What I've been playing

Since I've been back in Hartlepool, I've more or less submitted to my old vice, video gaming as I've been utterly submerged in a vast choice of quality. This comes from two sources; my brothers xbox 360 with his 27 strong collection (full time job, nothing to spend it on) and the R4 cart for my DS which was literally on the doorstep when I came home this week which allows me to play ANY DS, NES or SNES game (almost) downloaded from online sources in the confort of my big sweaty mitts. Pff... How was I meant to resist really?
I have been getting the odd bit of work done but its been mostly blogging research and calendar planning really. Anyway, on with what I've been mostly playing

On the DS:
New Super Mario Brothers (disapointing! :( The way Mario moved about felt so awkward compared to the more solid and agile feel from the older games. And whats with the near useless blue shell 'power-up'? It got me killed so many times! >:( )

Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training: How old is your brain? (Got all my family and a couple of friends pretty much addicted to the brain excercises from this little beauty. To be honest, it's kind of a kick in your morale's balls when the device doesn't recognise your voice through a thick geordie accent or my broken hand writing style but if you concentrate, it gets easier to avoid these problems. Now to find some way to undermind my smart arse dad and his 28 year olds brain age..)
Front Mission (Quite technical and taxing strategy with Mechs. Its alot like FF Tactics but with 10 more tins of kick ass in the golden syrupy form of Missile Launchers and a need for actual tactical strategy :P)

Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings (Again, really feels like FF Tactics, but is a less technical version. Gone are the grids and the many many laws to abide by and in are your squad of 6, each with a couple of monsters to control like supporting units. And then you more or less mince around the screen beating the poopy out of whatever is silly enough to saunter into your path. I do really like this game, I promise :) In fact, the moving system and faux isometric view style of the game is one that I think Owen and myself should consider for the Zombie video game we are developing
Geometry Wars: Galaxies (Asteroids + the opening scene in Blade = Geometry Wars. Its an gradually more and more intensive plethora of electrik musik and commadore 64 style line shapes to represent shootable enemies. Cannot be played well when drunk, you need your reflexes about you)
Professor Layton and the Curious Village (A not so gradual curve of puzzles and adventure, but thats not such a bad thing if you're into the logical thinking lark)

And of course, TETRIS DS. (Old puzzle gameplay with additional playing options chucked in and a graphics theme from the NES games like super mario bros. and metroid. Nuff said)

There are many others that I've been dabbling with but I havn't really spent enough time with them to be honest to be able to give an experienced opinion of them, although my initial impression of Planet Puzzle League when I tried that out was a really good one; seems like an addictive puzzler with a lot of brain stretching potential although I would also say the same for the even simpler Polarium in which you're essentially just matching white to white and black to black with a sweep of the stylus.
One of the things apart from a real return to simplicity with the DS, is a renewed appreciation for the Puzzle game audience and the console has really renewed my interest in the genre.

Anyway moving on.

On the 360:

Dead or Alive 4 (HI-OCTANE ASS KICKING ACTION! Bouncing boobs aside, the thing I love most about the DOA series is the counter attack system which, although very frustrating initially to time correctly, will tear the fight out of your opponent's bemused grasp and then allow you to batter them to death with their own mistakes. Bwahahhaa! Also, the game is really really fast which makes it much better than the slow as a sloth Tekken series)

Tom Clancey's Rainbow six: Vegas 2 (I've not played an FPS in a good long while ((not since Battlefield 2142 started to go really buggy)) and Vegas 2 is a brilliant example of why I should never have a gap in time that I'm not playing an fps again. Really heavy, very intense. There is this reassuring weight with the game when you move about and how you can hide throw yourself about realistically gives me the impression that I've found an FPS finally which is better than CS.

Mass Effect (Alot like the Knights of the Old Republic games, mostly because Mass Effect is developed by Bioware who made those games as well. The game is very immersive and very detailed with its own deep context but I find the combat is a bit repetitive and yet sparse. The space exploration parts when you are in a kind of buggy roaming an unchartered planet's surface also have a tendancy to last too long and feel kind of awkward. And yet, I think this game is still very playable and for the concept and art work alone that make up every inch of this beautifully visual piece, it is definatly something you should at least watch a few preview videos of)

I still want to try out the new Turok and see if it's as good as the original from when I was plugging away at dinosaurs with a bow on the N64 and I need to have a proper go of the Orangee Box's 'Portal'. I've only played the flash version of it, watched a mess of videos and had all possible plot twists spoiled for me but I'm still really up for the real game and to mess about with the physics that come from having a gun that can fire tears in the dimension and back into itself.

So yeah, if I don't get alot of work done and fail, you now know why. What I mean of course is that these games are all excellent examples of the kinds of projects I want to be working on in the very near future. m

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