Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mass Effect 2 Arsenal and Dark Horse Comic

The folks at BioWare have opened up a new section to the Mass Effect 2 website entitled "The Arsenal." As you've likely guessed, the section is devoted to the weapons that Commander Shepard and his/her crew will be able to employ during the game.

The first weapon showcased is the Avenger Assault Rifle, and you can read all about it right here, as well as view two new screenshots.

In addition, BioWare has also announced a Mass Effect comic book being published by Dark Horse Comics. Entitled Mass Effect: Redemption, the comic takes place directly after the first game and follows Liara T'Soni's quest to find Commander Shepard, who's gone missing.

You can preview the comic right here, and the first issue hits newsstands on January 6th, 2010.

Halo 3: ODST ViDoc, "Dramatis Personae"

Looks like Bungie had at least one more ViDoc in store for us. Earlier this week, they released "Dramatis Personae," a ViDoc that looks into the revised story telling method the development team employed for their latest title, Halo 3: ODST.

You can check it out below, here, or download it to your Xbox 360 here.

Left 4 Dead 2 Intro Cinematic Leaked

The intro cinematic for Left 4 Dead 2 has been leaked onto the wonderful interwebz, and it kicks ass.

You can check it out below.

I wonder if the game will truly be more story driven than the original, or if the intro cinematic is as much story as we'll get. I vote the latter, knowing Valve.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fable II: Game Episodes First Episode (Xbox 360) Review

At the end of September, Microsoft Game Studios added Fable II to their Games on Demand service, where you can pay an overinflated cost to not get off your ass and own a digital copy of a game. So far, that overinflated cost has made me look elsewhere for every game available, but the Fable II offering is a little different. Why? Because it's presented to us in episodes.

This is the first time a full retail title is available via Xbox LIVE in an episodic format, and the great thing is the first episode is free. The first episode is the complete beginning of the game, progressing through your childhood and into young adulthood to where you need to take on Thag. Once defeated and the road to Bowerstone re-opens, you're prompted to purchase the second episode for 800 Microsoft Points to continue the game. If you decline, you can still run around and enjoy the currently unlocked sections of the game.

Now, overall, this is the same as the retail game, just a small section of it so there's no point to review it separately from my Fable II review found here. What I find fascinating is that with Fable II brought to us in episodic format, this first free episode functions as a glorified demo and is an excellent option for someone on the fence about getting the game. I was even able to access my Limited Edition content that would have been available at the game's beginning naturally, however you do need to purchase the second episode to keep any Achievements you've earned.

If you were to purchase all of the episodes via Games on Demand, you'd still be paying more than you would if you got off the couch and went to a store (Fable II retails for $39.99 as of this typing), however the episodic nature of the product allows for a rather unique circumstance not available anywhere else: it really caters to the ADD riddled customer, a growing trend amongst gamers today. In fact, I already know a few people who've purchased the second episode and who may purchase the third, but they'll be bored of the game by that point and won't purchase the rest. This allows them to enjoy as much of the game as they want at a reduced cost from retail, and then simply wander off to something else. Microsoft Game Studios also receives a cut since the customer paid for each additional episode, so in this instance, it's win/win.

For me, I traded in my copy of Fable II, so this free first episode allowed me to get an additional hour and a half of entertainment out of the title, a quick little jaunt through one of the better sections of the game at no extra cost to me, my glorified self. The only real downer I see to this format is the lack of a physical copy to trade in after wards, but with convenience as a selling point and the first episode being free, this is a smaller issue.

Personally, I'd like to see more retail games brought to Games on Demand in episodic format. I think this is a great move from Microsoft to guarantee a little profit on their part while also providing flexibility to the customer. As a consumer, if you really enjoy the first episode and you want the rest of the game, head to retail for the better deal. If you just want to enjoy a few more hours and then plan to call it quits, you can buy the next episode at less cost, enjoy, and then forget.

