Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Grand Theft Auto IV Cover Art

Frickin' Sweet - The official cover art for GTA IV was unveiled on Rockstar's website today and I'm (in a Deter voice) happy as a little girl. Motorcycles, helicopters, tootsie pops, sniper rifles, car chases, cell phone conversations? Sign me up! I'm most excited about the gondala ride. I wonder how much it costs.
Rockstar will be dropping a third trailer for GTA IV on December 4th and I can't wait. If all the love I've been giving the Halo series makes you cringe, just wait until you see the tongue bath I give GTA IV when it comes out. The Grand Theft Auto franchise is my personal all-time fav.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Rock Band First Impressions

Rock Me Amadeus - I love the new game Rock Band so much I started my own Rock Band band. This is a picture of us above, I'm second from the right. Don't let the pic on this blog fool you, I look much different with a beard and without my glasses. I've been told my group looks a little like some band called the Foo Fighters but its completely coincidental. My band is called Death Blossom and I rock the mic. Not because I can actually sing but because I can't play the guitar nearly as well as my son and when it comes to the drums I'm about as coordinated as an elephant on ice skates. So far my band has only been playing in Boston but we recently got a van so I'm hoping we can branch out.
Rock Band is an amazing game. Sure I occassionally feel like a dufus banging on plastic musical instruments and playing in my own virtual Partridge Family band but I could care less. I'm having way too much fun playing with my son (and with others online) to feel embarrassed by what I look like. And that's what makes this game so much better than the Guitar Hero series, which is saying a lot. There's just so much more to do because there are more instruments, and the co-op mode is way more enjoyable. Rock Band is not only for die-hard rhythm game rockers, its also a great party game. If I can talk my wife and daughter into it, anybody will try it. Its just one of those games that has a high curiosity factor and draws people in. But my favorite thing about the game is the music. Guitar Hero offers some great tunes but they're all covers, almost all of the songs in Rock Band are originals. Throw in all of the downloads available (including the aforementioned Foo Fighters) and gamers can have quite a nice variety of songs to jam to.
If you've been leery of jumping into the rhythm game genre, I can't really say I blame you because I never got into it myself until now. But if you decide to give Rock Band a shot I doubt you'll be disappointed.
Random Crap on a 'Heroes' Monday - Classic space shooter Asteroids and Asteroids Deluxe are available as a joint download this Wednesday for 400 MS points...the Xbox Dashboard update on December 4 will allow you to look up the friends of your friends ala Facebook and MySpace. I actually tried this when Xbox Live was first available so I'm kind of glad this is finally going to happen. Still, even though you can control the access to your friends list its a little Big Brotherish in a way...And finally...I forgot where I saw THIS today but as a Star Wars geek I thought it was kinda funny.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mass Effect Achievement Points

