FeaturesJonathan Miley

The Summer Backlog Part 3

FeaturesJonathan Miley
The Summer Backlog Part 3

With the lack-of-games-usually-attributed-with-Summer coming to an end, so does out our Summer Backlog feature. Today we've got treats like the God of War, Dead Island and Borderlands. If you missed the first two parts of the Summer Backlog, you can find them here and here.


Alexander

The habit of buying new games when you have others left unfinished is a terrible one. It is costly, space wasting and pointless. I find it happens more often than it should, but there is a cure! ‘Summer’, the magical time when no new games are released, allowing time to play your pile of unfinished ones. While I have more than three, these are my most recent.

Assassin’s Creed Revelations

I have loved all of the Assassin’s Creed games, every single one, but Revelations is already the fourth in the relatively new series and it seems like a stopgap for Assassin’s Creed 3. I am not as a disappointed as I thought I was going to be though after hearing mixed impressions for this entry. The story is still engaging, the combat and traversal is still exciting and the world is still gorgeous, it just doesn’t feel as fresh as 2 or Brotherhood. What emphasises this, the name ‘Revelations’, is very misleading, drawing you in, encouraging false expectations to some plot twist that should blow you off your feet like the previous entries. Instead you get the final years of the two main protagonists of the series explained in more detail. Despite this title trickery, Revelations is still a worthy entry into the series and I look forward to AC3 even more so now.

Assassins Creed Revelation Screenshot
Assassins Creed Revelation Screenshot

God of War HD Collection 2

Last summer I played God of War 1, 2 and 3 in the span of 4 days. By the end, I was all killed out, but loved every minute of it. This summer I decided to take up the Chains of Chaos again and kill my way through the mythical underworld and experience the side stories in Kratos’ bloody career. Chains of Olypmus was a short but sweet experience ranking second in my enjoyment of the series. I am taking my time with Ghost of Sparta, as Chains of Olympus wore me out slightly. However the new abilities at Kratos’ disposal add more to what has become slightly monotonous combat. Don’t get me wrong, the combat is still top notch, it just five games in, using the same combos gets repetitive.

The God of War games are, in my opinion, perfect summer titles. Similar to the summer blockbusters, the GoW games are mindless fun, with great revenge tales. However, these marathon sessions have left me apprehensive about God of War Ascension and with one question “will the same old formula be enough anymore”?

Dead Island Game of the Year Edition

One of my favourite things about zombie games is the survival aspect, which for many is the most obvious draw, besides killing the undead. I have never found a zombie game, besides the original Left 4 Dead (where trying to survive was so intense that you forgot everything else), that I cared for. I never liked the early Resident Evil games because of the clunky controls. It may sound like I am leading towards saying ‘Dead Island is the perfect zombie game’, but I am not. To me it feels like a serviceable ‘loot-hunter’ style game, mixed with a slightly less open world than Elder Scrolls or Fallout games, the closest comparison is Borderlands.

From the game’s announcement, I was interested, but as the release grew nearer, I found myself being more and more put off by the game. The chief suspect being the excellent trailer that came out just weeks before release, hyping everyone up but completely misrepresenting the game, with what was shown previously.

Dead Island Promoshot
Dead Island Promoshot

Now after purchasing the Game of The Year edition to sink my teeth into, I find I cannot play it for more than thirty minutes without getting bored and looking to do or play something else. It is a title that I really want to get into and maybe I will, but until I find something that shines within the game, it will continue being a rather slow trudge.

Jonathan

Summers are one my favorite times of year. In the past it was because I had a break from college and was able to finally pickup games that I had missed out on. Such summer gems have been Mass Effect 2, Fable 2, Assassin’s Creed 2… hmmm, a lot of sequels there. Anyway, now I looked forward to summer because I get a break  notfrom college, but new releases. So far I haven’t played anything that has enraptured me, but there’s always hope that I’ll dig out something from my Steam collection that simply won’t let me go.

Red Faction: Guerilla

Years ago, I played Red Faction 2. Red Faction 2 sucks and put me completely off to the idea of any other Red Faction game. Ever. Red Faction: Guerilla came out and I resisted for a long time. But after playing Saints Row The Third and loving it, I wanted to support Volition. So I started and I have to say, Guerilla is nothing like RF2, not that you were worried. It strikes a nice vibe that is equal parts Firefly and Total Recall with a pinch of Just Cause (not the movie) thrown in.

Guerilla is a third person shooter like many other but because you can blow any and every building to smithereens, it allows for a level of emergent gameplay not seen anywhere else. The game is not always what you might call “a blast,” but every so often, there is a perfect storm of variables that allows for an amazing sequence that would be scripted in any other game.  Like sprinting across a collapsing bridge and jumping to safety with the aid of a jetpack only to be killed as soon as I landed.

Red Faciton Guerrilla
Red Faciton Guerrilla

The only problem is, now 15 hours in, I don’t want to play it anymore. I thought I had reached the end but soon realized I had a whole other section to play through and, well, I’m just kind of tired of the run-of the-mill gameplay that fills the large gaps between the awesome parts.

Dead Space

I bought Dead Space 1 and 2 at the last blasted Steam sale around Christmas and still haven’t finished the first one. I whittle away at it every now and then but have never found it as engaging as it seems most others have. It’s well made technically, there’s no doubt, but I get that feeling that it is as well regarded as it is because it run smooth and because of that they overlook it’s pitfalls, like how, despite its seeming intended atmosphere, the game is not scary. At all.

Now I’m not trying to be too down on the game but it really just feels like a better made RE4 in the setting of Doom. Maybe I’m missing something or maybe there’s a late-game revelation that changes everything, but Dead Space just seems a little stagnant on the creative side.

But I will trudge through because of all the great things I’ve heard about Dead Space 2. And I never Play games out of order. Except Deus Ex. Which I played backwards.

 Borderlands

Have you ever had a game that you thought you had played and because you thought you had played it you had made up your mind about it for good or for ill. Well, I apparently came under the conclusion at some point that I had played Borderlands and didn’t like. But then I picked up Borderlands after hearing several friends talk about it at length. I wanted to “give it another chance.” Then I found out that I was actually giving Borderlands its first chance because I never actually played.

Borderlands Siren
Borderlands Siren

I’m sad to say I waited this long. Borderlands is a very entertaining game with a solid sense of humor and strong gunplay. Whether I actually finish Borderlands is up for debate considering how huge the world appears to be and the fact that I have all the DLC. But you never know. I can already see two outcomes: one where the game sucks me in and I never play anything else and one where I get burned out in the next few hours because I get to the point where I’ve seen everything the game has to offer. Which will come true is as debatable as… something really debatable.


Well, that does it for the Summer Backlog. But if you think we're done with our mile-longs list of games we need to play, you're wrong. Come back next week for more old-game fun. And each week after that. Next week, I'm talking about Spider-Man! Until then, tell us about your backlogs and leave you comments, as always, below.

Jonathan is the host of the DarkCast, DarkCast Interviews, and Gamers Read. He loves books, video games, and superheroes. If he had to pick favorites, they would be Welcome to the Monkey House, Mass Effect, and Superman respectively.