First Impressions Galore

Yes, this is a video game blog and yes, we do play games. Honest! Here are a few I’ve played in the last few weeks.

Unreal Tournament 3

This was my first game from GameFly. I’ve never been an Unreal guy but I gave UT3 a try nonetheless. It wasn’t a bad game, I just don’t think it was for me. I gave the single-player campaign a try, but it turned out to be a series of multiplayer matches, only against bots. There was an over-arching story going on there, but I couldn’t follow it. Having Ice T narrate didn’t help things.

I gave the online play a try, but it was total mayhem. The games we played (I tried multiplayer with my bro-in-law) were just total chaos. It simply wasn’t fun. Jumping into other games resulted similarly. If I’m going to play an FPS online, I’ve already invested enough time in Halo 3. I sent UT3 back a couple days after it showed up.

Space Invaders Extreme

After reading Nat’s review, I had to give it a try. This game is a blast. The re-imagining of Space Invaders was done perfect. The sound and music was great, very reminiscent of Meteos. I love the way the rhythm was worked into the mechanics of shooting. Very slick stuff. I definitely give S.I.E. the thumbs up.

Top Spin 3

Top Spin 3 is hard. I haven’t played a tennis game since Mario Tennis on the Gamecube, which isn’t a fair comparison. TS3 is no Mario Tennis. It’s complex, its moves and controls are deep and the gameplay is over my head. Nevertheless, it looks great and plays fun.

I still wish I had some Mario-like powerups (I’d like to shoot a tennis ball through a cannon, Donkey Kong style) but it wouldn’t feel right. I should have a review of TS3 up soon.

So that’s what I was playing. Now that I beat GTA IV, I feel like a big weight has been lifted and I can get back to playing games scatter-shot like I did before.

Metal Gear Solid 4 First Impress…er, Digressions

It has a top-notch presentaiton and the audio and visuals are outstanding. I’m not too deep into the story, but I hear it gets convoluted really fast.

I’ve put about 45 minutes into this game.

I’ve pressed a controller button about ten times.

If this is the future of next generation gaming, count me out. I’m sure that this may change the deeper I get into the game, but for cryin’ out loud, let me play! I don’t know what the (seemingly) recent trend is to put 20-30 minute intros into a game before there is even any real gameplay, but it’s driving me nuts. Here are some recent games I’ve played: Okami, 20 minutes; about every Mario game since the Gamecube, 20 minutes, Eternal Sonata, 15 minutes; Final Fantasy Crisis Core, 10 minutes; and Metal Gear Solid 4, a whopping 40+ minutes.

Yes, some of the fluff can be skipped, but some of it cannot be. I guess that’s why I’m drawn to games such as Space Invaders Extreme and Galaga (a remake coming soon…another trendóbut one I like). Give me the pew pews.

In looking back on the games I’ve enjoyed the most in the last year, they have been those that are either short on story or they use the gaming experience to tell the story. Bioshock is an excellent example of a game that uses itself to advance the storyline and Half-Life 2 is another example (somewhat). Assassin’s Creed with it’s forced cutscenes is not.

There were a lot of moments in the opening scenes of Metal Gear Solid 4 that I could have played, but I guess it was not to be. Apparently, this is the style of play that gamers wantóat least in this instance for PS3 owners, who are coming close to pushing this title to over 1 million sold in the U.S.

Yes, the game is epic. I’ll give it that. The whole “press one button to play” mentality just reminds me of the people in the movie Wall-E. Of course, this trend might be going the other way if a game like Mega Man 9 (possible old-school difficult) proves to sell well.

Hopefully, we’ll have both. Some can pay $60+ for their glorified movie viewer, and some can pay $10+ for their buttonmashing pew pews.

Mario Kart Wii First Impressions

This picture says it all:

Corinne meets Wii MarioKart

When a game can produce “the smile” (parents of young kids will know what I mean by “the smile”), it is okay in my book.

A lot of Mario Kart was played this weekend. It was played by kids 5 years old and 65 years old. Everyone had a great time. They say Nintendo has “dumbed down” Mario Kart for the Wii. They’re wrong. They didn’t dumb anything down. They distilled an already great game to its essence and made it accessible to the masses.

This is not a bad thing.

Nat and I will have more Mario Kart thoughts later.

(Look how much concentration this game takes!)