Excellent marketing idea, and the best implementation of Games on Demand that I've seen yet, as in this format, it really emphasizes the "on Demand" aspect.

Ghostbusters 1 & 2 - Double Feature Gift Set DVD Review

One of my most beloved childhood franchises, I forced my father to rent Ghostbusters on VHS time after time after time again. We finally ripped our own poor VHS copy of both Ghostbusters and its sequel, Ghostbusters 2, at which point I watched them until they couldn't be watched any more. I knew every line, every camera angle, ever effect, and then, finally, I stopped watching them. Flashforward to summer 2009, and Ghostbusters: The Video Game is just released, which I happen to pick up. Being the unofficial third film, the game made me realize that not only had I not watched the Ghostbusters films in well over a decade, but that I also no longer owned any copies of them.

Both problems were easily fixed, as Ghostbusters and its sequel are sold in a bundle DVD pack, a "Double Feature Gift Set," as it's called. The first film, Ghostbusters, sees college professors Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) lose their cushy university jobs, forcing them to go into business themselves. And what business do they specialize in? Why, investigation of the paranormal, of course! It seems that ghost sightings and the like are on the rise in Manhattan, and when something goes bump in the night, who you gonna call?

Inventing their own ghost capturing equipment and renovating an old firehouse to be their headquarters and containment facility, the Ghostbusters set out to keep New York safe from that which can not be explained. Their first client, the lovely Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), apparently has a demon in her fridge, and her case may turn out to be larger than even the Ghostbusters are prepared to handle!

Released in 1984, Ghostbusters was a hit phenomena that struck a cord instantly with audiences worldwide. The humour is campy, the cast a perfect match for one another, and the special effects were great for their day. I did find that the film didn't transfer to DVD with the best of quality, however, and the image can look rather grainy, however the audio came over cleanly, and overall the film is still a joy to watch and this is just a minor issue.

There's also some deleted scenes on the DVD, as well as some behind the scenes featurettes, such as storyboard comparisons and various cast and crew interviews, but nothing here is too special, and the actual DVD's menu is very poorly done featuring really low quality animation.

The gift set also contains a Movie Scrapbook, a small collectible that shows various storyboards and script excerpts, as well as discussing the script revisions, casting, and logo design of the film.

The second disc of the set features the 1989 sequel, Ghostbusters 2. Five years after they saved New York City from paranormal destruction, the Ghostbusters have fallen on hard times. Sued by every major entity in the city and ordered by law to cease practicing their Ghostbusting operations, the team has had to go its separate ways. Venkman is hosting a poor psychic-themed cable show, Spengler is doing private research, and Stantz and Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) are entertaining at children's birthday parties with Stantz running his own occult bookstore on the side. That is, until Dana comes back with a disturbing case of her own. Apparently her baby, Oscar, went for a wild ride when his baby carriage started driving down the street on it's own! During their secret investigation, the Ghostbusters discover a massive river of slime flowing beneath Manhattan, and it's threatening the end of the city but what can the boys do now that they're out of business?

Like the original film before it, Ghostbusters 2 is packed with laughs, chemistry, and cheesy good fun as everyone's favourite paranormal investigators get back on the case. While lacking the originality and surprise of the first film, this is a sequel after all, Ghostbusters 2 never-the-less provides us with more of what we love, and a deeper exploration of these great characters.

The picture on this disc came through a lot crisper than that of the first film, and the audio also sounds great. The DVD's menu is nearly as bad as the first, but more so because it's the exact same thing, reflecting the original film's theme save that instead of a Marshmallow Man walking around, it's the Statue of Liberty. The bonus features on this disc, however, are far cooler than that of the first. Why? Because they're two full episodes of the animated '80's cartoon! Both episodes have a direct relation to the films in that the first, "Citizen Ghost" deals with the Ghostbusters' aftermath of their battle with Gozer (Slavitza Jovan), and the second episode "Partner in Slime" features the use of Vigo's slime (except it's yellow instead of pink). It was really cool watching these old cartoons, as I loved The Real Ghostbusters as a kid.

