On the video game front it is also silly season.
First there is a new Arcade game for Xbox live Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge. Now this undoubtedly will go on my to buy list so I will refrain from giving it a half assed review. However I admit I am buying this game for all the wrong reasons. (And when I say buying I mean I will put it on a spreadsheet to remind me to pick it up when it goes on sale during one of Microsoft's Deals of the Week)
The reason for my hesitation in picking up this game is somewhat complicated. First I understand that LeChuck's Revenge "is one of the most tightly-designed, brilliantly written, timeless adventure games out there" and to not own it would make me one of the uncool kids. Now to be a really cool kid I would have had to have played it back in the day. But alas back in the day I played quite a few adventure games and honestly hated them pretty much across the board.
In fact right now on my Xbox360 hard drive is the first Monkey Island Adventure game which I plan to finish (okay start) any time now as soon as I finish up on the island of Panua with Rico. (And maybe play a few other games I have been meaning to well start/finish.)
So you can see my quandary, on one hand we have a game considered brilliant by the gaming press and public alike and only a philistine would not own. On the other hand my previous experience with the adventure gaming genre has left such a bad taste in my mouth I have the first version sitting unplayed on my hard drive with little will to actually play the darn thing.
So I will pick this up when it goes on sale. Will I have finished (okay started) the original Monkey Island by this time. (smart money is on no.)
Speaking of sequels to games I own but have not started/finished, Crackdown 2 is out this week and the reviews are in... and unfortunately for fans the current Metacritic score is a lukewarm 73.
The metacritic score is actually the good news. Even those that gave good scores seemed to damn it with faint praise. Planet XBOX360, who is top of the scores with a 90, claims "It can be repetitious at times and the plot is not only ridiculous, but it feels far too forced. It’s great to have a basis for the game, but Ruffian should have either implemented an arching story or left it out all together rather than dampening the value of the game with the out of place cut scenes "
Many of the reviews call it Crackdown 1.5 or Crackdown expansion pack and these are the happy people. The unhappy people take direct aim at developers Ruffian. Apparently either Ruffian were innocent lambs with only eight months and no game making experience and gosh darnet they meant well. (The leave Lindsey alone defense)
Gamershell.com "Though I'm sure the timetable may have been tight and the work not easy, especially with a newly formed studio, to make this sequel, it's simply disappointing to see such light fare being passed off as a new SKU."
or Ruffian spent two days putting an ugly mod on the first Crackdown and breaking the ledge mechanics and spent all of Microsoft's money and time on hookers and blow. (The throw Lindsey in jail crowd).
Destuctoid ". However, has it "ain't broke, don't fix" approach been a boon or a curse? Just how far can a game provide "more of the same" before it feels like an unnecessary title? What's the difference between a similar experience and a straight up carbon copy?
Overall I really won't have a good idea whether I am going to pick this one up till I start/finish the first Crackdown. So time will tell. (But it definitely feels like a bargain bin title)
There may be a few blokes out there wondering how the hell I have gone the last few years and not played Crackdown. Well funny story there, it turns out that there are three Xbox360 games that are must buys for all Xbox360 owners that somehow I missed. Now in my defense I did spend 200 plus hours riding my horse around the Province of Cyrodiil (speaking of games I need to finish). In addition, I am easily distracted by bright shiny objects.
The three games in question were Crackdown, The Orange Box and Bioshock. (I know I know reason #4 I will never be a real gaming journalist) However I have now picked up both Crackdown and Orange Box and Bioshock is next on my must buy list. (In fact I would own Bioshock, and maybe even played Bioshock, had I not been distracted by the adventures of Mr. Marston and Mr. Rodriguez.)
Last weeks arcade titles have gotten their reviews in, and Puzzle Quest 2 unsurprisingly garnered positive notices across the board. Apparently I am the only person who found the stained glass artwork to be the fugliest thing I have ever seen in a video game since the hookers in San Andreas. (And yes Puzzle Quest 2 is a buy)
Another buy is of course Duke Nukem Manhattan Project which has a current Metacritic score of 150 (if you add the three scores together) and a very generous demo on Xbox live. The general consensus is that the game is ugly (it is), it is easy to get lost (also true) and this is no Shadow Complex (it isn't). All critics also agreed that the game rules and will hold one over till the new Duke Nukem game comes out any day now (Or at least till the release of Gran Turismo 5).
Five smaller games sneaked in last week Deathsmiles, N3II: Ninety-Nine Nights, Naughty Bear, Singularity,and Sniper: Ghost Warrior. I plan to have review round-ups on all five games soon (in the case of Deathsmiles I kinda have to wait till someone bothers to review it.)
In the meantime outside of an hour with Glitner, Assault Heroes, and Crazy Wizard in Creepy Castle it's been all Just Cause 2 here at gaming central. I expect at my current pace to reach 100% completion sometime in 2011. (I however also expect to pop Crackdown in at some point before then so I can bring you all up to the minute reviews from 2007)
Well back to Deal of the Week... next up Afterburner Climax.