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

Sunday, January 10, 2010


With MAG doing an open beta this week (through today), me being a shooter fan, having access to a PS3, and wanting to see if they could pull off 128v128 online play, I spent some time tooling around the game.

Brass tacks is the game has tremendous promise, and I hope people look at for what it is: A PS3-exclusive massive military-based shooter, who's promise lies in its premise -- a large-scale game where squad combat and communication is key to success (and having fun).

That's where the game fell down a bit for me. Since friends and I were trying the game, and not everyone had a bluetooth headset, we actually used our Xboxes and party chat to stay in sync as we played the game on the PS3. Irony aside, this helped us keep tabs on each other and at least try to work in tandem between us to accomplish the goals (basically a Team Fortress or Modern Warfare version of "sabatoge" / "demolition"). Other people in our squad ... not so much.

This is a game where coordination and cooperation are key to winning; you can't be a lone wolf without getting yourself killed, everyone else killed, and failing the mission. Unlike some competing titles, it also allows friendly fire, so we had some dillweeds in our sessions that were running around killing everyone, friend or foe, really marring the experience.

But it was still an engaging experience; while you have to scale up to 128v128 (the demo may have gone up to 64v, but it may have been just 32 in our sessions), large-scale combat and frenzy felt really good -- an evolution over EA's Battlefield franchise.

People will make inevitable comparisons to Modern Warfare 2, the current reigning online military-themed juggernaut -- but that's unfair. Because of its shear scale, MAG will not have the graphical fidelity of the smaller scale competitor, though that won't excuse any gimped gameplay. It's also single platform, so it won't have the gamer penetration of the every-platform MW2.

Jumping into a game was wicked quick -- a welcomed change from losing entire Friends lists in Modern Warfare as people go do other things waiting to connect to a session. I think that comes at a tradeoff to any genuine skill level matching, though, as I (as a level 1-3) was getting matched against level 22-24s who had been playing all week -- and they had waaaay better guns.

The other thing I'm concerned about is how they're hiding lag in online play. The game felt smooth and lag free, but I found myself emptying 5 rounds from a sniper almost point-blank into an enemy's noggin, then have him stand up and cap me with a single shot. I like to know when I'm lagging, so I can compensate.

Overall, the game has great promise, and I'm looking forward to how the shipping version addresses problems and feedback from the beta, though since the game launches at the end of this month, improvements will likely be limited to the server side of the product.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Halo 3: ODST (Xbox 360)

(Here are my single-player impressions for Halo 3: ODST. I'd like to give co-op and Firefight impressions as well, but my yahoo friends who also bought the game never have time to play this title, so updated impressions will have to wait.)

First, to get things out of the way, I'm a bit of a Halo Whore. This is partially because of the gameplay, universe, and mythos; partially due to my being impressed with the cohesive marketing juggernaut behind the franchise; and partially due to my affinity for alliteration.

That aside, Halo 3: (I-should-have-been-called-Recon) ODST is a great game -- and an uneven one, all at the same time.

The game is genuinely fun, has some depth, is genuinely different than the previous Halo games, and has more polish as well.

Those strengths are also weaknesses, though, because there are expectations around the Halo franchise, and losing the über-bad-assery of Master Chief takes some getting used to, in addition to the gameplay feeling a bit gimped by removing the the Halo 3 "X-button specials" (especially since enemies still have them).

But I've admittedly got a bit of a skewed perspective, because you have to play a bit more cautiously as an ODST than as a spartan (health doesn't regenerate), and I recently started playing on a level above normal on games (so, "Heroic" on ODST), which made the gameplay and "easy-to-die" experience waaay more stark than it might otherwise have been.

And while the engine feels visually tweaked, and for the most part I really liked things like the HUD mechanics, Modern Warfare or the Frostbite Engine are kind of the technical bars for cutting-edge FPS games, so I'm really looking forward to Microsoft's and/or Bungie's making a break from their current tech to do something technically even more exciting.

Going back to the positive aspects of gameplay, there are some intense, almost amazing moments where you have to retrench in intense firefights that genuinely made me feel good when I finally busted loose and wiped the floor with wave after wave of Covenant. My criticism is I wish the checkpoints were more deterministic, because while playing the game on "normal" mode would make replaying inconvenient, replaying on "Heroic" or "Legendary" is a non-trivial time-suck.

And while I said I mostly like the HUD mechanic in the game, it is a bit confusing, and I can't tell whether the mechanic is slightly different for each ODST member, or if it varied based on environment, or what the issue was, but there were times when it felt like both the standard and enhanced HUDs were versions of unusable in the heat of battle. Which sucked a bit.

Oh, and game designers (all of you), please stop with sucky-ass escort missions. I get irritated enough at bone-stupid AI either running too far ahead or falling too far behind, but when I'm doing a mission where Buck is my gunner, and it's not an AI, but a pathing issue that gets him stuck for 15 minutes in a box corner? Give me a break.

This a rambly, back-and-forth assessment ODST, but make no mistake, it's a really good title, and I'm glad Bungie tried something variant from their previous formulas, and included a lot of the mechanics from other titles (theater, file share, etc.).

Is it worth $60? No -- no title is. But wait until I try out the Firefight and online co-op modes before I decide whether it's any worse than other over-priced sixty-buck games. Oh, and no one should pay $60 for games, between promos, Amazon pricing, etc. -- I try not to spend more than $40-50 for 360 titles, and $30-40 for Wii titles.

And for Halo 3 fans who haven't bought all of the add-on maps, you do get 24 additional maps as part of buying the game -- the 21 previously released, and 3 all-new jobbies. Not bad.

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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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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Halo 2

Monday nights are weekly Halo 2 fests online with known friends (Wednesdays alternate between Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4). Camaraderie as we're all now scattered to the wind, my tie to my Austin buddies, and avoids the inanity of the online anonymous dumberatti.

Last night was a riot, with the best games being swordball on Lockout (24 medals, baby!), and CTF on Relic, which had us so evenly matched, the game lasted freaking forever (yeah, we had 4 to their 3, but our 4th was gone most of the game, and was basically cannon fodder; for them and us).

Good times ...