I was able to pick up Ghostbusters 1 & 2 Double Feature Gift Set for $14.99, which is a great deal for two awesome classic films, and certainly worth the cost of admission for the trip down memory lane.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gears of War 2 Title Update 5 on it's Way

Earlier this week, Epic Games announced that a 5th Title Update will be coming soon to Gears of War 2 which will fix a security vulnerability introduced in the last title update.

Aside from that, the Title Update will also do a few other things like allow players to see friendly planted Grenades in Tac/Com and fixing "sticky walk."

You can see the announcement here and the full, though limited, details here.

Aliens vs. Predator "Aliens" Trailer

While not as cool as the Marine trailer, SEGA has finally released a trailer for the Aliens in their upcoming shooter, Aliens vs. Predator. You can check it out below.

Still has that classic atmosphere.

News spotted at ActionTrip.

Mass Effect 2 Launch Date and Pre-Order Bonuses

The release date for Mass Effect 2 has been revealed, and players will once again be able to embark with Commander Shepard on January 26th, 2010 for the Xbox 360 and PC. In addition to a much earlier launch date than I expected, there are also two different pre-order bonuses available to gamers.

If you pre-order your copy of Mass Effect 2 at GameStop of EB Games, you'll gain access to the Terminus Gear, which includes a set of armour and a unique heavy weapon. If you pre-order at most other retailers, you'll get access to the Inferno Armour (pictured).

With Mass Effect 2 coming out that soon, honestly, I'll likely pass on a PlayStation 3 now, as I'll have far too much to play through on my Xbox 360.

News spotted at TeamXbox.

PlayStation 3 250GB System Announced

Coming on November 3rd, Sony has announced yet _another_ PlayStation 3 console, this one sporting a 250GB HDD and retailing for $349.99 (US). Aside from that, I believe it's going to be identical to the current PlayStation 3 120GB System.

This makes sense seeing as how they'll want to keep up with Microsoft's Xbox 360 platform, which will soon begin sporting a 250GB HDD, and the PlayStation 3 120GB System is presently the only SKU under production.

But damn, does Sony run through a _lot_ of different SKU's! There's been the 60GB, 20GB, 80GB, 40GB, 160GB, generally seeing ports and features removed (PlayStation 2 backwards compatibility) with each new model. Then they redesigned the platform completely this past September with the Slim 120GB, and now the 250GB will appear in November. That also excludes their limited edition consoles.

Talk about constantly re-packaging a product.

Spotted at ActionTrip.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Halo 3: ODST (Xbox 360) Review

There's never been any question to the success and popularity of the Halo franchise and what it's done for the Xbox platform. The name "Halo" immediately draws instant attention and often record breaking sales. Case and point, the recently released Halo 3: ODST.

Originally, Halo 3: ODST started out as a stand-alone expansion set with a very short three hour Campaign and all the Halo 3 Multiplayer Map Packs thrown in with yet an additional three never-before-seen maps to add something new. The Campaign was set in the ruins of New Mombasa paralleling the events of Halo 2 where players took control of the Rookie, a new Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, as he tracked down the whereabouts of his scattered squad mates. During the course of development, the project actually grew in size and scope, expanding the Campaign's content by that of a few hours and introducing a new Co-Operative Multiplayer mode know as Firefight. By the time everything was said and done, Microsoft Game Studios began advertising Halo 3: ODST as a full retail product, and it's priced accordingly. So do all these features actually add up to a full retail game?

The Campaign begins with a squad of ODST's dropping towards the Prophet of Regret's carrier as it hovers over New Mombasa (Play the first 4 Chapters of Halo 2 to get up to speed on the story), their mission: infiltration. As they approach the carrier, however, it jumps into slipspace creating an EMP shock wave that devastates the city and knocks the ODSTs off course, crash landing all over the ruins of the city. 6 hours after impact, the Rookie regains consciousness, and players set out to explore what's left of the city while trying to find their squad mates.

