Tag Archives: Demos

Some 360 Stuff.

I managed to finish Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (which I will mercifully refer to as “GRAW2” from here on out) over the weekend.

The game does indeed get more difficult but doesn’t quite reach the levels of frustration that I occasionally reached with the first game. I’d still have to say I enjoyed it more than the first GRAW in any case. That’s not to say I didn’t still have some complaints – indeed I did! One minor issue I had was that, while the 3rd person view looked great and even felt fine most of the time I often found myself thinking “cool, now to switch back to first person view!” Perhaps I should chalk that up to mere force of habit though. I did find myself often struggling to reload my weapon at the right times, that is, I either should have auto-reloaded and for some reason didn’t or I’d try to reload manually and wouldn’t, particularly when attached to cover. Similarly I also found using scopes when attached to cover pretty annoying as it often took several button presses to back out of scope mode back into your normal view where you could once again make sure you were in and/or attached to cover. This made using your scope more of a liability than probably intended. These issues are all most likely caused by unintentionally clunky features rather than actual bugs but either way they annoyed me often enough to note.

In a startling turn of events our protagonist manages to lose his helmet! Ooooh... Ahhh!
“In a startling turn of events our protagonist manages to lose his helmet! Ooooh… Ahhh!”

The ending wasn’t amazing but wasn’t too bad either. It definitely wasn’t the let down that the first GRAW ending was – after leading my group through a vicious firefight I ended up facing down a group of dozens of enemy fighters spread out along various distant walls and other cover. It seemed like a pretty tense situation as my squad mates bugged out and ended up taking cover nowhere near the fight with the exception of one particular mouth breather who was standing in the open dodging shot after shot instead of getting the fuck behind something. Jeesh. Anyway, as I tried to peer above the tiny broken wall that was somehow protecting me from the hundreds of rounds of automatic rifle fire raining down upon me I finally spot the my target – the boss if you will. I took a few potshots at him but it was far, far too dangerous considering the volume of fire I was receiving and how damn lethal shots are in the game in the first place. My target also seemed to sighted me as well and was aiming an RPG of some sort in my general direction. Not good! I hurl myself against the wall, cling to it for everything I’m worth, and… What’s this? I beat the game! It seems the dumbass terrorist leader didn’t have RPG training on his resume and accidentally shot the wall he was standing in front of. Ooops! Kind of anti-climatic don’t you think? 😀

I decided not to play through the campaign a second time on hard mode as I originally speculated I might. I didn’t whiz through the campaign quite as fast as I thought I might and my gaming time is far too precious to spend on a back to back second playthrough when my backlog is so large. I did go ahead and grab all of the single mission achievements as well as head online and install all of the free DLC content. There was a lot of that to go around too, most notably two large map packs containing mostly remakes of maps from older games. There are also two excellent sounding co-op map packs but those ones weren’t free. Not that it matters as I’ve never played a console Ghost Recon game online for various reasons. For those that feel compelled, however, this game looks like a great multiplayer value. I admit I wouldn’t mind trying it out myself, the co-op in particular, but I don’t have too many friends interested in the console Ghost Recons and I’d definitely want to avoid pick-up games on XBL with this title.

I also checked out two Xbox 360 demos this weekend as well: Tom Clancy’s HAWX and Halo Wars.

First, since I was just writing about another Tom Clancy game let’s talk about HAWX. First of all “H.A.W.X.” (High Altitude Warfare eXperimental squadron) is a fucking stupid acronym. It’s in the same genre as games like Ace Combat. I’m not really sure what you’d call that genre though – definitely not any kind of simulator. Perhaps it is a “flight action game”? Who knows. It is basically an arcadey take on a flight simulator. I’m not knocking the genre though – I’ve certainly played my Rogue Squadrons in my day. Like Ace Combat 6 before it though HAWX failed to grab me. It looked great, I love flying jets around and locking onto poor helpless bastards on the ground, but neither game was a compelling enough of an experience for me to warrant a purchase. Like Ace Combat 6 I’ll reserve HAWX for a distant bargain bin pick up, if I get around to getting it at all.

Feedback on the net on the game seems to be pretty interesting and, as far as I can tell, mostly negative. I think a lot of people were expecting this game to be a more realistic (as implied by the Tom Clancy brand, perhaps) Ace Combat. What a lot of people got, however, was a strange near future plot with warring PMC’s that sounds like something out of the Ace Combat series (accurately it brings Strike Commander to mind for me and now I’ll lose sleep tonight for making that horrible comparison) possibly even less realistic planes, and some bizarre features (“assistance” and “ERS”) that make the game possibly even more unrealistic than it might otherwise. The majority of (vocal) people seem to hate it. I found the no-assistance mode to be utter trash – it’s only benefit being that it breaks up the gameplay a bit when used. ERS mode, however, I thought was pretty nifty. I don’t recall ever seeing anything like that in a flight game before thought most posters seemed to hate the hand holding aspect of it. Overall I actually enjoyed the demo, just, again, not enough to make me want to run out and buy the thing.

Finishing off a Covenant base.
“Finishing off a Covenant base.”

