Archive for the Portal Category

The 9 Best Games Of The Last Generation

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Borderlands, Games, Lists, Portal, Resident Evil, The Walking Dead, Uncharted on July 20, 2015 by slateman

I’ve been thinking of this article for some time now. Should I list 10 games? Should I list them in tiers? Ultimately, I’m just going to post this and go with it.

This is a list of the nine best/most important games of the last generation. That means the Xbox360/PS3 and PC if it appears on consoles. I am not looking at PC-only titles.

Bottom Tier

resident_evil_5_medium_1Resident Evil 5
This is not an important title. I can’t say it really did anything massively new or reinvented anything spectacular. Although it is entirely co-op, it’s not utterly groundbreaking. And it’s not widely heralded as an excellent title.

What it is however, is awesome. I’ve already raved about it as a stand-alone title. The DLC was fun and diverse. Nowadays I rarely replay games entirely. Instead, I 100%ed it on two consoles (-achievements). It was fun, packed a powerful punch and epitomized what I loved about the PS3/Xbox360 generation. A large game, fully co-op, good save system, tons of weapons and reason to replay it. That last one is an important one. Infinite rocket launcher? Magnum? And this doesn’t even count Mercenaries mode.

Rdr_torquemada_lookoutRed Dead Redemption
GTA in the wild west? No thanks. I love GTA, I don’t like westerns but…well…this is fun and diverse and the writing is impeccable and dead-eye is a hell of a lot of fun and WHOAH, that story twist!!! How many times did I get off track, wandering the woods for a bear or through the vast, arid desert skinning animals and saving people? I lost my save for RDR but I got to see the true ending and it was one of the best stories of the entire generation. And let’s not forget the song when you finally cross into Mexico. It’s rare that one song in a game stands out but its power was in how your rode south, the gentle song leading you into a foreign (yet similar) land. And how different it was, different people, chatter and style.

A sequel in this generation would only make me smile. I certainly hope it’s on the horizon somewhere.

Middle Tier

DLC4_Envishot_LostCity_smallGears Of War 3
The first GOW was great and the second just OK. The third, in my opinion, was the strongest and the most fun. It expanded the color palette for one, and tweaked everything to make it run faster (less clunky) and was just a spectacular and powerful game. So, while the first title really did more for this generation, specifically its cover system, excellent reload mechanics and a fully co-op campaign (oh how I wish for more of those!!!), the third perfected it. If I were to go back; I’d play this one.

call-of-duty-4-mwCall Of Duty: Modern Warfare
I don’t care what anybody says about MW and the series as a whole. Here’s what matters to me…

After hearing all the hype, I finally rented the game and tossed it in my 360. Of course, the visuals were impressive and the sound was solid. It was when my character stepped out into the streets, with bullets flying everywhere, my eyes opened wide. Games up until that point had enemies shooting at you. Some team-based games had more targets, but for the first time, I felt like I walked into a world that was going on around me. I remember having surround sound going, bullets pinging everywhere, and it was utter mayhem. It was precisely what I wanted in gaming. Now, while the sequels upped the ante considerably, it was the first MW where my mouth truly dropped. As a player who avoids multiplayer almost entirely, the campaign was all I cared about. And it was a solid, entertaining and compelling campaign. Its brevity wasn’t disappointing either. Quite the contrary, it was sweet and to-the-point. Solid controls, insane action and at the time, superb visuals made for a game that was truly a game-changer. Once again, say what you will about the series and its subsequent milking. That first game was a turning point.

Just-Cause-2-1Just Cause 2
I never played (or had even heard of) the first Just Cause but this title was a free game on PS+ one month. I’m all about grabbing just about any free game I can but my first play session was merely OK. The controls were a bit loose and it was hard figuring out the whole grappling hook. I remember my second session, however, where my opinion changed entirely.

I had a hard time going back to open-world sandbox games after this. Moving around was so slow and boring (well, with the exception of Saint’s Row, but that’s just a ridiculous game!) The things I managed to do with Rico in this game were outrageous. Tethering cars to helicopters and scaling buildings with ease were awesome, as were the insane amount of explosions but the most important word in a review of this game is “fun”. I had a blast playing this, destroying everything. Just the number of options in this game make it for a memorable and long-lasting experience. Shoot a guy? Tether him to a truck and drive off? Tether an item to a truck and pull it down onto him? Oh, it goes on and on! In December of this year a sequel is coming out and I can’t limit my excitement. This might be one of those games where more of the same is just what I want. We’ll have to see!

walking dead lee clementine

The Walking Dead
Sure, I loved the show, but a choice-based, point-and-click adventure? Once the first two episodes were free, I grabbed them (remember, I love me freebies!) and everything changed. I connected with Lee, the game’s protagonist, more than perhaps I did with any character in any game ever. I cannot even discuss the finale without getting a lump in my throat. It was perhaps the single most powerful gaming experience ever. (yes, that trumps Metal Gear Solid IV and the at-the-time surprise of Aerith in Final Fantasy VII.

