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Archive for the ‘First Impressions’ Category

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: 1 vs 100 (On XBox Live)

In First Impressions on June 8, 2009 at 10:00 am

Let me get this out of the way: I am a huge, huge, HUGE trivia nut. And I’ve been ridiculously enthused about this game to the point that I’d wager Derk is plenty sick of hearing about it. But, I run a geek-media website, and this is a new video game, so he’ll just have to endure a little bit more.

Click For Full Size

Click For Full Size

So, in short, 1 vs 100 is the trivia game from a few years back popularized by the “illest man to ever wear a cardigan”, Bob Saget. The premise of the game is simple enough: you have a player (The One) who is pitted against 100 other individuals (The Mob). The goal is for The One to answer questions correctly, with any Mob member who answers incorrectly being eliminated and The One receiving cash for every Mob member eliminated. But if The One gets a question wrong, then the remaining members of The Mob split all the winnings.

The series itself hasn’t been on the air for quite some time, but XBox Live has chosen it as the first of its new line of “PrimeTime” games. The basic premise is a series of XBox Live community games, where the Live users are the contestants, airing in “seasons” during the evening several days a week. Currently, the only title available is “1 vs 100”, which is in a free Beta to all XBox Live GOLD subscribers.

The game is pretty fun as it is, especially if you’re a trivia junkie. You take one of three roles in the game, either as The One (Which you can be once per season), a member of The Mob (which you can be once per episode), or playing from the crowd. Rather than cash, the final version will offer up to 120000 Microsoft Points (A $125 value), though the Beta is only for bragging rights and chances to win a lottery at the end for some Zunes, a Laptop or a full Theater set-up. When you’re playing from the crowd, you’re only getting to play for fun and for chances in to the lottery (You get one entry for every correct answer), you do get to play against 4 other players in your party.

There’s plenty of other live aspects to the show. The full Live edition on Friday and Saturday features host Chris Cashman during interludes, where he’s speaking with guests or interviewing the players, and the players in your party can change at a drop of a hat. As for the questions themselves, they start out ridiculously easy, but there’s been quite a few that will boggle your mind.

In short, I’m really enjoying the game. The Extended Play shows are daily, with the Live show during the weekends, but every question answered during any show is a free chance at the prize lottery at the end of the season. Its a blast to play, even if you’re just trying to beat the three other guys next to you (and that’s a lot harder than you’d think sometimes!). Even if you’re not as big a trivia nut as I am, this is a fun game just to see how truly stupid some of the people playing are. “1 vs 100” is currently in a free Beta for XBox Live GOLD subscribers only, but the current word is that it will become available for free to everyone in the final version, though SILVER members won’t be able to compete for prizes. Its still a lot of fun, and the price is right, so if you’ve got a GOLD subscription sitting around, fire the game up and give it a shot. I highly recommend this one.

First Impressions: "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" Game Demo

In First Impressions on May 2, 2009 at 2:42 am

X-Men Origins: Wolverine: The GameEarlier today, I posted this less than favorable review of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”.  A glutton for punishment, I saw that the demo for the video game interpretation had been released, and jumped at the chance.  All I have to say is this: holy SHIT!  Why wasn’t this released instead of the movie!?

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First Impressions: Bionic Commando (2009)

In First Impressions on April 30, 2009 at 5:27 am

Bionic Commando Box ArtThe “Bionic Commando” remake was unleashed upon us today in the form of a multiplayer demo on XBox live.  So, how does it add up?

The first thing you should know is that you aren’t playing as the titular commando at all.  Instead, you’re a randomly colored Mega Man/Tron hybrid by way of Bomberman Act Zero with a bionic arm and a pistol, as well as two punches and, believe it or not, a jump button.

When the game kicks up, the first thing you’ll notice is that you’re playing with people who have already mastered the mechanics of the game.  If you think that’s unfair, well tough shit, welcome to the world of online gaming.  The second thing you’ll notice is that while moving around and shooting is your standard fare, swinging around with your bionic arm is noticeably less standard.  One would think it would be comparable to swinging around in, oh I don’t know, a Spider-Man title, but its like trying to climb a rope with a dozen weights tied around you.  Its a fairly fickle system, and takes some getting used to, and even then you find yourself overshooting your goal one second and dangling off the edge of a building like a hopeless shooting gallery duck the next.

