It's been a while since I talked videogames, so I thought I might drop a whirlwind tour of recent games.
1) I got Hotel Dusk from Gamefly last Friday. And I sent it back today. It wasn't terrible, but several places describe the experience more like reading a novel than playing a game. Which sounds interesting, but the thing about wanting to have an experience like reading a novel? When I feel like that I read a freaking novel. And I don't have to push a button every two sentences, even if I'm reading on my Treo. It didn't take much walking back and forth from my hotel room to the front desk to be done. I realized this morning I was dreading seeing somebody in the hall, because it meant having to press the "next" button a hojillion times.
2) My other Gamefly title at the moment is Odin Sphere. I've been playing it on the PS3 so it's also been a testbed for the new upscaling options for PS2 titles. I haven't fully made up my mind on Odin Sphere yet. I think I like it overall but it comes close to violating my "no replaying content" rule. There are a lot of bosses and some of them seem quite cheap. On the other hand, the combat is satisfying and a single boss fight isn't more than a couple of minutes and it intelligently just reloads quickly, so it's not too bad. Before this I was playing FInal Fantasy XII so my PS3 has logged a lot more time in PS2 games than PS3 titles.
3) Speaking of PS3 Calling All Cars for the PS3 is good. The only problem is you need three friends with PS3's. This is not like Rock Band, or even Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, where's it is reasonable to assume your friends already have the proper hardware, or maybe reasonable to pressure them to buy the needed gear. I can't seriously recommend a PS3 to anyone unless they want a Blu-Ray player. Ah well. Nice product, wrong timing. And of course, the thing that will suck is people are going to take the wrong message away. Nobody is going to say "Well, you can't release a multiplayer-focused title early in a console's lifecycle - you have to have your system sellers first." The industry is going to say "small lightweight multplayer titles don't sell". Or maybe if we're lucky they'll say "don't sell on the PS3" and not extrapolate to the Live Arcade. Speaking of Live Arcade it's interesting to note that Calling All Cars is a couple of hundred meg - too big for Live Arcade (even with the higher size limits). I really hope Microsoft lightens up on the must fit on a memory card logic because it's forcing Live Arcade games into a simplistic . . . well arcade sort of mode.
4) Speaking of Live Arcade, I guess I never talked about Catan after getting my 360 mojo back. Catan is pretty sweet as an online adaptation. I haven't played it single-player much after the first few days. I don't really think it plays very fair, the AI seem to gang up on the human player. It's especially frustrating when they offer you a trade, you accept, then they say "not with you". Is it really necessary to have the UI work that way? It seems like you often have to simply reject the offer or leave the trade screen altogether. But if you have three friends with 360's and the willingness to play a slower boardgame pacing then I highly recommend checking it out.
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