August 31, 2009


I've been messing around with different slider sets, trying to find that perfect match to give me realistic results for my play style and skill level.  The core gameplay in Madden this year is the best the series has ever seen, but like always, there is plenty that is broken and needs to be addressed via slider adjustments (luckily, the sliders really work this year).  Then there are other problems that can only be fixed via patch, which I hope is released soon because I don't want to start my franchise until they are fixed.  And I really, really want to start a franchise this year.
I actually haven't played this as much as I would have liked.  Been pretty busy and Batman has taken up all my time for the last week (the game is awesome!).
I really hope EA is working on a patch to fix issues like CPU QBs not taking sacks and throwing into triple coverage instead, CPU defenses sending 4 guys blitzing every three plays, and most important to me, some really messed up simmed stats in franchise.

August 28, 2009

Quick Update: Batman Arkham Asylum

I picked up Batman: Arkym Asylum on Tuesday.  I beat the game yesterday.
The short version: This is my favorite game so far this year.  I simply could not stop playing.
More detailed impressions later, but not only is this the best Super Hero game ever made, it might be the best licensed game ever made.
Great job Rocksteady Studios!

August 24, 2009

I have a problem . . .

I went almost a year without picking up Fable II, yet for some reason I decided that the best time to pick it up was a week before Madden, which itself was a few weeks before Batman: Arkham Asylum.
So I now haven't played Fable II in a week and a half, since I have been spending all my time with Madden and Batman comes out tomorrow.  So, it is safe to say Fable is going into my HUGE pile of unfinished games.  I really only played it for a few hours and I was really starting to get into it.  Now by the time I pick it up again I would have forgotten what was happening and I won't be able to get back into it.
Why can't I finish games anymore?  Why is my attention span getting so damn small?  I'm 100% positive I am finishing Batman, no question about that.  Once a patch is released and I find my perfect sliders I will probably be playing Madden until football season ends (will be putting up impressions shortly), but with this growing list of incomplete games I really don't think I am EVER going to be able to go back and finish these.
I really need to make sure I don't pick up Red Faction: Guerilla in the next few weeks, because I have heard nothing but good things on that one and I really want to save that title for when I can devote time to it.

August 17, 2009

Fable II

Even though I have no business buying new games when I have so many left to finish, I found myself at Best Buy last week with $15 of Reward Zone money and a copy of Fable II in my hands.
I know I should have resisted, but I didn't.
After playing for about 5 hours, some impressions:
- I found the game pretty "blah" at the beginning, when you're playing as a child.
- Once you grow up and start getting new quests, things pick up.
- Visuals are solid, with a nice color palette and nice lighting, but something about them keep me from being really impressed.  Some scenes are on the verge of being breathtaking, especially in the early morning with the sun filtering in through the top of trees, but it never reached that point where I sit back and am just amazed at what I am seeing.
- Part of the problem might be the camera.  For some reason the camera in this game bothers me and I never feel like it is in the right spot.  Can't really explain it.
- I'm also not terribly impressed with your character's animation.  Especially his running animation.  It doesn't really look like his feet are interacting with the ground.  And when you sprint by holding down A, you move ridiculously fast and it looks pretty bad.  Your walking animation also doesn't change at all when walking up or down stairs or slopes and this looks off.  Man I like to nitpick.
- Combat is fun and easy.  Pulling off combo attacks and switching between melee, range and magic attacks is simple and intuitive.
- Voice acting is very well done.
- The magical trail of light that points you in the direction of your current quest is very helpful but it really does take away from the sense of exploration and discovery.  The map system is pretty dreadful, since you have a very small map to view from the start menu and I can't seem to zoom in on it.  I would have preferred a better map system and for the light trail to be an option or as something you can bring up if you are lost.  As is though, you basically need the light trail, otherwise you won't have any idea where to go because of the lack of a decent map.
- The way you interact with people, by choosing different actions from a circular dial, is pretty silly and extremely shallow the more you break it down.  You can basically spam one action until you get someone to reach whatever level of "like" or "dislike" that you want.  It is great in concept, but the execution is just flawed.
- Your dog is very well animated, but can be a bit glitchy as well.  He tends to get stuck while trying to show you a treasure and runs around in circles when trying to get to a certain location.  Odd.
I'm going to stop now because I can sense I am being pretty harsh on the game.  I've actually enjoyed my time with it.  I haven't been blown away, but I've enjoyed it.  It seems to get better and draw you in the more your play.
Unfortunately, my playtime with it is going to really limited in the next few weeks.  I also picked up Madden on Friday and I can tell that game will take up a lot of my time (will post impressions soon) and next Tuesday is Batman: Arkham Asylym, so Fable probably don't be in my disc tray for thenext month.

August 07, 2009

Been a while . . .

I've been meaning to post for a while.  Been really busy.  A quick update on what's been going on:
- Picked up Battlefield 1943 from the Marketplace.  Since buying it I think I have played twice.  I haven't had time to game lately.  The game is a lot of fun though.  It can be really frustrating if you are stuck on a team that has no concept of how to win a match and just treat it as a team-deathmatch scenario.  It is all about capturing and controlling those bases people!!  Play the tutorial!
- Played the 1 minute quarters Madden Demo and hated it.  Not the gameplay itself, which seems to be much improved, but I CAN'T STAND when they release sports demos with such short quarters.  It is impossible to get a feel for the game or the improvements made since you are stuck in basically a two-minute drill the entire time.  Get off two plays, 1st quarter is over.  Two more plays, bam, halftime.  So annoying.  I'd prefer to just have ONE quarter, make it 5 minutes, and let it end after that.  At least then you'd be able to get a feel for a proper drive (whether it be on offense or defense).
I ended up pre-ordering Madden and got the Gamestop exclusive, 5 minute quarter demo anyway, which obviously gives you a much better experience.  This should be the default demo though.  Or at least one half with 5 minute quarters.  When are game companies going to realize that a demo is supposed to get a potential buyer to buy your game.  The 1 minute quarter demo does not do that.
- The Batman: Arkham Asylum demo is fantastic!  The demo starts with the opening of the game and is about 15 minutes long, depending on how much exploring you do.  I do plenty so it lasted like ½ an hour for me.  Great visuals, great voice-acting (Mark Hamill as the Joker is perfection) and it looks like finally a Batman game will have the gameplay this character deserves.  The demo gives you a taste of both combat and the stealth aspects of the game.  Swinging around from gargoyle statues is insanely fun, as is hanging upside down from one and swooping down to silently apprehend a bad guy.  Sweet!  Can't wait for this game!!!