Rock Band 2: Day One Impressions

Today saw the release of Harmonix and MTV Games’ Rock Band 2 for Xbox 360 (sorry other platforms, you’re just going to have to wait!), and I spent several hours with the title–with of course some friends–to really get to know the game. Rock Band 2 starts out much the same as Rock Band 1 (even to the point of having a remarkably similar intro sequence set in what appears to be the same desert), and aside from new items such as an improved calibration utility and access to the new “Challenges” in multiplayer it never really diverges from the first game in any significant ways.

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Guitar Hero III Wii version first taste

I’m going to do this a little bit differently than your typical review in that I’m going to start it before I’ve actually completed the game. The idea is that as I progress through the game, I’ll make some extra notes here, tell you about my experiences thus far, and either bitch & moan or fawn lovingly. Knowing me, probably a bit of both, so we might as well start it off right.

Guitar Hero III for Wii is fun. “No shit”, you’re thinking, all the freaking GH games are fun. Yeah, but this is more fun, and it’s that way for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, it’s 10 bucks cheaper than the PS3/360 versions. What can I say, I like saving cash, and 10 bucks off the cost of entry is 10 bucks I’ll spend on addons from DLC to peripherals down the way. Second, having vibration feedback let you know when Star Power is available and then when it’s active, kicks ass. Third…

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God of War: Chains of Olympus PSP Demo Impressions

Breathe deep, I know you don’t hear this often: I wish it were 2008 so I could snag the full version of a PSP game. Yeah, it was weird for me too. Anyway, so after letting my PSP charge overnight, I was finally able to dig into the juicy morsel that is the God of War: Chains of Olympus demo, and much to my surprise I’m mightily impressed (and kind of pissed that it’ll be so long until the full game hits).

Since it’s just a demo it was, suffice to say, not nearly long enough, clocking in at a mere 20 minutes or so, but what there is to be had was a load of fun, and it completely captured the feel of the PS2 masterpiece it follows.

If you were worried about the visuals, don’t be. They’ve somehow managed to capture all the fidelity of the PS2 version on this tiny screen, and moreover, they even managed to get the controls to work with an incredible amount of finesse. The demo starts as you would be crazy not to expect, with a frak-ton of combat. You’re immediately dropped into the siege on Attica, with Persian soldiers attacking the city by boat and on foot. Your first task is simply to dispatch said soldiers in a brutal fashion, and then destroy one of the attacking boats by firing off a ballista.

From there you drop into the room below, where you fight off more soldiers–of course–and are then faced with what appears to be a large troll. The troll, as it turns out, is really only there to drop off a massive club, which you’ll use momentarily to pummel a gigantic Basilisk in the eye with. Well, I take that back–he’s also there to feed said hungry Basilisk, but that’s neither here nor there.

Like the other God of War games, Chains of Olympus makes use of a locked camera that the player doesn’t control, but it really does a great job at keeping itself in the action and, which gives the player an excellent vantage point at virtually all times. Gameplay is fast and furious, and the enemy soldiers are no match for you at any point. The boss characters present more of a challenge, and again in true God of War tradition end up letting you throttle them spectacularly with a series of well timed, prompted button presses that don’t disappoint. Well, OK, the scenes don’t disappoint, the button presses kind of do, but it all works out for the best.

In any case, the demo so far gives me high hopes for this game, and from what I’ve tasted so far I have to say that it’s certainly looking like a must-buy for me.

First Look: Metroid Prime Hunters

The long anticipated Nintendo DS title Metroid Prime Hunters has finally made its way into the hands of gamers everywhere today, March 21st, 2006. While I work my way through this little piece of portable FPS heaven I’ve decided to offer my first impressions of this landmark title in the growing catalog of Nintendo DS “Must-have’s”. Though the game’s Wifi multiplayer functionality has managed to get all the press since it’s announcement last year, there’s also a deep and engaging single player experience here that’s
well worth playing through.

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Battlefield 2: First weekend’s impressions

After months of anticipation I’ve finally had my first weekend with Battlefield 2. My thoughts are kind of a mixed bag while being overall positive. As a fan of the first game, and even more so its MOD “Desert Combat“, I had naturally high expectations.

To begin with, the graphics. As anticipated, BF2’s graphics are excellent, and the higher you crank your settings the more you realize just how very nice they are. I’m running it on a Radeon 9800 Pro and the game plays well, though it definitely shows the age of my card and pushes it to its limits. I was able to play-barely-at 1024×768 with all the settings maxed out, though it played more smoothly at 1024×768 and
medium detail, with a few of the polishing bits turned to high.

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