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Call of Duty 4

I spend a lot of time on Call of Duty 4 on the Xbox 360. I'd say for FPSes, CoD4 is my current favorite single and multiplayer game (yea, verily even unseating Halo 3).

There are some good missions with unexpected consequences; I'm impressed with the developer's gutsiness.

More later. Possibly.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Clive Barker's Jericho (Xbox 360)

I played the Xbox Live single-player demo for Clive Barker's Jericho from Codemasters / Alchemic Productions / Imajica Productions, Inc. (not to be confused with the TV series).

Not bad.

It's a "supernatural shooter", and I think it will probably do a passable job.

I mean, I like Clive Barker. At least I liked the Nightbreed movie, The Thief of Always book, and the game, Clive Barker's Undying (perhaps the best sound landscape in a game).

And it's Clive Barker, so there's a deep mythos built under Clive Barker's Jericho.

The game doesn't look bad at all -- let's call it "gross pretty". Gameplay is a bit run-of-the-mill, with one "standard" weapon (with primary and alternate firing), and special / supernatural abilities.

It's a squad-based game, so each of the six squad members have different weapons and supernatural abilities, and you can switch between them on the fly (the demo lets you switch between just two).

The switch is supposed to matter, but after playing BioShock, having to switch between different people (where in BioShock all of my weapon and power options were in the same body) felt a little wonky.

Of course, it's going to depend on the gameply and level design. If the game is built in a such a way that switching between various squad mates matters, or if you can use different people to solve problems differently, this should work out. But if switching doesn't matter, the mechanic will likely feel contrived, and I will be irritated.

There are also button-matching "mini-games" (called "life moments" or something), where you need to match the on-screen buttons to survive gruesome attacks. Fail, and you suffer a gruesome death.

I'm mixed on these sequences (think an analog of the Frost Giant fight in Marvel Ultimate Alliance) -- I tend to not like them, because they remind me I'm playing a game, and take me out of the moment. But I do like the frantic urgency they invoke.

We'll see how it all comes together when Clive Barker's Jericho releases next week).

(You can also download the PC Demo.)

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Halo 3

I finished Halo 3 a week ago, and am just now getting around to posting my thoughts on it.

Brass tacks?

If you love Halo and Halo 2, you'll love Halo 3.


Actually, if you really enjoy twitch shooters, you'll likewise enjoy Halo 3. If you enjoy tactical shooters, I still think you'll get a bang out of Halo 3 (sorry).

I was little rough on the game in my first impressions, and softened a bit in my second.

The fact is I consider this third iteration of the game a fantastic title. There's the single player, the multiplayer, and the extras.

The single player campaign mode is a fun romp, and even more so with 4 player online co-op. I'm bummed that it's a max of two players on the same box, but that's a concession Bungie decided to make.

Graphically, Halo 3 is a good-looking game on the gameplay side of things. We're talking gorgeous at times. It may feel like it comes up a bit short if you do like I did and play it back-to-back with BioShock, but that's not a fair comparison (and not because of the game engines).

BioShock and Halo 3 are doing different things. The former is a tight environment, has a contained number of NPCs, etc. The latter makes use of long-draw distances, arguably larger trajectory calculations for weapons use, vehicles, etc.

Halo 3 looks really good, and I particularly like what they've done with some of the outdoor environments. Snow, trees, and other environmental additives look great, and indoor environments (especially the metallic ones), look slick and appropriately reflective.

Less so for the cutscenes, which are wildly inconsistent. If the scene has Master Chief or the Arbiter, they're pretty slick; but in some of the cutscenes the people look like the original Half-Life (which was great nine years ago; today, not so much) -- they're stilted, and they move unrealistically. I find that surprising in a now-gen game.

The gameplay itself is great. I like the new mechanics for multiple grenade types and the addition of special equipment is pretty slick, but using the bumpers to do everything is really screwing me up -- I constantly drop a piece of special equipment when I mean to reload (thanks to the remapping of Halo 2's X Button to the right bumper). Of, course, I'm probably making this worse by switching back and forth between Halo 2 and Halo 3 (Monday nights are H2, Wednesday's are H3), so I'm not going to belabor it. I also like the addition of Quake-like "Man Cannons".

For the most part, levels are well designed, with the exception of Level 8. That one wicked sucks.

And there are some usability shortcomings in Halo 3 that I find surprising.

For example, while playing four-player co-op through a level, one of our members had to quit -- which killed the game and made the remaining three of us have to restart from the beginning of the level. That's pretty poor.

Likewise, I had a buddy playing local co-op with me, but we were doing Xbox Live co-op mode in case friends wanted to join. When he quit and left, I couldn't continue the game, because it kept asking me to reconnect the second controller, even when I quit Halo 3 and restarted. Turns out the problem was H3 was still looking for the player for the Xbox Live Guest Account we'd logged into so my buddy could play. I had to quit out to the Xbox 360 Dashboard, logout of all profiles, log myself back in, then restart Halo 3. Yeah, that's inane.

Not sure how those two kinds of things got sign-off while Bungie was finishing the game.

And story-wise, the game is OK, but it's not spectacular. I know other reviews have lauded the story, and I'm trying to figure out if they're doing that relative to stereotypically sub-par writing in games, or if I'm missing something.

I mean, by Bungie's own admission (earlier; they changed their story later), Halo was never meant to be a trilogy. I think that's what makes Halo such a great story, and Halo 3 (for me) less so -- it really struggles to carry out the "finalization" of the story arc.

Add to that some kludgy moments that are meant to be profound, some WTF dialogue or scene transitions, and some interruptive devices that always elicit expletives or derogatory comments from my campaign co-op brethren, and the story (for me) is one of the weak points in the game.

And there are marketing impacts that undercut the game's story, too.

First, (for me) the "Believe" video advertising campaign is top-notch and moving. It set a high bar for emotional impact the game didn't match.

In addition, Something happened to the Marvel comic book tie-in that was supposed to bridge Halo 2 and Halo 3, and was supposed to complete before the game was released (so far, only issue #1 has seen retail). Unfortunately, Bungie or Microsoft violated an entertainment product rule: Don't make something outside the product required in order to understand the product. It's a rule because when violated it creates a sense in the consumer the product is incomplete or "broken" in some way.

