Impressions Galore

You’d think I’d talk a little more about games, seeing how this is a video game blog and all. So now that I’ve poured a few hours into some games, let’s talk:

Fallout 3

This goes beyond the regular first impressions, I’ve logged almost 20 hours. First things first, Fallout 3 is a GREAT game. I’m not going to go through the superlatives. It’s good. It is not without hiccups, but overall it is excellent.

The game is an explorer’s heaven. If you’re like me, you have to open every door and open every container and look in every corner. If your front door is left unlocked (or not), I’m coming in. Some people refer to this as kleptomania. So be it. In Fallout 3, it’s survival. The explorer itch is scratched over and over. In fact, it’s starting to hurt and get red. There is just so much to see. You could be heading to a specific location and take two hours to get there as you look around, take on new missions and find boxes to open. I can’t miss a thing.

The story starts off slowly and I really didn’t care much for the characters at first but things are getting interesting. The world they have crafted feels real without being realistic, if that makes sense. Seeing the dilapidated Washington Monument was jarring. There’s something about seeing a familiar sight and something not being right. Well done, Bethesda.

There are problems, things that aren’t deal breakers, but issues nontheless. My biggest issue is with the NPCs. I believe Oblivion suffered from some of these issues. First off, most are terrifying to look at. Character models are not this game’s strong suit. Their interactions with me, the Vault 101 guy, also leave something to be desired. One minute they’re rushing up to me in town, telling how happy they are for what I’ve done, and giving me the goods. Two seconds later they hate me. What gives?

I mentioned the game looks good, but whatever you do, DO NOT go third person. The game suddenly looks markedly worse. Game-play is mostly on the level. Character progression is well paced and the variety of skills are expansive. Combat isn’t terrible, either. This isn’t a shooter,. I love the VATS targeting system. Unloading my minigun on some Super Mutant’s head is very satisfying.

If I had to guess, I’d say I’ve made moderate progress in the “actual story”. That might not seem much, having played so much already, but I’m okay with that. I’m in no hurry for this game to end.

Gears of War 2

I enjoyed the first Gears. It wasn’t my favorite, but it was a fun game and didn’t take itself too seriously. The sequel (or as Nat calls it, expansion) takes what was fun in the first one and makes everything better and tighter. The core game hasn’t changed. Gears of War 2 lives up to its expectations.

Thing is, it’s almost too polished. Gears of War 2 is the video game equivalent of Pop Music. It is expertly produced, aimed directly at it’s core market (18-34 y/o males), glamorizes a particular lifestyle, and is narrowly focused. It doesn’t take a lot of risks. I guess it really doesn’t need to.

In the end, I’m enjoying quite a bit what I’ve played so far. most of my time has been spent playing the main story. Everything I’ve read about the multiplayer games has me really excited to dip into those waters. I gave Horde Mode (survival mode) a try with split-screen co-op, and this mode resonates strongly with me. I can see this be the beginning of a long relationship.

Disgaea DS

Let me be brief here. Here is a game where the level cap is 9,999. My main character is level 8. It is a strategy RPG (read: portable crack). It may or may not have a story. It has exploding penguins.

I will be playing this for a long time.

Boom Blox

I grabbed this one on a whim, needing to justify ownership of my Wii. The idea is simple — there’s a stack of blox, knock them over with a ball. Simple. I figured the kids would dig on it pretty good. Turns out both kids really like the game. In fact, my little 3 year-old is quite the Boom Bloxer. Not sure if this is a keeper, but it will provide plenty of Wii gaming.

Phew. There’s quite a bit on my plate right now, with more to come.


  1. flamingsquirrel says

    I “finished” Fallout 3 at 45 hours. The ending is a big disappointment. Of course there are tons of different endings, but they *NO SPOILERS IN HERE* they’re just played out through black and white still pictures, with a voice over. if you chose the evil path on a particular quest, it shows the same photo, but the voice over talks about how you chose the evil thing, after a couple of these, it’s over. You can’t keep playing after you’ve finished.

    Thankfully I abuse the save function, so I was able to return to my file, and keep playing. I’d say I missed at least a good 25-40% of the side quests etc. I can’t be sure, obviously, because the game is so huge, but I know there’s still TONS to do.

    Don’t really have anything to say about the others… Might check out Disgaea DS, just for an excuse to dust off the old DS… But I too have a lot on my plate. Fallout 3, and soon, Left 4 Dead, I preorderd, and got into the demo early. According to Steam, I’ve put 11.5 hours into the DEMO since Nov 6… It’s absolutely amazing. Plus I could always get back to and finish Dead Space and FarCry 2…

    My homework from various classes if building up… help?

  2. Boom Blox is one of my best games this year. Really bought it for the kids, but like Lego Star Wars, I ended up loving it myself.

  3. Oh, Boom Blox. That game is awesome.

    I’m only about 10 hours into Fallout 3 but I love it, and this is coming from someone who, while I appreciated Oblivion, could never get into it.

    While the NPCs aren’t the greatest in a videogame, they are LEAGUES better than the cookie cutter NPCs in Oblivion and that, more than anything else, is what has me loving the game. It also looks and plays great. I need to finish off Gears 2 so I can get back to it.

    Speaking of which, I’m THIS close to finishing Gears 2. I hoped to finish tonight but I’m tired and still getting over this flu, so I’ll probably wrap it up tomorrow and do a 2MR on it and Dead Space (which I’d hoped to write up over the weekend).

    And welcome to the cult of Disgaea. You are DOOOOMED!

  4. Yes, I am responding to comments two weeks old. I’ve been AFK so much these past few weeks that I’m just now catching up.

    @FS – I’ve been doing the majority of the side quests, and from what I understand, it’s pretty obvious when the ending is coming, so I’ll put off the ending until I get my fill of the side quests.

    Oh, and do your homework!

    @Jason – I haven’t had much chance to play Boom Blox, since I can’t pry the controllers out of my kids hands. They love it.

    @Brock – I am fully in the cult of Disgaea. I think I’ve already logged over 20 hours. I’m really liking it.

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