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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Xbox Live Things

It's a good week for downloads. I have had very little downtime, and what time has been available has mostly been eaten by Dexter. But I got a little chance to play some games, and man this is a good week for downloads.

Firstly, Geometry Wars 2! Considering the first Geometry Wars was half the reason I bought a 360, I'm pretty excited about the new one. I got a chance to play the demo this week, and it is amazing. Video demo here. After playing the demo, I found it manages to retain the core gameplay (Robotron-style arena moving and shooting) while introducing new elements that radically change the tactics and strategy. With stuff like the shot-reflective barriers, new enemy types, and more vicious black holes, this is definitely an updated experience. Also, the graphics have been upgraded to be EVEN SHINIER and more epileptic-seizure inducing. I will buy the full version soon.

Secondly, one of my favorite classic arcade titles has received a massive update courtesy of Capcom. 1942: Joint Strike is an HD update of one of the original scrolling shoot-em-up games. From playing the demo, this is definitely an impressive shmup. Powerups are helpful and unique, enemies swarm with steadily increasing viciousness, and the boss fights are suitably awe-inspiring. The 'escape sequence' after the boss in the demo was unexpected and harrowing - one of those moments that racks up the tension and makes playing shoot-em-ups a blast. Preview video here.

Then there's Braid. The only game here I haven't played yet. This is an indy game now being sold on the Live Arcade for big money - 1200 Microsoft Points (around $15). For anyone who liked Odin Sphere, the appeal will be immediate and obvious - 2d scrolling action on beautiful pastel-looking sketches. Though I haven't played it, reviews are universally good, especially from Giant Bomb and GayGamer.net, my usual trusted sources on this sort of thing. Read the developer's blog here.

Finally, as I've twittered in the last day or two, Rock Band has put out some wickedly awesome music lately. Less pop, more industrial and metal, groups like System of a Down, Dream Theater, and Megadeth have been released in the last two weeks, much to my delight. I have played the guitar parts (which make me happy), and need to try out the drums - Megadeth and Devil Driver are not shy about using double bass pedals on their drums, and I want to see how Rock Band has compensated for the lack of one on their drum kit (oh, nevermind - they just don't have you play the actual drum strikes anymore). Needless to say, good songs for those who appreciate the challenge.

So, anyone want to play online?

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Blogger Travis said...

One day I will tell you the story about how I -almost- owned an xbox 360 elite.

Blogger Zhan said...

You have landed on the best place on earth and the right place for you. After reading your reviews of video games, I realized it was time to remind you AGAIN, that you really are an excellent writer and should submit these to NYT and Wired.


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