Bionic Commando Multiplayer Demo

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There’s a host of power ups available on the level, such as armor, health, and additional weapons such as a sniper rifle, assault rifle, and a grenade launcher.  And they do help, but really the most effective strategy here is to pop the opponent with your standard pistol and then run up and punch them in the face, since this seems to take care of most anyone.

The matches only last for 5 minutes, so you don’t have a lot of time to really get a good feel in one match, but there’s also the issue of getting to the match.  I’ve never had a terrible time finding matches on XBox Live (I’ve taken Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead online, and both loaded up and found matches fairly fast), but Bionic Commando seems to just chug and grind away while trying to find a match.  If no one’s found, you’re greeted with “Waiting for 3 Other Players”, and then suddenly there’s 7 people in your game.  You have no options to choose during the demo, which is to be expected.

In short, CAPCOM delivers a decent multiplayer experience.  The swinging gets easier as you play, but there’s just not a lot to tell from this.  The demo is strictly multiplayer, so there’s no implication as to how the story will run or how gameplay in the single player campaign will work.  The demo is available now and I highly recommend checking it out before you buy this game.

First Impressions: "Watchmen: The End Is Nigh"

In First Impressions on April 6, 2009 at 12:12 am

So, I recently got my hands on an XBox 360 at long last, and with it came a month long trial of XBox Live GOLD. So, as I poked around, I noticed that “Watchmen: The End Is Nigh” is available, and decided to give the demo a go.

For those of you who don’t know, “The End Is Nigh” is a prequel featuring Nite Owl and Rorschach back in their heyday as partners. The demo is timed segment in which the two are trying to stop a prison riot at the prison which Rorschach would be incarcerated in during the movie. Its a fairly simple beat-em-up game, as onslaughts of escaped prisoners who all look remarkably similar to each other (maybe its the jumpsuits?) run at you and your partner, who is either AI controlled, or a second player can jump in the mix.

Both Jackie Earle Haley and Patrick Wilson reprise their roles from the film, for some pretty good voice acting. The animations on the two are rather interesting, as Night Owl maintains an air of karate mastered martial artist and Rorschach lumbers about in a style more resembling a hobo in a street fight. Unfortunately, the controls feel a little sticky, something unforgivable in a game of this genre. Too many times I took a hit because Rorschach was too busy running in the opposite directions, and once I was nearly beaten to death because Rorschach was ignoring the prisoner punching me in favor of kicking an unconscious one below me.

As I stated before, I only played the demo. The segment of the prison has a 30 minute timer on it, but the demo only allowed me to play for 20 minutes. Its not a bad game by any means, but the current price of 1600 Microsoft Points (roughly $20) is a little steep. When the price comes down on this one, definitely check it out, but for now make sure you download the demo before you buy.

Final Grade: C

First Impressions: "Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII"

In First Impressions on February 8, 2009 at 9:22 pm

ff7

— Turn on the PSP and check the battery life.  Crap, this sucker hasn’t been turned on in over a year, has it?

— Insert the UMD and realize I fortunatly don’t have to update.  Thank God, something good came out of playing “GoW Chains of Olympus”!

— The opening cinematic is…wait, its over already?  Beautiful, brief, thank God!  Square Enix finally learned that all FMVs don’t have to be 30 minutes!

— We’re approaching a trainstation now.  I wonder if this is supposed to remind me of anything?

— Oh, good.  Zach is playful.  I was worried he’d be an emo douche like some other star of a certain popular game this is a prequel to.

— Screen wipes over, and turns all black revealing…my reflection.  I giggle a bit, and realize I’ve been awake for far too long.

— Zach leaps off the train.  WE GET IT.  THIS IS A FINAL FANTASY 7 GAME.  Christ.

— Combat seems a bit weird at first.  Its got essentially the same problem as most Action RPGs in that the combat can be boiled down to point and press a button.

— The spinning jackpot thing in the corner keeps giving me power ups, which is cool.  Not explaining it up to this point in the game, not so much.

— Well, there’s my first battle.  “Conflict Resolved”?  I have to chuckle at that.  That feels like a very Bush Administration Era thing to say after killing a group of soldiers.

— Does it bug anyone else that the futuristic communicators of FF7 look like circa 1999 flip cell phones?

— OH NOEZ A BEHMOTH.  They still look pretty much the same as they do in every FF game, what gives?

— Battles done, and there he is.  The most overrated villain in any video game, Sephiroth.  *sigh*

— Done with the training mission.  You do a lot that doesn’t get explained, which is…weird.  Hrm.  I’ll post a full review when I’m done with the game, but that covers the first 10 minutes or so!