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Alasdair Duncan avatar 2:34 PM on 10.01.2013  (server time)
Backlog Challenge Part 7

So two months ago I said that July would be catch up month and that tackling the backlog would have to wait for a few weeks. Well those few weeks ended up becoming two whole months as the Steam sale went on and I was, once again, overwhelmed as to what game to play and where to start. I got mucked in with Far Cry 3ís Blood Dragon which I picked up in the Steam sale (that in itself will be a recurring theme); man that is a dumb, dumb game but also an exciting one. You can tell it was made on a budget yet it shows a surprising willingness to break from the main gameís story. The humour was reminded me of the best 80ís straight-to-VHS flick that I never saw. My buddy Matt is a connoisseur of that kind of stuff but I was never a fan of the ďso bad itís goodĒ type of flick but Blood Dragon clearly has itís tongue firmly lodged in itís cheek.

Next up was the second DLC for Dishonored, The Witches of Bridgemore which I was itching to get to after completing the previous DLC, the Knife of Dunwall, which doesnít end on a cliffhanger per se but does leave unanswered questions. Witches of Bridgemore does start off slowly by bringing Daud back to a place we already explored with Corvo but the latter levels definitely are an improvement. The last level with the teleporting witches and the spectral hounds is so tense and itís great to see what the plan of Delilah really is. After that I played Gucamelee which is a quality platformer with some metroidvania-esque elements. Love the art style, the meme-stuff wasnít really off-putting and the difficulty curve is aimed just right. At the end, I was getting frustrated at the last few bosses but overall itís a fun game you should check out.

I played Gone Home which I was eager to play as soon as I could. This style of game is something I want to see more of; personal, reflective and emotionally engaging. I felt a connection with Samís tale, despite being a straight, hairy guy; I didnít grow up in the Pacific Northwest region but I was a teenager in the mid-90ís and the tales of high school romance struck a chord with me. Sure, thereís some contrivances that have to be made; did anyone really leave such a paper trail in their house and hey, why do none of the bathrooms have any mirrors in them? Still, the story has stuck with me over the last few days and again, Iíd love to see more small-scale, personal experiences like this in the future.

Next up was Remember Me, which had been described as ďthe type of game that you should wait until itís on a Steam saleĒ but I think that grossly undersells the title. The customisable combo system was really interesting and the memory remixes were really interesting to work with. Yes, thereís a lot of fluff concerning the terms for basic videogame mechanics but at least thereís an attempt to make a cohesive and distinctive world. Some of the mechanics concerning taking out certain enemies were frustrating but I really enjoyed the game overall.

Iíve managed to finish Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs too, which felt short but was still scary. The tension I felt was really strong but I had some glitches with the game too, like how my monitor would go onto standby mode when it got too dark. It didnít have the same impact as the Dark Descent but how could it? A Machine for Pigs was a grim tale of apocalyptic visions of the 20th century.

So onto this month, I really want to finish games that I came so close to getting to the end but wasnít able to polish them. Iím still working on finishing GTA V but Iím willing to split my time between Rockstarís latest and another game from the backlog. Weíre entering a busy period of the year both with new games (and Iíve got quite a few gigs to go to) but I feel I can pull off another backlog challenge.

First up is Fallout New Vegas; Iím already deep into the game and Iíve completed the Old World Blues DLC pack but Iím also at the stage where Iíve pissed Caesarís Legion off enough, where theyíre just appearing out of thin air to take pot shots at me. It got really frustrating to the point where I just gave up but I do really want to finish the main storyline. If thereís time during the month, Iíll complete that and hopefully another DLC chapter too.

I got likeÖ. this close to finishing Alan Wake on the 360, I know I was right near the end but for some reason I just never pushed to the end. This was back when I was living in Australia, so Iím not gonna be able to just boot the game up again and complete it. Iíll have to do it all over again on the PC but Iím okay with that. Just donít expect me to collect all those bloody flasks again.

Shadowrun Returns really needs finishing; I kinda screwed myself over by buying stuff I really didnít need and so Iím at a stage where I have to recruit mercs for a mission and all I can afford are the cheap ones that offer very little help. I need to roll back and start from an earlier save or I could start again.

Itís a similar situation with XCOM; I had taken a path that left me with hardly any engineers and therefore unable to build any income generating satellites. Iíve restarted and have a good base already built. I feel like Iíve got a good hang of the mechanics now so Iím hoping Iím not going down a path that I feel is going to screw me up later on.

Strangely enough, I got about ⅓ of the way through Thomas Was Alone whilst I was at the airport waiting to go to PAX East this year. I really should play more of it, as the game runs just fine on my laptop and works well without a mouse and keyboard.

So thatís your options, post one game in the comments and Iíll do my best to finish that title off by the end of the month.

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