I have bad news, and more bad news. The bad news is that DJ Tatsujin, due to his (absolutely outstanding) work with our PR department, will no longer be able to do this piece on a weekly basis. The more bad news is that you’re all stuck with me until we can find a permanent replacement. Now that I hear everyone groaning, allow me to mention that tryout pieces for new writers and columnists can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Just as an FYI: I’m concentrating on games with this piece, and not DLC. That means I’m dropping the music and avatar sections. On that note, let’s move on.
Xbox LIVE Arcade
The biggest name to hit the service this week is DOOM II, the sequel to id Software’s legendary shooter. For $10, you get both Hell on Earth and No Rest for the Living (also known as the master levels, for those of us on Steam). This goes for the same price on LIVE as it does on Steam, and honestly, I have an easier time playing on LIVE than I do on the computer. There’s no height to worry about, so using the mouse can be counterproductive, whereas the right analogue stick works perfectly in the context of aiming and firing. Plus, multiplayer has been added to this game, which wasn’t in the original. This is a highly recommended package for both DOOM fans and FPS fans in general.
The next name on our docket is Voodoo Dice. The goal here is to get your dice to an endpoint as quickly as possible, while getting past roadblock dice by having the showing face of your six-sided die be the same as the showing side of the roadblock; for example, if the roadblock is a six, you have to be next to it while you’re showing six. There are other simple puzzle sections as well, such as switch levers and conveyor puzzles. The game seemed simple to me; it’s only $10, and that might please casual gaming fans, but the game just seemed a little dry to me from what I was able to try.
The last arcade game this week is Ben 10 The Rise of Hex, based on the cartoon of the same name. I am not familiar with the cartoon, but I am familiar with videogames, and I could tell via the demo that this was bog-standard licensed fare. It’s a standard, side-scrolling beat ’em up with some basic puzzle sequences where you have to morph into other characters and use their powers. I spent most of my time with the demo fighting with the controls because they were so loose. This is the kind of game that was mediocre back in the 90s, and doesn’t fare any better today. It’s $10, and I’d only recommend it to people who have young (like, ages 8-10) children who are also fans of the show.
The first demo is the same one that was released on the PSN yesterday: Green Day: Rock Band. As I mentioned in yesterday’s PSN piece, I can’t really judge this as I don’t own the peripherals. All I can say about it is that if you do want to try it, you have until July 13th. Otherwise, I’m sure it’s just like any other Rock Band game, which is better than Guitar Hero if only because it’s not made by Activision.
The second demo hasn’t even been mentioned on Major Nelson’s blog that I can see (late edit: there we go), but since I’m writing this on early Thursday morning, I think I might have caught it as soon as it went up: the demo for Ninety-Nine Nights II (aka: N3II). I didn’t get a chance to play the first game, so today was my first experience with the franchise. Therefore, fans are going to think my summary old hat, but here goes: N3II is what happens when God of War and Dynasty Warriors have a one night stand and end up siring a love child. You run around with swords on a chain (GOW), kill a bunch of enemies and some bad-ass, overpowered bosses (DW), collect orbs from their corpses (GOW), and get to use a super attack once you’ve gathered enough power (DW). There’s not much original about it, but this type of gameplay makes for an outstanding demo because no cognisant thought is required to play; go in, mash buttons, RT to dodge away from the last boss, and enjoy. It’s the videogame equivalent of a summer action flick, and at the very least, is causing me to look up prices for the first game used.
Games On Demand
It’s a big week for Games on Demand. I would think they would stop peddling their games on the service – or at least seriously curtail it, like what Nintendo seems to be doing with the Virtual Console – due to the fact that every GoD announcement is greeted by hundreds of people talking about how every game is more affordable at local retailers such as Gamestop. It must be working, because it seems more games are coming out for the service than ever before.
The first game to come out is a very big name: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. This game needs no introduction, and it’s sad that Activision is such a horrible company because this game might be the best console shooter of this generation. It had a gripping story, fantastic gameplay and some very well done characterization. I used to own the game, and while I traded it in so I could get the version that uses a mouse and keyboard, I freely admit it is top shelf. Surely, with a game this good, this popular, that’s been out for this long, Activision can’t find a way to fuck this up, right?
Moving on, Battlestations: Midway is the other game being released to the Americas. There’s a demo available, though it’s useless; it’s an online demo, and since the game’s been out for over three years now, it’s not possible to find anyone to play a demo against. Even the PC version is impossible to really try because the demo requires LAN play, so unless you have a large LAN in your house, forget it. Reviews of the game were mixed, though the game has been cited for being a nice mix of strategy and action. There’s a learning curve involved, and the sequel is reportedly better, but for $20, it’s not bad. For those looking to pinch pennies, Gamestop has it for $5 less.
Deal of the Week
Microsoft’s big deal this week, courtesy of Major Nelson, is on Avatar games and items. The full details are below. I don’t really recommend any of these games or items, but then again I’m not really one that cares about my avatar in the first place:
It should be noted that all deals are for Gold members only. If you’re a Silver member, Microsoft hates you, and hopes you die.
That’s it for this week. There’s a good arcade game for classic shooter buffs, an entertaining demo, and a really good on demand game that’s half as pricey at a brick and mortar store. Until next time, this is Christopher Bowen, who will now go back to the comfort and sanctity of his PS3.
Christopher Bowen is the News Editor at Diehard GameFAN. He has also written for Talking About Games, Daily Games News and Not A True Ending in his six years of working as a journalist in the industry, and is a frequent guest on the Post Game Report podcast. He specializes in issues relating to industry business, politics and law. Prior to joining the games industry, Christopher worked in IT as a Network Security Engineer and spent four years in the United States Navy, fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom before separating in 2004. He is engaged to Associate Editor Aileen Coe.