Return to Ostagar

New DLC coming out for Dragon Age on January 5th, entitled “Return to Ostagar.” Should be a great opportunity to get some revenge on the horde that did some unkind things to some friends of yours. Price is $5, might be worth it if there’s enough going on there. Should be some promising items available as well.

Braid Complete

Finished the story mode and managed to collect all of the puzzle pieces along the way in Braid. Quite a few devilish puzzles — I have to admit I didn’t solve all of them without help. And the final level, incredible. I knew what was coming, but I was still affected by the conclusion. What an experience.

Plants vs. Zombies Complete!

As I mentioned before, I’ve been having fun with Plants vs. Zombies. I finally managed to clear the adventure twice, and each mini-game, puzzle, and survival mode to get the gold sunflower trophy! Bobsled Bonanza was particularly tough.

Woo I’m awesome.

An Unlikely Pair: Assassin’s Creed II and A Boy and His Blob

Friends and family were very kind to me with their gift-giving this year. Lots of great books and games. I’ve played a little bit of an odd pair of games, those being Assassin’s Creed II and A Boy and His Blob.

I’ve posted about the game before, but in brief, Blob is adorable puzzle platformer in which you use the Blob’s shape-changing abilities to get you around obstacles and past enemies. The challenges are smart but not frustrating, although I’ve only just started the game. The art and sound are perfect, with the hand-drawn backdrops and animation perfectly presented. It’s a slow, smooth game that requires a quick mind without many quick reflexes.

Contrast that with Assassin’s Creed II, in which you kill a lot of people. Brutally. But there’s a whole lot more to it, thankfully, that breaks up core story missions. This game also has a lot more story than the first, which I’m very much into, dovetailing Desmond with Ezio in a past-future drama that is sure to go deeper into the rabbit hole. I’ve had fun bouncing around the open world, just finding things to do. You can easily get lost in the sub-missions, finding vantage points and courier missions in the incredibly-modeled environments. Controls are tights and fighting is much crisper than the last game. It really is Assassin’s Creed 2.0.

Steam Sale and Braid

If you haven’t heard, there’s an amazing sale going on via Steam. I picked up some gifts for friends and had to get Braid for myself. I know there’s been so much critical acclaim for this game in the past year, even by myself, but as yet I haven’t played it yet. But I picked it up on Steam, and wow.

Braid is hauntingly beautiful, evoking emotion with its music and visual design. The story, told in book chapters, is equally good. Just played through the first world, and the gameplay is solid and the tricks with the time-shifting mechanic are innovative and seriously wow-inducing.

If you have not played this game, you owe it to yourself to give it a go.

Top Ten for 2010

Gaming for 2010 is starting to look like 2007 Part II. We’ve got so many sequels coming out, it’s incredible. Bioshock, Mass Effect, Super Mario Galaxy, Lost Planet, and Assassin’s Creed II (yes it came out in 2009 but not for PC!) are all returning in 2010 for their second chapter. But there are only so many titles you can follow. With dozens coming out just in the first quarter alone, what are the most exciting — at least to me? Well I’ll tell you. Here are my Top Ten games for 2010.

10. Final Fantasy XIII
Rounding out the top ten is FFXIII. The first of the series to appear on the PS3, the futuristic RPG has a chance to be the best yet. Or a huge disappointment.

9. Okamiden
The hand-held sequel to the PS2 adventure game, Okamiden features a cute little dog-deity and a childish rider adventuring and using magic via the stylus. If it shares the same Zelda-like heritage of its ancestor, it should be a great action-adventure game.

8. God of War III
I’ve always known the first two games were great, if brutal, third-person brawlers in the Castlevania or Diablo style, with a style all of its own. But since playing the recently-released remastered collection on PS3, I’m certainly looking forward to the first native PS3 version. Should be a bloody good time.

7. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
I’m cautiously optimistic about this one. The last game, Prince of Persia, was a delight, with its lighter focus on combat and more centered around acrobatic exploration. This “darker” game may be more towards the fighting and brooding style. Let’s hope they go easy on the dark eyeliner.

6. Professor Layton & The Final Time Travel
We’ve all had a lot of fun around my house with the first two translated games in the series, most recently the Diabolical Box. If Nintendo keeps up, we should have the third game, The Final Time Travel, in the United States in 2010.

5. Metroid: Other M
It’s been a while since new life was breathed into the Metroid series. Prime was ground-breaking at the time, and while Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was good, Other M looks to be an incredible remake of the classic franchise. With additional character exposition, there could be a great story behind this Team Ninja-powered brawler.