As you begin your search, you're more or less guided where to go in the search for clues about your team, but once the first two clues are located, the Rookie can venture off in pretty much any direction he chooses. This provides the player with a somewhat open environment in New Mombasa, even allowing the Rookie to explore some random buildings and such along the way. Make no mistake, this is no Capital Wasteland, but it's a much more open environment than any we've seen before in a Halo-title. There are roaming Covenant patrols that the player can combat or try to sneak by, Phantoms fly past overhead, and the city's AI, the Superintendent, helps to guide the player towards hidden audio logs that tells the story of a young woman in the city at the beginning of its invasion. Once the Rookie does locate a clue relating to his squad, the game then transitions into a flashback sequence where the player takes control of a specific squad mate allowing the player to experience their fate first hand. Unlike the Rookie's nighttime explorations, the flashback sequences are linear in design and are much more traditional first person shooter fair.

During Halo 3: ODST, you always play as an ODST and never as a Spartan, which brings about some interesting gameplay changes. Firstly, you have no Shields but instead have Stamina. As you take damage, you're screen turns red and you begin breathing heavily. You'll need to find cover and wait for your Stamina to regenerate and if you don't, you'll soon start to take actual damage from enemy attacks resulting in a lose of health from your Health Bar. Health can only be replenished with Medkits scattered about the city, forcing you to play things a little more cautiously than you would as the Master Chief. Dual-wielding is also right out and not featured at all. I don't know the exact reason why, but I heared it's because you're not as strong as a Spartan, being a normal human being after all. Fair enough, but then how come as a simple human I can flip downed Vehicles, punch Grenades into Wraiths as I board them, move faster than a Spartan while carrying a turret, one hit kill Brute Chieftains by meleeing them from behind, and generally perform several other superhuman feats? I understand some things need to remain unaltered due to simple gameplay conventions, but I honestly don't see why dual-wielding was removed. I also understand that certain weapons, like the Spiker, were supposed to be large by regular human standards, but it doesn't look like they altered the weapon's display sizes at all. So while you are more fragile than a Spartan, your also not, if you take my meaning.

Weapon wise, the Battle Rifle, Plasma Rifle, and SMG are completely gone, but the Auto-Mag, Brute Plasma Rifle, and Silenced SMG are in. The Auto-Mag is essentially the return of the Pistol from Halo: Combat Evolved, scope and all, and this baby's great for precision head shots. The Brute Plasma Rifle functions the same as it did in Halo 2 and the Silenced SMG is the same as a regular SMG only, well, quieter. The amount of grenades you can carry has also been increased by one a piece.

Enemy wise, the Engineer finally makes its debut in a Halo shooter. Featured in the novels since the first book was published and showing up in Halo Wars, the Covenant Engineer follows the various occupying Brutes granting them an Overshield. The Engineer is also packed with explosives, and will detonate when killed, or when its Brute masters are defeated.

Speaking of the Brutes, I do need to bring up a major plot hole here. The Elites. Why are there no live Elites in New Mombasa? In Halo 2, the Great Schism and Covenant Civil War begins, but that's later in the game. I'm not sure how long it took for the Master Chief to kill Regret and for this Civil War to ultimately begin, so I'll extend the benefit of the doubt and buy the fact that the Brutes have already replaced the Elites 6 hours after drop when the Rookie wakes up. For the flashback sequences, however, it makes no sense what-so-ever that the Brutes are running the show. At this time frame, there wouldn't even have been any Brutes in Regret's expeditionary fleet as Brutes were an occupying force, not military, and the Elites didn't trust them. It's also quite preposterous that Brutes were part of the initial invasion as indicated in the Audio Logs you find. The real reason we're seeing Brutes this early, I'm sure, is because Bungie didn't want to take the time to create a new Elite AI, but honestly, we should have been fighting Elites in Halo 3: ODST.

