Friday, December 16, 2005

Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (Xbox 360)

I'm playing the Xbox 360 demo of Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (Xbox 360 demo).

The demo is slick, and absolutely amazing in high def on a projection screen. This is the first game that, for me, is seriously enhanced by the big-screen treatment.

There's a quirk in the "V-REX" level -- when you get into the pool of water, wait there until the T-Rex moves on, and one of your party makes a comment to you. That'll end the demo. If you exit the pool before the comment is made, you'll wander around waiting for something to happen, but not able to move on.

Or maybe that's just me.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Shamu's Deep Sea Adventures (Xbox)

No, I haven't finished Perfect Dark Zero yet, but any time that title's single player story and dialog irritates me to the point of stoppage, I've been bouncing around to other titles.

Like this little All-Ages gem: Shamu's Deep Sea Adventures.

Why? Because it's an Xbox title compatible with the Xbox 360, supports HDTV 720p (high-def widescreen), and doesn't suck gameplay wise like Finding Nemo.

Good luck finding the Xbox version, though. I've been able to track down the Nintendo Gameboy Advance version pretty regularly, and the Sony PS2 version surfaced once, but I couldn't find the Xbox version until I ordered it from Searching for it on Activision won't get you jack tuna -- you need to go to their Activision Value Publishing sub-brand microsite. And, oddly, I couldn't find anything about the title on developer Fun Labs' website.

I'm only 4 levels in, but not bad so far -- and a high-def killer whale on a big screen projector turns out to be pretty cool ...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Perfect Dark Zero (Xbox 360)

I got an Xbox 360 this morning, and have been playing Perfect Dark Zero.

Granted, I'm early in the game, and haven't had a chance to jump into online multiplayer, yet, but I'm thinking there's a reason Microsoft hasn't allowed a review of this game.

It's OK, but so far, feels a bit underpolished. There are some great textures and clever graffiti, but the nightclub scene has got some ass-stupid AI, and it plays for me like a poor man's version of the "NeoTokyo, 2019" level from TimeSplitters 2.

The soundtrack is top-notch, though, the intro is cinematic slick (flipside sexy James Bond-esque), so I may need to give the title more time.

So far, though, not a must-buy-an-Xbox-360-title.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Bible Game (Xbox)

I picked up The Bible Game from Crave Entertainment, because it's sort of a freak of nature on a few fronts for the big black 'box:
  • It's a budget game ($19.99 MSRP, but most places seem to be selling it for $14.99).
  • It's a budget party game.
  • It's a budget religious party game.

Crave is a small budget publisher, but there are a dearth of party games for Xbox (uh, Whacked!?).

Remember my "Christians got game" post? I also had a brief exchange with Chris Morris about it and his "The greatest story never played" column over at CNN. Religious gaming is a nascent niche genre, and the game is a (mostly) right-shaped peg for that hole.

The game's not bad, is largely a four-person, Old Testament trivia game, with 7 variations. There are also mini-challenge games, which surprised me for their variety and for being entertaining (mostly; the creation of the world mini-game to me seems inane, and the "false idols" and "Pharaoh's snakes" challenges are kind of pointless -- for the game play; I'm not disparaging the principals). Some of the challenge games are pretty gosh darn entertaining when played against multiple human opponents.

So the title is a middling offering, but gets some of those points because (a) it's a niche title, and (b) does a fantastic job soundtrack wise (with contemporary Christian artists (most of whom I haven't heard) like Newsboys, Kutless, and FM Static.

Overall, kudos to Crave for meeting a niche need, and the game is a solid foundation for potential future titles along the same lines, which I hope we get to see, in light of Crave's recent aquisition by Handleman Company

I may alternate play sessions with this game and DOOM 3: Resurrection of Evil, for irony's sake (I kid; RoE on Xbox isn't the game Doom 3 for Xbox is).

Graphics: Not bad, but nothing to write you about. Moderate avatar selection (6) with no customization.

Sound: Pretty good, both due to the above-mentioned soundtrack, and good voice-over work for the "Justin Warren" host character (which suffers some serious detraction due to repetitiveness throughout the game; I do not need to hear "Let there be light" at the beginning of every flippin' challenge).

Game Play: Surprisingly good variety, and fairly solid mechanics. Points deducted for trivia questions repeating (come on, if you have 1,500 O.T. questions, I expect a little less repetition), some lame mini games, and for making some basic game development mistakes. On this last one, regardless of genre, I get ticked if a game doesn't save your character settings (expecially with the current Xbox's built-in hard drive), and party games should be playable, and fun, and fully challenging with any combination of one to the supported number of players for the game; this title is not.

Score (non-scientific): 7 out of 10 (because I gave it a point for meeting a niche game need, and because I have an aversion to lightning. I'm just saying ...)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects (Xbox)

I'm playing Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects. It's a slick, stylized, appropriately dark fighter with a story mode that doesn't totally suck. I'm not sure I'm stoked about EA's Universal Control Set, but I'm adjusting.

The game is frustrating because it has potential not realized, and feels like it was forced out the door before it was ready, which may have been a timing restriction due to the partnership with Marvel and its tie-in mini-series.

There's a fairly blunt insiders view of the game from an EA employee over at game girl advance.