January 4 -- January 8

Happy New Year.

If I'd had a clearer head on my shoulder last week, I'd have given game of the week to the monster Steam Sale that enthralled us with rock bottom prices and warehouse savings. Their prices were so low, they must be INSANE!

My impulse buy reflex was kicking in overtime, and I was sorely tempted to spend hundreds of dollars stocking up my PC reservoir for whatever coming apocalypse might have me holed up in a lead-lined vault for a decade or three. As we enter the new year, however, it is time to start looking forward again and realize that some anticipation worthy titles may be right around the proverbial corner.

Baby new year comes out of the gate wielding serious artillery and ready to kick butt with a better than average first week. Among the games, the first true sequel to one of my favorite RPGs, Divine Divinity. However, Divinity II looks on first glance to be a follow-up title in name alone. Initial reaction seems to be sketchy at best, and I'm likely to wait for a little more info before pulling the trigger.

Sharing the spotlight this week, Darksiders looks very promising. A pure action game that puts you into the fire-branded shoes of one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, initial reviews are falling over themselves with joy. Add to the mix Bayonetta, and you've got a pretty serious week of gaming -- so I hope you saved those gift cards you received over Christmas, because it's time to spend some money again.

For me, Darksiders comes out of nowhere to take the week away from what had been a long anticipated Divinity II.

PC
- Divinity II - Ego Draconis

PS3
- Bayonetta
- Darksiders

Xbox 360
- Bayonetta
- Darksiders
- Divinity II - Ego Draconis

Wii
- My Fitness Coach 2: Workout and Nutrition

DS
- Fast Food Panic

Comments

Nice choice. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Let Christmas in January begin!

I'd love to purchase Bayonetta but I'm afraid of the high probability of wife aggro. The demo really sold me on it, but I've got tons to play right now and I think I'm good until around 2015 when Marty McFly visits us.

Bayonetta and Darksiders look interesting, but I've got plenty on my plate, as well. I might take a break until Mass Effect 2 hits in three weeks.

TheCounselor wrote:

I've got plenty on my plate, as well. I might take a break until Mass Effect 2 hits in three weeks.

This, thanks to the Steam sale.

If it weren't for ME2, I probably wouldn't be buying any game until April (Red Dead Redemption).

Elysium wrote:

[...] I was sorely tempted to spend hundreds of dollars stocking up my PC reservoir for whatever coming apocalypse might have me holed up in a lead-lined vault for a decade or three.

I'm right there with you. I started home gaming back in the 80s when games and movies were not so easy to come by. Something would come along, be in the stores for a little while, and then be gone. If something looked remotely good, I would snag it, keep it forever, and play the hell out of it. This doesn't work as well at a time when games - and good games at that - come along faster than I can play them.

This impulse to hoard against the coming dark is why I have dozens (maybe hundreds) of games that I've put a couple of hours into, then put away and forgotten when the new shiny comes out.

Must ... resist ... urge ... to ... buy ...

Damn Steam, Impulse, Direct2Drive, GamersGate, Amazon and Good Old Games for their wonderful sales!

Hans

Bayonetta is coming on my newfangled Gameaccess account, and I'm pretty damn excited - its my first "Horizons Broadening" game in a while.

Darksiders is also on that list - we'll see where it sticks in the rotation.

I bought X3 Terran Conflict on the steam sale. The manual is actually *gasp* acceptable!

The game still has some rough edges though. I started in the merchant career and about 5 minutes into the tutorial the guy asks you to shoot a cannister of debris he has ejected from his ship, you know, to teach you how to fight.

Except the merchant ship has no weapons.

End of tutorial. No problem really, since X3TC is really just X2 with a fabulously good user interface (by comparison) and it's really the same game as X2 structurally. Fine by me.

Add to the mix Bayonetta, and you've got a pretty serious week of gaming -- so I hope you saved those gift cards you received over Christmas, because it's time to spend some money again unless you're a PC gamer, in which case the Steam sales left you with enough to keep you busy until next year's holiday sale.
Infinity wrote:

I bought X3 Terran Conflict on the steam sale. The manual is actually *gasp* acceptable!

The game still has some rough edges though. I started in the merchant career and about 5 minutes into the tutorial the guy asks you to shoot a cannister of debris he has ejected from his ship, you know, to teach you how to fight.

Except the merchant ship has no weapons.

End of tutorial. No problem really, since X3TC is really just X2 with a fabulously good user interface (by comparison) and it's really the same game as X2 structurally. Fine by me.

Not really where I need to address this, but 1) the manual is decent, but basic and the gap between what's written on the page and execution in game is a vast, vast expanse of confusion. And 2) you're given two ships as the merchant. Get out of your freighter and into your fighter. The tutorial is still atrocious, as they always have been with X games.

Bayonetta is solidly on my to-buy list, but that's a long, long list as it is. I suspect I'll jump in after a price-drop on it - January's gaming budget is dedicated to Mass Effect 2.

I played the Bayonetta demo and probably won't be buying it.

