This is old news, but I wanted to give a quick update that the Ghostbusters Game is still on track to hit the streets this June with a twist. It went from being a multiplatform game to being a Playstation 3 and Playstation 2 timed exclusive. Meaning, it’ll take a few months before we’ll see the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii versions. The latest screens and trailer for the game is looking really good. I think the game industry is finally starting to get a handle on the whole movie based games thing.
Instead of giving us the ability to import songs from previous games into whatever current Guitar Hero is available the fine weasels at Activision are giving us a goofy greatest hits collection, called Guitar Hero: Smash Hits. If I didn’t already own all the Guitar Heroes, this would be a cool package. But I do and I never play the older titles because it’s a pain in the but to try and figure out which track is on which disk, then change the disk to play one song. So now we have this. On the positive side all of these tracks will be redone so the charting should be better and we’ll have full band play. Activision is dragging out the announcement of the set list by having an online voting contest and revealing new tracks every Thursday.
I’m not going to start this review off by going into the history or the franchise or the Treyarch vs. Infinity Ward versions. This review won’t mention it, I promise, sort of. If you pick up the latest Call of Duty epic expecting last year’s amazing COD 4, then you will get a mixed experience. In certain ways the latest COD feels more like it’s a WWII mod than a brand new experience. It kept all of the elements that made COD 4 fun – tight controls, great graphics and fun, addictive multiplayer are all intact here.
At first I was a little skeptical about the series returning to WWII but the minute you pick up a M1 Grand or a Thompson it just feels right. Instead of focusing the entire game on fighting “Gerries” throughout Europe W@W splits the story between two characters – Pvt. Miller who is fighting with the Americans in the Pacific and a Russian named Dimitri, who is chasing Nazi’s around Europe.
Splitting the story in two makes for several jarring transitions. One minute you are fighting guerilla war fare in the jungles of the pacific – making me think, for the millionth time why aren’t there any Vietnam based games? These jungle levels are lush, beautiful and deadly. The Japanese set ambushes in the trees and build little bunkers in the grass and pop up out of nowhere. It’s really unpredictable and chaotic. You really see a lot of original thinking here. When the game switches to the traditional – let’s storm this German building mode, the game feels repetitive and looks pretty bland. In both modes the character models are almost indistinguishable there were a couple of times I walked next to what I thought was a fellow marine only to realize it was a Japanese soldier.
Another annoying thing is, this year’s installment includes more “invisible” walls where it forces you to go through a shooting gallery. One of the things that made the COD Campaign experience so great was, the open nature of how you complete your missions and the ability to either go straight up the gut, or do flanking maneuvers. There are too many levels here where you have to die about 30 times before I finally got through. There was several times where I wanted to throw the controller at my television. At these points the game ceases to be fun and becomes an annoying pain in the butt.
Towards the end, the Campaign mode gets to be a little frustrating because it feels like it’s never going to end. The first few hours, I was really enjoying myself but it eventually gets repetitive. The lack of any progress meter in games is starting to become a major issue with me. I like to know exactly where I am so I can tell if it’s worth playing through yet another level of storming a building. At one point in the game, I sacked Berlin. At that point, I thought the game was over and was satisfied with that ending. Instead it turned out to be I don’t know the halfway point, because then the game switches you to a Bi-plane flying over the Pacific. Then I played through 4 or 5 more levels for a few more hours and I find myself back in Berlin. I was like – didn’t I just level Berlin? There’s this feeling that this Campaign will never end. I never developed any kind of attachment to either character, there are no amazing moments like the Nuclear death in the last one
The weapons in the game aren’t as exciting or cool as the modern day COD4. You get an assortment of machine guns, rifles, on rare occasions you’ll come across a scoped rifle or sniper gun, I found a shot gun just once in the entire campaign mode. The game’s much talked about new weapon – The Flamethrower is disappointing. You never really feel the full impact of using it. It has a limited range and it’s too controlled. If you use it to burn out the Japanese hiding in bushes, I want to see the entire forest catch fire, or see the flame go all over the place. Instead the flames go out almost right away and only stay in the area that you burned.
