Return to the Consoles

While my Masters degree thesis has taken over the last two months of my life, my consoles and gaming PC have been woefully neglected. With the deadline less than a week away (and my work ready to print and hand in), it’s time to start planning my attack on the games that I haven’t had time to touch yet.

**NOTE!** – I will be doing my best not to spoiler anything for those who have not played these games!

Portal 2
GLaDOS is back, and she is still just as sarcastic as ever. With a cleverly implemented ARG highlighting some great indie games and fuelling the early release of the much-awaited sequel, I was one of the many Portal fans who was looking forward to release. Despite my ongoing university work, I managed to complete the game around the same time as my thesis; and I was definitely not disappointed.

I found characterisation of both Wheatley and the return of GLaDOS spot on- GLaDOS’ sinister nature returns with added malice, then mellows as her needs (and Chell’s) change and works fantastically with the narrative. Wheatley, superbly characterised by Stephen Merchant, evolved brilliantly throughout the course of the game; though I often wished he’d keep up with me as I ran through the back end of the Aperture Laboratories. The difficultly curve of the puzzles was once again spot on for me, with them being interesting enough to make me want to constantly retry if I failed (an achievement, as I tend to give up easily if thwarted too much too quickly). The inclusion of so many new mechanics to play with was more intuitive than expected as they were introduced gradually and added to the experience of the first game.

In short- I can’t wait to go through co-op once my schedule frees up, and I will definitely be giving it a second and third run-through. I loved the fact that some of the achievements require you to follow potentially lethal advice- no spoilers though!

Fable 3
Yes, I am aware I am well behind the times with this game; I played the demo levels on offer at Eurogamer Expo in September and was mildly impressed. I played Fable 2 for almost 20 hours and still haven’t fully ‘completed’ it, and expected a lot from the third in the series.

My housemate borrowed the game from a friend, and I have invested a good 9 hours into the game; and am far more impressed with the finished product than I was with the demo levels. The morality system appears to have far more impact on the world (rather than the visual impact on your character), as well as tempting you with the prospect of a lasting impact in the latter stages of the game. The ability to combine magic gauntlets into different combinations of powers is inventive, and the evolving weaponry prompted me to wander the land more rather than using the Sanctuary as a fast-travel station quite so much. The existence of the Sanctuary is a blessing, in my opinion; being able to manage the world and yourself from a central area makes things quick and easy, and the ability to buy property without having to go to the actual locations makes gaining money in a hurry not so much of a chore.

Despite making my Xbox sound like jet engine, I am enjoying pouring my time into Albion again, and the promise of a change of gameplay later in the story is only adding to that.

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~ by Tegan on May 20, 2011.

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