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.

In My Portable Hands

We’re lousy with games around here lately!