Allods - I really enjoyed the first ten levels but now at level 12 I have left the starter city and boredom has set in with a bang. I suspect that deep down I know I am never going to stick around until end game and that kills any incentive to keep plugging away at those kill ten Hyaneas/ Rats/ Slugs quests. I am really not in an mmo mood at the moment. On the other hand one of my kids has started a character and seems to enjoy it so I may stick around for a bit just to babysit her.
Spellforce - This really is a strange hybrid of RPG and RTS. Unfortunately the game so far has not lived up to the superb tutorial but I will probably try another few levels. The levels by the way are absolutely enormous and with nothing more than a postage stamp sized mini map it is easy to get lost. My main difficulty so far is that the game is too easy even on hard mode. For example I just completed a level where I as able to build a town and recruit an army behind the safety of a locked door before I encountered a single enemy. By the time I was ready to open the locked door I already had an unstoppable force and could easily sweep the map. Perhaps this is a consequence of combining the linearity of an rpg with an RTS but I am still a little bit hopeful that later harder levels will test me more.
Peggle Nights: I got ths free but I did actually try it. I cleared the first two campaigns before hitting my boredom threshhold.
Farmville / Mafia Wars: I guess I had to try these out at some stage to see what the future of online gaming is going to be. Mean time to boredom: 5 minutes each. To be honest I only lasted that long because I was trying to figure out what was going on (or to be more accurate what was not going on). I am pleased to find that these time-wasters have no power over me but I am also utterly demoralised to realise that the enormous success of these games means we will see a whole lot more like them in the future.
Far Cry: In desperate need of some real gaming entertainment I fell back on an old reliable. Two memories came quickly back to me: i) This game is brilliant. ii) The checkpoint save system is brutally unfair. The latter point caused much frustration as my rusty FPS skills cause me to struggle. Eventually though I completed a full play through of the "Rebellion" level, quite possible my favourite level of any shooter ever. You spawn in a fortress and must make your way to the opposite end of a large island. In between a full scale war rages between mercenaries and mutants. The map is huge and your choices are very wide: You can walk, swim, drive or even avail of some handy hang-gliders to fly. You have a choice of coastal routes or you can try to work you way over the mountains. Whatever route you take you will find pockets of fighting which you can try to avoid or participate in as you see fit. The enemy AI is not the smartest and it does get annoying how readily both sides will abandon their personal conflict to attack you but nevertheless it remains a superb gaming achievement. This you-tube clip will give you some idea of the size of the level although the authors coastal driving route is not how I tackle this level at all. My favourite route involves hang gliders, flying foxes and swimming!
Operation Flashpoint, Dragon Rising (Demo). For me this is the stand-out game of this weekends Steam's sale but the seven euro price tag just exceeds my self proclaimed impulse purchase limit so I and trying the demo out to see whether or not I am really likely to play the full game.
In other news I have just acquired a new laptop. It is mainly intended for work but when specifying the machine I had one eye on the possiblity that I might want to play the odd game or two when away from home. Trying to balance the requirements of a business machine with the possiblity of playing games on it made for an interesting compromise - possibly worthy of a later post.