Neon Lies

In xbox 360 on August 12, 2009 at 3:07 am


Crackdown- Xbox 360

I may have mentioned this before, but I love Crackdown. Absolutely bloody love it; even if what I really adore about it is only a small facet of the game: gathering agility orbs. I enjoyed hurtling over the rooftops, grabbing those shining emerald spheres, and levelling up my agility skill so much that I erased my save game, just so I could start all over again- currently only thirty one left to find!

Now, there are certain issues I have with the game, but there is something that I really, really hate about Crackdown, and the root of the problem lies in the DLC.

I have no problem with the rise of downloadable content in games. If I don’t think it’s worth the money then I simply won’t buy it. I don’t hate the DLC for Crackdown, neither the new weapons nor the extra side missions, but I do hate how they are presented in the game. Everything was fine until I downloaded an update to the game several months ago, and then they appeared.

In Crackdown, all of the side missions are marked out on the HUD as glowing pillars of coloured light. After the update, more of these icons appeared around the city, but these aren’t new missions you can play, oh no. These are new missions you can buy. Adverts. Phantom Content. Neon lies.

This is what I despise about Crackdown and, more importantly, the people who thought it was a good idea to implement this feature in the first place. If I want to see what’s on offer I can use the option on the main menu or browse about on the dashboard, but no, Crackdown thinks that not only do I need to be told what DLC is available, I also need to have it waved in my face while I’m playing the game.


The Definitive Version

In Wii on August 10, 2009 at 6:06 pm


Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition- Wii (durr)

It’s Resi 4, again. Just as brilliant, and just as annoying (fuck you, inventory Tetris). The new Wii-mote controls work even better than the Gamecube controller and, as with Metroid Prime: Corruption, it’s hard to think of playing it any other way now. Obviously, there’s a fair bit of remote waggling involved for dodging attacks, but I only found it aggravating on the few occasions where you need to mimic turning a crank, and most of the time all that’s required is a quick flick of the wrist.

On top of that, it also includes all of the additional content from the Gamecube and PS2 releases. The notable addition for those of us who only played the cube version is the Separate Ways side story from the PS2 port. In a strikingly similar fashion to Blue Shift and Episode One, that I talked about previously, Separate Ways is another collection of greatest hits from the main game- zombie swarms, el gigantes, bastards with chainsaws, all that stuff. None of this challenge/mini-game nonsense, but a smaller version the main game starring Ada Wong, with a few hours of play and some unique, if inferior, set-pieces.

Separate Ways is more of the same with a different character, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but despite being “five new chapters that reveal startling insights into the original storyline”- along with the variety of crap analogies that make up her reports -and detailing what Ada was up to when she wasn’t fulfilling her femme fatale stereotype duties during the cut-scenes (Answer: shooting zombies in the face), it’s nothing we didn’t really know before. Not bad at all for a bonus feature created to highlight a port to a new console, but nothing special.

Quality Time with the Living Dead

In xbox 360 on August 9, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Dead Rising- Xbox 360

Seventy two hours, that’s all you’ve got. Seventy two hours until the chopper arrives to pull Frank Castle (that’s you) out of the zombie hell that Willamette Mall has become. Seventy two hours to uncover the mystery behind the outbreak. Seventy two hours to get as many survivors to safety as possible. Seventy two hours to run around in a dress putting funny hats on the living dead. Seventy two hours to spend as you like. That’s seventy two hours of in-game time, but still several hours sealed inside a shopping mall with an infinite horde of flesh-eating monsters.

Now, what elevates it beyond a simple zombie kill-athon are the various RPG elements weaved into the hack and slash. Take pictures, kill zombies, rescue survivors and you’ll level up- more health, better attacks, faster movement. All of these advancements make Frank stronger, and while being able to take a few maulings helps, you’ll also get to know the layout of the mall- where to find the save points, the weapons, the healing items, etc. What starts out as a desperate struggle for survival becomes much more manageable, and you can concentrate on taking pictures of a girl’s cleavage, using zombies as decaying bowling pins, or running from the escaped convicts in a jeep.

But while you can do as much, or as little, of the main quest as you want, the wait for a rescue gets tedious without a purpose. This is where the achievements come into play- even encouraging replays (with all your previously gathered stats and abilities) to focus on the more challenging targets, and why I spent the best part of a day last week ploughing through the 53, 594 living dead required for the Zombie Genocider achievement; an…achievement that left me feeling both satisfied and slightly ashamed.