My December dance card is full - With the newly released Rock Band, Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed taking up all of my gaming time, Call of Duty 4 is offically out of the rotation. I just don't have time for it. The only reason Halo 3 will get any love is if I want to shoot people online, otherwise its going to be collecting dust as well. Can you blame me? These three games are awesome. Assassin's Creed lives up to its initial promise, Mass Effect is the crack of video games and Rock Band blows Guitar Hero III off the stage. Best of all, none of these games is a first person shooter. I've already posted the points for Rock Band and Assassin's Creed so here are the Achievement Points for crack-like Mass Effect.
1. Medal of Honor - Complete 1 Mass Effect Playthrough on any setting. 100 points
2. Medal of Heroism - Complete Feros. 25 points
3. Distinguished Service Medal - Complete Eden Prime. 25 points
4. Council Legion of Merit - Complete Virmire. 25 points
5. Honorarium of Corporate Service - Complete Noveria. 25 points
6. Long Service Medal - Complete 2 Mass Effect Playthroughs on any setting. 25 points
7. Distinguished Combat Medal - Complete 1 Mass Effect playthrough on the Hardcore difficulty setting. Do not change the setting.. 25 points
8. Medal of Valor - Complete 1 Mass Effect playthrough on the Insanity difficulty setting. Do not change the setting..50 points
9. Pistol Expert - Register 150 Pistol Kills. 10 points
10. Shotgun Expert - Register 150 Shotgun Kills. 15 points
11. Assault Rifle Expert - Register 150 Assault Rifle Kills. 15 points
12. Sniper Expert - Register 150 Sniper Rifle Kills. 15 points
13. Lift Mastery - Use biotic Lift 75 times. 15 points
14. Throw Mastery - Use biotic Throw 75 times. 15 points
15. Warp Mastery - Use biotic Warp 75 times. 15 points
16. Singularity Mastery - Use biotic Singularity 75 times. 15 points
17. Barrier Mastery - Use biotic Barrier 75 times. 15 points
18. Stasis Mastery - Use biotic Stasis 75 times. 15 points
19. Damping Specialist - Use Damping Field 75 times. 15 points
20. AI Hacking SpecialistUse AI Hacking 75 times. 15 points
21. Overload Specialist - Use Shield Overload 75 times. 15 points
22. Sabotage Specialist - Use Sabotage 75 times. 15 points
23. First Aid Specialist - Use medi-gel 150 times. 15 points
24. Neural Shock Specialist - Use Neural Shock 75 times. 15 points
25. Scholar - Find all primary Alien: Council Races, Extinct Races and Non-Council Races codex entries. 25 points
26. Completionist - Complete the majority of the game. 25 points
27. Tactician - Complete playthrough with shield damage greater than health damage. 25 points
28. Medal of Exploration - Land on an uncharted world. 50 points
29. RichExceed 1,000,000 Credits . 25 points
30. Dog of War - Register 150 organic enemy kills. 25 points
31. Geth Hunter - Register 250 synthetic enemy kills. 25 points
32. Soldier Ally - Complete the majority of the game with the Alliance soldier squad member. 20 points
33. Sentinel Ally - Complete the majority of the game with the Alliance sentinel squad member. 20 points
34. Krogan Ally - Complete the majority of the game with the krogan squad member. 20 points
35. Turian Ally - Complete the majority of the game with the turian squad member. 20 points
36. Quarian Ally - Complete the majority of the game with the quarian squad member. 20 points
37. Asari AllyComplete the majority of the game with the asari squad member. 20 points
38. Power Gamer - Reach 50th level with one character. 20 points
39. Extreme Power Gamer - Reach 60th level with one character. 50 points
40. Renegade - Accumulate 75% of total Renegade points. 15 points
41. Paragon - Accumulate 75% of total Paragon points. 15 points
42. Paramour - Complete any romance subplot. 10 points
43. Spectre Inductee - Become a Spectre. 15 points
44. Charismatic - Use Charm or Intimidate to resolve an impossible situation. 10 points
45. Search and Rescue - Locate Dr. T'soni in the Artemis Tau cluster. 10 points

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Things to be Thankful For

A Quick Post Before I Take a Thanksgiving Hiatus - As a gamer, how can you not be thankful for the bounty we've received this fall. Best. Gaming. Year. Ever. Bioshock, Uncharted Drake's Fortune, Super Mario Galaxy, Crysis, Tabula Rasa, World in Conflict, Madden, Guitar Hero III, Call of Duty 4, Rock Band, Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed (fastest selling new IP in 5 years) and Halo 3 are just a few of the great titles that have all come out in the past few months to give gamers an embarrassing array of choices.
If that's not enough for you, I have even more good news. Today IGN broke the news today that Ubisoft Montreal is working on Rainbow Six Vegas 2, set to be released in March 2008. Sweet! But wait there's more! Halo 3 fans will get to download three new multiplayer maps on December 11 as part of the Heroic Map Pack for 800 Microsoft Points. If that's a little rich for you, save your money and wait until Spring when its free because thats when the next map pack will be released. Oh yeah, and in an interview posted on this site, Crytek boss Cevat Yerli confirmed PC standout Crysis will be a trilogy. Cool! Its a great time to be a gamer.