Which creates something Microsoft doesn't want -- a product that is less accessible to people outside of the "Halo Nation".

Oddly, none of this lessens the overall fun of the campaign mode.

Multiplayer needs another, probably separate write-up, but it's wicked fun (so far, I've got no personal time logged, as I've been playing on other people's boxes and tags). I like things like the new swords mechanic (bouncing off a swords dual that creates the need for a quick B Button smash), and I like the limiting of the life of a sword, so a guy can't repeatedly pwn me from halfway across the universe.

And Forge freaking rocks.

And, true to Halo 2, Bungie is already tweaking playlists. And while this sounds ungrateful, their recent tweak reducing the "Shotty Snipers" variant (shotguns and snipers) feels a day late and a dollar short. Having played the beta and trolled the forums, this was a largely hated gamegtype then, and Bungie didn't respond to the feedback until it increases proportionally to the release install base. See, this is my getting spoiled and selfish as a Bungie consumer. Shame on me.

On the product packaging side, I bought the Legendary Edition, which I regret. If you need a recap of the versions, go here, but the net of it is the The Legendary Edition has an extra DVD disc and comes in a miniature Spartan replica helmet.

I like the insight from the Bungie folks on the remastered cinematics from the older Halo games, but I will be angry if those videos I paid for ever show up for download on Xbox Live or from Bungie or Microsoft. The Legendary Edition also does not contain the hardbound art and fiction book of the Special Edition, and while the helmet is much larger than I expected, I'm in essence paying an $80 premium for a plastic prop (proudly displaying made in China, so I'm not licking it). To me, that's not worth it. It's a cool (unlickable) prop, though.

Overall, the game rocks, and me flagging these shortcomings is just my way to balance what are in my mind overly high reviews of the game.

That said, I will probably replay the single player portion of this game more often and log more online multiplayer hours than any game this year and next.

Rent: Yeah, but why?
Buy: You better believe it. Standard Edition if you just want the game; Special Edition if you want the art book and extra DVD; Legendary Edition if you want an unlickable mini Spartan replica helmet.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

BioShock (Xbox 360)

BioShock, quite simply, is the best game I've played this year, and maybe the best the last two or three years.

The game looks gorgeous, has interesting play mechanics put together in a way that matters, a great story, top-notch voice acting, stellar sound design, and diversity that kept me engaged throughout.

What kind of game is BioShock? At it's core, it's a shooter (First-Person Shooter), but it's a "shooter-plus" -- a shooter plus adventure game (so much fun exploring and figuring things out); a shooter plus RPG (what plasmids am I going to upgrade? Change out? Remove?).

Built on the Unreal Engine 3 (but given the nature of game development and customization, who knows how much of the UE3 is really still there), this is a pretty game. The fifties-deco vibe is well done, and gives a sense of what futuristic technology would look like in that era; and the signs and adverts are hilarious.

Water (one of the things for which I look in a now-gen game) is fluid and conductive (which means I can electrify baddies sitting in water, and get zapped myself if I'm not careful). If you light an enemy on fire, they'll throw themselves into nearby water to but themselves out and come back to attack you.

Which speaks to another strength of the game -- the AI. Enemies alternate between attacking and fleeing when you (for example) light them on fire. Sometimes they sneak up on you (via the ceiling, which creeps me out); sometimes they charge you. The designs of the "Splicers" are horrific and diverse enough between classes to visually cue me in to my attack or defense mechanism.

And there are a lot of options on this front. There are eight slots for weapons, and most have three different ammunition types (standard, anti-personnel, and armor-piercing for the machine gun, for example; or trip mine, fragmentary grenade, or heat-seeking RPG for the rocket launcher).

Then there are the plasmids -- basically your super powers that range from fire to telekinesis -- and those are just the combat plasmids. There are also sets of mechanical (safe hacking, etc.) and attribute plasmids. And you don't have enough slots for all plasmids, and you usually don't have enough Adam to purchase or upgrade the plasmids you want. This limitation (plasmids, ammunition, wallet for money, etc.) creates an RPG-ish mechanic that makes the game more than a straightforward shooter.

There is also a lot of diversity in the title. Far from just combat, there's exploration, puzzle solving, and a recurring mini-game in the form of hacking that is surprisingly engaging and white-knuckling at times.

The other thing the game does well from a design mechanic is that "just 5 more minutes" mechanic. More than once I'd go an hour or two beyond what I'd intended because I wanted to explore something new, take someone down differently, re-listen to audio cues or Foley, and so on. And there are 4 plasmids I still haven't found or unlocked.

And I actually like they way they implemented syringes and snacks and health stations scattered about Rapture. I also liked the various audio diaries and radio intrusions that added to the story (some other reviews have complained about these as too intrusive).

Of course, for me, a stellar story has to be married to top-notch gameplay, or I get peeved (except in multiplayer, where I just get peeved at the idiotic anonymous, socially challenged masses).

Anyway, BioShock delivers on the story front in spades. I don't know how much of this is Ken Levine, and how much is Susan O'Connor and other contributors, but the story rocks. It's full-featured, accounts for the fluidity of the game medium, and moved me along as a player. Stuff of this caliber shouldn't be so rare in video games.

And sound? Symphony orchestra for the score? Mixed (and balanced) surround sound? Some of the best voice acting since Carpenter in Hunter: The Reckoning? Great stuff. I'll try to post more about it on the acting side of my Website, if I can get permission to post one particular clip from the Sander Cohen character, and verify the voice actor.

Is BioShock a perfect game? No, but it's super close.

I mean, it's not all that innovative. Telekinesis? The evolution of Half-Life 2's gravity gun (or Jedi Knight's Force Push). Speaking of Jedi Knight, the electricity plasmid is akin to a certain Dark Force power.

But the way these things are put together matters, and is great fun. Light a Big Daddy on fire, then hit him with heat-seaking RPGs? Freeze an NPC, then bash him with the wrench? Set up trip wires, capped off by a proximity mine near some propane tanks? Good times.

