever seen. You simply care for her, not unlike this new Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. The story is a bit hard to follow, especially the ending, which had me spending 30 minutes on the Internet to be sure I actually understood the right thing. But it's truly excellent, many developers have something to learn from Irrational for story-telling. I wish we would have seen more of the Songbird, but that's a small price to pay for such a superb game. The gameplay is perfect, the variety of actions you can do during combat is impressive and the set pieces very, very fun. The combat is harder than I would have expected, but nothing out of the ordinary. Anyway, it's a great, great game, clearly among the best I've played this generation.
I would have to talk about Assassin's Creed, but I have a piece coming on the series.
I first started writing this more than two weeks ago, but never had time to finish because of work and other obligations. Since that time, I've started XCOM : Enemy Unknown, finished Braid in a few hours (old, I know, but I had to finish it at one point) and my PS3 broke down for the third time. So I had to bring it to this repair man I know. Meanwhile I play more Vita and other consoles, but not that much since summer is starting at last and I can finally play basketball, tennis and other sports.
I'll try to do this more regularly in the next two months.