Alan Wake (Xbox 360)
Alan Wake finally came out and for me, it was well worth the wait. Top of the line storytelling all through, with unparalleled pacing and cinematic conventions. Great setting, great writing, great characters and good gameplay. It could have used a bit more variety in the combat mechanics towards the end, but aside from that, this is one of the best adventures I’ve been on in years. One of the setpieces is an instant classic (the farm fields), and the other scenes don’t fare much worse. They have clearly cut all the fat and only kept the very best parts. Remedy are really the masters in what they do. Must play, if you have a 360.
I’ve recently been replaying Max Payne 2, and everything that’s great about Wake is evident there. It may be hard to recall what an ambitious step in storytelling the sequel to Max Payne was, despite a short development time. If you’re thinking about a revisit, for a seven-year old game, on the PC it has stood up graphically amazingly well.
Dead Or Alive 4 (Xbox 360)
I initially disliked (whoah, four years already!) DOA4 because the computer is super hard. But this time I stuck to my guns and learned how to play it. It’s easily the best title in the series, in every way an evolution. I’ve been playing single player and grown to not be frustrated with the CPU. My wife has become rather proficient in it, as well, usually soundly beating me. (I think I’m thinking too much.)
I’ve also played some online, but that’s just harsh. The guys still online are way too hardcore for me.
Mystery Dungeon: Shiren The Wanderer (Nintendo DS)
All the way from 1995, this DS port of a 15-year old SNES game just sucks me in. It’s a graphical, less complex roguelike, which does not make it the slightest bit forgiving. A really hardcore experience, you’re supposed to perish dozens if not hundreds of times before making it to the end. Every time you die, you start from the beginning, although if you’re clever, you can carry over some of the stuff you’ve accumulated in your previous adventures. The narrow scope with lots of depth makes it very compulsive to play.
Soul Calibur Broken Destiny (PSP)
Still a great game. Both the fighting and the character building are fun and really at home on the PSP. If you have a PSP and like fighters at all, I’d say it’s a must have, even if you don’t have anyone to play it with locally.
Brütal Legend (PS3)
Tim Schafer’s heavy metal tribute is built for guys of my age (born in late 70s). I can’t help but smile! Right from the start menu, you’re in a world of metal, and it feels good. The writing is very good, often laugh out loud funny, and very well acted. The gameplay works, although it isn’t anything really special. If you’re into metal, you need this game.