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New To You Apr 2011 => Your best new Videogame
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What is the best Videogame you played for the first time this month (Apr 2011) and why? Please share your experiences of the games you played.

Videogame New To You Announcement Thread
Videogame - New to You - Metalist
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1. Video Game: Portal 2 [Average Rating:8.79 Overall Rank:1]
Andy
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Stockport
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Portal 2 - Steam thumbsupthumbsup
16 hours played

This was always going to be Portal 2's month, no matter what else I played... and I am really pleased to say that the game did not disappoint.
GLaDOS is back, and you now have a new companion (sphere) in the shape of Wheatley (who looks like one of GLaDOSes cores!).. there is an excellent story, and some great puzzles... the graphics and animations are truly amazing, and I love how the test chambers are repairing themselves as you enter, so you see new walls forming, and old plates falling away etc.
I still haven't had chance to try the co-op mode yet, but I am really looking forward to trying that too... and so far I feel like I have only explore half the game.

Sanctum - Steam thumbsup
7 hours played

This is a really interesting mix of First Person Shooter and Tower Defense... in which you have to construct a maze of towers and then also get to shoot at the waves of incoming aliens as they face your towers. There are only 3 different maps so far (Mine; Bridge; Arc), though more are in the pipeline as DLC. There are 3 weapons that you get to use... (Assault Rifle; Sniper Rifle and Freeze Gun) and a number of different towers, some of which are only available on certain levels. There are lots of different aliens too... all with different stats, and each one has a weakspot, where you can deal more damage.
All this, with added steam achievements and a co-op multi-player mode too adds up to a lot of game for a budget price.
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2. Video Game: Secret of Mana [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:80]
Joe Wasserman
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Secret of Mana - iPhone
4 hours played

I picked up this classic game for iPhone when it was on sale. I'm hoping the story will start to pick up soon, but so far it's been a bit of a let down. I'm only just starting, though. I'm having trouble keeping my party members alive, since they seem to like running into enemy attacks. So that's been kind of frustrating, but right now I'm on my way to buy them better armor. I like that you level up your weapon skill by actually using the weapon, not by spending points on it. The virtual d-pad is kind of hard to get used to, more so than a virtual analog stick. Since it auto-saves every time you enter a new area, it's great for playing in short, potentially-interrupted bursts (like on the bus, which is when I play the most). The real-time combat is a nice way to relax after a day at work, without having to think too hard about tactics.
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3. Video Game: HOARD [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:4056]
United States
Washington
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HOARD - PC (7 hours)
This is an interesting arcade game I received as a gift through Steam. You play as a dragon, and you fly around a map burninating and looting various types of NPCs, picking up the gold they drop, and carrying the gold back to your hoard. Your goal is to collect as much gold as possible before the time runs outs. You can also get gold by ransoming princesses, collecting wizard gems or stealing it from an opponent's hoard with the help of a power-up. As your hoard grows you can level up your dragon, improving its speed, fire power, health and carrying capacity.
This game combines real-time arcade game-play with a little bit of strategy. Which sorts of NPCs should you attack? Or should you attack one of your human opponents instead? How should you level up your dragon? This game is a lot of fun, and I like the fact that it includes a variety of game modes and maps. In the future I would like to see a map editor and the ability to customize the game time limit.

M.C. Kids - NES (a few hours)
I got this on eBay because I had fun playing it many, many years ago. It's still fun today.

Midway Arcade Treasures - Xbox (a few minutes)
I bought this compilation because I remember enjoying one specific game in the collection, Rampart, many years ago on the SNES. It turns out Rampart is not nearly as fun as I remember it. However, the collection does include some other games that I might enjoy going forward, including Marble Madness, Joust, Rampage, Paperboy, Smash TV and Gauntlet.

I Wanna Be the Guy: The Movie: The Game - PC (a few minutes)
This free game is too hard.

