What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Both Steam and Good Old Games have had some great holiday sales the past couple of weeks. I've spent a ridiculous amount of money as a result.

Ridiculous, as in, it's absurd how little I've had to fork out for some seriously excellent - and mostly quite old - games.

Over on GOG I picked up Descent 1 & 2, Heroes of Might & Magic III, Jagged Alliance 2 and the Realms of Arkania series. On Steam, I grabbed Civilization IV, X-Com Apocalypse, Dark Forces and of course Jedi Knight.

I never played the original Dark Forces, so that will be first on the agenda. Curious to see how its sequel has stood the test of time, too, some thirteen years later.

What are you spending the rest of your holiday playing?


    Same old story. MW2 splitscreen and online. Maybe LAN to stop screencheating. Maybe a little Uncharted 2. Already a little more Assassins Creed Bloodlines. Jewel Quest or Poker on iPhone when waiting in line or at checkout/drivethru. Kids will wish to play Halo 3 or World at War but they are banned. Again.

    Hitting up Pokemon Platinum and finding Riddler puzzles and Challenge Maps on Arkham Asylum.

    Dark Forces and Jedi Knight: DF2 have awesome memories, it established me as a pc gamer foemost with other games like Half-Life 1 when I was much younger. So much so that I bought it again with mysteries of the sith expansion a few months ago in a bargain bin.

    Must get to that after I finish the pile of ps3 games I just got for xmas :D


      Seconded. And Space Invaders :) Having said space invaders, Emulating the 2600 version isnt really cutting it for me, does anyone have any suggestions on a version of space invaders which retains the same old gameplay, but is a bit more modern?


        Invaders, possibly from space - damn good fun.

        Space Invaders Extreme (2)!

        To be fair though, I'm not really sure what you mean by the "same old gameplay", because, really, all you're doing is pew-pewing at little alien pixels, but by gosh is it fun.

    Uncharted 2. Just finished Drake's Fortune yesterday, so why not keep the goodtimes a-rolling. Incidentally, it's true what everyone says, UC 1 still looks pretty bloody good for its age.

      Have a spare pair of socks ready for when the graphics of Uncharted 2 to blow them clean off. Also, I recommend you jump up one level in Difficulty for Uncharted 2, the game is slightly easier than the first game, so you may want to go up to keep the same sort of challenge going.

    I loved Jade Empire all those years ago, and purchased it through steam to give another run. Suprisingly though I can't stop playing nba10 live online, what an improvement over the previous years effort

    My friend got a PS3 and a few games for Christmas, so I’ll be playing some GTA4 online multiplayer. He also got Play TV, I gotta scoot over to his house and see how it works.

    I bought Mass Effect from Steam for $5USD, so if that finishes download during my off-peak time I'll give that a go and see how much better it is over the 360 build.

    Otherwise more Borderlands and a fair bit of editing in the UDK!

    I was up all night playing mw2 running everywhere spraying akimbo uzis

    Bought it a while ago and only just now getting a chance to play it.
    I loved the original Diablo and played it to death numerous times so it will interesting to see how the Torchlight experience compares.

      From what I've heard, Torchlight is a superior copy, so it's pretty epic. I haven't played it, but nearly all the folks I've asked agree that's it awesome.

    I missed Red Faction: Guerrilla the first time around - I was too bust with Infamous and Prototype - so I picked it up for $38 in the post Christmas sales. Snap! It's a great game, made better because I have that "Space Asshole" song stuck in my head.

      They were selling it for #30 for PS3 in Myers the other day. I had a $25 gift card, so I got it brand new for $5.

      This was my face at the time:


        Lucky. I haven't been able to find it all around the northern suburbs of melbourne.

      Nice, I may have to go and track it down! $30-ish sounds fantastic for what seems like a game I should have picked up on day one.

        Go for it - I got mine at GAME because I couldn't deal with department store crowds, but it's pretty cheap everywhere. Well worth the asking price, I'm having a blast.

        (har har har)

    Heroes of Might and Magic III is an amazing game, thanks for reminding me about it Dave! I shall dig through my old pile of CDs to find it. Otherwise I'm getting into Fallout 3 for the first time with the GOTY edition that my gf got me for christmas

    Ratchet and Clank 2, will probably throw in some Left 4 Dead 2, Killzone 2 and Assassin's Creed 2....hmmm, all the same games I said I'd play last week.

    Batman Arkham Asylum and probably start to replay BioShock and Mass Effect before the sequels come out.

    Guitar Hero 5. A bit of Uncharted 2 multiplayer. Maybe hop back into Demon's Souls if I can take it (minireview: I cannot believe the hype this game got. It has fake difficulty up the wazoo in the form of rote memorisation of enemy locations and ENDLESS GRINDING, terrible camera and lousy UI. As long as you don't die to ambushes and you grind to appropriate soul levels, the combat is not that hard. The online features are truly innovative and interesting, and the combat model has a lot of promise, but it's shackled to a grindfest worthy of a Korean MMO. The worst part is that the best grinding spots tend to be the easiest, most boring areas, so the risk/reward is off too).