4. Command and Conquer 4
A fitting location for this game, and only slightly influenced by its title. I’ve enjoyed the latest outings in the series, and the refinement and final chapter should be a proper send-off. Mobile and flexible bases along with additional options promise expanded game-play options beyond just tank rushes.

3. Super Mario Galaxy 2
The first game was an adorable and challenging adventure in a bright and detailed world. The two-player co-op was also a fun game mode, something my wife enjoyed teaming up with me on. I’m hoping the addition of Yoshi and new environments to explore keeps the same charm and bright visual design while still being a challenging platformer in a dynamic, three-dimensional space.

2. Mass Effect 2
This properly epic space RPG gripped me in 2008, and I’m very much looking forward to the sequel. The fact that the choices you made in the previous game will carry over into the new game interests me, and it will be cool to see the impact that you made in the game world. The “darker” feel of the sequel worries me, but should still be a great adventure.

1. Gran Turismo 5
The granddaddy of them all, this is a big reason why I bought a PS3. Two years later, I might get to play GT5 on it. With luck, we could see GT5 in the States by June.

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

Time rewind is back.

With the recent announcement of the upcoming Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, we will be getting a new installment of the franchise in May, 2010. The game is said to take place between the events of Sands of Time and Warrior Within. And judging by the video shown at the VGAs, we should have the ability to rewind time and replay through sections of the game, the innovative feature in the original series reboot Sands of Time.

I really enjoyed the most recent Prince of Persia, and hope that the new “hardcore” game doesn’t take away from the sense of wonder and the acrobatic exploration I’ve come to enjoy and understand as a hallmark of the franchise. Warrior Within and The Two Thrones really turned me off of the series due to their focus on fighting. If I want God of War, I’m going to go play God of War. Prince of Persia is something different altogether. I hope they keep that in mind.

Off to play God of War.

One Month Left to Mass Effect 2

Less than a month away from Mass Effect 2, and the BioWare crew have been inundating the internets with all sorts of screens, videos, and additional details about the second installment of their epic space RPG.

A new feature from Gamespot talks a little bit about the intro to the game. From the first teaser trailer released around almost a year ago, the fate of Commander Shepherd, “your” character in the game, was in doubt. But it seems that the introduction to Mass Effect 2 will expound upon the inter-game time, and whether Shepherd really is what he seems to be. Or was. In any case, it should be interesting to watch, and I’m looking forward to release.

Possibly most surprising (and hopeful, to some) is that both the PC and Xbox 360 version of the game will be out at the same time. PS3? Nowhere in sight. Seems Sony’s platform is getting the PC treatment this time around. Curious that Dragon Age saw a wide release. Although it could be that the widely-reported delay in Dragon Age was due to the PS3, that could be part of BioWare’s decision. Since I’m playing it on PC, it’s immaterial to me, anyway.

Mirror’s Edge Complete

Finished the story mode of Mirror’s Edge over the weekend. It was a fitting ending, and one obviously left open for a sequel. Given that there have been statements confirming an eventual sequel, it wasn’t surprising. But it was properly dramatic and a good end to the admittedly brief story.

I tried going back to do some of the time trial stuff, but I’d really lost my patience. I wanted to get to the end of the story, but falling over and over just to beat the clock doesn’t drive me. Maybe I’ll go back to it. But probably not. Maybe the sequel will clear up spiking difficulty and sequences of unarmed Faith versus legions of dudes with automatic weapons.

More on Pirates of the Carribean LBP Pack

Guess the rumor has been proven true! On December 22nd, the level and costume kits will hit the PSN. The primary pack, the premium level kit, available the low, low price of $5.99, has a wealth of objects, including five new levels and a costume — the cannibal — along with almost two hundred objects, materials, switches, decorations, stickers, music tracks, a new background, and of course, the highly-anticipated water environment! Just an amazing deal for your $5.99. This will be one to get for sure.

The costumes seem neat as well. The big pack includes “Sack” Sparrow (haw haw), Elizabeth Swan, Will Turner, Captain Barbossa, Tia Dalma, and the squidy Davy Jones. Seperately each are $1.99, or save 50% off and get all for $5.99 in the pack. Not too bad for the costume collector.

Below video shows off the costumes (just love the Davy Jones and Jack Sparrow!) and levels that mimic some of the scenes from the movie series: