Gaming Bits and Weekend Recovery

You’d think that with a three day weekend here in the states that I would have got more reading done.  You’d be wrong.  I made the mistake of not properly planning what I want to read next which I means I have stupidly been splitting my time between about four different books.  The result being that I’ve made startlingly little progress in any of them.  Certain other distractions this weekend in the form of golf, grilled meats and Call of Duty 4 mean I made even less progress then I should have.  I’ll be hopefully buckle down and finally finish A Grey Moon Over China tonight.  It has been a slow read for that one, not a bad read mind, just slow and not the kind of pacing I’m used to, but more on that when I finally get a review up.

As mentioned I did purchase Call of Duty 4 only 2 years after its initial release.  I’ve only played the single player campaign so far but it has been enjoyable.  The game’s single player aim assist is a Godsend for the controller impaired.  It helps just enough to make me feel competent without feeling overpower.  Unfortunatley, I seriously doubt it works in multiplayer.  I find the sniper rifle implementation particularly smooth and the added ability to hold your breath and steady your aim is perhaps one of the simplest and most effective control tweaks I’ve seen; now if only I could stop moving my character when I press down on my left thumbstick.  The game is particularly good and capturing epic moments and creating tense adrennaline pumping moments.  Unfortunatley the game, while taking a fascinating multi-perspective narrative approach to tell what appears to be a fairly cohesive, and certainly engrossing, story, fails in getting you at all attached emotionally to any of your characters, or your computer controlled allies.  For me this haslead to a fairly detached gaming experience.

I’ve also picked up Left 4 Dead and have so far enjoyed my experience.  I’ve managed to make it through one of the “films” in the game Dead Air. I came close to completing another but me, and the rest of my group, were obliterated by a zombie horde mere feet from our escape boat.  I’ve been yet to convince any friends that Left 4 Dead is worth dropping $60 for (on the 360) and, truth be told, I can see there point.  Not that Left 4 Dead isn’t worth the money, but I can point to few games I’d really be willing to shell $60 for, especially since the PC version is $20 cheaper.  This is has left me playing the game with the “unwashed masses” on Xbox Live.  So far my first time was the best time, the straight run of Dead Air, but subsequent excursions have proved fun but less than stellar.  I was particularly disappointed that so few of the people I’ve played with were taking advantage of voice chat which in an almost purely co-op experience should be mandatory.  I’ve yet to try either Versus or Survival mode but if they’re even half as fun as the regular game they’ll still be a blast.

I’ve also been slowly working my way though the latest Prince of Persia game.  It has been a surprisingly pleasant experience so far, but one that feels perhaps a bit too easy.  On the one hand the simplicity of the controls lends a certain degree of fluidity to the game.  There is a collection element to the game and, oddly enough, that (rather than the story) has been my favorite element so far.  As you collect the “seeds of light” there are moments when you hit a rhythmn traversing the various levels that is particularly soothing.  There are some sticking point in the game, especially for an anti-platformer like me, but by and large Prince of Persia is kind of like a pleasant walk in the park; not terribly taxing but surprisingly refreshing.  Again, as pleasant as it is, there hasn’t been anything to really grab me.  At this point in the game the titular Prince is only a thief and I’m not even sure he is a prince at this point.   The game does require a fair bit of backtracking which I find a bit tedious.  I’m not sure if I’ll end up finishing it or sending it back to Gamefly for another game.

There are only two games on the near horizon that I’m really looking forward to: Prototype and Ghostbusters.  The Ghostbusters game is the next best thing to a new movie (which we are supposed to bet getting as well) and looks to capture the feel of films quite nicely.  I really don’t know what to expect out of Prototype but I do know that the videos of slaughter, carnage, and mayhem with weird genetic powers and strange biological enhancements tickles some sick fantasy in the dark recesses of my own mind.

Anyway, that’s about it.  Hopefully I’ll have a review for A Grey Moon Over China up sometime Wednesday.

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