Quick Thoughts on Kane and Lynch: Dead Men - I wrapped up Kane and Lynch yesterday and I trade it in with mixed feelings. The game was thoroughly enjoyable and I had some fun with it (only 6 days but who's counting) but it left me a little disappointed. After getting used to the slightly off game controls, it was easy to get into the bad guy role of Kane. He's not a lovable villian, in fact he's a giant douche, but sometimes its fun to be an ass and Eidos did a great job of making a self-centered jerk fun to play with. The unique multi-player, the wide variety of environments, sidekick Lynch's lack of anything resembling mental stability and the chance to do some crazy missions straight out of the movies was great. However, the wonky controls (taking cover happended randomly, no way to switch camera perspective, horrible weapon targeting) and the Forest Gump IQ of the AI made the game feel too loose and way too easy. Kane and Lynch is certainly worthy of your time and I'd normally recommend a game this fun as a decent buy, but with so many other better choices out there its not worth it. This game screams Rent Me!


Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Review: Call of Duty 4

Intense. That's the best word to describe Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the new shooter from Infinity Ward that takes the CoD franchise out of the 1940's and into the modern era. The firefights are sweat inducing, the sniping missions will have gamers holding their breath along with the main character and the storyline is Hollywood worthy. The game presentation is first rate with excellent voice acting and sound effects, and the touch-your-TV-to-see-if-its-real graphics are absolutely stunning. CoD 4 is a great game, a definite must own...but.
Throughout the game I kept thinking that there was something missing but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. When under fire, I kept trying to slam against the wall for cover and shoot from my hidden position like in Gears of War. I kept thinking that I sure wish I was doing more of the leading and less of the following like in Rainbow Six Vegas. I kept thinking during multi-player matches that it wasn't as nearly as fun as online Halo 3. That's when I started to realize that when compared against these three games, the flaws of CoD 4 become more obvious. The single-player campaign is way too short, the multi-player mode is fun but doesn't offer anything you can't find in other games, and the controls are relatively simplistic.
The FPS market is a crowded one, so its impossible not to compare one against another and I just couldn't help but think of Halo, RB6 and Gears while playing CoD4, and because of that it took away from some of my enjoyment of the game. Once you're able to do something in another comparably good game (command the men in your unit, fire from cover, have an incredible online experience) if you can't get that from a new title, it takes away some of its luster and unfortunately that's the effect previous shooters have on CoD 4. Without a doubt the game is a blast, but when it comes to ranking available FPS games worthy of spending your money on, Call of Duty 4 comes in fourth place.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, DS
Price: $29.99 - $69.99
You take the good: Intense gameplay, great presentation
You take the bad: Woefully short single-player campaign, overly simplistic gameplay
And then you have, the grade: B+

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Get Carcassonne Now

No not that Carcassonne - This is the city of Carcassonne, France. Its a fortified town in the Languedoc region. It is separated into the fortified Cité de Carcassonne and the more expansive lower city, the ville basse. The folk etymology – involving a châtelaine named Carcas, a ruse ending a siege and the joyous ringing of bells ("Carcas sona") – though memorialized in a neo-Gothic sculpture of Mme Carcas on a column near the Narbonne Gate—is of modern invention. The fortress, which was thoroughly restored from 1853 by the theorist and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997.
Or at least that's what it said on Wikipedia. The more relevant Carcassonne (at least for us non-white flag waving, gaming Americans) is the free Xbox Live Arcade game that you should be downloading right now. You only have a day left to download it, so save yourself 800 Microsoft Points and get at it.
Other random crap on a "The Office" Thursday - A PGR4 update, which will provide four new MP tournaments, will be available tomorrow...Early Kane & Lynch impression - Its okay. The control scheme is a little off, Kane moves way too stiff, shooting is incredibly wonky. I don't think I'll like this game as much as I had hoped...Early Assassin's Creed impression - very fun, the moves Altair can pull off are numerous and cool. Storyline much better than I thought. I think I'll like this much more than I anticipated.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Xbox Live Turns 5