The rest of the enemies are standard Covenant fair, but since you're not a Spartan, not only are they more deadly towards you, you also don't have a motion tracker to alert you of danger. Instead, you have your VISR mode, a unique visual enhancement that functions much like night vision but also outlines friendlies in green, enemies in red, weapons in blue, and Audio Logs in yellow. VISR mode works very well at helping you spot threats and navigate the dark city environments, but keep in mind that it can be blinding during the day, illuminating things too much.

In addition to tracking the Audio Logs you discover, which are in the form of a radio serial complete with still images, you also have a full Map of the city at your disposal, a first for a Halo shooter. The Map isn't perfect, but it allows you to examine the different areas, plot way points, and even better, it'll show enemies as red diamonds, and the map is in real time. It's often a great idea to use the map upon entering a new area to see if any enemies are displayed, since you'll be able to spot them here often before you would in VISR mode.

The Campaign, taking my sweet time exploring the city, whoring Achievements, and hunting for Audio Logs took me about 8 hours on Normal. That's not bad at all, but then again I was really taking my time and had I been moving at a steady, more objective-based pace, I probably would have beaten it in about 5 hours.

The other major new feature in Halo 3: ODST is the Firefight Co-Op mode, where up to 4 players team up to battle wave after wave of Covenant enemies. Similar in concept but different in execution from Gears of War 2's Horde mode. In Horde, you have 50 Waves of enemies to defeat, and after every 10 Waves they get more durable, accurate, and do greater damage. In Firefight, things are a little more... complex.

5 Waves make up a Round, and 3 Rounds make a Set. So what's the deal with Rounds and Sets? Skulls. Different Skulls activate depending on what Wave, Round, and Set your in, greatly increasing the challenge of each match. So if Famine activates, every weapon dropped only has half ammo in it, and you'll be running low on bullets real, real soon. Black Eye turns on, and your Stamina will no longer regenerate and you need to Melee an enemy to get Stamina back. Tough Luck turns on, and good luck tagging an enemy with a Grenade or splattering them with a Vehicle as they get real good at dodging. There are several other Skulls that will activate, and yes, multiple Skulls will be active at once.

You also have lives in Firefight. In Gears of War 2, if you're downed your teammates can revive you, and if you die, you wait until the next Wave to Respawn. Not in Firefight. Your team has a pool of 7 shared lives. Die, and you'll respawn minus one life for your whole team. Lone Rangers will be frowned upon, make no mistake. Do well in Rounds and you'll earn bonus lives for your pool, greatly increasing how long the game will last. And if you're team is good, you'll last a long, long time. Why? Because there are infinite Sets. Unlike Horde, Firefight doesn't have a Wave cap, there's no way to "win" the game. You simply keep going until you quit or die.

Halo 3: ODST comes packaged with 2 discs, and everything above is on Disc 1. Disc 2 contains the complete Halo 3 Multiplayer experience, ever Map and Map Pack ever released, as well as three additional Multiplayer Maps, Citadel, Heretic, and Longshore. Each of these Maps has a Skull to find, and provides some nice, new variety for Multiplayer mayhem. When you pop Disc 2 into your DVD drive, it shows up that you are playing Halo 3 and you'll be able to access all of your Screenshots and Saved Films, and anything you save here is Saved to the Halo 3 section of your HDD and not the Halo 3: ODST section.

The release of Halo 3: ODST also sees the release of the final three VidMaster Challenges, which when completed with the other four found in Halo 3 will allow players to unlock the coveted Recon armour for use in Halo 3's Multiplayer.

Without question, Halo 3: ODST did grow greatly in scope and size from what was originally announced. We have a short Campaign that provides us with an interesting new look at storytelling in the Halo universe, an exceptional Co-Op multiplayer mode that the franchise was just screaming for, and a few new Maps to play with in classic Multiplayer. So is it all worth the full cost of admission?