And while there were action sequences in this title, those were by far the least exciting, the least compelling, the least enticing. Episodes four and five start to rip your heart out and as I’ve written about already, the tears were genuine. I was talking to my TV. I was moved. I was hurt. And I will recommend this game to anyone, zombie fan or not. In some ways, it should be top-shelf material. Ah…I hate making these lists. Just know that it’s awesome. I shouldn’t have to say more.

Top Shelf

872182-portal-2Portal 2
I missed out on Half-Life and that whole thing and so it wasn’t until after Portal 2 came out that I even tried this series. The first game was certainly fun, but I’m pretty certain I played that (PC) after I beat it on the PS3 (and subsequently played it all again on the PC, beating both 1 and 2 within 24 hours).

This is a triple-A puzzle game…something that’s generally unheard of. Without playing it, my claims of Brilliance can not explain the sheer awesomeness of this title. Sadly, it’s the only thing I can even say. After each test room or the later colored gels, I marveled at the absolutely-ingenious design. I felt such delight at the solutions and the miraculous lack of unsolvable puzzles. The game was designed and tested to perfection. GLaDOS and her anger were written with utter sarcasm and it all delighted as the weird story unfolded. I can think of nothing about this game that isn’t perfect brilliance. You can go back at any time as well, provided you haven’t memorized all the solutions, and enjoy those brainy solutions all over again. Sadly, I never got the chance to play co-op. I bet that’s awesome.

bl2_1

Borderlands 2
After renting and beating Modern Warfare, I rented Borderlands. I’d heard good things, etc. etc. After such a visually-compelling and powerful experience, my initial thoughts of BL were…eh. The cel-shaded presentation coupled with a weird premise didn’t totally impress me immediately.

I played a bit; I returned the game.

A few weeks later, I was humming this tune in my head. I started missing the skill tree options. I had to rent the game again. Perhaps I was lucky but the local video store was closing and I bought the game for like $12. I then played the game. A lot. My save game ended up getting deleted and so at some point I started again. Then did true vault hunter mode. Then I returned a year later and got the platinum. The DLC was spectacular (I bought 3 of the 4, IIRC). We’ve all played our share of FPS games. None compelled me like this one. The outrageous guns that I’d receive were motivation alone to continue! It was stylish, unique, funny and full of loot! The light-hearted story was trumped by the second game, itself a superior product. Just about every fault I could find in the first title was remedied. Things were tweaked where necessary and left alone where needed. Even the trailer was insanely awesome! I love this game and while I skipped the Pre-quel, I fully anticipate grabbing part 3 whenever it debuts on this current generation. LOVE IT! (said in Torgue’s voice!)

B001JKTC9A.03.lgUncharted 2
To complete the trio of sequels…

Sure there are other 3rd-person action games. They’ve existed since the advent of 3D games. In so many ways, Uncharted is inspired by Tomb Raider which itself was inspired by Indiana Jones. So Why is this so important? Because it was fun, challenging, looked great and its gameplay was perfection. The first game is amazing, the third game is more of the same and the second was pristinely balanced. Headshots were truly enjoyable and the ka-ching of every kill was the most rewarding sound of the entire generation of games. Seeing Drake hanging by one arm got a bit old by the third game. However, the cinematics of the second, the chemistry with Elena and Chloe, the diverse and lush locales, the exciting finale, the co-op levels…*takes breath*…This game is probably my favorite of the entire generation even if it didn’t redefine like Portal or Borderlands did. It just did what I love the most…perfectly.

Games I’ve Beaten – 2012 Edition

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Borderlands, Games, Lists, Portal, Resident Evil, Skyrim, Street Fighter, Uncharted with tags on September 4, 2012 by slateman

After a few rough weeks, I’m glad to be back posting stuff here, even if no one reads this blog. I was thinking about the games I’ve completed this year and thought I’d write a few notes about them. How many have I finished? Well, these should be broken down into retail games and PSN games. Don’t think I got anything new on the 360, so that’s PSN and not XBL.

GameFly tells me I’ve rented the following this year:

  1. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (later purchased)
  2. F.E.A.R. 3
  3. Street Fighter X Tekken
  4. Portal 2
  5. Uncharted: Golden Abyss
  6. SSX
  7. Sniper Elite V2
  8. Rayman Origins
  9. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
  10. Binary Domain

Not a bad list and it really justifies the GameFly fee, seeing as how I’d not have purchased most of those. Of the 10 titles GF sent me over the course of 8 months, I only completed 4. But that’s not really bad seeing as how SFxT can’t truly be finished and my PS3 died before I could complete the fun Sniper Elite.