Two posts in one day?!? - That's right but don't get too excited, this is for 360 owners only. November 15 marks the 5-year anniversary of Xbox Live and Microsoft decided to throw itself a little party with a number of nice offerings.
For 48 hours starting at 12:01 EST on November 15, gamers can get a free download of the XBL title Carcassonne (pronounced Carc-ASS-onne, make sure to put the EMphaSIS on the right SYLable). Microsoft will also give gamers who have been with Xbox Live since its inception (2002) 500 free Microsoft Points. What would you spend those points on? Funny you should ask. Maybe on Halo, Fable, Psychonauts, or Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge. These 4 original Xbox titles are the first of what are sure to be many games from the first system that will be available as downloads on Xbox Live Arcade. These games will be available on December 4, right after gamers complete the Xbox 360 firmware update that also includes new parental-control options (say hello to the Family Timer son!). The Xbox Originals will sell for 1200 MS points ($15, a little steep if you ask me) but as of right now any other details regarding online support or Achievement Points is unknown.

Kane and Lynch Achievements

What's the deal with all of these Achievement posts? - Glad you asked. I've been dragging my feet a bit so I could spend as much time with Call of Duty 4 before I give my take. And to be honest, I've also been zipping my way through The Simpsons Game so I can beat it and be done with it (the longer I played it, the worse it got, the game play is just atrocious). Look for a post on CoD4 in the next couple of days. In the meantime, here are the AP's for a game I can't wait to get my hands on. The multiplayer for it sounds very intriguing (players work together on a job against cop AI, if you die you become a cop...its kind of complicated). Kane and Lynch comes out tomorrow, as does Assassins Creed.
1. Sun Tzu - Let your crew do the dirty work. 20 points
2. Fragile Alliance - Complete the first level in co-op. 10 points
3. No Going Back Now - Go to the point of no return in co-op. 30 points
4. End of the Road - Complete the game in co-op. 50 points
5. Impact - Escape from death row. 20 points
6. Damned if you do - Let them burn. 20 points
7. Damned if you don't - No rest for the wicked. 30 points
8. Iron Flower - Complete the game on hard. 50 points
9. Crowd Control - Surgical precision in the nightclub. 30 points
10. Have Gun, Will Travel Part I - Travel into the Rising Sun. 20 points
11. Have Gun, Will Travel Part II - Counter-revolution. 20 points
12. Have Gun, Will Travel Part III - The Beginning of the End. 20 points
13. Behemoth - Stop the roaring beast. 10 points
14. Pushblade Symphony - Points for getting up close and personal. 20 points
15. Frag Out - 5 with one fragmentation grenade. 20 points
16. Headmaster - 47 headshots. 10 points
17. By the Grace of.. - Lynch puts them out of their misery. 10 points
18. Boomstick - Shotgun messiah. 20 points
19. Return to Sender - Throw back enemy grenades. 10 points
20. Teflon - Avoid damage on a level. 20 points
21. Bulletproof - Avoid using adrenaline on a level. 10 points
22. Revenge Part I - Silencing the silent one. 20 points
23. Revenge Part IV - Shouldn't have gotten personal. 20 points
24. Revenge Part V - Glad it got personal. 30 points
25. Hindsight - Get that bird out of the sky. 10 points
26. Berserkopath - Make the most of Lynch's condition. 30 points
27. Bullseye - Lynch reacts fast at the Exchange. 20 points
28. Family Member - Complete a Fragile Alliance session. 5 points
29. Some - Escape with $50,000 from a Fragile Alliance heist. 5 points
30. A Lot - Escape with $1,500,000 from a Fragile Alliance heist. 15 points
31. Sweet Revenge - Get personal revenge in Fragile Alliance. 5 points
32. Crime Buster - Kill 10 traitors in Fragile Alliance. 10 points
33. Double Trouble - Kill 2 traitors in a Fragile Alliance round. 25 points
34. Never Give Up - Get 3 personal revenge kills in a Fragile Alliance session. 30 points
35. The Cleaner - Get 30 personal revenge kills in Fragile Alliance. 30 points
36. Mr. PopularityKill 100 traitors in Fragile Alliance. 35 points
37. Cash Addict - Help to get all the money out in a Fragile Alliance round. 25 points
38. Most Wanted - Escape with $150,000,000 from Fragile Alliance heists. 50 points
39. Mercenary - Complete one session in each Fragile Alliance scenario. 15 points
40. Mr. Play-It-Straight - Win 50 rounds of Fragile Alliance as a merc. 50 points
41. 50 to Won - Win 50 rounds of Fragile Alliance. 25 points
42. Veteran - Complete 200 Fragile Alliance sessions. 35 points
43. Rush Hour - Escape in all rounds of a Fragile Alliance session. 15 points
44. Perfect Split- All players split the money equally from a Fragile Alliance heist. 25 points
45. Celebrity - Play as Lynch in Fragile Alliance. 0 points
46. True Elite - Play as Kane in Fragile Alliance. 0 points
47. Revenge Part II & III - Who's the old timer now?. 20 points