No, it's not.

Everything I've just reviewed, everything I've just discussed is at a high level of quality, there's no mistaking that, but Halo 3: ODST packs in all the solid content of a topnotch expansion set, not a retail game. The single player content is far too short, even if it is different, and if you've purchased the Halo 3 Map Packs already, you're getting very little new in terms of Multiplayer content. Sure, you get Firefight, and Firefight kicks, but it still doesn't justify full retail cost. At most, Halo 3: ODST is worth $10.00 less than retail, but you'd get an even better deal if you waited for it at $20.00 off.

That being said, Halo 3: ODST is a lot of fun and there's much fun to be had here, guaranteeing that it should be added to your gaming library eventually, just not right away. I've already seen the odd sale where it's $10.00 off, so if you look carefully or wait a while longer, you'll probably be able to find this expansion in retail game disguise at a proper, fair price. And you should, because Halo 3: ODST is worth experiencing.

Xbox LIVE Preview Program - Facebook, Twitter, Zune

Before this year's end, Microsoft will be rolling out another System Update for the Xbox 360 that will incorporate Facebook, Twitter, and some new integration for the Zune, and like most of their System Updates, they're holding another Beta.

The sign ups for the Xbox LIVE Preview Program are now live, and if selected in roughly a week's time, you'll be able to download the current Beta version of the Update and try it out, allowing you the opportunity to provide valuable feedback.

For full details, head over to Major Nelson's site right here.

Me, I usually jump at these Betas as I've always enjoyed them in the past, however I'm actually not too keen on these upcoming features, and think I'll sit this one out. I'm in no rush to experience Facebook on my Xbox 360.

Xbox 360 Price Drop. Sort Of.

A little while back, the Xbox 360 Pro console was nixed and the Xbox 360 Arcade console was increased in cost to $229.99. The Xbox 360 Elite console was reduced in price to $329.99, but the HDMI cable was removed from its bundle, replaced with a Standard AV cable.

This all happened roughly a month ago, but it looks like the Xbox 360 has seen a price adjustment yet again. According to here, the Xbox 360 Arcade console now retails for $199.99 (again), and the Xbox 360 Elite is now $299.99.

That's better, in my opinion. $200.00 for an Xbox 360 Arcade isn't too bad, but I'd even love to see it about $20.00 lower since you really don't get too much with it.

Anyway, the Xbox 360 Elite is really the way to go right now if you're looking to buy a brand new console.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

EB Games Fails to Price Match

This rather annoyed me today, though I shouldn't be surprised as any respectable gamer knows EB Games is all about lies and false policies. I found out that Toys R Us is now selling Halo 3: ODST for $59.99, $10.00 off the original retail price, so I decided to call up EB Games to see if they'd do a price match, post-purchase, like Best Buy and does. The answer I received is yes so long as you have the receipt and an actual store flyer showing the lower cost.

I took a trip to a mall that has both a Toys R Us and an EB Games in it (I was told by the EB Games rep at the place I purchased the expansion from that I could price match at any location), and once I obtained a flyer and presented it to that EB Games rep, they wouldn't perform a price match.

Since the product originally retailed for $69.99 at Toys R Us, they say they can't do it, as this is a "sale" price Best Buy or Future Shop certainly would have, so I guess EB Games really isn't too interested in keeping their customers happy. The EB Games rep here sited that it's "a temporary sale price," but nowhere on the flyer does it say "sale" or "limited time," and it looks like a perma-price reduction to me.

Since I drove about 30 minutes out of my way for this, I'm none to happy with EB Games' typical sleezy business practices, and I'll be sending a rather strongly worded email to their corporate office to let them know what I think of their "business." While I doubt such a letter will accomplish anything, it'll certainly feel good to tell them the truth: that their slime.

Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2009

For a while there with all the rain we've had this weekend, I didn't think Nuit Blanche would've been a go, but thankfully the weather held nicely, at least for the time I was out. Much like last year, when all is said and done, I must say that I didn't really enjoy the exhibits themselves, and had a much better time simply hanging out with my friends.