And there are some minor missteps in otherwise great level design. I like how the map is implemented, but on the Arcadia level, the map and the level design caused some problems in smooth navigation that made me pretty frustrated.

And while I like health stations scattered about, I think health packs could have been left out, which would have made for a more frenetic, urgent experience (but leave the snacks, and the related plasmids).

And near the end of the game there's a type of mission that I don't like if it's not implemented well, and while it's implemented pretty well in BioShock, it's not good enough, and frustrated me when it felt like it wasn't possible to complete it with my (and, I suspect, most people's) definition of success.

But honestly, these are nits.

BioShock is a great game, and definitely the best I've played this year, and probably the best I've played in the last few.

Rent: Yes.
Buy: Oh, yeah.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Halo 3

The more I play Halo 3, the more I like it.

And while in my earlier post I said in my first impressions "the graphical fidelity is a bit improved over the multiplayer beta", that's not fair at all -- it's much improved.

As a matter of fact, this is a very pretty game. Playing through lush coniferous forests is a blast, and the detailing on the trees (outer bark, inner bark, etc.) is well-done. No, not BioShock pretty, but much bigger, open, more - things - going - on - at - once pretty.

** Potential Spoilers Ahead **

There's also an attention to detail that I appreciate. Vines and cables that move when I brush past them. My shadow showing my in-hand and on-back (or on-leg) weapons (and the whole weapon - on - back - and - on -leg mechanic; my buddy is able to look at me and yell, "Use the grav hammer!"), the segmented bodies of buggy dudes, the Scarabs.

Speaking of shadows, the lighting is well-done. Kind of G.R.A.W.ish well done. Momentary blindness when coming through a tunnel and turning into the light.

Physics are much improved, too. Vehicles and guns feel and handle differently. Vehicles especially on ice.

Which led to one thing that's not perfect yet -- squad AI. It's certainly vastly improved over the previous games. I like the contextual barks and banter (some hilarious stuff this round), and it certainly feels organic. When I don't like the AI is when they're driving me on ice as I man a gauss gun. We seriously spun out and died almost the exact same way eight times. After the second time, I decided to see how often it would repeat, to see if it was scripted. Turns out it's not, because there was another place on the road we died six times as I let my AI driver do the DUI-ing. But hey, at least I've got an AI driver. That's pretty cool.

And the other new vehicles rock. The Mongoose is going to pwn on capture the flag, as are Hornets. Big Team Battle (or whatever it's equivalent is) is going to get a lot of service from the troop transport-ish jobby.

On the gun front, I'm missing not being able to dual wield needlers, but digging the old SMG being back (and dual-wield-able). I like that I can take turrets off their mounts. I adore the gravity hammer. I'm not so keen on the Spartan laser.

And the HUD is more informative and more minimalistic at the same time. Kudos to them on the usability front for that (but less so on the out-of-game menues; it should not be that complicated to set up co-op campaign).

Good times. I'm bummed I'm flying out for an interview with a games middleware company -- bummed that I'm missing Halo time; stoked that I'm interviewing with a middleware company.

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Halo 3

Yeah, I was there for a lackluster (and poorly handled) midnight launch. I have my Legendary Edition, and have been playing for around four hours.

It's great fun -- especially cooping through campaign with a friend in the same room.

I need to think more about my first impressions, and maybe I'll revisit them.

First, yeah, it's fun, and the graphical fidelity is a bit improved over the multiplayer beta. It's tough to have this game following BioShock (which I've been playing a lot lately) -- it really doesn't compare favorably on the graphics, sound, or story side to that game.

Gameplay is fun, firefights are great, and cooping feels like it matters.

** Potential Spoilers below **

But, cutscenes are ridiculously uneven in quality. Some good stuff, some really stilted, original Half-Life kind of stuff; and more time on Master Chief and the Arbiter (or armored folks) than on believable human beings. And nothing approaching Final Fantasy quality footage.

Another pet peeve is is cutscenes not matching the action. If my in-room buddy (playing Arby the Arbiter) pushes the switch, don't switch to a cutscene of M.C. doing the switching.

And what is with me ending the co-op campaign, and the game barfing about me turning off the second controller?

But my big concern is on the technical side. So many hiccups and stutters I didn't expect. And the audio mixing on 5.1 surround does not sound good. I lose voices in the music or effects, sound stutters and drops out quite a bit, and Guilty Spark is neigh unintelligible.

That sounds like a lot of negatives, but the game is good. That being said, the hype machine has set expectations. So, on some basic fronts, I was expecting a lot more.

More later.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Call of Duty 4

I've been playing the Call of Duty 4 multiplayer beta.

I should say trying to play it, as it's been pretty much an internal grudge match to do it.

Gameplay and mechanics are pretty solid, I really like the skills and rank progression, and the ability to customize my loadouts is nice.

But the beta doesn't at all seem to care about Xbox Live mechanics like zones, or preferred players, or players to avoid. To be honest, these games have been some of the worst I've ever experienced crowded with foul-mouthed, racist, immature putzes.

I'm a pretty tolerant guy, but this has been so bad that most of my games start with me getting waxed as I'm trying to mute the worst people, then I play pretty well, then I leave the lobby to do a complaint or two -- just about those folks that egregiously violate the XBLA UA (like those vociferous, vitriolic racists; that's not something I think people should play with).

On the upside, I've met a couple of nice folks, interestingly all from outside the U.S. (but currently stateside) -- guys from New Zealand and the U.K. Nice blokes, and less gutterish than my in-country brethren. Sad.

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Monday, August 13, 2007


Been playing the BioShock demo that went up on Xbox Live tonight.

Freaking rocks. Gorgeous, stylistic game

I like adventure games. I like games with atmosphere and story. I like games that make me say, "You want me to what? By myself?"

So this moral dilemma shooter (a la Deus Ex; a shooter like that's a "shooter") has got my interest piqued. Gonna be a long couple of weeks waiting for the full game.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Halo 3 (beta)

I seriously think things look graphically prettier on the beta tonight. I'm sure I would have noticed drifting snow on Snowbound, and the bases look more ... metallic ...

Sucky night for me, though, I was seriously off...