Multiplayer is almost exactly like the last year’s game. You earn perks and rewards as you play. I always loved this aspect of the series. Generally, I suck at multiplayer but COD keeps me playing because it makes me feel like, I’m still gaining something – like new weapons and enhancements (Scopes, Grips, Suppressors), character Perks (Special Grenades, Health, etc) and the ability to unlock and achieve special talents. While, constantly dying, I know there’s a whole other game going on. I don’t know how many multiplayer maps there are, but I seem to keep getting the same 3 or 4 boring, bland maps – I know there must be more, but I never saw them. I played about 13 hours of multiplayer over the course of a week and kept thinking, why? They also made it harder to unlock things like the Scopes (instead of 25 kills with the weapon, you have to have 75).
You start with 3 modes – death match, team death match and a noob mode. So you don’t get the other numerous modes – until you reach level 14. I’m at level 12 and don’t care enough to unlock everything. It’s very addictive, but not all that fun playing the same crappy 3 or 4 maps and 3 different modes. It only made me miss playing COD 4. I wish they would set it up so that the stuff you do in Campaign mode translates to the multiplayer. Specifically have the kill count added to the multiplayer challenges.
Call of Duty: World at War is a very competent game that I enjoyed but didn’t love and I question some of the unnecessary changes. If it didn’t have the COD moniker attached, I’m not convinced it would rise above the level of just another fun, but bland shooter. Its fatal flaw is that it’s not original and I think I’m officially getting Shooter fatigue.
After almost two years of unbelievable hype, the Playstation 3 savior has finally arrived. Little Big Planet hits the streets this week, the 28th. By the time you read this, you should be able to go to your local Target or Best Buy and pick this up. This game is truly unique and the greatness of it is the community they are building around the game. I’ve always been a proponent of games making level design more accessible than the standard PC Modding community where you actually have to know what you are doing. LBP’s level creation tools will hopefully open up a world of creative possibilities for it’s users. Check out the official press release after the break.
The more that I see of the new Tomb Raider: Underworld game, the more I’m looking forward to. Could this be the version that finally restores Lara Croft to the top of the gaming heap? In this NEW video, hope on board a motorbike with Lara Croft as she tramples through the rugged terrain in the stormy Mexican jungles, out witting wild beasts and narrowly escaping death! Tomb Raider: Underworld will be released on November 18th for the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS, PS2 and PC platforms.
I’ve been playing the new Call of Duty World At War Private beta for the last few days and I’ve come away pretty impressed. Many who read Eclipse know of my love of Call of Duty 2 and 4. I liked the single player campaign in COD 3 but thought Treyarch broke the multiplayer. So I had concerns knowing these guys were making the new version and taking it back to WWII. This latest installment doesn’t look as pretty as COD 4 but the game play is rock solid. This isn’t a gimped beta, it includes 3 multiplayer maps and six different core modes including: War, Capture The Flag, Team Deathmatch, something called “Pick Up TDM” which is a Team Deathmatch mode that doesn’t allow parties, Free For All, Search and Destroy. And two modes for the hardcore players Team DM and S&D. You have several classes to choose from at the start including Rifleman, Gunner and Assault. The RPG elements that made COD 4 a hugely addictive experience has returned. You can unlock different classes like Sniper and modes as you progress.
