Halo 3 is...pretty. That's the best way to sum it up. The game takes full advantage of the XBox 360 hardware to make the graphics really stand out. As far as the game goes, to my unpracticed eye (as I mentioned in my previous post, I'm not a big FPS player) it looks about the same as the previous incarnations of the product. But it sure looks nice. Check out this video from gamespot comparing the three versions of the game:
Of course, good graphics alone do not (in my opinion) make a great game. You should be able to ignore the graphics and have fun, even if the graphics are the most simple and crude things around. I haven't experienced enough of Halo 3 to render a verdict on the quality of the gameplay. But judging by the sales, I'm guessing it doesn't really matter.
The story continues. What happens when you take away GC's game machine? The result isn't pretty.
Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you know that the much anticipated Halo 3 is coming out this week. To be honest, I've never played the halo series, and really have no desire to do so. I think the last FPS (first person shooter) I played was Star Wars Jedi Knight II. Halo seems to appeal to a demographic younger than myself. However, if anyone's interested, I'll bite the bullet and tell you what I've learned about the game. Let me know.
Personally, I'm interested in the latest Zelda game, the Phantom Hourglass, due out next week for the Nintendo DS. I know I didn't start out liking the Zelda games, but then I started playing them and really liked the orderly way the world was laid out - the puzzles were logical, an you knew that any obstacle you encountered was only temporary and you would eventually make your way past it. The same went for the creatures you encountered. Even the toughest monsters had some chink in their armor you could exploit. Winning a major battle was an accomplishment. By the time Minnish Cap came out, I was hooked on Zelda. The Phantom Hourglass promises to take advantage of the DS touchscreen interface, adding a new level to the popular series.
One of the things I like about handheld games is that you should be able to pick them up and play them or leave them at any time. Picross is one of those games - you can save a game in progress at any time and come back to it later. The perfect diversion for those long commercial breaks. I've solved over 300 of the avialable puzzles in the game and there's only a few more to go. By then I hope there will be some decent puzzles available for download via the internet.
New game for the DS, recently announced at the Tokyo Game Show. I have no idea what the features are and I certainly don't know how deep the game is. But it's got WiFi and evidently you can play cooperatively with a friend. So hell yeah, I want this dungeon crawler. Sadly, I have no idea if it will ever be available over here. Sigh.
Sadly, the unthinkable has happened in the Gamecreature household. More on this drama in the coming weeks.
And I can't stop playing Rollercoaster Tycoon. I've even created a group that loosely resembles my own family. And no sooner had I created them, but they started roaming around the park, riding the rides and taking pictures. Here's a cheerful pic of them at the Scrub Gardens animal park. I am somewhat concerned that my simulated family is having more fun than I am.
I'm sure I wasn't the only person who was surprised to see the 2-minute long trailer for the upcoming Ironman movie on Monday night. But for those of you who missed it, here it is again. You can view a high-res version on the Apple Quicktime page. If you want to start building hype for a new movie (due out next May) I can think of worse ways to do it. Overall, I like the way it looks. Robert Downey Jr. seems to be a good pick for Tony Stark and the Ironman suit based on the illustrations of Adi Granov are terrific. Of course, what looks good in a 2-minute trailer may fall apart in a feature-length film.
I recently saw Torchwood, the spin-off from the new Dr. Who series. It's sort of an X-Files meets Dr. Who, with more than a few winks to the original series. The big difference is that Torchwood is a lot less family-friendly than Dr. Who, with more grizzly deaths and PG-13 dialog. One thing the show has going for it is the show's lead character, Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman reprising the character he played on Dr. Who), an enigmatic man from places and times unknown who never the less approaches life with an level of self-confidence that's hard to match. He's the main reason to watch the show. Whether or not the series will measure up to expectations remains to be seen. But I intend to give it every chance.
The new laptop is here and it already presents new possibilities in gaming. Seriously, my son and I frequently take advantage of our home network to play a game like Age of Mythology together. Our preferred method of play is together as a team against computer opponents. Thus far the results are varied. Either we get overwhelmed by an agressive CPU or we crush it handily. Even using the same settings it's had to predict how tough the fight will be. The other problem is that the reaction time from my office is too slow so I often have to bring the laptop downstairs to make coordinating our efforts easier.
So now I have a new computer, which means transferring all of my presets from the old computer to the new computer. All of my brushes, palettes and macros. Yippee. And I'm running the latest and greatest from adobe, meaning a bit of adjustment. Hopefully I'll be back up to speed by the end of this week.
As I mentioned before, I'm a big fan of Real Time Strategy (RTS) games. In your average RTS, you gather resources, train soldiers and use the resulting army to vanquish your enemy. Age of Mythology offers an interesting twist to this. In addition to ordinary infantry and cavalry units, you can create monsters of myth and legend to fight with your army. Minotaurs, sphynxes and giants help to crush your opponents. If that weren't enough, you also have the limited use of divine powers such as a meteor strike or an earthquake to further smite your enemies. Each unit has its own strengths and weaknesses. Myth units are vulnerable to Heroes. Siege units are particularly effective against walls and buildings, but are slow and have little defense. In Age of Mythology there are three different civilizations, each with their own unique mythos: Greek, Norse and Egyptian. Each has unique units and their own way of currying favor from their gods. In the expansion pack, Titans, a fourth civilization, Atlantean is introduced. But what's best about this game is that it's been around for a while and runs well on older systems. Minimum system requirements are 450 MHz processor, 128 MB RAM memory and a 3D video card. And this week, Circuit City is selling Age of Mythology AND the Titans Expansion for a whopping $4.99. So for the price of a fast food meal, you could be raising an army of Hopolites and Centaurs to smash your foes. Hey, it works for me.
Last week I was knocked off my feet by an early visitor from the cold and flu season. So of course I had to make a cartoon out of it. I'm sure you can relate. Of course now I need to hurry up and cover for lost time while I was sick.
If the tracking data can be trusted, I'll be getting a vital piece of my home office later this week. Yep, my new computer is due to arrive and the space is ready for it. It's sort of weird to have everything (speakers, mouse, surge protector) but the computer up there. Almost looks like a crime scene - just needs a chalk outline around the computer's footprint.
Oh and for those of you in the states, Happy Labor Day!