Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Medal of Honor Pacific Assault

Spent the weekend with family, and also kind of went on a bit of a game buying binge. I got Cossacks Anthology which is really hard to find and I got it for a steal. I also snagged Warrior Kings and Shadow of Destiny for a song. And for PS2 I picked up The Getaway Black Monday. But the coolest game I picked up, and the one I installed first is Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault, which I got for $20 at Best Buy. It's a large install, the game comes on four CD's (would have gotten the DVD version but it was $30).

So anyway I start it up. You begin by attacking a Japanese held atol in some amphibious assault vehicles and soon after I die, but instead of dying, the game flashes back to basic training. From there you go through basic training (the tutorial for the game) and then you get shipped off to Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. You then get thrust into gameplay that is definitely reminiscent of the film Pearl Harbor as you try and survive the Japanese sneak attack. Very cool so far, but I am still early into it. The graphics are quite a bit better than the original Medal of Honor was, but probably not quite as nice as Half-Life 2. Lots of eye-candy to see here though, with skies filled with Zeros as you desperately try and take a few of them down from your PT Boat as the battleships in the harbor are being destroyed.

Friday, May 27, 2005


Now Playing

Well last couple of weeks haven't given me much time for gaming but I did get some in. I have played more World of Warcraft, concentrating on finishing up Strangelthorn Vale on Ami who is now level 42. I'm also doing a review game, Dungeon Lords, which I can't really talk about until I do the review except to say that, yeah, it's fun. And lastly, I am playing some demos of such. I actually played a couple of scenes in Half Life 2 which I never finished last night. I have played the demo for Delta Force Xtreme and I like it but I am not sure I'm going to buy it. It's only $20 though so I might. Played a few turns of Master of Orion 2 just to check to see that it runs under Windows XP (it does) because someone claimed it didn't. And a little bit of Call of Duty when I'm in a WW2 mood. If you've bothered reading this far, tell me about the games you're playing in the comments.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Xbox 360 Redux

Now that Microsoft has announced the Xbox 360 on MTV to the world, and also a lot of other press on the device from their E3 presentation and other media coverage, I can now provide more details on the system. First of all, there is going to be a single configuration shipping this fall. Price is going to be $300, or there will be a $360 version that includes extra controller and some other goodies (like some content pre-loaded on the HDD possibly). Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, did an interview for Engadget/Joystiq and revealed quite a bit about Microsoft's strategy, I recommend reading it if you're curious. And here is a pic.

Some specs:
Processor: An IBM Power-PC 3-core processor @ 3.2ghz capable of handling 6 simultaneous threads.
Graphics: Custom ATI R520 500mhz graphics processor.
Memory: 512mb of 700MHz GDDR-3 RAM
Performance: Capable of doing over 1 teraFLOPS.
Hard Disk Drive (HDD): removable 20gb will ship with the unit. Expect bigger drives to be an optional upgrade later in the life-cycle of this system.
DVD-drive. No Blue-Ray or HD-DVD at launch, I think this could be a major liability for Microsoft. Ballmer talks about having one as an add-on, but that's stupid, IMHO, because everyone knows that console game developers target the least-common-denominator and that means whatever ships with the system at launch.
Wireless controllers are the default. This is a big, big plus. You can also use up to 3 wired.
Multimedia capability - not just for games, the 360 will also be able to watch streamed video (over the internet?) and of course do mp3's like the original Xbox.
Wi-Fi? I have heard this both ways, that it is not part of the basic box and that it is. It for sure has built in ethernet port. I'm pretty sure Wi-Fi will be an optional add-on that is available at launch.
More details on specs can be found at Wikipedia and on Microsoft's Xbox 360 site.

Of course, Xbox Live is going to be a big part of Microsoft's Xbox 360 strategy, their goal is to hook as many people at launch as they can with this.

Launch Titles:
Kameo: Elements of Power (99% sure)
Perfect Dark Zero (99% sure)
Project Gotham Racing 3 (99% sure)
Test Drive Unlimited (90% sure)
Call of Duty 2 (90% sure)
Final Fantasy XI (90% sure)
Ghost Recon 3 (85% sure)
Need for Speed Most Wanted (80% sure)

These below have been mentioned but I have no idea if they are going to be available at launch:

Quake IV
Madden NFL 06
Dead or Alive 4

Not going to be launch titles but slated for 2006:
Gears of War

It's a pretty safe bet that Electronic Arts will have some titles available at launch, but whether those are sports titles or what is still unknown.


Nintendo Game Boy Micro

Engadget has some excellent pictures of the Nintendo Game Boy Micro. This is a tiny, tiny version of the Game Boy Advance. I guess if the SP wasn't small enough, now you can mount your GBA on a key chain. I'm not exactly sure who the target market for this is. It looks too fragile for kids and the screen is way too small for adults. Heck, I squint when trying to read stuff on the orginal GBA and it's a monster compared to the Micro. When Nintendo announced that they had an new GBA in the works I was hoping it would be revolutionary, and BIG like the PSP, but I guess not. I wanted a system that could play at least PS2 quality games.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Heretic Kingdoms Reviewed

Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition is an action/RPG game similar to Diablo 2 but with a much better plot and many more quests, and its own unique system of gaining in power. I consider it to be the best RPG to be released so far in 2005. My full review of it is here. You can download the demo here.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Geneforge @ RealArcade

I want to take this time to praise one of the coolest little shareware RPGs you're ever likely to come across. The game is Geneforge, and it is written by Jeff Vogel, the guy behind Spiderweb Software. Jeff's RPGs are all good but especially good is Geneforge. And you can try about a quarter of the game for free, just go to the site linked above and download it. Geneforge has a great story and uses a very cool combat system and character advancement system. The game is real-time most of the time while walking around, but when in combat mode it jumps to turn-based. The graphics and sound are retro-80's, but what counts is gameplay and Geneforge has that in spades.

Not only does Geneforge have a good plot and writing, but it can change depending on the choices you make. You choose a "class" when starting the game, one of either Shaper (summoning mage), Defender (fighter), or Agent (rogue). That choice can have a big impact on strategy and tactics available during the game, so the game offers quite a bit of replay value if you pick a different class. You can also make moral choices during the game about how to treat the people you encounter, and also which faction among several on the island you will join up with.

Geneforge 2 is out (been out a while actually) and I ended up buying it through RealArcade. I haven't gotten far in it yet but it looks to be as cool as Geneforge is. And Geneforge 3 is out for the Macintosh and should be out for PC this fall or earlier, it is in beta now.

About RealArcade, this is a program by Real Networks (the guys behind RealPlayer and some music download site I can never remember the name of, Chord or Rhapsody or something). Anyway they have a deal where you pay $8 a month to subscribe to RealArcade and each month you get a free game. I picked Geneforge 2 as my free game last month. This month I picked Trade Winds 2, which is also a cool game, it's a pirate / trading sim, where you have your ship and it's got cannons and such and you build wealth by trading mostly and winning battles where you can loot the enemy ships. More on that game later.

So, if you like RPG games, with strong stories, that play out differently depending on the choices you make, definitely give GeneForge a try. You can download the demo at either the Spiderweb site or from RealArcade. Both sites have lots of other cool games to check out also.

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