To say that I was disappointed with Nuit Blanche is an understatement. The turnout seemed larger this year, so there were _huge_ lines for everything, and I have little patience for long lines. My friends and I were out for about 5 hours, from 8:00 pm to 1:00 am, and we certainly didn't see anything overly thought provoking. The Ice Queen in the Eaton's Centre was kind of cool, simply because of the coordination it takes for someone to do that without being distracted by all the people. We saw a circle of people dressed as ghosts reading poetry in different languages, which would have impacted me more if I could have understood what was being said. The pulsing CN Tower was good, but City Hall was a complete and total letdown (concept pictured above). What a bad homage to retro-'70's sci-fi films, or at least that's what I thought the giant letters being red as words represented.

The walk unto itself was fun, as we walked all over the downtown area beginning at Yonge and Bloor. We ultimately stopped off for a fun, greasy poutine dinner (I still feel gross from it), and went to enjoy the Bay Street Carnival. Like everywhere else, the lines were horribly long, so while a few other friends went and waited to get on the Avalanche ride, the rest of us relaxed and walked around a little more. The energy of the crowds was certainly in a good mood, and you could feel the excitement all over.

So, like last year, I felt the exhibits themselves were quite poor, and for the most part all questionable decisions for the grant money, but the overall atmosphere of the event itself, and the wonderful social aspect of it, was a great time. And I suppose that was the primary goal of Nuit Blanche all along.

And yes, I did purchase one Tim Bit, and only one Tim Bit for desert. Gotta keep some traditions alive.

Limited Edition Halo 3: ODST Print Close Up

I thought all of you might be interested to see a more close up image of Sinnix's limited edition Halo 3: ODST print now that it's nicely framed and hanging on my living room wall.

Below, you'll find two images, one showing the framed print, and the other showing a close up of the signature and numbering.

Robotron: 2084 Trial (Xbox 360) Impressions

The same friend I gave my Trials HD code to offered me a code he has lying around for Robotron: 2084, but before accepting, I decided to give it's Trial a whirl. Damn, is it ever old school!

The Trial version of Robotron: 2084 can be completed in about 5 minutes, literally. I never played the original arcade game back in yester-year, but basically you move around the screen with the Left Stick, and point the Right Stick in the direction you want to fire, trying to shot all the robots on screen before they touch, and kill, you and any other friendlies around. Very, very simple, and if you move quickly and point the Right Stick in the correct direction, you'll overcome the Trial version.

While I had no issues with the simplicity of Robotron: 2084, it was just far too old school for my liking, so I passed on my friend's free code. I just can't see myself sitting there playing something so repetative for hours, and hours on end, and a Trial like this helps me to appreciate how far gaming has come (though it also gives me respect for where gaming all came from).

Trials HD Trial (Xbox 360) Impressions

As most of you know, I'm not exactly a fan of racing games of any sort, and driving around a Warthog is about as hardcore as I get, so the only reason I bothered to download and try out the Trials HD Trial is simply because I got a free copy of the game from X'09. Not wanting to waste the Code, I decided to try the Trial first: If I like it, I'd redeem the code. If not, I'd give it to a friend.

I gave it to a friend.

Trials HD is a game where you play as a motorbike stunt driver who's going through all these kind of crazy courses, and you need to make it from a course's beginning to end without wiping out. The game is viewed from a classic side scroller perspective, and you can unlock additional bikes with different stats as you progress.

Trials HD certainly looks great for an Xbox LIVE Arcade title, and the controls are generally simple enough, but it's really just not my type of game. I'd pass some courses and wipe out a lot on others, but even when I did succeed I got no satisfaction from the game.

So in brief, not my thing, but maybe yours. I know my friend will enjoy the free copy of the game, and perhaps you will to. Give the Trial a whirl, and see.