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Halo 3 (beta)

I'm having fun with Halo 3.

I'll probably put through more serious paces this weekend, but so far, so good.

I mean, it's beta, so there's really no need to complain. And they're figuring out the server load, so the interminable slowness of Wednesday, according to Frankie, "should be drastically improved" (today was better).

And if you have a problem with no text in the UI (like I did), there's a fix:

  • Restart your Xbox 360
  • Boot up the Halo 3 Beta
  • While the Halo 3 Beta is loading, immediately press up on the D-Pad and hold the A button until you see the Bungie logo. If you perform this correctly a dialog box will appear confirming maintenance has been done to your system.
  • Resume the Halo 3 Beta!

Now, the Beta FAQ, in response to the question, "Is this the final quality of the graphics and audio?"

"A: No. It is Beta software."

Good, 'cause though I know we shouldn't complain about non-final graphics or audio, GameSpot is running the Halo 3 Graphic Tour, and GameTrailers is running a comparison video.

And Frankie keeps spouting off about the water (has he played Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes?). And the beta does include a snow level, and it does have to compete with Lost Planet on that front.

So there's a watermark (*guffaw*), but it's a beta. Keep all of that in mind.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Halo 3 (beta)

After a slight delay, I'm playing the Halo 3 multiplayer beta.

So far, it's fun. I've only seen two of the three maps, and have done almost exclusively individual slayer (and one game of oddball, which has me pretty excited for the new custom Rocketball variant I'm going to create).

It's beta, so not totally representational of the final game.

Again, I'm having fun, but Frankie totally oversold the X button and the water (has he played Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes?).

More impressions later.


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Friday, March 02, 2007

Armored Core 4 (Xbox 360)

I downloaded the Japanese Xbox 360 demo for Armored Core 4 yesterday.

I need to spend some more time with it, but so far I'm happy.

I'm a fan of all but the latest Armored Core entries, and this also scratches a Zone of the Enders kind of itch the 360 hasn't been able to yet reach.

I'm looking forward to the full game.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (Xbox 360)

I'm currently playing Lost Planet: Extreme Condition for the Xbox 360.

For those who don't care about the details, here's the short version: Best new Xbox 360 game of 2007 (yes, it's the only one so far), totally worth the purchase, truly now-gen, and easily an 8/10 or 9/10 (it's one of those games that makes me re-think my "actors don't do decimals" rule).

For those who care about details, here we go.

First and foremost, I'm glad Capcom keeps shelling out the quality Xbox 360 love. Both this and Dead Rising are Xbox 360 exclusives, both are fantastic games, both really make you feel like you're playing a now-gen game, and both are critical and popular (if not AIAS) darlings. The detail is amazing (both in-game and in cut scenes). The animations for getting into a "VS" (mech') are intricate and solid. Explosions are the bomb (seriously, sorry). The buggy Akrid are lifelike and freaky (I hate anything scorpion-based; which probably stems from young Atari ST Dungeon Master exposure). Snow Pirate battles are intense, and the AI's not half bad.

Sound is amazing (the Soundelux folks are unarguably incredible). Though 5.1 is not quite as impressive as Dead Rising, it's more than solid. It's not that it's in any way sub-par -- Dead Rising just does such an exceptional job of crossing channels (for example, during cut scenes when an NPC runs from in front of you to behind, then up and over a flight of stairs from your right to left).

And the music in Lost Planet is something else. I'm so glad I picked up the Special Edition SKU to get the audio CD musical score. It does what a good movie score for a good movie does -- remind me of powerful/memorable moments from the film/game. (As an aside, there's a good interview with Jamie Christopherson about scoring the game over at

While the graphics and details are fantastic, the cut scenes don't quite measure up to those in Dead Rising, largely for cinematic reasons. Dead Rising's scenes feel like deliberate mini movies -- directed; composed, and very tight. Lost Planet stumbles a bit here, with the cut scenes tending to "ramble" (cue hero handing coffee mug to girl meaningfully).

In addition, while the overall sound is good, that's largely with the music and sound effects, or in-game audio. The voice acting in the cut scenes isn't fabulous, but I think that's largely due to the directing/composition challenges mentioned above (though there are some painful anime tropes realized in the cut scenes.

Game play is pretty good, if a bit "trudgey" at times. The main mechanic that needs some work is also one of its coolest -- being able to swap out or remove and use VS big guns. The problem is since it's the same "B" button used in all scenarios, you can accidentally get in/out of a suit, or attach/unattach a weapon -- usually as you're running from a massive Akrid, and getting out of (or not getting into) a VS costs you the level.

On the upside, checkpoints are better than I thought they were going to be, so you don't usually have to start too terribly far back. And the grapple mechanic (though I've seen it beat up other places), to me works really well and consistently. It admittedly took some time to get used to, but not much at all.

Overall, a fantastic game. Capcom released a demo of this game nine months ago, and it arguably won at the time as the most solid console demo ever released -- and they just upped the quality from there. More impressive, when they released the multiplayer demo later in the year, they actually listened to gamer feedback, and incorporated changes into the final game. They also did things like include a survey in the Official Xbox Magazine to get additional feedback. Very cool.

Again, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition for the Xbox 360 is a fantastic game, and a good play throughout.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Gears of War (Xbox 360)

I finished Gears of War some time ago, and I've been meaning to post some thoughts on it.

First and last, it's a great game -- fully deserving of all of those Game of the Year Awards its been getting.

Is it perfect? No (what game is?), but it's the best package of what it does (by a long shot), and far better for my money and preferences than a now-gen game like Fight Night Round 3 (10 out of 10? Whatever).

Again, it's not perfect. It's pretty close, and does some things spot on.

Take the look, for example. Epic hit the nail on the head with their whole "destroyed beauty" motiff. The buildings are gorgeous, and I'm genuinely saddened at their brokenness.

And the vibe? A sense of a war that is ongoing, without hope, costly, and brutal? Gears, despite it's Sci-Fi clothes, does this better than most (if not all) WWII shooters.

And, honestly, I'm great with the length of the game. There have been complaints about it's shortness, but I think it's good.

