This feels much more satisfying and well-tuned than the original Sanctum - and the addition of co-op takes it to a whole new difficulty level.

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

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.

Hotline Miami [Steam store page]
Prepare to enjoy smashing open heads with a bat, slitting throats, and shooting enemies at breakneck speed in a psychedelic environment.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut [Steam store page]
While the story is weaker than the original, this FPS-RPG still offers many viable playstyles - and a visually stunning world. And the Director's Cut does a slightly better job of integrating the DLC, although they're still sort of an independent experience.

You also get a few other perks like developer commentaries, although these don't have any visual indicators to show where they are, so they're hard to locate and activate as you're playing. The redesigned boss fights are a nice touch though, and definitely a welcome change compared to the originals.

Furious Angels [Steam store page]
Simple yet elegant gameplay. This is a great example of how to make a game engaging but super accessible.

PAYDAY The Heist [Steam store page]
A fun co-op experience. The latest AI patch made it much easier to play without all four players being human. Enemy AI still has nearly perfect aim, but the body armor balances nicely if you use cover. You earn new guns and upgrades as you play.

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...

Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition [Steam store page]
One of the best FPS I've ever played - fantastic story and detail. Each play-through you'll find new areas, people, and story that you missed before. Highly recommended

Steel Storm: Burning Retribution [Steam store page]
A nice twist on the classic arcade top-down shooter. Similar mechanics of power-ups, but with complicated maps, mission objectives, and the ability to move in any direction. This is retro done right - worth playing.

Beat Hazard [Steam store page]
An interesting mix of music and gaming - enemies generated by songs. Disappointing that they charge extra for multiplayer (DLC - BH Ultra).

Shadowgrounds [Steam store page]
A reasonably fun top-down shooter with a sci-fi storyline. The NPCs occasionally block your movement during combat - luckily they don't seem to take team damage. The flashlight also runs out of batteries slowly, which pulls you out of the game a bit.

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.

Counter-Strike: Source [Steam store page]
More realistic and slower paced than some other shooters. The guns also tend to be less accurate than your normal video game for realism, and shooting while you run is nearly impossible. Still, a reasonably fun multi-player FPS.

Borderlands [Steam store page]
This is a weird mix of MMO leveling and FPS, and in a certain aspect it works okay, but at other times it can be frustrating.

The beginning of this game includes a lot of scripted sequences, which can be a bit annoying if you play through multiple times, as was intended (you reach level 35 or so on the first playthrough, 50+ on the second). The first time playing it seems incredibly smooth and well paced, teaching you all your necessary skills painlessly.

The game itself isn't hard - I was level 13 before I died the first time - but after a while it gets annoying to take headshots and not actually kill the enemy, like a normal FPS. This is due to the level mechanic - killing an enemy one level above you is difficult, and two is nearly impossible. The exception is playing the tank/melee character, who has a special ability that flattens higher levels with ease.

There is also a melee enemy class known as Psycho that has an annoying tendency, when injured, to run full tilt at you holding a hand grenade above their heads. Many times when this happens they are inescapably close, which results in your instant death.

Lastly, the bosses tend to take 3-10 minutes for a solo player to slowly tear through their massive health pools - almost like fighting an MMO raid boss on your own. Almost every boss also has a group of annoying normal enemies to dispatch during the beginning of the fight as well. These encounters are probably much more suited to the co-op gameplay.

Overall a mixed bag, fun in certain aspects, but also one of the few games that makes me feel angry when I play it. That's a sure sign the enemies aren't quite as balanced as they should be.

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