In addition, my friend and I love coop games, but both Ghost Recon and Binary Domain aren’t what we’re looking for (gotta pay for one, no campaign coop in the other), so I wouldn’t count either of those.

This leaves F.E.A.R. 3 which, by all measures, was pretty much crap. SSX just was absurd and I didn’t play that long before shipping that one back. It lost all the charm the old games had. Now, Skyrim is a big one, and I quite enjoyed what I played but I have yet to complete the campaign despite dumping scores of hours into it.

The games that I count are Rayman Origins which was a pleasurable platformer replete with collectibles and tons of replay value. Had I not been on vacation in the middle of nowhere (which is why I got the game to begin with, really), I would’ve written more about it. The handheld Uncharted was largely a success. In fact, it’s the best-looking handheld game I’ve ever played and it felt like Uncharted, itself a success!

Finally we have Portal 2. I’ve said it before and won’t hesitate to repeat itPortal 2 is one of the most brilliant achievements in gaming history. Ingenious and clever and…well, no reason to do this again.

Now to PSN games. It looks like I’ve played the following this year:

  1. Outland
  2. Journey
  3. The Mysteries Of Little Riddle
  4. The Walking Dead (Episodes 1-3)
  5. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD

I figured I must’ve beaten more than that…but I guess not. I’ve already professed my love for that game. As for Journey, I wasn’t entirely sure what I thought of it. The Little Riddle game was something fun to play with my wife, and The Walking Dead games…well, just read below. Playing through the three episodes was one of the of the most enticing gaming experiences ever.

I played, but haven’t finished:

  1. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  2. Just Cause 2 (PS3 died, lost save game)
  3. Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One (same)
  4. Lara Croft & The Guardian Of Light (same)
  5. Rochard

I’d like to get back to Rochard. Batman…I didn’t love that as much as everyone suggested I would.

Verdict: So…let’s face it…the reason for this article was to figure out what the best game was that I completed. Well, first off, Borderlands 2 comes out in two weeks and Resident Evil 6 in four. Those could very well be high up on my list, but from what I’ve done so far, Uncharted, The Walking Dead were the highlights. Rayman and Outland were fun, visually-impressive titles, but Portal 2 was the best.

Let’s see how BL2 and RE6 fare against such a juggernaut!

Portal 2: Again!

Posted in Blog, Games, Portal on May 13, 2012 by slateman

I <3 Portal

To reiterate, Portal 2 is just about the best shit I’ve ever played. I couldn’t help myself…I purchased it on sale from Steam. Working through the campaign, particularly now that I’ve completed the first Portal is even more revealing. I know I should’ve done it in the proper order before. It matters not, this is the bomb. The co-op modes should be fantastic and I can’t wait to test out the community levels too. This may be the first time I actually paid for a PC game as well. Granted, it was only $6.67, and I got the first Portal for free, so I shouldn’t flaunt that fact.

So, yeah. Portal 2 is likely in my top-10 ever list. Come to think of it, I should make that list…

Portal 2 on Sunday / Portal on Monday

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Portal on May 1, 2012 by slateman

Portal = BRILLIANT!

I almost beat two games in a series on the same day. Alas, ’twas not to be, but instead I beat Portal 2 (PS3) on Sunday afternoon and Portal (PC) on Monday evening. It was beautiful.

I’ve posted my thoughts about this brilliant series already but I was left in awe at the outset. Virtually every element of the series was beyond my expectations. It’s the first PC game I’ve completed in years. It was fun, challenging and mind-bending all at once. The concept of cooperative missions intrigues me beyond comprehension. I’ll just have to find time in my schedule. It was all just that good. The only thing better would be more! I’m only sorry that it’s over and that it took me so long to get to these works of art. Phenomenal.

Portal 2 May Be The Most Brilliant Design Ever

Posted in Blog, Games, Portal on April 21, 2012 by slateman

Portal 2 - Brilliant!

OK, again, I never played the first portal, so I’m late to the game. However, in playing Portal 2 on the PS3 (and tinkering w/ the original on the PC), I’ve discovered something amazing. This is likely the most brilliant game I’ve ever played. Completing a level, using the pink and blue goo, discovering a solution…it is all outrageously well thought-out. In every new area I stand marveling at the utterly fantastic ideas being thrown my way. The humor is wonderful, the gameplay divine, I think this is the coolest thing ever. That’s all. Just had to share.