By Angularbanjo 1 Comments
Game 1: Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X
BEFORE: This came out during a pretty slow period and got decent reviews. I grabbed the demo off the XBL Marketplace back then, but only just recently got around to trying it out. I did not expect to like it as much as I did.
AFTER: Not having to play the tutorial again is a very good thing. This game throws you right into the action, and it's the immediate feeling of being a badass fighter pilot that sells me on it. I don't foresee immense staying power, but it's going to be fun popping this in every so often to tear up the skies. The first achievement took 16 minutes, I stayed on for another 15 for a total of 20G.
Game 2: Guitar Hero Aerosmith
BEFORE: I like Aerosmith. They tend to make pretty good rock songs. That being said, I would never have bought this at full price. Let's see what they've got.
AFTER: Whoa, four achievements for 65G in the first song, 5:50 after pressing start. I'm a little surprised that the first song wasn't an actual Aerosmith song, though Dream Police by Cheap Trick is a great power pop number all the same. I'm not as jaded as a lot of people seem to be when it comes to music games, and for €5, this is a pretty sweet track pack on the cheap. Although the presentation seems alright, it's pretty sad when compared to Rock Band: The Beatles.
Game 3: Guitar Hero World Tour
BEFORE: In the great band game showdown of fall 2008, I went with Rock Band 2. Actually, I waited for the instrument bundle to get cheaper and then picked up RB 1 and 2 + instruments for a reasonable package price. Although Rock Band may be way ahead of the Guitar Hero series in quality, this game should prove a great value at €5.
AFTER: Meh. I can't complain about the value, but having played the Rock Band series quite a bit, the gameplay and presentation feel pretty bland and uninspired. At least the track list holds the promies of a Steely Dan tune. It took 4:50 to get the first achievement, for naming and designing the logo for my custom band. I stuck around for three songs, barely missing the 1000 note streak on Beat It.
Game 4: Left 4 Dead 2
BEFORE: I really liked the original Left 4 Dead, and played that a lot last year. Less story, more atmosphere, and truly inspired co-op play made the game stand out in an increasingly crowded console shooter market. The sequel was my birthday present to myself this year, and I'm expecting great things.
AFTER: About an hour. Played a bunch of the first campaign, but there are no fast and easy achievements there. Jumped into Scavenge and picked up a victory straight away for an achievement. Will be playing Scavenge with friends if I can convince people I know to buy the game.
Game 5: Assassin's Creed 2
BEFORE: The original Assassin's Creed might have been rated higher by reviewers if they didn't have to play through it with a looming deadline. I played it stretched over a couple of weeks, and enjoyed the basic mechanics so much that I really didn't mind the repetitive nature of the missions. Also, I find it hilariously meta how its repetition keeps coming up in the press. After a great showing at the Sony E3 press conference, my hopes are set sky high for this one.
AFTER: A very, very high quality product, right down to the achievements. The early ones are fast and easy, just like they should be to get you hooked on the game in multiple ways. 20G after five minutes, 20 more after ten, and a further 20 after fifteen. I like that. The most apparent upgrade here is the graphics, but it soon becomes evident that the structure and gameplay have been vastly improved as well. I will be playing more of this as soon as possible.
Game 6: Overlord II
BEFORE: Dungeon Keeper was a favorite of mine back in my PC days, and Overlord's seeming similarity to the venerable Bullfrog franchise had me intrigued, just not quite enough to make a purchase. Finding the sequel at the bargain price of €10 finally pushed me over the edge. Don't know quite what to expect.
AFTER: Charming, if technically inconsistent. First achievement for creating chaos in the village eleven minutes out. I stuck around for about half an hour more, it got progressively more interesting. I'm intrigued, but I can't see myself spending a lot of time with this over Assassin's Creed 2 or any other game I've bought this fall.