Friday, November 09, 2007

Rock Band Achievement Points

Guitar Hero? Never heard of it? - Activision's rhythm game is nice but gamers can expect Rock Band to make you forget all about it. Drums, guitar, vocals, and bass?!? Sign me up. Here are the Achievement Points for it.
1. Breakthrough Act - Unlock a Big Club in Solo Tour on Easy, Medium, Hard or Expert. 10 points
2. Hot Artist - Unlock a Theater in Solo Tour on Easy, Medium, Hard or Expert. 10 points
3. Top Artist - Unlock an Arena in Solo Tour on Medium, Hard or Expert. 10 points
4. String Shredder - Finish Guitar Solo Tour on Easy. 20 points
5. Fret RipperFinish - Guitar Solo Tour on Medium. 30 points
6. Axe AssassinFinish - Guitar Solo Tour on Hard. 40 points
7. Lord of the Strings - Finish Guitar Solo Tour on Expert. 50 points
8. Rhythm Rocker - Finish Drum Solo Tour on Easy. 20 points
9. Groove Technician - Finish Drum Solo Tour on Medium. 30 points
10. Heavy Hitter - Finish Drum Solo Tour on Hard. 40 points
11. AN-I-MAL!!! - Finish Drum Solo Tour on Expert. 50 points
12. Howler - Finish Vocal Solo Tour on Easy. 20 points
13. Screamer - Finish Vocal Solo Tour on Medium. 30 points
14. Crooner - Finish Vocal Solo Tour on Hard. 40 points
15. Virtuoso - Finish Vocal Solo Tour on Expert. 50 points
16. Got Wheels - Unlock the Van in Band World Tour. 20 points
17. Open Road - Unlock the Bus in Band World Tour. 20 points
18. Jet Setter - Unlock the Jet in Band World Tour. 20 points
19. One Million - FansReach 1 million fans in Band World Tour. 10 points
20. Hall of Fame - InducteeFinish the Hall of Fame Induction in Band World Tour. 100 points
21. Vinyl Artist - Finish the Endless Setlist in Band World Tour on Medium. 10 points
22. Gold Artist - Finish the Endless Setlist in Band World Tour on Hard. 20 points
23. Platinum Artist - Finish the Endless Setlist in Band World Tour on Expert. 25 points
24. Big In London - Finish the last remaining gig in London (Band World Tour). 10 points
25. Big In Paris - Finish the last remaining gig in Paris (Band World Tour). 10 points
26. Big In Amsterdam - Finish the last remaining gig in Amsterdam (Band World Tour). 10 points
27. Big In Berlin - Finish the last remaining gig in Berlin (Band World Tour). 10 points
28. Big In Stockholm - Finish the last remaining gig in Stockholm (Band World Tour). 10 points
29. Big In Rome - Finish the last remaining gig in Rome (Band World Tour). 10 points
30. Big In Boston - Finish the last remaining gig in Boston (Band World Tour). 10 points
31. Big In NYC - Finish the last remaining gig in New York (Band World Tour). 10 points
32. Big In Chicago - Finish the last remaining gig in Chicago (Band World Tour). 10 points
33. Big In LA - Finish the last remaining gig in Los Angeles (Band World Tour). 10 points
34. Big In Seattle - Finish the last remaining gig in Seattle (Band World Tour). 10 points
35. Big In San Francisco - Finish the last remaining gig in San Francisco (Band World Tour). 10 points
36. Big In Japan - Finish the last remaining gig in Tokyo (Band World Tour). 10 points
37. Big In Sydney - Finish the last remaining gig in Sydney (Band World Tour). 10 points
38. Big In Reykjavik - Finish the last remaining gig in Reykjavik (Band World Tour). 10 points
39. Big In Rio de Janeiro - Finish the last remaining gig in Rio de Janeiro (Band World Tour). 10 points
40. Big In Moscow - Finish the last remaining gig in Moscow (Band World Tour). 10 points
41. Tug of War Champ - Win 20 Tug of War ranked matches. 30 points
42. Tug of War Streak - Win 5 Tug of War ranked matches in a row. 20 points
43. Score Duel Champ - Win 20 Score Duel ranked matches. 30 points
44. Score Duel Streak - Win 5 Score Duel ranked matches in a row. 20 points
45. Killer Performance - Five Star a song on Easy, Medium, Hard or Expert. 10 points
46. Flawless Groove - Score 100% notes hit as bassist, up-strums only, on Expert. 10 points
47. Flawless Drumming - Score 100% notes hit as a drummer on Expert. 10 points
48. Flawless Fretwork - Score 100% notes hit as a guitarist on Expert. 10 points
49. Flawless Singing - Score a 100% rating as a vocalist on Expert. 10 points
50. Riding on Coattails - Play with a "Platinum Artist". 5 points

