I dropped a wad of cash Monday and Tuesday on video games for the Play Station 3 (PS3). One was a preplanned purchase (I had reserved a copy), one was an “impulse buy,” and the other was after borrowing and playing through the game. So here they are:
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare: Believe the hype on this one mostly. Graphically, and sound wise, this is a very impressive game. The scenery and characters are amazing to look at, and the music and sound effects are outstanding. The game play is very solid, and those familiar with the Call of Duty franchise will have no problems at all. Even relative noobs like myself will have few issues picking up the game play aspects.
The basic story line is very cinematic, and very Tom Clancy. You can even “play” through a couple of story line cut scenes, which is a very cool feature. You play one of two characters, and which you are is mission dependent. One is a rook SAS commando, the other is a USMC Force Recon Sargeant. You get a good assortment of modern weapons, from the M4 carbine, to the stock Soviet era RPG launcher. The pistols are generic, but you’ll hardly ever use them.
Some of the missions are very unique. Two in particular should be noted. First is the AC-130 Gunship mission. You get to play with the weapons load of this flying tank, from the 105mm to the 20mm. The annoying thing here is that you can only “see” in black and white thermal, and need to pay attention to where the blinking figures are, as they are your guys. The other is a “flashback” sniper mission. You’re the 2nd guy in a two man sniper team. The hard part here is to avoid the Soviet mechanized company that you encounter in an open field.
But not all is perfect here. The single player game is far too short. I completed the SP game in just about 6 hours. The single player aspect could have used another 4-6 missions, which would have made this a truly outstanding game. Instead a good deal of focus was put on the multiplayer aspect. This is all fine and good, but I don’t play online, and don’t enjoy it. So all that effort is wasted on me. There are also some interesting physics and reality bending at play, but that’s to be expected in a game like this (such as grenades being tossed around like baseballs).
Even so, the intesity of the game play, the interesting and engaging story line, and the amazing graphics and sound over come a lot of the drawbacks.
I fooled around a bit with this on Sunday at my brother’s place. So did my daughter. By the time we got home, it was pretty much decided that we’d get a copy for ourselves. So Monday afternoon, off we went to Game Stop, and dropped the cash for the bundle.
At $170, it is a bit of a steep investment, especially in a video game. But it’s worth it IMO. The $170 bundle comes with three “controllers.” You get “guitar,” just like the one for Guitar Hero, a “drum kit,” not any different than the electronic drums from the 80’s, and USB microphone, plus the game itself.
The game plays simply enough. Pick up your “instrument,” and follow along with the “notes” on the screen. The concept is simple, the execution is hard. But once you get used to it, you find that you do get better and better. The game has several levels of difficulty, from easy to very hard, and applies to each song. Singing is a bit different, as you have to match the pitch of the song (the words don’t actually matter).
The song selection is wide. There’s something here for nearly everyone, though there is no country or disco (THANK GOD!). But there is classic rock (Rolling Stones, The Who), Heavy Metal (Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden), New Wave (David Bowie, Police), Alternative (Nirvana, REM), Punk (Ramones, Clash), and modern tunes.
Beyond the playing aspect, you can do a number of things, and in fact have to to get all the songs. You can create an avatar of your “musician,” with a wide variety of customizable aspects. You can play solo (just pick an instrument and go), or you can form a band. Forming a band is interesting, as you can do it “locally” with people on the other controllers, or over the net. We formed a band ourselves, and started our “tour” careers. You need to score high enough as a band on available songs to unlcok new venues to play at as well as additional songs to play. Where you can play is in part determined by how many fans you have, how many “stars” (a combination of fame and skill) you have, and what type of tour bus you have. You start with nothing, and have to play your way up. You can also download from the net additional song packs to expand the number of available tunes to play. We have yet to do this, as we’re only just starting.
In just two days this has become the “family” game, replacing Burnout and its crash parties. My daughter can’t wait to get back to trying songs on the drums (I “play” guitar, my wife sings), and even my wife finds it to be a good stress relief after work. It’s a great way to: A. Be a way to get the whole family involved; B. Introduce people to new music; C. Get people interested in playing the actual instruments; D. “Good, clean” family entertainment. This game is highly addictive (“Just one more song!”), and entertaining. It’s a ton of fun, and is not dependent upon “game skills.”
A note for those with the newer PS3’s, the ones with only 2 USB ports. You’ll need a multitap of some sort to if you want to form a band in your home with more than two people, as to get the functionality from the three included controllers, you’ll end up using all four ports. Even those of us with the “older” 4 USB port models will have to get one to add in a bass player (sold separately of course!).
I only picked this up today, and have only played it for a few hours. But my impression of this game so far is mixed.
I loved the previous Burnout intsallments. The crash mode, and crash parties, the road rage events, and in Dominator the traffic check events were solid fun, and good for a quick bit of stress relief. But this latest game leaves me wanting so far.
First the good. The game has amazing graphics, and the music selection is terrific as always. Game play itself is good, as the controls are OK once you adjust to the minor changes. Sensitivity is an issue, but not a major one. You now have the GTA like ability ot “free roam” over Paradise City, Burnout’s fictional metropolis. This alone can be entertaining, but does lose its appeal after a short while.
Events can be found all over the city. In fact, at any intersection that has a stop light. You are not bound to do any event, or in any order. Your advancement is completely dependent on total wins. You do need to get the hang of stopping at the lights, and the r2-l2 triggering mechanism to start the event. Several standard events are to be found, races, road rages, and bruning laps. Burnout Paradise introduces two new events, marked man and stunt drives.
Marked Man events are like races. You have to get from point a to point b. But instead of a time limit, you must avoid having your car totaled before reaching the finish, all while several other vehicles try to smash you up. Stunt Drives are where you take your car, and pretend you’re a Hollywood stunt driver. The object is to accumulate points by performing “stunts,” such as boosting into oncoming traffic, going off jumps, barrel rolls, etc. The more “stunts” you string together, the more points you get per combination.
The lack of a dedicated crash mode bothers me. Paradise has a “showtime” mode, where you do cause crashed, with a cash target value, but I have not yet been able to trigger it despite having the requirements. I can bring up the right indicators, and crash forever, but I never seem to trigger the “showtime” mode.
Multiplayer has moved entirely to the online arena. This too sucks, as crash parties and even races were good “party games” for when people were over. Much like with COD4, this whole aspect is wasted on me. As I’m not a fan of online play, I doubt I will ever take advantage of this.
7.5/10 (for now)