I also downloaded four free games from GOG.com, but I haven't played them at all yet: Beneath a Steel Sky, Tyrian, Teenagent and Lure of the Temptress.
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4. Video Game: Mirror's Edge [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:426]
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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thumbsup This is a VERY unique and cool first person shooter/platformer. Most of the game is running from the cops, which is great fun. The only bits I didn't like were the later chapters in the campaign where you have to fight a lot of enemies. The first half of the campaign is GREAT, though; really heartpounding and adrenaline-rush-inducing. It also has an interesting clean-cut-looking art style. Also, pretty cool how there is no HUD, and you can look down and see your legs and feet.
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5. Video Game: LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:1325]
Jeff G
United States
Santa Rosa
California
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Bought it for my 10 year old's birthday. We are still playing it. It's the funniest of the three Lego SW games.
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6. Video Game: Fallout: New Vegas [Average Rating:8.10 Overall Rank:58]
Hegel Bessa Jorge
Brazil
Fortaleza
Ceará
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- PS3

A really good game, that surely has lots of things to do and will consume a lot of my free time. A huge world to explore, a lot of variety and great environments. I already played about 100 hours of fallout 3 and I guess this will get played much too, but it is way to similar, with only a few improvements that I've seen so far, to deserve a 10. I heard it has a lot of bugs but since I haven't experienced any yet, I recommend this game to anyone who likes computer "RPGs".
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7. Video Game: Radiant Historia [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:1173]
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Madison
Wisconsin
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Heaviest month of videogaming for me in a long, long time, partly because I've had some time off work. All of the following are games for the Nintendo DS. I love a good system-sunset.

Radiant Historia

This is the best game I've played this year, and easily my favorite DS title, period. I wrote a review that covers it in detail:

Stray Lion

I've completed the story and finished most of the sidequests. 42 hours so far.

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

A close second this month would be 999, which is also easily my second favorite DS title. It is a gripping, thrill-filled ride dripping with foreboding, paranoia, and survival-instinct. It's a high-concept adventure game. Without spoiling too much, the player wakes up aboard a ship, locked by himself in a room on one of the lower decks. Just as he's getting his bearings, the one small window in the room cracks and then shatters, and the room begins to flood. Not surprisingly, he freaks out. The game then displays each angle of the room in rapid succession, cuts to a close-up of your character's eyes, and then displays the message "Seek a Way Out." From there it's a scramble to find anything in your environment that might help you escape. There's no time-limit, but it feels frantic enough.

Fairly early on, the plot ventures into pseudo-occultist nonsense, but I never felt that the game took itself all that seriously and so I never had the expectation that the plot would resolve in a way that made any amount of sense. It didn't. I didn't mind. There are 6 endings to the game, 3 of them bad, one of them mixed, one of them sort-of good, and one of them the "true," good ending. You cannot get the true ending without reaching the others first, but I think the others can be reached in almost any order. The story surrounds a group of nine characters, and there are places in the narrative where the group has to split up and take different paths through the ship before re-uniting. Which rooms you tackle in which order affects the outcome of the game. The real stroke of genius is that once you finish it, the game records all of your previous progress in the same file you use to start over. That way, any dialogue or exposition you've already seen can be put on fast-forward, whereas the game immediately stops when new content appears.

A great game that I plan to review the game in the next week or so.

Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard

I have a love-hate relationship with this game. It's a punishingly difficult, totally old-school first-person RPG. I want to like it for the exploration and for the 15 or so character classes, each with a robust skill progression, but the game is pretty one-dimensional. The first several hours are a grind, but once you get past the first story-boss (of six), it's suddenly easy to gain massive amounts of experience and gold if you have the right party. Almost by accident, I seem to have exactly the right party for all of the game's exploits. I have now completed half the game, which represents an investment of more time than I care to admit (probably 30 hours or so). The last few floors of the labyrinth haven't been very fun to explore because they were covered in sheets of ice, which made navigating them a frustrating visual puzzle. I'm hoping things improve on the fourth "stratum" (30 floors, grouped in strata of 5). Now that I've completed three strata, I feel like I'm on a spin-cycle. Refighting the previous boss 5-6 times give you enough xp to cover the next few floors, so I head through them as quickly as possible to reach the next boss...

Anyway, I feel like I've seen most of what there is to see here. The game's quests are pretty sad, uninspired affairs and I feel like I've figured out all the shortcuts hidden away in the skill-trees. Maybe I'll play a bit more. Maybe not. At least I know what the EO series is all about; I've been curious for a while.

Summon Night: Twin Age

This one I just started today, actually. Played for 2.5 hours so far, and completed 4/18 chapters.

To be honest, the game makes a very poor first impression. However, if you stick with it for about 45 minutes, decent pacing kicks in and you'll have a much better sense of what kind of experience you're in for.