    While sounding off: Uncharted 2. Brilliant game. Cannot fault the visuals or the sound and music at all. The writing and characters are good but they're blockbuster-movie level, there's not a ton of depth. Single player is a bit short (15 hours? Probably a bit more if you hunt down all the treasures and replay stuff trying for trophies, but 15 hours for the actual game). But.... the gameplay, well, to be honest the jumping climbing stuff is hella cool but a lot of elements of it get overused and it often makes you feel like you're on rails, there doesn't feel like there's much involvement besides spotting the next sticky-out brick. And movement and camera in open-movement areas is a bit twitchy. Combat is cinematic but a bit cheap (and laughable when you compare it to injuries taken by various people in cutscenes). For me it's an excellent game and the most cinematic game I've ever played, but still way behind DA:O if for nothing else than amount of content (and replayability), depth of characters and writing, more interesting combat and not feeling like I'm on rails. I also had more "holy ****" moments playing DA:O although it is a close-run thing, and Uncharted probably has more per hour of gameplay... (incidentally, playing Uncharted 2 after DA:O is hilarious in an extra way due to the voice actor crossovers). But then, I'm not a huge action blockbuster movie type of guy.

    Have a pre-order for Darksiders though, can't wait!

      You can’t really compare the replay value of Uncharted 2 to that of Dragon Age origins. Dragon age is an RPG specifically designed to be played multiple times, I really like the fact that the game has no possibility of spawning enemies and grinding, once you kill something its gone, that way you can’t rack up 300 hours like you can on Oblivion. I’m pretty sure Bioware wanted players to play for 50 hours then start again to see 50 hours of different content when you make different decisions.

      There's no need to grind in Demon's Souls. Learn to dodge and parry rather than relying on your defense or armour. You're better off killing the bosses for their huge amounts of souls.

        I dodge and parry fine, but you simply don't get enough souls early on in the regular course of play without grinding (and nothing I've read in online guides suggest I'm missing anything, other than that I'm not exploiting... it's a bit annoying to discover how many people recommend exploiting pathing and lousy AI to kill nasty mobs way earlier than you should be able to do so). I'd happily repeat boss fights if I could, sadly they don't respawn unlike all the regular mobs I have to repeat over and over...

        Perhaps it gets better later, but the pacing early on after the first couple of levels (in which playing chicken with the dragons is honestly really fun) is just grindfest. I know some people can tolerate that, good for them, but I've done my time with that. Playing Persona 4 on hard and tolerating being SMT'd every few hours is about my limit for these things these days.

        I'm happy to have played it though, the online mechanics are truly innovative (between the black phantoms, the notes, the bloodstains etc) and worth seeing for yourself. And I do like the combat system, other than the camera in tight spaces.

      Really good review of Uncharted. Most reviews I read just had the reviewers overlooking the problems in favour of the game's standout other features. At least you were willing to criticize and take a fair shot at all aspects of the game, instead of fanboy-like praise. I might be exaggerating a bit, but it's hard for me to form an opinion of the game when a torrent of "insta-classic" and "masterpiece" are thrown around.

      Good to see, really.

      Ooh ouch. I'd been considering buying Demon's Souls. I knew it was difficult, but it's annoying when it comes from cheap tactics rather than good AI. The game sounds interesting enough, and I don't mind a challenge, but perhaps I'd be better off borrowing the game from a friend first.

      As for Uncharted 2 - I kind of agree. I really enjoyed the game, and it was a great experience from beginning to end for me. I wish more games would have stories like UC2 - it was intriguing from the start, and had enough developments in it to keep me interested. Like UC1, it did suffer from rushing at the end. Too much time spent getting to the end point only for the conclusion to happen suddenly. If they gave us another hour near the end it would have been great in my opinion.

      I never felt like the game was on rails, but I would agree that some mechanics were used too often.

      The game really was a blockbuster movie brought to a console, and it felt like it. Every time I finished a section, the game threw something else at me - if it wasn't a helicopter chasing me or buildings falling down, it was a car chase or a moving train. Naughty Dog really nailed the excitement of a movie with this one.

      I'd agree that characters need to be a little more fleshed out though. I liked the story, but if there was a little more of it, it would be great. The characters, whilst likable, seem one dimensional at times. They could probably look at some RPGs for character development - it'd make it a much more involving game in my opinion.

      Nevertheless, I had a great time with it, and it's a game that everyone should play in my opinion. The Uncharted games were probably the biggest reason I decided to buy a PS3, and I don't regret it, but it's games like this that make me wish exclusivity didn't exist. As long as I get good games, I really don't mind what console it's on - I just wish my friends that don't have PS3s had the opportunity to play it.