The maps feel both huge and intimate at the same time. Unfortunately two of them look and feel the same. The problem is they are too dark and pixilated to tell apart. You get the standard small village that has lakes you can hide in, a bland looking abandoned train depot and a beautiful Chinese Japanese Castle. I don’t like the look of World at War, at all. Graphically the game seems dated. The game play feels rock solid and nothing has changed. You still use your bumpers for your grenades, the blue button still reloads. Even though they have two different developers on the series and jump around in time it still feels the same and that’s a good thing. But there’s no denying that Infinity Ward makes the better, more gorgeous looking game. I don’t like that they went back to the traditional Capture the Flag game play, where you have to once again carry the enemy flag all the way back to your base. I loved the way it was done in COD 4. They also changed the Search and Destroy mode to a “survival mode” so if you die you have to wait until the end of the match before you can play again – not cool. Gone is the ability to call in helicopter strikes, it’s been replaced by calling in attack dogs. Somehow not a worthy replacement, but it’s hysterical watching the dogs maul your enemies – not so much when it happens to you. Also new, is your ability to use tanks and other vehicles. I’m on the fence as to whether this unbalances the game.
I wish game developers would figure out how to include an age filter in online play. My sessions were ruined by a bunch of kids cussing and acting like little hellions. Kids are one of the many reasons I really can’t stand Halo. This hasn’t been a problem with COD 4, hopefully it won’t be when this is officially released. You can mute players. Beyond the kid factor, I would say World at War is on par with COD 3 and not a leap forward like COD 4. It’s not the step back that many feared, but it’s not a radical step forward. This is a maintenance release. Keep in mind this is a beta and won’t be able to have a verdict until I see the final retail copy and get my hands on the single player campaign. The game will hit the streets Nov. 11.
It’s almost time for me to go back to War. Oh, the stories I can tell about my experience using modern weapons to take out some middle eastern despot. Or the time I had to make it through a village without being spotted. Or the time I thought I rescued that downed chopper pilot and got nuked instead. Good times, good times. My favorite game from last year, Call of Duty is returning this fall. Boot camp will soon take on a new meaning, as Activision Publishing, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) and developer Treyarch, have confirmed plans for Call of Duty: World at War multiplayer betas in October for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and separately for download on Windows PC. These betas will serve as an early chance for players to practice the tactics needed for survival in the intense chaos of Call of Duty: World at War’s Pacific and European theaters. Players will experience the game’s new squad system, as well as fan favorite perks and kill streaks. All preparation for the full battle will commence on November 11, 2008 when Call of Duty: World at War is released to retailers nationwide. “We are excited to share a sneak peak of Call of Duty: World at War multiplayer with the community,” says Mark Lamia, Treyarch Studio Head. “The team has worked hard to build upon the great history and foundation of Call of Duty multiplayer and we can’t wait to go online to ramp up for our November launch.”
Prince of Persia is one of my favorite game franchises, I really dug the last two games in the series. The footage Ubi-Soft released this week makes me giddy with excitement for the latest installment. The graphics look amazing and the gameplay looks interesting. The one thing that I have concerns about is why did they have add an annoying side kick? She’s irritating as heck in this six minute sample, I can’t imagine having her around for an entire game. Why, Ubi, why? Check out the video clilp, like I said, other than the sidekick and bad dialogue, this really seems to bring the series back to it’s platforming roots.
I’m not sure how I feel about the Tomb Raider series. I love the concept of the entire series, the lead character is empowering, and generally speaking I like this genre of game. Every time a new one comes out, I’m all excited only to get disappointed in the first level. Frankly I’ve always found the series unnecessarily hard to play and the choppy 3D Animation has always made me sick (literally) so I’ll admit, I’ve never played through an entire adventure. Will Undertow be the TR game that finally sucks me in? I love the premise and it’s shaping up pretty nice. Here is the latest game play trailer. The game will be available on 360 and PS3 this fall.
Ah, Tomb Raider. A game that for some reason I could never quite get into. Every year I look forward to the new installment and always end up being disappointed. Maybe it’s because I’m just not a fan of puzzles in my games. I like straightforward go from point A to point B. Not hitting a seeming dead end during the first level. So in enhance I always found the series to be unnecessarily difficult. But I really like all the footage and screens that I’ve seen from the upcoming Tomb Raider: Underworld game which debuts this November. Here are two shots of the new model – Alison Carroll.