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.


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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7 responses to “Xbox LIVE Wrap-Up for June 3rd, 2010”

  1. Jules Avatar

    Shut the fuck up and stop complaining like all the rest of the fags. Don’t buy it your probably garbage or have a PS3.

  2. Christopher Bowen Avatar

    Ladies and gentlemen, the defence rests.

  3. The Optics Avatar
    The Optics

    Modern warfare 2 is an amazing game so it is worth 90$, i guess you just are bad at it like all the other whiney bitchs

  4. W0rms Avatar

    I bought MW2 recently for $30 used and both map packs. Well worth it for me. $15 is nothing. I’ll spend that much on a couple drinks at a bar. Waaaa.

  5. anonymous Avatar

    yeah $30 for 10 maps may seem crazy but think about it for one second. Most map packs are $10 but only contain 3 maps, as with halo and mw1. So for 9 maps in those games you pay $30, vs the 10 maps for $30. MW2 can also get away with that price and that is why they charge it.

  6. ForlornHope Avatar

    Does anyone remember when CoD games cost $40-$50 and you could get developer made maps and other content for FREE? What about mod support so players could create custom maps, sounds, models, campaigns, etc.?

    1. Christopher Bowen Avatar

      Thank goodness SOMEONE gets my bigger point!

      That’s what gets me. Not only is Activision, EA and other bigger developers tapping a resource – not bad, on the surface – but they’re taking content out of the game that used to be free. Cheats used to be free; now, you have to pay for them (thanks, Namco). Additional maps used to be a perk for people that bought the full game (and to some, still are, but I’ll save the Valve rant for another day). Hell, I’ll use a review I’m working on now: Tiger Woods ’11 is comparable, feature-wise, to Tiger Woods ’06 for the PS2. I could buy the latter game for $3 if I didn’t still own it, and get an arguably better experience than Tiger, which is going to require *HOURS* to get my golfer to a competitive level, unless I decide to buy an attribute pack.

      What I’ve noticed is that there are really four reactions I’ve seen so far to this issue. The first one is what I usually do: bitch about it, and not participate in it. I bitch because that’s kinda my job; if I see something that I think is inequitable, I have a duty to my readers to point that out, and I don’t participate because I have some pretty lofty ideals. While I boycott all Activision products, I am not going to bitch at someone for buying Blur. The second response is to bitch about it, then participate anyway. I’m putting the MW2 boycotters in this group, and they make me angry, but what do you expect from the internet. The third group are the people who decide for whatever reason – be it grudgingly or just an admission that it’s worth the price – that what they’re being sold is worth the price. In 95% of cases (read: non-Activision), I’m fairly cool with this, and I really only react to Activision because they have SUCH a history of abusing their customers (not to mention their employees). The fourth side of that is what I’ve seen a lot of in comments and my email box: “I did this, I rule, you don’t like it, and you suck, you fag. You probably just suck”. Forget the fact that this is a lot like the “I know you are, but what am I!?” argument we heard as kids. What’s really happening here is that people are blindly defending – like internet warriros – large, multinational corporations that would gladly slit their throats if it improved their share price a fair amount. That’s what frustrates me the most. It’s one thing to say “I disagree with you because of X, Y and Z” (like anonymous), it’s another to say “I disagree, because you’re a n00b fag and you suck” (everyone else). Mark Cuban wrote about this on his blog a few years ago, it’s still a fascinating read:

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