There’s a lot more to get through, so let’s jump straight to it. Part 1 can be seen here.
Mark of the Ninja – This game made Klei stand out in the games world. The Shank games are ok, but Mark of the Ninja was a step up. The art work that these guys put in their games is exceptional and Mark of the Ninja is no different. The stealth mechanics are great, using not only light and sight, but sound as well. And the game allows for different play styles. You can sneak through the missions unseen, but there are challenges for terrifying guards, or using certain disguises that limit and enhance various abilities. The level of polish from a relatively small team is amazing. It’s a great game.
Hotline Miami/Hotline Miami 2 – Hotline Miami is brutal. When you start playing Hotline Miami you will die and when you die, your characters body will be smeared across the map. Hotline Miami does not hold back. It’s fast and it’s furious.It’ll take a few goes on most levels and your initial scores will be bad. Once you get control of the games fast and super smooth movement and learn the layout of the levels, you can bash through them in no time at all. The game wants you to be fast and use a variety of weapons and attacks, scoring you at the end of each level. Visually it stands out with bright, strong colours and the sound compliments the game perfectly. This is a fun, fucked up game with a crazy story that might not make any sense at all.
Hotline Miami 2 takes it a step further and I don’t really know when it happens in the games timeline. I do know that the story in 2 is even more messed up and the game is even more frantic. The levels in 2 tended to be a bit larger though and I don’t think that’s a good thing. It makes it more difficult to get a combo going, but it also makes it incredibly difficult to see some parts of the level. You can move the camera to check corners and corridors, but in 2 some of the corridors are so long that you simply can’t see the enemies at the end of them (they can still see you) and you won’t know they’re there until they kill you. It’s still a good experience, but not quite as good as the first.
Hitman: Absolution – As mentioned before, I love Blood Money (Is there anyone that doesn’t?). Absolution is not Blood Money. Absolution looks great and there are levels and bits that stand up as good, strong additions to the Hitman series, but as a whole it falls flat. The game tries too hard to tell a story and ends up a series of linear, boring missions with a disguise mechanic that makes everyone sad. It’s a shame, because a couple of the missions are really good but the game left a bad taste in most people’s mouths and put them off the series. On the upside, it seems they have learned from their mistakes and the new one is really, really good. Maybe the best one yet.
FTL: Faster Than Light – FTL gets a lot of love and I can see why. It’s a fun, randomly generated, single death game in space. You pilot your ship and crew making choices on what to upgrade or spend money on, trying to gain crew and escaping an evil empire. I am shit at it. Really bad. Which makes it frustrating. You can’t control what will happen in each sector that you travel to and I just end up making bad choices and dying quickly. I don’t think I ever finished the game, but I kept trying. I know that the random nature of the game is a big hook and part of the fun, but for me it feels like I am just getting shafted. Surely the nature of randomness means that I should get a clean run one day though?! Fingers crossed.
Part 3 soon!