And firefights are intense, can be taken from a few angles, and aren't boring or overly repeatable (except for one sniper level, where the snipers always showed up in the same place; WTF? Why not have 5 possible sniper positions, and randomize the 3 snipers; like a "real" war?).

What I thought needs some work is the story. It was decent (and the writer, Susan O'Connor, is honestly pretty impressive), but I think this was a slightly more graceful truncation of the story than what we all got in Halo 2. I think we'll get to see the whole vision on game 2 or 3, but I think that vision could have been pushed more in the first game.

Also, Gears is not prefectly balanced. It's pretty good, but there are some insane levels that do not match the levels before. And the final boss level is tough, but I'd heard horror stories about finishing it out on the hardcore setting than it actually played out (And when I complained about it taking me 8 times to play through before completing it, Cliff Bleszinski told me, "Well, he IS the last boss after all. He's gotta be a smidge tough, eh?").

But the dark wretches that explode when they die inside a closed-in level like the train? Whatever. I dislike cheap deaths.

And I really like the whole "stop-and-pop" gameplay (as opposed to "run-and-gun"), but the cover mechanic in Gears needs some work. I do not like getting stuck against something while running, or not being able to move out from cover cleanly. Rogue Trooper has dedicated context buttons for finding/breaking from cover and blind firing, and I actually like that implementation better than Gears (I know, I know, but check it out then get back with me, then let's have a mature discussion).

UPDATED: An auto-update was released for the game April 9, 2007, and the getting stuck while do the "roadie run" has been seriously massaged. I need to play it more, but seems to make a positive difference so far.

And I'm honestly surprised how buggy Gears of War is. Knocking a Locust to his knees, then have him slide and flip while crouched unmoving, like some 2D cutout, or bullet tracing feeling like it's calculated on where it was fired, rather than where it hits, etc. (Unreal Engine 3 issue?). Minor, but there are some gripe lists out there in the Internet ether. And the previous patch (at least on paper), seems multiplayer focused; but the upcoming patch is a black box.

The other minor quibble I have is the language. Understand, I don't mind language. But the language in Gears feels forced, non-organic, and yanks me out of the moment. It's like part of the premise was "Let's make an R-rated movie, but make it a game", and that premise led the horse. Feels disjoint.

But it's easier to talk about the stuff that doesn't work than the stuff that does, if for no other reason that -- from a usability perspective -- the better the stuff works, the more unoticeable it is.

Again, this is a great game. Easily a 9 out of 10 (I'm a leader of men so don't do decimals). Buy it, play it, understand that it's for mature audiences, and enjoy it.


And check out my previous blurb.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Rogue Trooper (Xbox)

I finished Rogue Trooper last night, the Xbox shooter from Rebellion.

This is a great little game, and I'm so bummed that it's likely to never see a sequel -- this thing would be awesome on the 360. Updated graphics, the continuation of Rogue's mission, better enemy AI and a robust multiplayer -- this thing would be pretty sweet (but would probably suffer in the Gears of War shadow).

The thing pretty much played out like my last post about it. There were was some nice diversity of maps (the Petrified Forest in particular), nods to the inspiring comic book elements (Nu-Earth fauna, to-be-later-girlfriend Venus, etc.).

My only gripe is the the end of the game was ridiculous. One of my gaming pet peeves is an insane push to get to the final boss, and then not (as the player) having the opportunity to take out the final boss myself. There are several ways this can be done badly in a game, but I'll let you play to see how it was badly implemented in this game. But even that doesn't detract from how much I enjoyed the whole game.

Oh, and stay to watch the credits. This one of those there's-a-scene-after-the-credits-you-shouldn't-miss things. Not Nu-Earth shattering, but worth waiting for. (Besides, you should always view the credits on a game. Those people put hard work into what you just finished.)

On the whole, I'm really glad this game was made. I'm frankly surprised it was, since the character was ostensibly rested after 1996, and had an arguably lackluster reboot in 2002 (though a couple of novels did come out in 2005 and 2006).

And this isn't the first game for the franchise. There was a 1986 shooter (isometric) from Piranha Software for the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, and ZX Spectrum. There was also a A platformer for the Amiga and Atari ST in 1990 (Krisalis Software), which I'm not sure how I missed, since I was into both 2000AD and the Atari ST at that time.

Rambling, but all that is to say I hope a fourth game is made from the Rogue Trooper franchise, this time for now-gen systems. I'd do a lot to make that happen.

UPDATED: I just saw Pro-G rated Rogue Trooper 12th in 2006 -- ahead of games like Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, and this quote from the reviewer is spot on:
"I don't think I've ever been as surprised as I was with Rogue Trooper. The team at Rebellion have crafted a tactical combat game that hits the target so often that slight wavering now and again can easily be overlooked. It would be easy to dismiss Rogue Trooper as the game where you play as a blue man with a talking gun, helmet and rucksack, but that blue man is one of the greatest video game action heroes."

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Rogue Trooper (Xbox)

I try to play all games comic book related. With the exception of the excellent Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and X-Men Legends franchise (all from Raven Software), and the Spider-Man movie games, most comic book video games are lackluster. Or blow chunks (ahem, virtually anything Batman).

Not only am I a fan of comics, I've got an affinity for Brit comics, and a lot of the good ones come from 2000AD, like Rogue Trooper. I've been meaning to play the Rebellion-developed, Eidos-published game (based on the comic) for some time. Since the game is playable on the Xbox 360, I recently rented a copy to put it through its paces.

Rogue Trooper shipped in May of 2006 for the original Xbox (and PC and PS2), and this is a gem of a game that's not getting enough recognition.

This is probably largely due to being a last-gen release 6 months after the launch of the Xbox 360, and in the pre-furor of the PS3 and Nintendo Wii. But I'm bummed this game and development team probably won't get its/their due.

I lost track of time and was up until 5 a.m. playing this game. This hasn't happened in I don't know how long.

The game is a third-person shooter with some surprising depth and mechanics, great last-gen graphics (and better than some of the now-gen), a compelling story that moves the action forward, good voice acting, and stays true to the source material.

