Archive for the ‘xbox 360’ Category

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.


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.

Chasing the Green Dragon.

In xbox 360 on May 7, 2009 at 9:01 pm


Crackdown- xbox360

Forget that this is a game about taking down three violent triads while amassing a bodycount that makes Robocop look like Playdays. Forget that this is a short game that you can breeze through in hail of hot lead and exploding barrels over a weekend. Forget that the driving is almost irrelevant to the main missions and the agency supercar is so fast you’ll bounce a dozen pedestrians off your bonnet before you’ve had had time to get your foot off the accelerator. The joy of crackdown is in hunting down agility orbs.

As a genetically enhanced cross between The Six Million Dollar Man and Judge Dredd, you gain experience for each of your skills (agility, strength, agility, driving, and explosives) by killing enemies in a way relevant to that skill, completing the set rooftop and driving races, or finding agility (or hidden orbs) dotted around the city. Gather enough experience and that skill increases in power; it’s the typical advancement fetish of collecting things to get better at collecting things so you can collect more things.

A fresh-from-the-test-tube super agent can only jump ten feet in the air and sprint at an Olympic pace. With your basic abilities, you’ll struggle to reach most rooftops, but then you find some agility orbs, level up, and suddenly the world opens up. Every boost to your skills will change your perception of the landscape, as the orbs become harder to find and more difficult to reach. Driving is very quickly rendered obsolete as you bound across the skyline, and what was once an impossible gulf between city blocks becomes a hop, skip, and a jump. This is what Crackdown is good at, making you feel like a superhuman freerunner as your tear through the evolving playground of the city. Find a vantage point, look for the green glow, and start running.