I didn’t play many mainstream games in 2007, and by mainstream I mean PC, console and handheld titles. However, I did play a ton of casual games (mainly as “research” because I write casual games for a living). I was also crazy busy making my last game and so I didn’t get much spare time to play many games, sob!
I aim to address this balance in 2008 by playing some more mainstream games – wish me luck! In fact I’ve just bought my son a Nintendo Wii for his 7th birthday, but because it’s at the end of March, I’ve had to hide it and not play it, gah!
The only consoles that we play on are last-gen: a GameCube and a PS2 (although we do have a Nintendo DS Lite). I haven’t shelled out for an XBox 360 or PS3 yet. Basically, old as the Gamecube and PS2 may seem, they still have a huge catalogue of GREAT games. I’ve built up a huge wishlist of games with good reviews from the Gamespot database, and then I occasionally buy them second-hand in game shops or on ebay. This saves me tons of money because I end up playing games that are several years old but that are still really good games. I do the same for PC titles – I’ve built up a small pile of FPS games that are quite a few years old that I never seem to get round to playing…sob again.
OK so what mainstream games did I play in 2007? Well here goes:
I bought Quake 4 ages ago and started playing it, but then I stopped for whatever reason. I finally finished it off in 2007. I quite enjoyed it but it wasn’t great. There was a really sick bit where you get turned into a Strogg that was fun (sorta).
After Quake 4, I played Unreal II (one of my PC FPS stockpile games), but it really wasn’t very good. So I ditched it and played Serious Sam 2 instead which is really good fun – I highly recommend this game (and the earlier ones in the series (there are two))
In December I bought Eschalon: Book 1 by Basilisk Games. It’s an Indie game (not mainstream), but it was bloody brilliant. It reminded me of the Ultima games (particularly VII and VIII, which rocked). I rapidly finished the game in a few “all-nighters” and realised that I’d awakened the dangerous RPG geek in me again. I forced myself to stop buying and playing RPGs a couple of years back because I loved them so much that they consumed WAY too much of my time. Anyway, after this game I installed a Neverwinter Nights mission pack called: Shadows of Undrentide, which was lurking in my PC stockpile. It was a great game and after I completed it I immediately purchased another mission pack called Hordes of the Underdark which I’m playing at the moment with my son (he’s also got really into RPGs, oh dear, what kind of father am I?)
Sadly that’s it as far as mainstream PC games go. I’ve missed out on all the wonders I keep hearing about. However, I’m going to upgrade my PC before the financial year ends and then get a few big name games like Bioshock, Oblivion, Half Life 2 (yes I still haven’t played that!) etc.
I personally prefer the GameCube to the PS2 (I bought it many years after I bought my PS2) because it has smoother looking graphics, loading times are quicker (due to the mini-DVDs it takes) and save times are also quicker. So when a game comes out on both formats I tend to buy it for GameCube (although sometimes it can cost more). Unfortunately, its catalogue of games is much smaller (and most shops have a tiny selection of new and used titles) but there are still plenty of classics to choose from if you use ebay.
I played some really great GameCube games last year including Resident Evil 4 (this is just classic, you MUST play it), Paper Mario (again, a really EXCELLENT game that I loved playing with my kids), Lego Star Wars II (my eldest son is literally obsessed with this game), and Star Fox adventures (a pretty old Game Cube game (3D platformer/adventure) that my kids and I enjoyed all the way through).
I also bought Metal Arms: Glitch in the System which had a pretty good review but I haven’t really got into it yet. I thought it might be more cartoony/platform gamish than it was, but it’s a bit too FPSish for me and I don’t like FPS games on consoles due to the limitations of the controllers (i.e. not very accurate aiming).
The last Game Cube game I played in 2007 (and I’m still playing it) was X-Men Legends. This is a 3D overhead RPG beat-em-up that you can play in two player coop mode. It’s really well done and once again the RPG geek in me is satisfied (for now…). It’s quite a lot like the Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance games for PS2 which are also neat (they are less RPG than the PC Baldur’s Gate but with more action – a bit like an update version of Gauntlet, especially in two player coop mode).
I got pretty far into Tomb Raider Legend which is very nicely done. The gameplay feels a bit swifter that the older Tomb Raider games (again, I played the original on Playstation when it first came out), and the environments and puzzles are good. It’s a worthy title in the series for sure. I stopped playing it for no real reason (probably some other games turned up) but I aim to finish it off soon.
A game I thought was very good that I completed with my kids was Sly 2: Band of Thieves. It’s quite an old game but it is very well done with tons of gameplay hours. The graphics are of the cell shaded variety that were once all the rage, and it has huge number of different types of missions in a variety of environments, plus the different missions require you to use one of 3 characters. It’s a great game, difficult at times, but highly recommended.
That’s pretty much it, I can’t remember if I was playing Devil May Cry 3 and Rayman Revolution in 2007 or if it was 2006, but they are really good games too. I also bought my eldest son Ape Escape 2 at some point. It’s a novel game which he seems to enjoy but for some reason it didn’t appeal to me.
Actually I’m going to save these games for another article and some reviews. I’ve played some really good ones. The DS is great and it’s my platform of choice for now for buying new games on.
I'm an Indie game developer with a couple of titles under my belt. I've been programming for 23 years on a variety of platforms. Currently I'm using BlitzMax, which is great.