Gears of War 3

There is no need to review this game. I like reading what my favorite writers think about games of this stature, but at the end of the day, my purchase has been cemented. I even went so far as to pre-order this game, which is a practice I have not done since Stranglehold. Only then did I think I was getting something worthwhile which ended up turning out to be a console sticker that was not terribly cool looking.

I am currently a couple of hours into the campaign, and have put in a ton of time into Horde mode with the help of a stable of friends who also purchased this game day one. I plan to explore the far reaches of the disc and really get bang for my buck. It is not hard with the crazy amounts of content included on day one. The arcade mode has added not only a competitive edge to the campaign, but it has added replay value with some simple score keeping. I don't know what it is about stat tracking that keeps things exciting for me, but it does.

The changes to horde mode have also made for a number of high points so far. The addition of the boss wave, where familiar boss creatures bombard you after you build a sense of empowerment. The base-building is great too. I can sense the strategy really building already among my group of friends alone.

This is a great experience alone as it is, but the real value comes from having many friends to enjoy this with. I can tell this will be in my Xbox 360 for some time.


60 vs 3

I have been gathering my true thoughts LA Noire as of late and I am realizing more and more I don't enjoy it nearly as much as I did during the first 5 hours of the game. I am not going to go into it just yet, as I want to put all those thoughts into a flushed out piece at a later date. The thing that truly cemented this in my mind though is the recommendation to play the original Puzzle Agent. It was 3 dollars on Steam today. The sense of satisfaction I have been getting from solving puzzles in order to get to the next story point is so much more rewarding than the often trial and error methods LA Noire presents.

I know that these are two games really have nothing to do with one another, but I draw the comparison based on the level of enjoyment the 3 dollar game is giving me in relation to the high budget blockbuster product. If you have not played it yet, please go and get the original Puzzle Agent as it is a great experience and will give you both some good laughs and some feeling of accomplishment that you might be missing elsewhere.


Kinect, half a year later

I recently started digging into my Kinect games again. In the midst of moving, increased work load and general business, I steered clear of the device during the majority of my gaming time. I was hooked when it came out. They convinced me that it was something worth owning, and with the track record Microsoft has this generation with upgrading and iterating on it's software, I definitely wanted to get in on the ground level.

I went back to it for the pure reason that I wanted to get up and move around and I had a device ready and willing to go. I have also found myself starting to use the Kinect for the Netflix integration from time to time. It is a nice solution when your controller goes to sleep after being inactive. With Child of Eden recently being released and things like Kinect Fun Labs being pushed to the community, I think it is a good second wind for the device. If you have not jumped in, now is as good a time as any. They are also turning around second versions of the initial launch titles much sooner than we saw with the Wii which is probably for the best to keep people interested. Fun Labs, as basic as it is, shows that Microsoft is not cashing in on all the sales. They want the users to gravitate towards functionality that is inherently fun or different so that the software developers see value in designing for their platform. There are two distinct examples of games that I hope developers follow in the near future.

Child of Eden is basically Rez with nicer graphics and slightly tighter controls. That is a good thing. It is a good thing that they added the Kinect controls. They work in a way that is worth digging into and maybe gives a little more life to a relatively short title. Having either hand be dedicated to a different function makes for unique and exciting moments and shows promise for future titles to come. The good thing about this, is that it is a game that all players can still enjoy without buying a new piece of hardware.

Forza 4 is the other game in question. Being able to play Forza like you normally do is no doubt going to be a great experience for racing fans and fans of the series. The Kinect head tracking adds a new level of depth to the experience and does something quite special. It allows you to play the game just like normal, sitting on the couch, but capitalizes on motion you may already make while playing. If you play in cockpit mode, you probably shift while you play already. I would love developers to take this idea and run with it. Making the experience better rather than adding something gimmicky is what makes the Kinect a very promising platform.

I do want those Kinect only experiences, and i think they have value but generally hit a totally different market. A hardcore gamer is not going to want to, or admit to want to, play something that requires them to move furniture every time they play games. Nintendo seems to be thinking the same way with the WiiU by having a more standard controller that adds some new functionality to it. I hope more people see the Kinect in this way.


Battlefield Praise

In the midst of a very crowded shooter market, I have still been going back to Battlefield: Bad Company 2's multiplayer and having very good matches a great majority of the time. The initial few days when Call of Duty: Black Ops was released, there were fewer numbers of people playing but it seems like most players are back for the moment. I hope this continues and am eagerly anticipating the Vietnam pack that should be coming very shortly. If you have not picked up this game, I highly recommend it for any shooter fan looking for a tactical and exciting brand of multiplayer that has, in my opinion a very high replay value. Enjoy!


Mario Kart 2 in Japan

I have not played a mario kart game since the super nintendo days and was in an arcade in Tokyo with a friend with 200 yen burning a hole in my pocket. The experience of playing Mario Kart with giant speakers pumping out Nintendo sounds at you is so great. That was well worth the trip to Japan. Oh and Super Potato is any gamers dream for old games. That is all.