This is an overly cute, anime-style version of Diablo. That pretty much pegs it exactly. Things are fairly simplified, with a melee character and a mage that you can switch between and that assist eachother with basic AI. You can also have one guest party member.

The North American release of this game was heavily difficulty-adjusted. In a game about leveling up, managing a light skill-tree, and watching HP/MP on the fly, the NA version gives players a huge stock of heavy-duty healing and MP-restoration items right off the bat, so much so that I was just plain confused. Same with skill points - you are given a full 100 up front, and that's way more than you'd know what to do with. So far I'm just upgrading what I need to maintain a very brisk pace, because without that pace this game would fall to pieces. I assume my skill point cushion will feel relevant later.

Not a bad game, but total fluff. Kinda charming big-sis/little-bro vibe between the two main characters.

Consigned to the Ebay Pile

As you can see, I'm on a craze with the DS. This month I also tried Infinite Space, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey. I gave Infinite Space about 90 minutes of my time and came down in it pretty hard, rating it a 4/10. Massive design flaws abound, and the game centers around incredibly shallow combat. I invested more in Dark Dawn (5 hours) and Strange Journey (8 hours), but ultimately rated both a 5 and moved on. Anyone who's curious can check out my personal comments. I do not recommend either game, but I was quite curious about both and am glad I got to try them.

On Hiatus

I did play some Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor this month, maybe three hours or so, but I lost my momentum and then 999 completely sidelined it. I'll report back next month.
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8. Video Game: Portal 2 [Average Rating:8.79 Overall Rank:1]
Adam Slape
United States
Collinsville
Illinois
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Portal 2 - 9/10
So, yeah...Portal 2, how great was that? I am actually considering a 10 for this game, but even giving a 9 during the month something is released is a big deal for me. Valve is really pushing the limits of just how much awesome you can fit in a single game. (Side note: Animal King Takeover would be a great name for a band)

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story - 8/10
I think I still have quite a bit left in this one, but I don't see my rating changing much before then. As is typical with Nintendo's RPGs, the localization is very well done, and the dialogue is ridiculous but also hilarious for that reason. The only problem I have with these Mario role playing games is that you never get to really "build up" the characters like you would in a traditional RPG. Without those awesome sets of armor and weapons to work towards, grinding for XP can get pretty tedious.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - 7/10
I'd been wanting to get into this series for a long time, and just noticed recently that it was available for Apple devices for the low price of $4.99 (well, low considering the cost of a DS copy, not compared to other iPod games). I have enjoyed it and am nearing the end (on case #5 of 5), but it's a little more linear than I would have liked. Maybe it's too much to ask for a legal simulation to be too open-ended, but I still feel a little annoyed when I've noticed inconsistencies in a case and have no way to point them out until I reach a certain piece of testimony. There's also a little bit of anime flavor to the story that I could do without; I don't feel the game needs to have supernatural elements, but they are in there and can't really be ignored.
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9. Video Game: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:676] [Average Rating:7.29 Unranked]
Jeroen van der Valk
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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At the beginning of the month I got The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for the XBox, played a bit of that. Very well done game, though it hasn't grabbed me immediately, and I decided to return to Dragon Age II. Still haven't finished it though.

Last week I got a new PC, the previous one was dead, and also because my daughter likes it, I decided to revisit World of Warcraft, which I've been playing off and on since launch, but hadn't played for a year or so.

Being the completist I am, I needed to still get the latest expansion, which I did. I'm almost grateful that the game doesn't grab me as much as it used to, though Blizzard has pulled out all the stops, especially with regards to the starting areas and quest and story lines of the new races.

However, the game as a whole has been dumbed down massively, and I feel it has lost a bit of its original charm. Some things are just too easy, come too soon. At times the original felt like work, but I think they hit a sweet spot after the Burning Crusade expansion, and now they've taken it all too far.

Still, I guess I'll be playing off and on. It's nice to see Azeroth on a modern PC with almost all the visual settings maxed out.
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10. Video Game: Fallout: New Vegas [Average Rating:8.10 Overall Rank:58]
Brian Baird
United States
Pflugerville
Texas
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This month's been busy with non-game related stuff, so I really haven't had much time for new or old videogames.

Fallout New Vegas

I *adore* Fallout 3; I racked up easily 70-80 hours of playtime with it and still occasionally return to the Wasteland to finish up missions & explore.