Onto Halo Wars! What can I say? It’s a not-so-special RTS. It’s Halo. It’s pretty good. I’m not surprised it’s good, nor that it is such a cookie-cutter RTS given the developer which has a history of helping shape the genre. From what I saw of the demo (I played both campaign missions and a couple of skirmishes) it’s nothing too exciting. I will say that was pretty pleased with this attempt to map RTS controls to a console controller. My only issue with them was how hard it was to group units. After playing Warhammer: Battle March recently in which I was able to assign specific units to specific groups and cycle through them it felt like a little bit of a dumbing down in the strategy department. Maybe you can do it and I just didn’t run into it, however.

People will inevitably ask whether this is a good game for Halo fans that aren’t RTS players. I’d have to say yes. The game definitely oozes with Halo flavor. All of the troops and vehicles are there and, thanks to the tech trees, even have some yet unseen (to my knowledge) variations. The game’s single player campaign also seems to have a lot of story and plenty of decent cutscenes. So sure, if you’re a big Halo fan I say grab it. If you absolutely hate RTSes, however, I can’t imagine this one will change your opinion on the genre in even the slightest bit. I for one may grab it if even just to satisfy the Halo fanboy inside of me. I don’t play a lot of RTSes, especially on console, so this may be a rare purchase for me though I’ve also been eyeing Tom Clancy’s EndWar lately as well.

Err… Wow. Apparently me and Tom Clancy have a thing going on. 😉

Again, apologies for the crappy photos instead of decent screenshots. It’s the best I can do at the moment for Xbox 360 games.

Pac’d Weekend! Ok, I suck at puns.

This weekend gave me the biggest span of game out worthy free time I’ve had in quite a while and to be honest I didn’t quite know what to do with it all. I started out on Friday night by packing in a few hours of Grand Theft Auto 4. On Saturday morning I spent a couple of hours working on my latest round of Armed Assault scripting changes then I decided to mix it up a bit and play a couple of Xbox 360 demos – I ended up grabbing the Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness demo as well as the Civilization: Revolution demo. While those (slowly) downloaded I played a ton of Pac-man: Championship Edition. On Sunday I got the urge to install Titan Quest Gold and ended up sinking a couple of hours into that. I wrapped up my evening by putting another dozen Pac-man: CE games in and grabbing two new achievements in the process.

I take a few different issues with GTA4 which I’ll expand on in a future post but overall it is great. I feel like I’m progressing very slowly through the story, however, and don’t feel like I accomplish much in a single sit-down with it which considering my fairly casual gaming schedule is a bit of a bummer.

The Penny Arcade game left me with mixed opinions. I’ve been a Penny Arcade fan for a long, long time, and still read it regularly. Their forums are also some of my favorite gaming forums to hang out at. Suffice it to say I enjoyed the hell out of both the humor and the artwork in the game. While it definitely feels like it has highly polished and well presented the game mechanics themselves left a bit to be desired. I have a feeling they’d work better with a mouse than a controller but I think I’ll settle for the 360 version so that I can grab some of the achievements therein. Yep, that means I’m planning on buying it although probably not until I have an entire day free in which I can attempt to beat the whole game in one or two long sittings. Maybe a slightly more in depth review when that happens.

Civ:Rev threw me for a loop. I’d dabbled with the first two Civ games in the DOS days but I’ve never been a big Civ guy which is odd since I do generally prefer turn based strategy to real time strategy and I’ve played a heap of RTSes. I’m not sure why I’ve never really explored the genre much but I’m thinking about picking up Galactic Civilizations II if that helps. 🙂 Anyway, it didn’t gel well with me but I had to end my game a wee bit early and, even if I didn’t, I was almost at the end of the demo anyway. Despite this almost as soon as I ended it I was pining to play it again. I suppose that is that legendary Civ addictiveness kicking in!

Yeah, I took a picture of the side of a fucking mountain. Go me!
“Yeah, I took a picture of the side of a fucking mountain. Go me!”

I bought Titan Quest Gold a while back after hearing about it and seeing screenshots of it here and there for a long time. I’m a big Diablo series fan and have, in the past, put forth some considerable effort into finding and trying some of the other Diablo clones out there. With that Titan Quest is definitely the best Diablo 2 clone I’ve tried so far! Nice 3D graphics, good artwork, mostly smooth gameplay, a decent interface, and a great setting. I can’t wait to put more time into this and considering how long it apparently takes to beat I just hope I don’t get burnt out before its over with.

Pac-man: Championship Edition is awesome. I don’t have much to say about it other than that it amazes me how well Pac-man‘s gameplay has aged. It is still fun and the intense feelings I did when avoiding some really pissed off ghosts with no more lives, barely missing them, and pulling off some generally ballsy trickery is rarely duplicated in modern games anymore. If you’re even somewhat of a fan I urge you to get Pac-man: CE a try. I’m currently working on trying to “beat” the “Challenge 1” mode. I’ve developed a strategy which I’m pretty sure will take me there but it is taking a bit of time to work the kinks out of. Still, I managed to grab the King and 200,000 point achievements attempting it. Damn, this is another game that is stupidly addicting – I wish I could play it RIGHT NOW!

Note: I don’t have any good system for taking screenshots of console games yet. I’ll probably just end up snapping some crude pictures of my TV with a digital camera. Lame.