My criticism is slightly unusual: It just doesn't look good enough. Literally. Visually. Looking at the demo, I don't think we've hit the technical threshold to support a 3-D action game based on T&A. The concept of Bayonetta instantly disrobing to do a special move is kinda titillating, but the execution doesn't work for me -- it doesn't really look like anything. The animation was too small and too bare to really engage me, even in HD on a huge TV.

I'm open to the idea of playing a game about exploitative eye-candy, but it's not going to be this one.

grobstein wrote:

My criticism is slightly unusual: It just doesn't look good enough. Literally. Visually. Looking at the demo, I don't think we've hit the technical threshold to support a 3-D action game based on T&A. The concept of Bayonetta instantly disrobing to do a special move is kinda titillating, but the execution doesn't work for me -- it doesn't really look like anything. The animation was too small and too bare to really engage me, even in HD on a huge TV.

Actually, I tend to agree with this. Despite having very tight and responsive controls for combat, I felt like the Bayonetta demo had a major problem with player feedback, with way too much stuff happening way too fast on the screen.

I realize that the breakneck pace is part of what is supposed to make the combat so thrilling, but I wouldn't have minded fleshing out -- and, as a result, slowing down -- some of the animations, just so it would be a bit easier to follow (and execute) the actions on-screen. As it stands, some of the combat motions are so clipped down that it would seem like you're playing in fast-forward: equal parts exhilaration and confusion.

Sounds like you guys need to convince a friend to buy or rent it and then watch him (or her) play.

If they would do a midnight launch for Bayonetta I would be out there in line. All my Devil May Cry fanboy neurons are firing in anticipation.

I'm waiting for some impressions on these three:

- Bayonetta
- Darksiders
- Divinity II - Ego Draconis

And then I'll wait until the middle of the year to even consider them.

trueheart78 wrote:

I'd love to purchase Bayonetta but I'm afraid of the high probability of wife aggro. The demo really sold me on it, but I've got tons to play right now and I think I'm good until around 2015 when Marty McFly visits us.

If I had a PS3 I would totally get this game. I'd consider it a bonus that my wife would want to watch me play it as much as I would want to play it. And yes, this post is here mainly to brag about that fact.

imbiginjapan wrote:

If I had a PS3 I would totally get this game. I'd consider it a bonus that my wife would want to watch me play it as much as I would want to play it. And yes, this post is here mainly to brag about that fact.

All the reviews so far have claimed that the PS3 version is by far the worst. I played it safe and picked up the Xbox one over lunch.

Mystic Violet wrote:

I'm waiting for some impressions on these three:

- Darksiders

And then I'll wait until the middle of the year to even consider them. ;)

I picked up Darksiders first-day. After not hearing anything about the game except very positive rumblings, someone mentioned that Mark Hamil voices the protagonist's "minder", a demon who rides you around and forces you to do things occasionally.

I was totally struck offguard by the fact that the game starts out as a post-apoc in a modern setting - seeing a winged demon tackle a news chopper made me cheer, and the entire story premise of the game ("Someone ended the world, it wasn't me!? What the heck is going on, now I'm getting angry!") is pretty neat.

Combat leans toward more simple rather than more "J-fightey" or God of War-style, however you've got a large inventory of items you collect as you progress, which can be bound to multiple keys, very Zelda-style. There are puzzles and dungeons and you collect souls to buy stuff from a demon merchant who was kicked out of Hell for some reason.

The comparisons to this game have seemed to be "god of war clone" commonly, but it really doesn't have a ton to do with god of war, this is not a "cutscene, kill enemies, cutscene, kill mroe enemies," game, it's an exploration/puzzle game that feels to me a lot like Soul Reaver meets Zelda.

It totally needs Brutal legend's soundtrack, though.

BTW, here's what the main character originally was supposed to look like, for peolpe who think the art direction is dumb or "grimdark".

http://xbox360media.ign.com/xbox360/image/article/875/875437/darksiders-wrath-of-war-20080520022056289.jpg

http://www.gamerevolution.com/screen/view.php?game=10166&screenf=darksiders_001

versus the new style: http://www.dailygame.net/images/screens/Darksiders/Darksiders_10.jpg

Please somebody make comments on Ego Draconis on the Conference Call. The feature set sounds great and the engine and play style look so much better than previous offerings. I just want some confirmation that this isn't a broken, imbalanced mess that typically plague overseas developers that are overly ambitious.

Sorry, Fang. None of us have played it yet.

Since my negative comments upthread I've been hit by a real hunger to get Bayonetta. I did play the demo again (on 360 this time), but I'm not sure how to explain my change of heart. The animations still look nearly incomprehensible to me, and Bayonetta's design looks totally weird (pretty much love the enemy designs though). I will probably buy it this week.

grobstein wrote:

Since my negative comments upthread I've been hit by a real hunger to get Bayonetta. I did play the demo again (on 360 this time), but I'm not sure how to explain my change of heart. The animations still look nearly incomprehensible to me, and Bayonetta's design looks totally weird (pretty much love the enemy designs though). I will probably buy it this week.

Rent it?

That's so . . . rational. Perhaps I will see if it's possible.

I've only seen one gameplay trailer for Dvinity 2, but The graphic engine and visual style reminded me immediately of those in Two Worlds with a sprinkling of Sacred 2 grass/foliage.

I'll be curious to hear impressions of it too.