- Black Mesa: For those who don't know, this is the original Half Life (1998) updated to modern graphics and given away for free. It's wonderful and infuriating in equal measure, much like Half Life 2. One annoying feature is the all-important jumping mechanic. To leap over anything bigger than a coffee cup, you must "crouch-jump": press W to go forward, <space> to leap and <Alt> in the split second before you hit the ground. Forum old-timers denounced critics of the system as whiny, spoiled brats. "Jumping is hard!" they say. Sure! Know what else is hard? Single-handedly wiping out a squadron of marines. When it's easier to do that than a climb over a couch, something is wrong.
- Fallout: New Vegas: I've had Fallout 3 for years, but found it so crash-prone I never got to play much. Luckily Fallout: New Vegas didn't have that problem and I played to the end, which if anything came too quickly. After a couple false starts I armed my toon with her custom rocket-launcher, "Annabelle," and fired two shots at the Legate before he opened his mouth. Dead Legate, war over, roll credits. Never got to explore DLC content, which is too bad since I was really enjoying the game. (I know I could return to an earlier save-point, but ... I don't want to! So there.)
- Saints Row IV: Most of you know that when it comes to Saints Row I'm more eager than an 8-year old on Christmas Eve. So I created my Kimberly look-a-like -- her horrified reaction is part of the fun -- and played through the first few hours. Super-jumping, super-speed, blasting aliens with freeze-rays and then blowing them up with rocket-launchers ... I enjoyed myself immensely even if it was a shade too easy. But then I had to leave the Matrix and fly a spaceship through a half-dozen closing metal doors, James Bond-style. I couldn't do it. I tried over and over again, and because SR doesn't have unlimited saves -- you have to restart the mission each time, repeating all the cut-scenes and quick-time events -- I could make no progress. I had to quit the game only 1/3rd of the way through, which greatly depressed me.
- Bioshock Infinite: This one I almost finished, and when I stopped it was due to real-life distractions rather than a problem with the game, which I thought was excellent. Columbia was gorgeous, the horror bits genuinely creepy, and Elizabeth may be the best "love-interest" in video-game history ... not that that's saying much. (Better than Princess Peach!) I got bogged-down in the
towerairship-defense section; I didn't object -- it was obviously a climatic battle and should be harder than the rest -- but we had to prepare for our trip to England and when we got back there were too many other distractions. Hopefully, someday I'll return and find out what happens.
- Starforge Alpha: This game may have great potential, as it promises to be Minecraft-in-space with better graphics. Alas, there isn't much to do in the latest version which, weirdly, has fewer features than previous ones. Not only that, the manual hasn't been updated and the YouTube play-throughs were for old versions as well. I'll check on the development from time-to-time but I have little confidence in the project.
I picked up other games during Steam's summer sale but none of them excited me too much. I'll have another report in mid-winter or so.