Monday, November 05, 2007

Greetings Starfighter!

Coming soon to a theatre near you? Is it 1984 yet? - Before I get into something else, I have to help spread the word about The Last Starfighter videogame. That's right, some creative genius is replicating the game from the 1984 movie that was aired on HBO about 4000 times during the summer of 1985. I loved it! The guys from Rogue Synapse, who also made a game that was featured in the movie Tron, are working on the arcade cabinet that helped get Alex Rogan into the Star League. Head to my favorite gaming website for a fuller story and links.

Wait a minute! Did the Wiimote and a 360 controller have baby? - No, but I understand your confusion. My 7-year old daughter said the same thing. This is the controller for SceneIt? Lights, Camera, Action on the Xbox 360. I took a picture of it with a Schrutebuck so you would have a frame of reference for its size. I saw Angelina Jolie do something similar in The Bone Collector. For the uninitiated, SceneIt is a popular boardgame that combines trivia from films or specific franchises (Harry Potter, Disney, Lord of the Rings, etc.) into trivia questions and is played on a board and with a DVD. Think of it as a modern, pop culture version of Trivial Pursuit. I got an early copy of it on Saturday and used my kids and wife as guinea pigs over the weekend to see if it was family friendly. Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking.


'A casual game on the 360? Give me a break! If I want casual gaming I'll turn on my Wii. This is the 360! I need to shoot something!'


Don't worry, the 360's not going soft. There are still plenty of tangos, aliens and terrorists to shoot in other titles but lets be honest; the 360 is seriously lacking in the casual games department which helps attract women and kids - a big reason why the Wii has been so successful. At Casa de Terrones, whenever I play its usually me alone, or sometimes with my brother and occassionally my son. My wife enjoys the newly released Tetris Splash and that's it. My daughter? She's forced to go upstairs and play with her Hess trucks.


Saturday the gang and I got together for three games. I played a two-person game with my daughter and (in a Borat voice) crushed her. Seven-year olds know nothing about cinema these days. Then I played two games with the whole clan and proceeded to wipe the floor with them as well. My knowledge of pop culture and useless information finally came in handy.


