Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Demo Reviews

Yeah, I know, I shouldn't judge a whole game by just a demo, but these are hectic times and it's not always an option to play through a whole game - and some demos show us that some games aren't even worth playing through the whole demo.

Few games in recent memory have caused me to take a mental double take as this one did. Up till now, all the Bond games have been either generic agents or modern incarnations, but here we have a return to the very roots of the series. I couldn't see how a movie that was contemporary for most of today's kids' grandparents could even be contemplated as the basis for a game. Add to that the use of Sean Connery himself for the voice and appearance (one can't really see him having much of a clue what videogames are like), plus the completely altered political structure of that time and now (Russia was the Big Bad Guy then), and the mind boggles. Then I see screenshots of James running around with a whole array of automatic weapons. This was not the "From Russia with Love" I remember (ok, I haven't seen it for awhile, but still). The demo really surprised me - I actually liked it. Sean doesn't sound like the dapper young gent of the 60's and I'm a little uncomfortable with running JB around in a half-crouch with a SMG, but it's a decent run-and-gun that will be in my collection when it hits around $20.

The demo of this proved almost impossible to control and an insult to the movie. It took place in the building lobby that Neo and Trinity shoot up - one of the best parts of the movie and a modern day movie-clip classic. Once I finally got rid of the goons and figured I would go up to save Morpheus, more goons walk out of the elevator. Ok, kill them with random button mashing. Then another set come out, this time with shields. WTF? If this type of artificial gameplay extension is what the developers think gamers want, they are way off the mark (with me anyway). Also, the draw of this game is supposed to be a different ending to the trilogy than the movies. Why??? Just so we have another confusing story to deal with? This one will never show up on my shelves, even if it drops to ten bucks.

Not much different here than the last game - just rolling up bunches of junk. I still have the original game (mainly because it is so original). But I don't really "get" the game. So I probably won't get this one either.

I didn't really "demo" this game, but I did play it for a few minutes at a Target. I might as well have been playing the Disney soccer game. There was very little Mario in this. I think they needed to make it from the perspective of Mario himself as in Mario 64. Sure it wouldn't be a real footy game, but who needs another soccer game where you see everything from the sidelines again?

Friday, December 02, 2005

Of bits and bytes

Just some random updates:

For some reason, Ninny has stopped shipping the DDR:Mario Mix sets. (Glad I got one early even if Sarah doesn't find it very interesting yet.) Something about problems getting the pads made. Not too much of a surprise to me as I thought they were being generous to sell the game and pad for a "mere" $49. They are going for $100+ on eBay currently. Be interesting to see if they drop it altogether or start up again with a newly manufactured pad.

360 mania continues with no new consoles available until the middle or so of this month. I've seen a couple of columns that actually talk more about the impact on Xbox than the improvement of the 360. Microsoft has created a bit of a tar baby here - Xbox's won't be blown out for discount prices, but the 360's are too expensive for alot of people and aren't fully backward compatible. I think that this will all work in Sony's favor and the new super console will be PS3.

Ninny maybe headed for problems too. A report I read stated that developers who got their hands on early dev kits likened the graphics for the Revolution to those of the Gamecube. This also doesn't surprise me - the Revolution unit is too small to provide adequate cooling for CPU, graphics and memory if they are going to be pushing the performance envelope. Of course, what do you expect from a company that is competing with itself on 3 different handheld gaming units at the same time.

Games just keep stacking up. Damn these holiday sales! (Ok, not really. Plenty of room for more games.) I just can't see adding another platform to my collection anytime soon. With the sparkling new SP, I have 4 major systems to buy games for. A DS and/or an Xbox 360 is not in my near or mid-future buying plans. Back when videogames were new (ie, Atari 2600 days), the thought of buying games and not playing them within hours of getting them home would have been unthinkable. But those were simpler days.

Going to try putting a "skin" on one of my Gamecubes. Fry's was selling the skins from Pokemon XD for $0.99 and I couldn't resist. With all the luck I used to have putting stickers on toys, I don't have much faith in it coming out looking anything but crap, but for a buck I'll try. Pics to be posted here if it isn't a total disaster.