The weekend is nearly here. That's 48 hours of freedom that we can use to play anything we want. Thousands and thousands of games are out there, begging for our attention. Should we play 2880 games for one minute each, or stay faithful to one game for the whole time? These are the trials of the PC gamer. We must stay strong and focused in the face of all this choice, which is why we've planned ahead. Here's a run down of the games we're planning to play this weekend, and why.
Bulletstorm - Logan
I'm enjoying Bulletstorm. I'm also gagging on the thought that that's the exact same expression my Kentucky-raised grandmother used at an expensive “Asian-fusion” restaurant years ago in downtown San Francisco when I asked her what she thought of her meal. What was on her plate had been fish at some point, but the chef had tortured it beyond recognition and thrown all sorts of weird crap into the mix, up to and including a kumquat that had been segmented and pressed into the shape of a flower, possibly an orchid.
What she meant, of course, that even though she probably felt a burst of pity for a perfectly fine slice of fatty tuna that someone ruthlessly enhanced for the benefit of jaded urban palates, that it nonetheless tasted fine and was accompanied by the presence of loved ones and warm conversation.
So, yes, I'm enjoying Bulletstorm, despite the ridiculous Press R now Press E and -- quick! -- Space to Jump. I'm enjoying Bulletstorm despite remembering the completely freeform creativity of People Can Fly's previous game, Painkiller. For all its over-the-top bloodshed, Bulletstorm feels tamed, neutered and conservative by comparison. The voice acting and the jokes are too self-aware to be funny, The levels lack anything of the WTF insanity of Painkiller. Surprises, unexpected moments, intoxicating peaks in the gameplay, are few and far between.
But I'm enjoying it, nonetheless
Crysis 2 multiplayer - Owen
You know what I hate more than Crysis 2's motion blur? Crysis 2's neverending lobbies. I haven't encountered any of the more popular glitches around, but I did spend lunchtime in a lobby with 12 other players, all discussing how crap Crysis 2's lobbies are. The round never started but my lunch hour carried on, like a cruel anti-gamer time warp.
I dedicate this weekend to removing Crysis 2's motion blur and getting into a multiplayer game. Then I'll start on levelling up my invisibility stats so I can go more invisible than everyone else, and win!
Crysis 2 single player - Tom Francis
Glad I played through the first forty minutes of this at work, since that's what it was BURN! The cheesey live-action intro took an age to tell me almost nothing, the ready room of military clichés made me wince, the credit sequence was self-indulgently long, and when it finally let me play, it almost immediately took control away to teach me how to press one key. At one point it freezes you to the spot next to some explosive barrels until an enemy shoots them, just to explain the concept that armour reduces damage. It makes Crytek look embarrassingly out of touch with how games actually feel to play.
I'm looking forward to finally getting to the good stuff at the weekend - the first proper fight was pretty entertaining, and stealth kills seem like they'll be satisfying. The big question is how much fun the aliens will be to fight - I hope I like them as much as Evan.
Bulletstorm - Tim
I've just completed the campaign of Bulletstorm and... yeah. It's an odd game. I think I prefer the ideas of Bulletstorm more than the execution - more often than not I make a ridiculous plan to score uber points, and actually pull it off. But the game fails to really reward me because it doesn't understand how cool it is to combine or chain kills. I think, too, that connecting your weapon ammunition to the XP mechanic is just plain odd: it really breaks up the flow of the game. Every two minutes you'll interrupt the blammo to buy new clips or swap weapons.
That's not going to stop me bullying Owen into playing it in co-op with me, though.
Metro 2033 - Tom S
This weekend I will be deep underground, prizing gas masks off the faces of dead men so that I can experience a few more moments of gasping terror before a mutant inevitably eats me in Metro 2033 . The shooting is a bit pants, and the enemies are about as smart as an especially stupid pudding, but those haunted tunnels are just dripping with atmosphere. I can't help but speak to everyone I meet, even though everything they say is a variation on “vodka is brilliant when it's not radioactive,” or "man, I really hate those radioactive mutants," or "I had a friend once but a radioactive mutant ate him."
Iceland - Graham
I'm at the EVE Online Fan Fest, so this weekend I shall be playing Iceland. It's a first-person exploration game with a slippy slidey ice world followed by a lava world, which makes it pretty derivative, but I'm still looking forward to it. I hear the last level sucks, though: an inane flight simulator where you control not a pilot, but a passenger.
HA HA HA. It's like a joke.
Team Fortress 2 - Lucas
I'm a sucker for fancy-pants items, and with the recent release of the Shogun pack, I'm definitely getting my craft on. Valve decided to have mercy on folks who don't want to shill out $2.50 for items that could drop at any time, and thankfully they've made crafting recent items much easier. This weekend I'll be tending to my inventory more than my team's intelligence—of particular interest are the Soldier's Black Box and the Spy's Kunai. I've already gotten a taste of what's to come with my spiffy new Concheror, which was met with many a “What was that?!” when my conch shell-horn signaled our victory charge.
Shogun 2: Total War - Anthony
I love me some samurai and what better way to express that love than by creating a massive army and taking over all of Japan? I am a negotiator, but if it comes to it my blade will speak for me. My dad actually is the one who got me into the Total War games with Rome and before that Medieval. When I play this series it brings back great memories of him teaching me tactics and strategy on the battlefield. I just wish he had a good PC so I could see if the student has surpassed the master.
Frozen Synapse Beta - Dan
Preorder customers have had access to the beta of this simultaneous-turn-based tactical indie game forever, but I've been holding off on trying it so that I can have a non-buggy first impression. But I've been watching over Evan's shoulder as he played this week, and I can wait no longer - the squads tiny, bright green and red men killing each other against a deep blue background calls out to me.
Guild Wars 2 - Josh
Well, technically I'm playing the original Guild Wars, but I'm playing it FOR Guild Wars 2. Awhile back, ArenaNet added the Hall of Monuments system to the original, which lets you “dedicate” certain achievements in the first game for free loot and titles in GW2. I want to be decked out in all epics, with crazy animal pets following me around on day one, so I'm stockpiling as much as I possibly can. I think I'd still be playing even if there was no reward in GW2--I forgot how fun this game is, and the Mesmer class is still one of the more interesting in any MMO.