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Video games, PC games, or other interactive media that's currently caught my attention ...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gears of War 2

I'm digging that this year's sequels (Fallout 3, Call of Duty: World at War, etc.) are so top-notch.
I'm really enjoying Gears 2, but taking freaking forever to get through it, since I decided to play through the thing only on a co-op only with one friend who is not as irresponsible as me (look, the gutters are already plugged, they're not going to get more plugged... Sh##, they're more plugged).

Anyway, I like the upped visual fidelity, the great design, and the fact that this time, they didn't throw away the professional writer's story (and this one's an occasional impressive kick in the gut).

A lot of the technical stuff I like in the game isn't from Epic, per se, (though it wouldn't happen without the game engine vehicle and the top-notch art talent). It's actually NVIDIA PhysX -- their licensed physical simulation tech that gives gamers everything from tear able soft bodies to destructibility to particles and fluids, probably implemented through an APEX-like integration. Go, NVIDIA ...

Microsoft so wants this game to be #1 for the year. And impressive initial sales aside, this'll be a version of "throw-more-money-and-get-elected", as launch weekend promotions for the title (gift cards, collectibles, incentives, etc.) were insane -- and far away and above anything I've seen this year for other contending titles. I still think Fallout 3 will take GoTY, which is a bit problematic, since there are so many good games of different genres out there.

Gears 2 isn't perfect yet (but what is?). Co-op sessions have really ticked us off as me or my partner get stuck in a bounding box, can't move and have to reset to a checkpoint. And we ran into a weird disconnected camera situation while driving a tank, made worse by the tank clipping through the hard surface terrain in a noticeable (and ugly) way.

But those aren't enough to detract from how much I'm enjoying the game. I am curious to see how long it lives in my Xbox, though -- there's a lot of good stuff out there now.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Fallout 3 (Xbox 360)

I'm a big fan of the adventure genre, and while I too often bemoan its decline, Bethesda's adventuring RPGer Fallout 3 is scratching that itch with a now-gen fury.

Granted, I'm early into it, and my current gameplay allotment will probably keep it on my plate for the next several months, but this is easily one of the best games of the year for me.

The art direction is amazing, the attention to detail well-appreciated, and the humor is chortle-inducing (seriously; I chortle).

My only gripe so far is it was only midway through the Vault I tried tweaking the display settings, which gave me an actually enjoyable visual experience (what, it's not supposed to be too dark to move?). I tend to take for granted the out-of-the-box gamma settings will work; but to be fair, I am gaming on a projector.

Anyway, great stuff, and I can't wait until this week's political shenanigens and toy job VIP visits are behind me, so I can spend some quality time in the post-apocalyptic playground.

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