I held off buying Fallout New Vegas at launch because I try not to pay $60 for games. After hearing about its 'bugginess', I was glad to hold off... Finally, it finally dropped to $20 new, so I couldn't resist.

It's great being back in the world of Fallout, it feels like putting on a well loved worn jacket.. But man, it's buggy. Really buggy. Even after patches. And even after patches for the patches....


Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts - this is the only other new game I can remember playing at this point Received it in the recent VGG math trade... I love the ideas contained within it, but not the execution... Some sloppy platforming/vehicle combat at times, which is painful to me when it's core to the game's level progression at times :-/ Still, the world is fun, playing with the vehicles is fun... And the sense of humour is spot on.

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11. Video Game: LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:770]
Chad V
United States
Atlanta
Georgia
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LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 - Xbox 360 thumbsupthumbsup
I bought collector's edtion on clearance from GameStop last week for $20. This is my favorite LEGO game so far.

Legends of Elendria: The Frozen Maiden - iPhone thumbsup
I really enjoyed this tower defense game for the first few hours. It has a skill tree which is a little different for this type of game. I am done playing it now and doubt I will ever go back to it.
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12. Video Game: Amnesia: The Dark Descent [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:384]
Chris
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Yes, I played and beat Portal 2, but I KNEW it was going to be fantastic. And everyone is saying it.

To me, the biggest, I guess you could say surprise, was Amnesia: The Dark Descent. I was pretty sure I'd like it, but I was honestly amazed at just how good it was. There's one section where
Spoiler (click to reveal)
you're running through the flooded basement and an invisible monster is chasing you, and the only way to slow it down is to slam doors in its face. In the previous room you learn the monster can only see you if you are in the water, but you have many boxes and such to hop around on, and items to throw to distract it with. When you get to this room, there's maybe one thing you can stand on, and then you have to run like hell to get away. I also stopped at the first door, thinking I might have a reprieve, and when the wood started getting torn from the frame, I knew it was time to start running again. This game gave me a rush that I haven't felt in I don't know how long.


I love the "no weapon" deal it's got going, and it's great at letting you build the tension yourself. There are few rooms you can stand in without going insane, so you have to keep moving, but at the same time, there's always a chance that you'll end up in a very dark and dangerous spot. And even though limited resources can be a bad thing in games, I think they did a great job of making the candle light and lamp oil limited enough to make you think, but not enough to kill the game. There's always a point where I think, will I spend some time here? Do I want to use the candle lighter here?

And of course, it looks fantastic. Highly recommended for anyone into horror type games.
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13. Video Game: Dawn of Discovery [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:3848]
Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Two new videogames last month, and both were very enjoyable, but neither made me stop playing SimCity 4 as my main videogame activity!

Dawn of Discovery was the one I preferred of the two, and I spent an enjoyable afternoon playing through the first few chapters of the story. Haven't gone back to it yet though.

Civilization IV: The Complete Edition was my other recent purchase, and I had a brief play with it. I used to be a huge Civilization 2 fan, and I think I will like this one as a modern equivalent but with a few tweaks, but right now it's not going to beat SimCity 4, which is much fresher to me.
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14. Video Game: Portal [Average Rating:8.66 Overall Rank:3]
Phil
Germany
Bremen
Bremen
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Since this was the only new game for me it would have to be "The best of April".

The game was nice but not worth the hype. Too easy, too short. More a tech demo than anything else.
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15. Video Game: BioShock [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:56]
Luis
Spain
Madrid
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His destructive programming is taking effect. He will be irresistibly drawn to large cities, where he will back up sewers, reverse street signs, and steal everyone's left shoe.
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626 was designed to be a monster, but now he has nothing to destroy. You see, I never gave him a greater purpose. What must it be like to have nothing, not even memories to look back on in the middle of the night?
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Bioshock is one of those games that I had been avoiding for quite some time but thanks to VGG I decided to give it a chance. Now that I've tried it I have mixed opinions: story is good and so is gameplay, but it sports what for me is one big and almost fatal flaw. Which is it? In concept, Rapture is huge; in theory is just a collection of scenarios, one after the other. The fact that you can't get lost in the city made hard for me to get immersed in a lot of areas, which was precisely the quality I was looking forward to in Bioshock. Solid game but not quite there.
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