During our game time we came across most of the 21 different puzzle types but rarely had a chance to use the Buzzer, the big botton on the top of the controller. This is where the person who hits the button first gets to answer first, Jeopardy-style. That was disappointing but having a wide variety of question types was nice. Most of the questions were independently timed, meaning everyone got to answer, and the faster we answered the more points we earned. Its very similar to the trivia games played in bars like Bennigans, except once you choose your answer you can't change it. The game boasts 1800 questions never used before in a SceneIt game but despite that we still came across some repeats. Overall, I was pretty pleased with the title but the rest of my family had other opinions.


The 13-year old boy - I liked it. I didn't know a lot of the answers because it was mostly for adults. It was fun but definetely an adult thing.


The 7-year old girl - It was okay. It was supposed to be for adults so I didn't know any of the answers. The questions were from movies me and Connor had never heard of but adults have.


The wife - The questions were difficult and for $60 they should offer a lot more features, its really basic. They should let you change your answers and let you hide your answers (once an answer was chosen by a player it was shown onscreen and the cheating was so rampant, my wife put tin foil over the answers). They should have different levels of difficulty, give you clues to the answers as the timer runs and make it more kid friendly.


Me - Couldn't have said it better myself. We have the regular SceneIt boardgame, the Disney version, that was only about $25 and the family enjoys it a lot more. That doesn't mean this game is a bust however, it still has potential. The new controller is pretty cool and very ergonomic for casual gamers like my wife and daughter. I'd like to see it used in other casual games. Also, its not like this game wouldn't have been much more fun if I was playing with my wife and another couple or if I had some adult family members over. As its currently packaged, its for adults only but could still be fun (especially after a few beers). I could easily see myself playing this game with my pop culture addicted siblings. When the downloadable content comes out, I'm sure this game will reach a wider audience - but that's the sticking point. Microsoft is going to have to give the downloads away for this to be a success because there's no way they can get families to pay $5 - $10 on top of the $60 pricetag like it does for some other games, nobody will go for it.


So is this game worth your time and money? Not if you plan on playing it with kids, at least not right now. But if you're the type of person who has friends or family over frequently who like to play board or card games, this might be a nice change of pace.


Friday, November 02, 2007

The Simpsons Game: First Impressions

Now I know why doves cry - America's favorite fat, bald, idiot (no, not Dr. Phil) may rule TV but his video game lineage is a big disappointment. The Simpsons gaming history has been so bad it makes the Resident Evil movie trilogy look like a Ken Burns award winning documentary. But when I got a peek at the newest Simpsons offering at E3 I was stoked. The graphics looked great, it had some hilarious one-liners and a bunch of inside jokes that both gamers and Simpsons fans would appreciate. In fact the game more or less looked like one long episode that cracked on gaming while liberally throwing out Simpsons quotes. That's the good news.
The bad news? The game play...(sad sigh)...stinks. That's right, the fatal weakness of every Simpsons title ever made strikes this game as well. D'oh! Keep in mind this is a first impression after only completing the first 2 levels since getting the game yesterday, but damn if those usual flaws weren't glaring. All the great things I mentioned above are certainly there and will probably hold off Simpsons die-hards, but even those of us with encyclopedic knowledge of the show will get tired of the repetitive gameplay, unimaginative levels and storyline that lacks any resemblance of brilliance of a typical episode. Even the Bart and Homer Butterfinger commercials have more depth.
Don't get me wrong, this game will sell like hotcakes because there are so many fans who love the show and the game does have a few redeemable qualities. There is a lot of original, funny dialogue all done by the cast. The game is easily the best looking Simpsons game ever and despite its flaws, its still the best Simpsons game ever. But does any of that really matter? No, not when the gameplay is so weak. Channeling my inner Comic Book Guy I have to say The Simpsons game is...Rental. Title. Only.
Iron helps us play - Anybody interested in Mutant Storm Empire on Xbox Live Arcade? Tell me who Lisa's favorite substitute teacher was and I'll email you the code for this game.