- KoTOR II: The Sith Lords (PC) - I actually just finished the game on Friday, or I should say the game ended, though I didn't feel I was directly responsible for it's conclusion. The game has a number of strong parts, but I think it will overall stand in my head as a pale shadow of its predecessor. Maybe that's just the unfortunate postion of a sequel to a critically acclaimed game, especially when that sequel gets rushed out the door before it's truly ready. There are several parts in the game that I truly enjoyed (like getting embroiled in the mystery and intrigue of a civil war brewing on one of the planets), but I think that the unfortunately lacking conclusion diminishes the entire game as a whole. Events in the game felt like they were building to something great before it all just stopped without any great explanation or resolution. It's no Soul Reaver, PsiOps, or Halo 2 on this point, but it's still an unsatisfying conclusion. Too bad really. Still I am glad to have played it and enjoyed a great deal of my adventure.
- Fable II (X360) - After finishing KoTOR 2, I had some overwhelming desire to play this game, and I'm not really sure why. My best guess is all the ads for the new DLC that were litered across my 360's dashboard, but whatever the reason, I've been playing it like crazy and loving it. When the game originally came out, I was neck deep in thesis work so I didn't really have the chance to play it nearly as much as I would have liked before. The game is not without it's flaws for certain, but there's just something fun about being in the world of Albion. There's a great sense of freedom to explore and just really do whatever you want. Often, I would get busy just taking odd jobs and trying to expand my real estate holdings without really moving the main quest forward at all. Other times I'd be exploring every nook and cranny looking for cool, secret areas or "phat loots." It's one of those addicitive expereinces where you keep have one "last" thing to do and before you know it it's 3 AM. As I said, the game has it's shortcomings, which mostly amount to every part of the game (combat, character development, story, etc.) being too shallow. I love the amount of freedom that Fable II just gives me to live in the world and really play a role, I just wish the expereince had deeper levels for me to explore. Still, I've been playing it almost non-stop since Friday (except for a few Memorial Day BBQs) and it's still managed to keep my interest, so I suppose I can't complain too much.
- Saint's Row 2 (PS3) - I still am playing this only intermittently, but it's great for just kicking back and having fun. There are a remarkable number of varied things to do in any given play session. Similar to Fable II, it supports a lot of player freedom and allows me to just get in and have a good time without having to worry too much about what I should be doing. The story may be a bit weaker for it, but that really not what I'm playing it for, so that's fine with me.
I am also eagerly anticipating the release of Infamous and Red Faction: Guerilla over the next couple weeks. Both had really strong demos, in my opinion, and I am really looking forward to what both games seem to bring to the open-world genre (is that a genre?). Of course, given all the Fable II and Saint's Row 2 I've been playing lately, I'll definitely have to pace myself and maybe throw an RPG or a strategy game in there somewhere :).