Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Games Reviewed in Ten Words - Haze

Really, Free Radical? From Timesplitters and Second Sight to this?

Monday, October 20, 2008

And it Burns, Burns, Burns

Red ring of death
Well, it's happened. My second Xbox 360 has died. Something in the end of level sequence for Lego Batman stressed it an inch too far, and it gave up (though if it took my 60% complete save file with it I won't be happy). Just in time for the game release silly season. What a pain in the arse.

This one has lasted pretty much a month shy of two years, having been delivered as a replacement for the actual 360 I bought, which lasted around six months. So, their lifetimes are improving.

Also improved is Microsoft's support phone line. Whereas two years ago I had to jump through a few hoops before they would take in my console, now they are very quick to believe your tale and get the relacement process started.

The plus side of having been through this before is that I had a perfect cardboard box ready for shipping the dead console off in - the one it arrived in.

Oh well, time to give the PS3 a bit more attention. It's a shame Little Big Planet has just been delayed though.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Holy Great Game, Batman

Being able to admit when I'm wrong is one of my many virtues. And since it's one that people don't often get to see in action, this is a great opportunity.

Lego Batman is, contrary to my previous worries, the best Lego game Traveller's Tales have made.

Unconstrained by following the plot of a movie series, they have really let themselves go, and have come up with some brilliant and inventive level design. Playing as Batman is good, but when you get the the villain versions of the stages, the game really shines.

Fans of slapstick and visual gags will also be very happy about the cutscenes - again, a world away from Indy's relatively straight interpretations. The scene at the start of the Joker strand in particular is a treat, as Batman and Robin prepare to patrol, while Mr J sets out his plan to his fellow supervillains.

Still the same crappy front end menu though, how long has that work experience guy been on his probation? At least he changed the font this time.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Games Reviewed in Ten Words - WipEout HD

WipEout HD
It is WipEout Pulse. In HD. Half arsed photo mode.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

We Named the Dog Indiana

Lego Indiana Jones
So, I've been going back over some notes for things that I had played over the last few months. I found some stuff about Lego Indiana Jones, which is interesting again, since Lego Batman comes out in the UK at the end of the week.

The bullet pointed list, then...

  • Feels like it's had a lot less love & effort put into it than the Lego Star Wars games. In particular there are things that were added to the Complete Saga that are missing here (such as online co-op, surely it's in their game engine now?)
  • Not helped by having a lot fewer cool characters than Star Wars. For most of the game I didn't want to be anyone but Indy.
  • Looks nice, but when you turn on vsync the framerate goes to shit. How unoptimsed is their engine? I realise "the kids" don't care about this sort of thing, but it's something else that makes it feel a bit half-hearted.
  • They've worked out how to make good achievement lists. (Since writing this note I've also played Complete Saga, and that has good achievements too.)
  • The front end looks and feels like it took someone 5 minutes. What's up with this rubbish flashing text in a debug-looking font? And why is "new game" always the default selected option? How many times do I want to start a new game?
  • Has quite a lot of annoying instant deaths for a kids' game. And in partcular some enemies with one-hit-kill rocket launchers.
I seem to be unable to stop myself buying Travellers Tales' Lego games, so my copy of Batman will be on its way soon enough. I wonder if they will have returned to the series' high water mark of Complete Saga? I doubt it.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Digital Pimp, Hard at Work

If anyone who reads this is in need of a professional writer, I would recommend James Parker. I've worked with this guy in the past, and his writing is top notch.

He also has a blog about writing in games, here, which is interesting reading. It's good to find something to read about the writing in games that isn't just trying to push the "we should be art" or "we should be films" angles constantly.