Brief Video Games Recap

This week I played a bit of both Dungeon Runners for PC and Destroy All Humans 2 for the original Xbox. That statement in itself is a capsule mini-review - and the focus of the statement was on "a bit".

Dungeon Runners is just plain bad. I don't know what they are thinking but I played it for about an hour and frankly I wish I had played Diablo II. Or Guild Wars which is a very similar concept, but a vastly improved execution. The graphics were serviceable, but the UI was clunky and very slow to respond. I seriously think they are communicating move requests to the server - there's a very noticeable lag before your character starts walking forward. There's a weird tongue-in-cheek aspect to it with NPC's in line to get in a dungeon and weapons that are made of cardboard (and have stats like "Speed: Granny"), but none of it hangs together very well. It reeks of artificial spray-on Attitude(tm).

Destroy All Humans 2 was OK, but not very appealing. My review of the first one was sort of tepid and the second one just didn't click. I haven't seen the mini-games that I didn't like in the first one, but somehow it didn't have the charm of the original. I played a few hours of it, and sent it back to Gamefly. If I had bought it I wouldn't have given up then, but it didn't inspire me. The humor has changed a bit in the sequel, it seems almost mean-spirited at time and clearly they decided that dick jokes can substitute for clever writing. "By Arkvoodle's crotch" isn't a very funny exclamation the first time, and it just gets older from there on out. There was also something I really disliked about the presentation this outing: the mission briefings are presented as dialog trees and you have these options to say smartass things instead of asking a pertinent question. But the briefings are sort of long and drawn-out anyway, so I tended to just plow through and not explore the dialog. Which means it had even less humor value.

I can't blame the developer for this but I was also annoyed that it wasn't on the 360 backwards compatability list yet. There weren't that many major Xbox titles released last holiday season that didn't have a 360 SKU - seems like that would have been a worthwhile goal to focus energies on.

So I recommended the first one as a rental only. This one doesn't even really rate that, unless your desperate. It's not unplayably bad, but it's not better than the original.

On the other hand next week is both Crackdown and Supreme Commander for PC. I've already ordered Crackdown and I have high hopes for Supreme Commander - I was a huge Total Annihilation fan back in the day. Of course TA: Four Kingdoms wasn't that great and I don't have any friends who are likely to want to try Supreme Commander online but we'll see. And I do have some luscious new PC hardware to spin games on . . . .

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