Rather than just running and gunning, you'll quickly leverage skills from your fallen comrades (a la their personality and affinities built into rescued and -- uh, liberated -- bio-chips) to spice up the game. You can also collect salvage to build weapons, buy upgrades, and replenish supplies, giving it an almost RPG(ish) (lite) mechanic.

But the big thing -- and here's something that will probably get me some nastigrams -- it's like Gears of War, the Xbox 360 powerhouse that's the biggest franchise (and exclusive) on that console.

Seriously, Rogue Trooper is like Gears of War. Not that I'd necessarily pick the former over the latter, but the similarities are suprising.

Check it out:

Vault over stuff? Check. Use cover? Check. Blind fire? Check. Grenade-arc mechanic? Check. Even crouching and running in Rogue Trooper is like the roadie run in Gears of War (but with out the cool shaky cam dealy). Weird.

The multiplayer (offline, system link, and Xbox Live) is pretty limited, but really fun. There are only two cooperative game types -- basically variations on Assault (get from one end of the valley to the other to control the landing platform, in the allotted time with the allotted lives) and Defend (protect the wounded G.I. in the allotted blah blah blah). But these two variations are pretty intense, have some decent configuration options, and you can easily invite a friend to play online (ahem, Gears?).

There is no adversarial online, which is a bummer, because this game is ripe for it. There's also no online or offline co-op for the story, which is too bad, because (again), the game is ripe for it (but hey, Bungie badly stubbed out the online co-op for Halo 2, so at least Rebellion's exclusion is more graceful). Actually, there's a lot in this game other titles should learn from.

Like the HUD system. If you're not going to be minimalist (like Gears, which I like), Rogue Trooper's HUD/interface/selection widgets are pretty slick, intuitive, and I found myself not thinking about them as I switched and blasted frantically online or off. That's a good sign.

I recommend Rogue Trooper. If you find it in the bargain bin or on the rental shelf, do yourself a favor and put a few hours into it -- this is one of those pleasant gaming surprises.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

BF2:MC; G.R.A.W.; Tomb Raider: Legend (Xbox 360)

One of the coolest parts of the new Xbox 360 incarnation of Xbox Live is the free downloadable demos.

Recently, a bunch of demos hit the network, with Electronic Arts releasing Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (BF2:MC); Ubisoft posting Ghost Recon Advance Warfighter (G.R.A.W.), and Eidos dropping the Xbox 360 version of Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend.

I keep getting sucked back into the Battlefield 2: Modern Combat demo (the full version ships today). The game is a visceral, intense, absolutely huge, and less-serious war game ripe for "That's what I'm talkin' about!" moments. For example, me driving a tank over a bridge I know is out, as a guy on a rooftop takes aim at me with a rocket launcher. I drive the tank over the edge of the bridge, but not before I jumped out, rocket whizzing over my head and missing the plummeting tank, as I swap to a sniper rifle and cap the guy on the rooftop. He'd just been served.

The BF2:MC demo is buggy as all get out, so I'm hoping the retail version fixes some of the glitches. Seriously, the demo makes Oblivion look good (don't get me wrong -- Oblivion is a beautiful, engrossing game; but it's glitchy, and I can't currently play it because the "fragmented disk cache fix" isn't working).

The Xbox 360 version of BF2:MC has the content from the Xbox version (prettied up), plus the three new maps and four new vehicles from the Xbox “Warsome Booster Pack” released in December.

A more serious (and much more gorgeous) demo is Ghost Recon Advance Warfighter (G.R.A.W.). This game is intense, and for the less-experienced player, pretty unforgiving. This game plays more like a war version of a chess game (where you're an shootable chess piece), and can be pretty frustrating until you get the hang of the controls and different game play style. I jumped into this after playing BF2:MC, and had to seriously adjust my "who can take more bullets" game style.

Also, this game is a totally different game than the Xbox version of the game -- developed by a different studio, and with a much higher level of quality and overall game play.

In a previous blog, I passed on info that the demo wassn't going to have co-op. But last night, a buddy and I fired it up and were able to co-op -- though he hit that steep learning curve pretty quickly, and didn't enjoy his taste of the game.

Finally, I downloaded and played Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend. I'm warming up to this, and admittedly, I'm not a big non-2D platformer fan, but my issues with the game aren't with it being a platformer -- it's that it doesn't feel next-gen.

The game is fun, and things like the water are fairly impressive. But there are some jaggies, and when Ms. Croft stands on a downed tree, for example, her feet are set apart as if she's standing on a transparent, flat surface -- which looks wonky.

If I'm playing a next-gen game, I really want the physicality of an object to be apparent. I want her feet to land roughly more where they "should" land on a tree trunk.

But I did say the game was growing on me. Lara's got some new moves, and the God of War inspired grappler is a nice addition, and I think swimming handles better than it has in the franchise.

I should play it again, and see if it grows on my some more.

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Serious Sam II (Xbox)

Serious Sam is on of my favorite franchises on the Xbox and PC, and blasting through Serious Sam II on Xbox (via online co-cop) is a great way to blow through a Saturday afternoon.

The Xbox version's not going to win any graphics awards, but the visuals are colorful, bizarre, and like the dialog and overall premise, is so ridiculous and non-serious as to be a ton of fun.

The game has a lot of fun with itself, which makes it fun for me. The pace and volume of baddies is absolutely insane, but with co-op in some of the heavier moments, the frame rate does glitch a bit.

Plus, you can generally pick the game up new for $10-15 on sale ($20 MSP), and even cheaper used.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII (Xbox 360)

Microsoft and Ubisoft released a demo of Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII yesterday on Xbox Live Marketplace.

The game is pretty slick, and captures the feel of aerial dogfighting. The opening tutorial is a little irritating (mainly with the "drop manifest" task), but once mission mode starts, it's much more engaging.

I'm curious to see if the full version of the game on-disc has better graphics than the downloadable demo. They're not bad, but not the caliber of the Xbox 360 shots shown in Game Informer Magazine. That's what happened with Condemned, so I suspect the shipping graphics will be better.

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Black (Xbox)

UPDATED: This title is now playable on the Xbox 360.

I picked up EA/Criterion's Black yesterday, and put it through its paces a bit.

