Not sure getting a free game every three months is worth the mounds of spam I get every day from Microsoft’s blogpress agency.
Avatar customization is certainly cool (and it looks pretty flexible, too), but those screenshots don’t really look like something I’d want to pit against GTA IV, as a developer.
Pretty much everyone hates the fact that Mass Effect’s ending throws you out of the world and doesn’t let you keep playing and exploring the universe after you’ve finished the main story arc, and the only way to visit all the (boring) uncharted worlds and completing every side mission is to start a new game.
So everybody assumed that downloadable contents would fix this, and the additional missions, that you have to pay for, would let you play with your crew where you left them — besides, I’d always heard that the new missions would serve to bridge the gap between Mass Effect 1 and 2.
Well, how wrong can you be: not only can’t you play the “Bring Down The Sky” mission from where you left off, but you can’t just start a new game, either; you need to have your Shepard commanding the Normandy. Which means that, unless you plan ahead (good thing the download comes in a month) and have spared a save in the middle of the game (between getting the Normandy and leaving the Citadel for good) you’ll have to start a new game and go through Eden Prime and all the conversations that set the world up… just in order to get the privilege to populate your navigation screen with an asteroid you just bought for 400 points.
As cheap as it is, I’m feeling a lot like boycotting that download.
I think I’d read a number of complaints about the absence of a “cat and mouse” mode in this Project Gotham Racing, so it’s probably a welcome addition, but I’m mostly eager to drive freely around the cities in “tourist mode” — and to get a new (old) BMW M3.
The two downloadable packs for Project Gotham Racing 4 are online, and… well, they’re online.
I was very disappointed, after downloading the free pack, to find out that the new “tourist mode,” which lets you roam the cities freely (it’s often been said that Bizarre Creations usually models an entire city area before deciding where the tracks will be, so all the data is in there), is only available as an online mode. I tried to plug a second controller, but the mode doesn’t seem to be available in local games; I tried to launch an online game by myself, but that didn’t work either.
I got over the limitations, though, when I finally tried it: once you’re dropped into the empty city, you’re mostly glad that there’s up to 7 other players in there — and it even makes sense as a game mode (the winner is determined based on the kudos score). I guess it’s okay that it’s online only (although it means non-Gold members won’t be able to take advantage of it at all), and it’s okay that it’s time-limited (to a maximum of 15 minutes), because… the cities are boring, really: unlike Test Drive Unlimited or Burnout Paradise that let you drive just about anywhere (well, not so sure about Burnout), the tourist mode is limited to the streets and roads that have been coded as track-able by Bizarre, and they’re all still enclosed in barriers — you’re not going to venture into parks and drive up a building’s stairs or down onto the beach. Which makes sense, really, because the game engine hasn’t been designed to handle the collisions between cars and the landscape, and changing that would have required a much bigger amount of reprogramming.
There are other game modes and challenges in the free and non-free DLCs, which I don’t care much about, and there are cars, too — the only one I really wanted, the old BMW M3, is downright ugly, and most of the other ones are in the low classes, so who cares really.
The lingering impression after I downloaded both those packs is definitely disappointment; the contents only get three stars because most is free, and the rest is cheap.
(There would have been an illustration if pgrnations.com hadn’t eaten the screenshot I uploaded from my console.)
Now that Gears 2 has officially been announced, Epic cross-promotes the game with the new version of Unreal Engine that will power it; watch it without the soundtrack (I can’t believe there are geeks who actually speak like a Sean Elliott imitation — of GFW Radio fame) to see the destructible environments and, most important of all, Locusts invading a Gears map by the hundreds.
That might just be a good sequel.
The creators of Crackdown have finally unveiled their new game, which seems to belong to that fashionable category of action games with transparent matchmaking that abusively call themselves MMOs (like The Agency or, in another genre, Test Drive Unlimited). But I won’t hold that against them, because the avatar customization and realism are unbelievable (the way textures wrap around models puts Forza 2 to shame), the graphics are definitely easier to sell than Crackdown’s, and I don’t have too many doubts they’ll give us more than adequate gameplay.
Adding as a bonus the promise of integrated machinima videomaking (I wonder how that can be managed on a console, but we’ll see that in due time), APB immediately lands very high on the list of my most anticipated games of 2008.