So . . . 2007. Games and stuff.
I've been playing Sly Cooper 3. I'm not quite sure why I didn't get Sly 3 when it came out, but whatever reason I didn't. I put it on my Amazon wish list and got a copy for Christmas (hey thanks Mom! :-)) I like it. I don't think it's the best in the Sly series - they lost the bottles with the hidden codes, which I really enjoyed hunting for and they added this 3d mode which doesn't work very well (and gives me a headache). But it's an enjoyable platformer. This series has never been groundbreaking, but it's always been a really solid platformer. While my 360 drowns under Tom Clancy FPS games, it's nice to have a change of pace, almost a palette cleanser.
Speaking of the 360, if you haven't tried the Crackdown demo definitely go get that. A lot of people were dubious about Crackdown, including me. It does have that Microsoft Game Studios "We focus extensively on bumpmapping" graphics goo where everything is shiny and overdone and that's combined with some cell shading effects (just like Shadowrun (sigh)) but the gameplay is solid. It's a "sandbox" game but it doesn't really feel like a GTA clone when you play it. I enjoyed Saint's Row, but that game was clearly heavily GTA inspired. I don't mind that per-se, it out-GTA's GTA in several key respects but it's refreshing to see a game that has an open city you can tool around and do your own thing and doesn't rely primarily on carjacking and running over hookers. At first I was messing around with cars, but once you level up your agility a bit it turns into almost super-hero gameplay - you're jumping to rooftops and maybe throwing girders at people and the like. Tony and I played a bit of it co-op yesterday and it seemed maybe a touch crashy but it was solid fun. The first time I played the demo I thought "hmm that was pretty neat, I'll watch this game closely". The co-op sessions made me want to play again and specifically level up other skills (like demolitions - for bigger grenade explosions!) and play with them. This morning I played it again and bumped it up to "Go ahead and pre-order this, it's a must-buy."
And just to make sure I'm not being too positive I'll dump on Lost Planet briefly. Uggh. I played through the first level before sending it back to Gamefly. The intro sequence has a boss that you have to run away from (or die) once, twice, and then the third time for some mystical reason you have to turn and fight it. It's unkillable mind you, but you have to fight it until it almost kills you then watch a story cinematic. If you try that on the second time your screen is COMPLETELY filled with icicles that oddly have no collision (Really. As in I couldn't see my character because there were icicles between the camera and the character.) Then the boss hits you. Two or three tries of that and you die. Hey let's watch the cinematic again. UGH. I played through the first level (which consists of the two parts in the E3 '06 demo), and the boss at the end started doing the same crap. The screen fills with smoke effects, you can't even see the boss who's rolling around like a tire on it's way to orbit and then he starts throwing you across the arena. Bah. I liked it even less than Dead Rising - Capcom is not winning any votes of confidence from me on the 360 platform anytime soon. Multiplayer might be neat, but A ) I'm not buying a game with that bad of a single-player game and B ) how many goddamn FPS deatmatch games does one console need for crying out loud? I've got GRAW, Gears of War, Rainbow Six: Vegas, and Splinter Cell: Double Agent on the platform already. All of those have good single player, deathmatch, and most of them have some sort of innovative cooperative multiplayer play as well. Deathmach with giant robots was innovative in 2002. It doesn't cut it in 2007 for me.
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