I've been waiting for this title for some time, from the EA-purchased Criterion Software (the folks behind the Burnout franchise).

Black wants to do for the FPS genre what Burnout does for the racing/wrecking genre -- make it loud, ridiculously unrealistic, and a ton of fun.

Based on the premises "if Hollywood can make a handgun sound like a Howitzer, why can't we", and "the bullets are the heroes", Black has been described as "gun porn" and "The Matrix lobby scene".

So how does it play?


I mean, the wanton destruction is good fun. The guns are gorgeous. Slowly chipping away at a concrete pylon is impressive.

But I have two big pet peeves in gaming:

  1. Stupid AI
  2. Bad usability

On the stupid AI front, I don't like coming down staircase and seeing one of my squadmates (who I can't control) and a terrorist standing -- barrel to barrel -- blasting away at each other until one of them falls down.

That's stupid AI.

I can't remember who died first, but I killed the other one out of spite.

I'm hoping Online Alchemy does something genuinely innovative with their "ground-breaking AI technology for use in next-generation massively multiplayer online games as well as training and other applications."

Hey, how cool would it be if developers could license AI engines and toolkits for other games, like Project Offset and Epic Games do for the Offset and Unreal Engine for graphics, and Havok does for its physics engine?

My second major pet peeve is basic usability problems.

In Black, this plays out when you start up the game and can't skip the developer and publisher spalsh screens. Worse, I watched the opening "thetrical credits" cinematic when I first watched the game, and thought it was really cool. Later, when I restarted the game, I was annoyed that I couldn't skip it.

Worse, when I created a new profile for some friends, I had to watch the mission cinematic in total, and couldn't skip it. And it's looong ...

Skipping cinematics and splash screens is basic stuff, and really noticeable when it's missing (and when the unskippables are long and/or suck; at least in Black they don't suck).

There are also some unneeded extra steps in the options and profile creation set up that are unneeded.

The menus are slick, however.

Oh, and there was some weirdness in the game where the game controlled super slow. Not stuttering, but almost like my guy was underwater. Annoying, that.

I'm only about 30 minutes into the game, so it remains to be seen if these things will keep me from enjoying the game.

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Halo 2 (XBox)

I'm not sure how you beat 4-to-8-player Rocketball on Foundation in Halo 2.

Oddball, with a Rocketball variant (3 minues to win; no other weapons on map; toughness and speed with ball on; radar off but ball indicator on).

Crank up the surround sound, bump up the subwoofer, and laugh until someone pees.

We break for that.

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Painkiller, Half-Life 2 (Xbox demos)

In the February Official Xbox Magazine, the Xbox demos portion of the list includes Painkiller and Half-Life 2.

I was seriously stoked, because I'm a big fan of what the Painkiller guys did with Painkiller on the PC (frenetic action with a fantastic, oft-missed summary of heaven/hell/purgatory legends), and Half-Life 2 is arguably one of the greatest recent PC games.

So, how were the demos?

They sucked. And blew, while we're at it.

Graphics on both were abysmal, and the Painkiller demo didn't have Y-axis invert (lesson for all demo creators: I understand locking controller configurations for a demo, but if "invert" is germane to your genre, f***ing include it!).

I'm really hoping this is just indicative of pre-release demo concessions; but I don't know that I'm motivated enough to buy the full versions, with the bad taste the previews left in my mouth.

I need to ping some Xbox buddies who have the games and see if they suck as much in the retail versions (Painkiller releases next month).

FYI, though TeamXbox and GameSpot gave high ratings to Half-Life 2 (9.5 and 8.3, respectively), I believe OXM gave it a sub-par rating for ridiculously frequent and slow load times.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Doom 3 (Xbox)

Man, Doom 3 for Xbox just rocks.

Gorgeous, freaky, amazing/creepy in surround sound, and a blast in online co-op mode.

Me and Xboxer dajoti just finished playing through the entire game co-op. All games (if it makes sense) should be online co-op.

What a rush.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Call of Duty 2 (Xbox 360)

I'm so glad the Call of Duty 2 Xbox 360 demo is in the February issue of The Official Xbox Magazine.

This game shows that no matter how tired the genre (do we need another freaking WWII shooter?), innovation and excellence are still to be had. And the demo is the same thing that's at in-store kiosks.

Call of Duty 2 is not only the best-selling Xbox 360 game (with 70%-plus of the game market share), it's one of the top-selling games of 2005 (and it came out the end of October).

The demo is disappointingly short, but gives a taste of the frenetic play, importance of listening, keeping your head down (and using those smoke grenades), and generally lets you get "as close to war as you'll ever want to be".

So, they can still make WWII games interesting and important.

I'm curious to see what The Outfit does for the genre -- kind of the "anti-Call of Duty 2".

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Halo Zero (PC)

So, this independent homebrew game, Halo Zero (PC), is pretty fun.

Take the concepts from Halo, and Halo 2, and mix it in with side-scrolling 2D Contra-style gameplay?

In the words of the current Guinness marketing message: "Brilliant!"

It's not perfect; the game's died a few times, and though I laud the implementation of the Halo-favorite sniper rifle, the implementation sucks (there should be one button for zoom, and one for fire; as-is, you wast bullets, and disrupt the pacing of the game).

But, overall, a great romp for a few hours, and a good addition to the Halo universe.

Go to the website (, download the game, and have fun, Halo-cum-Contraesque style.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Perfect Dark Zero (Xbox 360)

I got an Xbox 360 this morning, and have been playing Perfect Dark Zero.

Granted, I'm early in the game, and haven't had a chance to jump into online multiplayer, yet, but I'm thinking there's a reason Microsoft hasn't allowed a review of this game.

It's OK, but so far, feels a bit underpolished. There are some great textures and clever graffiti, but the nightclub scene has got some ass-stupid AI, and it plays for me like a poor man's version of the "NeoTokyo, 2019" level from TimeSplitters 2.

The soundtrack is top-notch, though, the intro is cinematic slick (flipside sexy James Bond-esque), so I may need to give the title more time.

So far, though, not a must-buy-an-Xbox-360-title.

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Adam Creighton: Headshot

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