        Long review, man. On the similarities between UC 2 and a blockbuster, is it really that obvious? Most if not all publicized reviews I've read emphasize the action sequences. In your opinion, having played through the game thoroughly (I assume, correct me if I'm wrong), do you think Uncharted could have used a little more balance with some slower pace and storytelling, or is it really as great as most people say? If so, it's definitely a game I'll pick up if I get a PS3.

        On Demon's Souls, I've heard it can be really cheap, but the mechanics are all there to make the game genuinely difficult. The black tendency worlds, the game getting harder when you die, Black Phantoms entering your game and so forth. Someone who's played/rented the game could tell you more, but it really seems like a solid effort from the devs and something that could be adapted into future games like this. I personally would love Demon's Souls on the 360, but I worry with Live's massively interconnective service (what with Zune and Windows media Center) that the isolation and atomsphere you get when another player enters your game and tries to hunt you down (Black Phantom?) would be lost.

        I agree when you say that you dislike exclusivity. I reckon the sales for PS3/360 would skyrocket if games like Halo came to the PS3, and vice versa with hits like MGS4 and UC and Demon's Souls come to the 360. Though that'll never happen, what with Microsoft and Sony grabbing all the exclusives they can at every point, and in Microsoft's case, throwing ridiculous amounts of money to ensure they get at least a head start on DLC and some exclusives (Fallout 3 being a prime example). Sucks though, I'd love PS3 games on my 360. It's a pipe dream I reckon.

          It really is a fantastic game - if you pick up a PS3 at some point, it's well worth getting. Sure, it could use some more balance, and some more character development, but the sheer number of "Wow" moments is off the scale.
          Basically Naughty Dog have taken a story that should have been the next Indiana Jones movie and filled it with amazingly cinematic levels. The story progresses well and takes you through a whole bunch of "movie moments" - train/car chases etc. The animation is superb, and really communicates a lot about the characters.

          Basically, think National Treasure meets Tomb Raider/Indiana Jones, but with a much more in depth and cinematic experience than you'll get from any other action/adventure game out there. With a little more originality in the puzzle department, and a little more character development, it'd be just about perfect in my opinion. Best single player gaming experience I've had in a long time anyway, on any console.

          On Demon's Souls, I definitely think it's one of those games that I'll have to try. Quite a few differing opinions on this one. I'll have to see if I can rent/borrow it from someone.

          As for exclusivity - yeah, it won't happen. It makes it difficult though - I only bought a PS3 a couple of months ago, and there were games I would have gladly bought had they been on 360. I can understand the reasons for it, but sometimes you can't justify buying 3 consoles just to make sure you don't miss out on the game of the year. It's definitely a pipe dream.

            Really? Sweet. I guess it is all that people say, and well done to Naughty Dog. Also I loved National Treasure 1/2 and Indiana Jones (admittedly, not the latest movie) so I think it would go down a treat for me. Maybe I'll go to a friend's house and play it.

            The main thing preventing me from getting a PS3 is money. There's tons of good exclusives and awesome multiplatforms coming out this year and I can't afford both, so I'm leaning towards the exlcusives and multiplatforms. I've seen how PSN works and it just seems to me that Live has a more streamlined and connected service. What's your comparison between them? Also, the PS3 main menu seems a bit less cluttered than the Dashboard is, what do you think?

            Demon Souls really does sound like my kind of game. Games that ramp up in a steep difficulty curve make me curse and rage, but I always go back for more. Demon's Souls would work for me since the difficulty is influenced by a lot of factors, which seems great. But again, I don't have a PS3, so we'll have to see.

            On the exclusivity topic, I'd even like to see some games have cross-platform play. It'd hardly happen, but a game that Live and PSN both connect to, and then has a lobby where both consoles can play would be awesome. There would be difficulties in that some Live and PSN players would have the same tag, but that could be easily remedied by having a prefix or something before the tag. Still, a pipe dream but hopefully next gen.

              Yeah, do play it if you get a chance.

              The main thing that stopped me from getting a PS3 was money too. I already had a Blu-Ray player (I bought into HD-DVD and ended up switching not long after BD won the war), so $600+ was not worth it for me. When the slim came out and it hit $499 plus a couple of games, I sold my BD player and bought one. Sony's finally hit the right price for a lot of people now.

              Straight away, I like Live a lot better than PSN. The PSN Store seems cluttered, overly complicated, and slow to load. For instance, if I want to download DLC for say Dragon's Age - on Xbox Live, I would go to Marketplace, Game Add-Ons, and browse all. It would download, and then it would be all finished. For PSN, I would have to go into PSN Store, PSN downloads, RPGs, then identify the game. Once I downloaded the DLC, I would then have to install the DLC - meaning, go to the game column on the XMB and choose each bit of DLC I had downloaded and install it. Slightly annoying if you're downloading a few items - not to mention time consuming.

