Xbox LIVE Wrap-Up for June 3rd, 2010

As I mentioned in yesterday’s PSN piece, this week is a massive time crunch for me due to reasons outside of videogames. Of course, three games to review and bunches of other demos to play aren’t helping either, but needless to say, this is going to be a quick-and-dirty Xbox LIVE wrap-up.

Xbox LIVE Arcade

We have one new Arcade game this week, and if nothing else, it’s an interesting license. Snoopy Flying Ace is a game where you take the role of Snoopy as he takes on the Red Baron, like in the old Peanuts strips and shows. The game itself is a third person air combat game which could loosely be said as resembling Ace Combat or Tom Clancy’s HAWX, but the control – exceptionally stiff and slow control – just doesn’t cut mustard. Furthermore, the camera doesn’t really stay with your plane, making precision flying – a large part of the demo – harder than it should be. What’s worse is that the demo itself is lacking; it gave a quick tutorial of flying that doesn’t even go into all of the controls, lets you shoot down two scout planes – also hard, good luck aiming your guns – and that’s it. They could have given us one more stage. The game is $10, but I don’t think it’s worth it unless you have a young child who loves Peanuts.

Demos

The Blur demo, previously available only for beta testing, was made public. I have the same opinion of Blur now that I did a month ago: it’s everything you hate about Mario Kart, and then some. It’s one of the cheapest, most frustrating racing games to play in history. I would rather get hit by four blue shells than have to play this game against other people; your skill level is completely meaningless in the long run. Furthermore, there are reports that the game is unstable for multiplayer mode, which isn’t good because that’s a large part of the Blur experience. If you need a new arcade-like racing game, Split/Second is better.

Games On Demand

There are two additions to the full 360 Games on Demand lineup. First up is Soul Calibur IV, which Mark B. adored. My personal opinion was that while this is a technically “good” game, I don’t really prefer it. I didn’t like the balance (some characters are broken), and I didn’t like the additions they made as well. Furthermore, I felt that adding Yoda/Darth Vader was good for fanboys but weak overall when added to the Soul Calibur universe. Call me antiquated, but I still think the best overall game – in terms of actual fighting – is the first Soul Calibur, and while I don’t care much for the Xbox port – they took out a lot of the good stuff – I own the Dreamcast version so I’m good. Still, at $20, this is a good price, and the same that Gamestop is charging. Furthermore, one should always take Mark’s opinion of fighting games over my own, as I’m casual with them at best. If you like 3D fighting games, this is a good purchase, digitally or not.

The second addition is Medal of Honor: Airborne. I shouldn’t have to explain how a MOH game works, but the big change in this one is the ability to parachute into battle, the control for which I found kludgey. In fact, that describes my whole time with the demo, both in 2007 and 2010: kludgey. I don’t know if this was an attempt at “realism”, but the guns are freaking useless. When I point my weapon at someone within ten metres and fire, I expect that person to fall down. All too often, I waste a clip – half of which I spent firing wildly up due to heavy recoil – just to get hit a few times by the guy I was supposed to be shooting. This seems to be a trend with games based off of “classic” weapons, but how this makes a fun videogame to play is beyond me. The game is $20, and $18 at Gamestop, but I can’t even recommend it at those prices.

Deal of the Week

This week’s Deal of the Week for Gold members is for properties based on movies. Prince of Persia Classic is $5, and that’s a good game for its time that is worth $5. The Transformers 2 Character and Map Pack Plus is $5, and I’m just shocked a $60 game that’s worth $30 had $10 DLC attached to it. Finally, Watchmen: The End is Nigh is $10 instead of $20. Considering the game is nothing more than a bog standard beat ’em up and should never have been $20 in the first place, this wins this week’s Falco Lombardi “I Guess I Should Be Thankful” Award.

Hey, that reminds me, I now get notices every time I log on saying my own Gold membership expires in a month! That’s delicious. Does Microsoft have special Gold access for journalists? I’m tired of paying these wankers every year to do my God damned job.

Special DLC

Sometimes, DLC comes out that is so big that it has to be mentioned. Sometimes, DLC comes out that is so big that is has to be mentioned despite the fact that I abhor it and anyone who spends money on it. If that sounds to you like another map pack for Modern Warfare 2 came out, you win a pat on the back. The Resurgence Pack for MW2 is out, and is just like the Stimulus Pack: it’s got five maps, two of which are old, is exclusive to Xbox users – sorry PS3 and PC gamers, they didn’t pony up the cash – is $15, and is a vaunted waste of money. I’m getting as tired of beating this drum as my readers surely are of hearing the beat: if you bought this game and both packs, you spent $90 on a game with a short single-player experience, ten extra maps, four of which are recycled from MW1, and are supporting a company that actively disdains 2/3 of its audience. Really, if you spend $30 on ten multiplayer maps, you’re a fool, and you deserve what you get, because you will continue to get less content for more money. I just hope there aren’t enough idiots out there to shift the market completely toward you, because I enjoy having my money actually be fucking worth something.

That’s it for this week. Pretty light week on LIVE, and just enough bullshit to bring out full-blown Cranky Bus. Until next time, this is Christopher Bowen, who will now brace himself for the wank from dedicated Activision fanboys with Stockholm Syndrome.

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