Decided to bump the piece I had scheduled for today to next week, since so many people I’d like to respond to it are busy at GDC right now. In the meantime, I’m always interested in what people are playing, why they like it, and what they’re looking forward to.
Personally, I’m still playing the boardgame Arkham Horror and the latest Zelda with my wife, as well as finishing up my revisit of Valkyria Chronicles and playing either the interminable campaign of Descent: Road to Legend (which I am finally enjoying) or Darkwind on Boy’s Night. We also sneak in some Storage, Inc, which is a classy multiplayer forklift game that no-one has heard of (it’s rotting away on the 360’s “community” pipe, which is a shame). It’s striking how much of my game money goes to hobby game maker Fantasy Flight these days – much more than goes on videogames.
I might critique Skyward Sword when we finish it (it’s been a long time since I critiqued a game!), and I was thinking about talking a little about Valkyria Chronicles at some point but I suspect too few people have played it to make this productive. Really enjoyed revisiting this game, though – after Front Mission 3, my favourite stat-RPG. The watercolour style of the CANVAS engine is a thing of beauty, and the mechanics offer a much greater focus on battle strategy over character advancement. In fact, it has the most restrained advancement mechanics I’ve encountered – compelling with almost no micromanagement. It’s representational choices are also interesting, and surprisingly successful. This is the only PS3 exclusive boxed product I rate, although it’s wildly unsuited to most players tastes! Definitely a grand folly.
As for looking forward to, I’m excited to have picked up Innsmouth Horror while in the States in February, and really looking forward to trying the new investigators and battling the final set of Ancient Ones. Beyond that I’m just waiting for The Last Guardian to finally be finished. I’m also looking for a good puzzle game, but everything that comes down the pipe is quite poor. Critter Crunch had promise but was terribly overdesigned. Don’t add a new mechanic every level, work on your core mechanics and make sure you have a mode for everyone. The absence of a useful sprint or marathon mode in this game is pure incompetence. The success of Tetris is not a fluke – learn from it.
What about you? What are you playing? Why do you like it? What are you looking forward to?