I have decided to a weekly review session featuring a couple of games from different genres that I have tried and enjoyed.  The goal is to share good games around the community!  The games in this weekly feature aren’t necessarily brand new titles; just good games with little recognition or publicity that I feel really deserve some praise.

Defense Grid:  The Awakening

Genre Strategy (tower defense)
Platform PC and Xbox 360
Price $9.99 @ Steam
Longevity 20 maps
Replayability 3.0 (scale of 5.0)

So this little gem is your basic tower defense type strategy game, but with pretty cool graphics and powerful gameplay for what it is.  This game also goes to home, demonstrating that the simplest game concepts and core gameplay can always be freshened up and made much more interesting by good level design.  Level design, my friends, is where this game revives an old genre favorite (unkindly beaten to death by the tower defense clones around the web) and brings interesting and challenging map designs to the fore.It features a basic campaign with 20 maps and the option to download additional ones for a fee.  But never fear:  this game is dirt cheap and so are its map-packs!  It’s definitely a bargain buy at any price for the amount of entertaining gameplay it provides.  You can own it on PC and Xbox 360.

If you enjoy casual strategy games, add this one to your library.

Foreign Legion: Buckets of Blood

Genre FPS
Platform PC and Mac
Price $4.99 @ Steam
Longevity 7 maps
Replayability 4.0 (scale of 5.0)

I have to say, at first glance I almost didn’t even buy this game. But I’m an avid Steam gamer and they had one of those amazing weekend sales where I bought it for $1.25!!! Seriously, pretty much any game is worth a try for such a pittance.

The first map really amazed me. The graphics are really simple, the gameplay is very straight forward yet it had a surprising modicum of strategy involved. One thinks that this will just be mindless shooting …and after a few levels it is (*ahem* the title is Buckets of Blood), but its not quite as shallow as it appears. In any case, it’s a good session of fun filled violence the good ole casual way. Plus, there’s a secret chicken stage.

There is a progression based on score, it’s not just run and gun timed maps. Your score is counted in blood. The more blood you spill the more money you get. You spend your money on weapon upgrades, ammo, and frills (new uniform, cigarettes, stickers, etc). Each map has different difficulties and trying to meet all the challenges makes for more interesting and increasingly difficult game play. As mindless as a casual FPS can be, this game still has a lot of worthwhile intrigue. If you like shooters and need on you can play in small meaningful bursts, this is a good choice.

Mount & Blade: Warband

Genre RPG
Platform PC
Price $29.99 @ Steam
Longevity Infinite
Replayability 5.0 (scale of 5.0)

This is definitely the best kept secret in RPGs in my opinion at current. I have been playing this for couple months now and …wow. I can’t believe I never even heard of this series before this second installment. It really is a shame.

This game has ALL the things medieval fantasy gamers really want, especially the warmonger types. I have written a few blog pieces about this game and I encourage you to read them to really get a feel for the depth and detail that this game gives the player. This will unquestionablybe a good buy for you if any of the following is true:

  • Strong character development
  • Historical realism
  • Dynamic world
  • Field combat and duels of honor
  • Story driven
    Multiple ways to advance and progress

On the last point above, the story driven content is genuinely driven by the player. All of your actions have cascading effects on how events play out in the world of Calradia. Relationships are changed, wars break out, and marriages hinge all on the activities of the player. You can engage in infinite power politics in this game, and it gets really personal. The difficulty curve is steep, but the good news is you can vary the difficulty in every way that counts. So if you are a good politician but a poor field marshall, you can tune down war difficulty. If you are the opposite, you can tune down the social difficulty. With every battle waged and every hard day’s work you gain experience which allows you to improve finely detailed aspects of your character. To top it all off, the game is very, very long. Very. There are so many ways to “win” it makes gameplay nearly infinite, especially taking into account difficulty. You will spend countless hours and months building up your character to that moment where he rules all of Calradia!

I cannot say enough about this game. If you love RPGs, it will be difficult to find one that hits the mark so closely as Warband.

The Weekly Allstars are all categorized and tagged under Recommended Gaming for ease of searching.


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