Well now. It's been some time since I last wrote about what I have been playing - and to be more direct, I've been kind of slacking off on the blog.
There's a perfectly valid excuse though - I spent some time in the hospital at the end of September and have been recovering from some silly medical crap. (To the handful of people who do read this blog regularly - DON'T WORRY! I'm fine now and ultimately will recovery 100%)
The previously mentioned medical silliness has required that I go to some out patient physical therapy in order to regain some motor skills. Early on I discovered that playing video games made some drastic improvements to my finer motor skills, so of course I ran this all past my wonderful Physical Therapist who seemed thrilled with the idea. I must say, it's actually kind of rad to be told playing video games is HELPFUL.
So, again - I am fine, and will continue to get better with each day, so DON'T WORRY ABOUT ME! Now, that said... Let's talk about what I've been playing recently!
First up - immediately upon being discharged from the hospital, I picked up a copy of Gears of War 3. I then proceeded to play through the entire game (a large chunk of it with a good pal of mine, co-op), and found it to be the best and most satisfying Gears game yet. As always, Gears is a sort of interactive sci-fi/action movie - and really any fan of the prior games in the series will enjoy this outing. The gameplay was super smooth and the graphics were pretty top notch. While Gears 3 seems to end the Gears of War trilogy - I hope this is not the last game we get within this universe. It's just too great of a game engine and style of play to let it collect dust. I'd even be fine with a whole new cast of characters!
But - as I said, played this one straight to the end, mostly on co-op. Once it was over, my pal and I decided it would be a good idea to co-op our way through Gears 2 and then 1. So we did. All in the name of helping me get better. (Big big big shout out to CH. Can't thank you enough for our "Lunchtime Gears".)
It was actually very cool to see how the games had progressed technically by playing them in this order. It's actually kind of jarring how stiff and unforgiving the original Gears of War was. Some of the refinements made with Gears 2 were really rather key to not getting overly frustrated with the game (like the addition of the ability to be revived. The lack of the revival mechanic in Gears 1 made it quite a bit harder than 2 or 3. No matter - we pressed on.
Was it just me, or did Gears 2's final stages just seem like a breeze? I actually said to my pal when Gears 2 ended "Did we just beat the game?!"
Anyway! Not long after this little Gears of War adventure ended, a copy of Batman Arkham City (PS3) arrived at my door (thanks to some VERY kind people who heard video games had been helpful and wanted to ensure I had something to play).
I am really unsure how deep into this game I am at this point, but I am well along the main storyline. There are so many side-quests it's not even funny. Batman, in an open world, with these kinds of graphics is simply amazing. I find myself having so much fun just moving around the city, shooting from building to building - sometimes getting the drop on some roaming bad guys. This very well may be both the best Batman game created to date AND the best super hero game made to date.
It's kind of crazy because this game wasn't really on my radar until it landed in my lap, so I feel I must spread the word. Sure, it's gotten a ton of hype (and rightfully so!), but DO NOT PASS THIS ONE UP! Even people who may not be fans of Batman or super heroes - this is just a fantastic video game. Add it to your Christmas/Holiday wish list at the least!
(PS- Batman Arkham City has easily earned the Pixelated Palace Seal of Approval:
What can I say? The Multiplayer is exactly what you'd expect from Call of Duty. It was really nice to see a game launch with no server or game issues on Day 1. My friends and I had no trouble playing and joining games that first day. In terms of the campaign, it's epic as always and again feels like you're playing an interactive military themed action movie.
If you enjoy CoD, you'll dig it - but I feel MW3 won't win any new fans to the series.
Last, and certainly not least (just simply the most current) - Super Mario 3D Land has come out and I am so happy to have something fresh and new to play on my 3DS.
To me, Super Mario 3D Land feels like the logical place to take Mario post-New Super Mario Brothers. It's got a fantastic hybrid of old and new school game mechanics and really should make any Mario fan smile (even the old ones!). The levels themselves seem to really be in the same vein as Super Mario Brothers 3/Super Mario World. There is loads of classic Mario Brothers music through the game so far. The first boss encounter is a total throwback to your run ins with Bowser in Super Mario Brothers 1. The 2nd boss encounter is a throwback to the ship boss/mini boss stages from Mario 3. I anticipate later levels following suit in being throwbacks to prior Mario adventures (I wonder if there will be anything from Mario 2/Mario USA...).
I look forward to playing this game quite a bit more.
And with that - we're current. There are several huge games I've not played or talked about as of yet, but with any luck I'll find myself with several gift cards over the holidays to help me catch up (Uncharted 3 i'm looking at you!).
Until next time!