              I do like the XMB personally - if you've used a PSP you know what it's like. It's nice to use, and it's uncluttered - I don't know if it's better than NXE, but it's nice.

              Personally, my 360 gets used a lot more, but apart from the store and some basic network functionality, the PS3 does seem to be a more polished system.

              Cross platform gaming is the one thing that I wish they would remedy quickly. It should be possible for a PS3 and 360 playing the same game to communicate - Macs and PCs manage it all the time, even when not using universal binary. Heck, PC and Dreamcast managed it with Quake 3, and Microsoft has already done it with Shadowrun. The problem is that Microsoft's userbase is too valuable to them to allow Sony to suddenly grab 10 million+ people to play with their users. It may happen in the future, but I doubt it.

    I picked up the Jedi Knight pack off steam a few months ago. Much like you I never played the original Dark Forces so that was interesting.

    2 things I took away from it the pack:
    - I miss cheesy live action videos in games, I really should pick up Red Alert 3 for the modern throw back to that.
    - FPS games have really slowed down over the years, you move so damn fast in the original Dark Forces. Anyone know of any modern FPS with that kind of speed, even any mods?

    Also steam sales are killing me (my bandwidth mostly), I actually wonder wether they have the potential to harm the gaming industry with deals this good. I have enough games to probably last me the year now and I'm questioning whether I'll actually buy any new releases anytime soon. For instance I was going to buy Darksiders this month but I'm not so sure anymore.

    I THINK i'm with Steve - i might chuck Mass Effect in later. Gear up for the new one. I never finished it and didn't quite get half way in even though i liked it.

    I'm in a sort of exploring mode - so it might be Mass Effect (ready for #2), GTA IV (to finally finish it) or even Orange Box for the Episodes i never (and stupidly) played. Just Cause could even sneak in there for its upcoming installment.

    Well I'll probably limp through to the end of LoZ: Spirit Tracks, not really enjoying it at all. Then I've got Sacred Gold waiting, or I could finally get around to doing a second playthrough of Dragon Age.

    I'm playing Assasins Creed2, half way maybe but I'm doing everything. Want to replay uncharted 2 as its FTW. I also just finished Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 which is great but way under peoples radar. Oh and I just started the newest ratchet and clank, another underated under the radar.

    Hired Mercenaries 2, so I'll get stuck into that. Also got about 10 games from the steam sales including Braid, World Of Goo, Larva Mortus and Torchlight. So I'll try and play some of those as well.

    I've also had quite a bit of a spendup on both Steam & the ever awesome GOG. Now that I managed to copper-mod my laptop back from the grave that HP seemed determined to consign it to, I've got something like a dozen "new" games to play

    Overlord, Overlord 2, Osmos, Lucdity, STALKER, Bloodrayne, Advent Rising, The Longest Journey, Tex Murphy 1 & 2, Psychonauts, UFO Aftermath & Aftershock and thats in addition to the games I got for christmas...

    Damned good thing that uni holidays are so long...

    still playing MW2 ;)

    still gotta get the blaster runs hot trophy for R&C: CiT for my plat though :O

    Finished Uncharted 2 last night and started playing a bit of the multi-player which isn't too bad...nothing revolutionary but quite solid and the lag has been fairly kind to me so far.

    Just finished Brutal Legend this morning, although I still have a tonne of sidequests to do.

    For the rest of the weekend I think I will be getting stuck into Dragon Age and a bit of Point Blank for the PS1 I picked up on the cheap a couple weeks back.

    ill be playing some more darksiders, got it on thursday night, and already am enjoying it heaps, took a little while to get used to the dodge system as I have been playing a lot of bayonetta....

    Only bad thing I can say about darksiders is the boring and tedious dragon sequence to get to the first castle to kill one of the main bosses

    And the actual mission to get to kill a dragon was a long mission and the dragon would not stay down and die grrr....overall though im enjoying it..

    I've actually had a bunch of friends over at different points over the last few days, so we've been playing a fair bit of Rock Band, NSMB Wii, Wii Sports Resort, Scene It! and Halo 3. NSMB, Scene It and Rock Band are great party games that don't take a whole lot of learning to get into. Nearly everyone knows how to play Wii Sports, so 18 hole golf tourneys are fairly common.

    I'm not expecting anyone else this weekend though, so maybe I'll catch up some more on Valkyria Chronicles or Borderlands. Cleaning up first though - I have game boxes, cables and controllers all over the place!

    Some fantastic games you've got there David. I loved Jedi Knight - I used to spend ages playing it on Zone over 56k (33k at one point I think!). I never played the original Dark Forces either - I got into the series with Jedi Knight, and I've played all of them but still think the original JK is the best.

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