Orcs Must Die! [Steam store page]
While not co-op like the sequel, this game has an excellent sense of humor and decently balanced maps. Too bad the humor didn't carry over to Orcs Must Die! 2

Orcs Must Die! 2 [Steam store page]
They added co-op, but lost some of the humor that made Orcs Must Die! so fun. Similar gameplay, with more expansive levels to challenge two players.

Tomb Raider [Steam store page]
This franchise reboot was very satisfying, an appropriate start for the character we know Lara Croft will turn into eventually.

Saints Row IV [Steam store page]
While Saints Row: The Third was fun madness, this sequel adds a superhero twist with great new abilities and much easier travel than the previous game.

APB Reloaded [Steam store page]
Third-person shooter MMO with odd aiming and repetitive missions. The teams are often completely unbalanced and the mission goals sometimes are as well. Turtling many times wins the match.

Dead Space 2 [Steam store page]
Much better and scarier than Dead Space, good atmosphere. The camera isn't sluggish and not as close. Combat also seems more responsive, and melee is somewhat possible. The 'Force' is useful, though sometimes the item you're holding disappears.

This feels like a console game - smoothed movement, unchangable (close up) third person perspective. The combat is also poor and frustrating - with guns that seem like they were meant to be used with auto-aim. Melee combat is completely useless.

Assassin's Creed 2 Deluxe Edition [Steam store page]
Disappointing compared to Assassin's Creed. The graphics are better, but the console-ified tutorial shows icons - not keys. Free running is also a bit harder as the buildings are sparser, and it is a little buggy - allowing you to slip and fall off rather than balancing on the edge.

Doing one mission at a time is annoying, but it is nice that quest timers stop once it is complete, rather than making you race back to the quest giver like the original game. Being able to block punches is also a great addition - sorely lacking in the previous version.

Overall an okay game, but it doesn't really live up to the free spirit of the original. Definitely feels like a game rather than an immersive experience.

Assassin's Creed: Director's Cut Edition [Steam store page]
Interesting story, good combat, most flaws in this game are minor - it's a lot of fun.

The only major problem - especially for replayability - are the multitude of unskippable cutscenes. It's incredibly annoying to sit through repeated speeches that are long enough to get a snack.

It opens with what looks like a hectic tutorial, button commands flashing on your screen - turns out it's just a dream intro (thank god!). As you get into the actual game the button combinations are complex, but they become more natural as you play.

The gameplay starts out a bit slow, with long distances to run for no apparent reason other than to familiarize you with the town geography. Thankfully they give you a horse fairly quickly, and teach you to sprint. Mercifully it also never seems to limit your sprinting or galloping abilities by making you 'tired' as some games would.

The game is also graphically nice, except when you have a close-up of the faces, then you hit uncanny valley territory. The only flaw is the unskippable pans/cutscenes in certain places that can be annoying if you die. In the end though, these flaws are tiny compared to all the good parts of this game - and I would highly recommend it.

Just Cause 2 [Steam store page]
Something for everyone - a sandbox with over the top violence and stunts, plenty of collectables, challenges, and a story line that appears just often enough to keep you interested in the missions. Steal helicopters and parachute from planes...

A goofy story line and some weird AI (including the ability to shoot through buildings) makes this game a bit annoying to play - the second in the series - Just Cause 2 is much better

Grand Theft Auto III [Steam store page]
The first 3D third person sandbox game in the series. Unfortunately only a hint of a story, so after a few minutes roaming around and a couple missions it lost my interest. I found Just Cause 2 to be a much more compelling sandbox game

The character creation sequence is creepy and combat is painful compared to real FPS. It suffers from lack of direction after you leave the vault, much like the The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion series. The world is nicely detailed - but this can't rescue the game

Mass Effect [Steam store page]
The beginning gives decent gameplay and story - though it lacks a bit in the quest objective tracking, especially for the quest to scan 24 keepers. You just have to hope you run into them all during other objectives.

After leaving the initial station they give you far too many solar systems and planets to choose from, which gives the feeling that your choice doesn't matter. At least initially they should have limited it to a few important systems - and slowly opened up the galaxy. Navigation within galaxies themselves also seems unweildy, and it's annoying that you can click on planets which you aren't even able to visit.

The combat works fairly well, although your character doesn't return to cover quite as fast as possible - which can be annoyingly deadly at times. This probably has to do with the smooth animations - if you tap to move forward he takes a full step, unlike games like World of Warcraft where you can move in fractions of a step.

The skills and conversation menu are well thought out, and the ability to train extra skills that allow you to intimidate or flatter the person you're conversing with are satisfying. Overall the game has a few interesting aspects, but also a couple annoying flaws. It's probably still worth a look though.

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne [Steam store page]
The story seems okay, but isn't integrated well. It feels like a relief from hordes of enemies shooting you at close range and eating painkillers (health). The dream sequence levels are the highlight of the game, an example of what it could have been