Archives for June 2009

Ads coming to the 360 Dashboard?

It seems like we might be getting ads in the near future on the 360 dashboard. (Don’t we already? When it boots up online?) Well, I won’t. I’m selling my Xbox, instruments, and library of 30+ games. It’s unrelated, but makes it easier.

[2 Minute Review] Terminator Salvation

If you liked the movie, then you’ll probably like the game.

Get used to this guy; you are going to see him a lot.Play as John Connor as he and his companions try to save a group of Resistance fighters that are trapped in a Skynet facility.

DO: Take cover, flank the enemy, shoot the enemy. Get out of cover, walk to the next fight. Occasionally shoot from a vehicle. Repeat until the credits scroll.

TYPE: 3rd Person Cover-Based Shooter

PLATFORM: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PlayStation 3, Windows DVD-ROM

MEAT: Terminator Salvation takes many cues from both Gears of War games. Each of the game’s chapters are broken up into little theaters – areas in which you are pinned down and must fight through waves of enemies until they are all defeated. Each theater is easily identified by objects that are randomly strewn about, acting as cover for you and your teammates. Your survival is dependant on taking cover as you will not be able to survive under the heavy automated fire of the machines.

As you play through Terminator Salvation’s nine chapters, you will fight the same four enemies when Connor is on-foot: Aerostats (small flying machines aka “Wasps”), T7-Ts (four-legged machines aka “Spiders”), Hunter Killers (large flying machines aka “HKs”) and T-600s (endoskeletons, sometimes called “skin jobs”). The on-rails segments feature the motorcycle-shaped Terminators and mounted turrets in one segment.

The graphics and voice work are adequate, and the controls work for the game. I found myself frustrated with the lack of a roadie run; on a few occasions I could not use the cover system to get me from one spot to the other, so I had to take a leisurely stroll through enemy fire. Since your health does not replenish until all enemy waves have been eliminated, this was very dangerous, but necessary, action to take.

PERKS: The cover system works well. The on-rails segments are entertaining and are a much-needed break from the standard gameplay. The inclusion of Moon Bloodgood’s and Common’s likenesses and voices help to tie the game closer to the movie it is based on. The achievements are easy to get; simply playing through the 6 hour campaign on Hard mode will net you 1000 points. Cooperative play through the campaign is available both in offline splitscreen and over Xbox LIVE.

SCREAMS: For more than the six enemy types you will encounter, a longer playthrough time, more reasons to play through the game more than once (like collectibles, online multiplayer or multiple paths through the campaign) and a roadie run.

VERDICT: Rent. The game’s short length and few achievements will give Gamerscore addicts a reason to play through this game once. Fans of Gear of War will appreciate playing through a similar experience.

On my overflowing plate…

Sorry for the absence of late. I’ve had difficulty logging into the site since the update but that freed me up to play and purchase a pile of games.

I will have a review of Miami Law for the DS up soon and impressions of SMT: Devil Survivor, Class of Heroes and Crimson Gem Saga as well. I also plan to finish up Ghostbusters within the week and should have a review of the 360 version up soon.

I also want to take this time to bid a fond farewell to my old 19″ Viewsonic CRT monitor as it makes way for my new baby, a new LG 22″ widescreen!

Gameplay impressions (Resident Evil 5 and Prototype)

I haven’t posted much lately about games. It seems like I’ve been talking about talking about games, but not actually the games. So, finally, I’ve got some games to talk about: Resident Evil 5 and Prototype.

Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5 – After playing the demo a while ago, I told myself I just needed to have an RE4 state of mind to enjoy it. But it didn’t work. I wasn’t “feeling it.” Despite previous experience, I decided to grab a copy of the game and give it a try anyway. After 20 minutes by myself I realized this wasn’t going to work. The AI-controlled Sheva was frustrating almost immediately. I didn’t want to give up, though, and figured it couldn’t get any worse if I played it with James (aka Ehergeiz, who will go by James from now on, since that’s his name) so after scoring a copy for him, we decided to give it a play through together.

I will say this: this game is Resident Evil 4.5. I will also say this: this is not a bad thing. RE4 holds a special place in my heart and I love that RE5 feels so familiar. From the laser sight to the ridiculous idea that first-aid spray is a real thing, this feels like home. That being said, RE4 was four years ago. Game design has changed, for the better. When the game first cam out, gamers complaining about not being able to run and shoot made me want to scream (you try shooting a 12-gauge on the run, big guy!) but now I see what they mean. It can be frustrating. There are other little issues that crop up, but they are harmless gnats on the windshield at 55 MPH.

We’re almost done with RE5. I’m probably not going to review the game, but I would have given it a BUY rating. I am liking it very much. I miss the “What are ya selling?” guy, no matter how ridiculous the weapon upgrade system is (my revolver holds 12 bullets!). I still love this game.

Prototype

Prototype: The obvious comparisons are going to come up — an open world, a superpowered character and the opportunities for destruction abound. I can’t compare it to inFamous but I can compare it to Crackdown. The similarities are there — climbing to insane heights, jumping, throwing cars, collecting “orbs” and upgrading abilities. But where Crackdowns upgrades were limited and linear, Prototype has tons. Both games have “challenges” outside the main story-line, but again, Prototype outnumbers Crackdown in every way. What Crackdown does have more of than Prototype is charm. The satisfaction you get from climbing buildings in Crackdown is absent in Prototype. You just run up the building and you’re done. No challenge. No frustration, either, but it’s not the same. This is a feeling I get quite a bit with Prototype. I’m enjoying it, but it’s not quite satisfying.

The combat conflicts me. I can’t tell if I’m good or it’s easy. I’d prefer the former, of course, but the challenge hasn’t been there for me. I’ve died my share of times in the course of a mission, but the enemies keep you in health orbs and you can always run away (or hide in a disguise) if things get dicey. Disguise mode is a blast. Anyone you “consume” allows you to become that person. So you can blend in the crowd by consuming a bystander or you can get into an army base by consuming a soldier. It’s a riot. Especially consuming an old man, picking up a car, and run through the streets at high speed. It’s a riot.

The mission structure is fine. It’s easy to navigate your way around the city and find what your looking for. Their version of NYC lacks character that GTAIV’s had, but the game does look gorgeous.

Overall, Prototype has strong BUY potential.

Point Lookout First Impression

Point_Lookout

Calling this a “First Impression” might be a bit misleading considering I have all the achievements, even the “Bog Walker” which means I’ve visited all the locations in Point Lookout. However, until I have the time to do a longer write up this will have to do.

Point Lookout is a true expansion to the game. Sticking close to what Fallout 3 does best, with some combat, plenty of exploration, and just enough story to keep things interesting. I love the new weapons and I enjoy what they did to the setting. The terrain and enemies are largely different, with a few familiar faces from the Capitol Wasteland also taking up residence in Point Lookout. On a lark I decided to go to Point Lookout with no weapons other than a Ripper and basic Leather Armor. I think this was the best idea as I had to rely mostly on what I found in the new location. Players often complain about the DLC, but if I showed up with my full kit then it would not have presented much of a challenge.

On the other hand, Fallout 3 was my favorite game last year and I’ve purchased all of the DLC, so keep that in mind. This one isn’t without its problems, but really it’s just the same problems that plague Fallout 3 in general.