Action games are a genre that I really didn’t understand until I played Bayonetta. I could therefore say that the $60 I spent on this game was educational: I have been taught that I should not buy this kind of game. The kindest things I can really say about Bayonetta from my perspective are that the graphics are impressive, and the main character has one of the finest digital rumps in computer history.
If you generally agree with everything I say, you have no need to read further.
There was a series of games I played many years ago. In these games, I was injected into a world where giant robotic machines cut lumbering, awe-inspiring paths of destruction through cities and each other. That was the universe of BattleTech and the MechWarrior game series, and it was good.
Unfortunately, the MechWarrior series came to an end some years ago- the last “real” MechWarrior game was MechWarrior 4, which came out in the 2002 timeframe. The good news: a new MechWarrior game is coming sometime in the next couple of years. And if the video (see below) is any indication, the makers of this “reboot” understand at least a little about what made MechWarrior fun.
E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) has suffered through some setbacks in the last few years. The industry show is basically a venue for the manufacturers of computer games and game related products to communicate with the media. Normal citizens like you and I are not allowed to attend. The big vendors like Microsoft and Nintendo decided a few years ago that the show was costing too much money for not enough return, and they withdrew en masse. E3 went through some gyrations to try to re-invent itself, but has basically come back identical to what it was, just a bit smaller. I’m not sure what has really changed, but the big vendors seem to be back.
This post isn’t about E3, though: instead, it is about a couple of interesting (to me) announcements that Microsoft made at the event. Project Natal, a full-body motion interface with no actual controller, and XBox Live full game downloads.
I like my XBox 360. It entertains me, and when I want to play a game it basically just works (ignoring that RROD incident a while back…). But Microsoft has, in my opinion, had trouble in the past coming up with good advertising that appeals to the mass market. This little Youtube video from Microsoft that plays off the avatars in the “New Xbox Experience” user interface changes the tone, and it seems to me that it has appeal that extends beyond the hard core gamer:
Here’s hoping that Microsoft can win over a few of the less hardcore who may be getting tired with their Wiis…
Fallout 3 is the third chapter to the Fallout series of games, brought to life by Bethesda rather than the original developers Black Isle/Interplay which went bankrupt before they could release their version of this episode. Bethesda started over from scratch, using the same underlying engine as was used in Oblivion, the most recent episode of the Elder Scroll series.
It is important to note that I have never played any of the previous games in the Fallout series. Set in a post-apocalyptic world with a rather unique blend of idealized American 1950’s “better dead then red” culture and high-technology/cyberpunk, Fallout’s strengths have always been providing players with a massive “sandbox” game world combined with a somewhat twisted sense of dark humour.
The fans of the original episodes have been rather critical of Fallout 3- it is, after all, a quite different game. I have played the game without any preconceptions, and can personally say that it is an exceptionally enjoyable and deep experience. It may not be the same game as the older entries in the series, but it stands on its own as a worthy adventure in its own right.
I believe it is appropriate to note that I am not a historian before I say anything about Assassin’s Creed. Furthermore, I am not a religious person- I’m an agnostic. These two things together mean that my opinions regarding the religious or historical content of the game Assassin’s Creed should be taken with a grain of salt.
Assassin’s Creed is an open-ended third person sneaker with a strong role playing element. It is single player only, with no multiplayer or online elements other than XBox Live achievements. The main character- the guy you play- is oddly sort of a secondary character within the game itself. You are Desmond Miles, a young guy who finds himself kidnapped and held within a lab at a shadowy pharmaceutical company’s offices. The majority of the game is played through Desmond’s “genetic memories” using a machine called the Animus. You spend your time playing through your recovered memories of an ancestor named Altair: an assassin, Hashshashin, or Fedayeen during the period of the Third Crusade.
The plot involves completing a series of assassinations, partly to restore Altair’s status within his guild, and more importantly to disrupt the plans of the invading Templars. A secondary plot involves discovering why Desmond has been kidnapped and forced to live through his ancestral memories. Something is going on in modern times, something sinister and based on ancient rivalries and power struggles. The story is presented through a series of slightly interactive cut scenes (you can change your point of view and move slightly) with first rate voice acting.
I like the Halo series: it’s a decent first person shooter game with a better than average story. I played the original Halo on the PC and Halo 2 on the XBox. I haven’t bought Halo 3 for the XBox 360, but I probably will someday soon. I’d probably rate both of the first two Halos at somewhere between 7 and 8 out of 10. Good solid games, nothing earth-shattering, but fun.
It was a great relief on a lot of levels to play BioShock after my rant about checkpoint saves the other day. In addition to being an XBox 360 game (also available on the PC) with unlimited saves, it is probably one of the best computer games I’ve played in a long while.
BioShock has it all: a fantastic and original story, brilliantly realized game mechanics, and stunning use of visuals and audio. The story is set during the post WWII era: your passenger plane plane crashes and you, the only apparent survivor, discover the entrance to a secret oasis…or what might have once been one. Rapture, an entire underwater city founded by a wealthy man with a passing resemblance to Howard Hughes, was founded on principles of moral and scientific freedom. Unfortunately, it seems as if something has gone terribly wrong…
Lionhead games released a game called “Fable” (note: site uses Flash plugin) a few years ago. I dismissed it because a few folks who liked “goofy/cartoonish” style games thought it was a great thing.
I picked up a discounted XBox version of Fable over the weekend. Not XBox 360, but XBox- it runs under emulation mode in my XBox 360, though. This means that the graphics aren’t great. But after playing the game for (according to it’s in-game stats) a bit over 7 hours, I can say I truly regret not trying it sooner.