The lack of updates may lead one to assume that I simply don’t game anymore, but a more incorrect assumption couldn’t be made. As it turns out, I’ve been gaming quite a bit…despite all of the odds (mainly a lack of time) that are against me. I guess it’s just a situation where I haven’t felt very inspired to share any lengthy opinions on any of the games that I’ve been playing as of late, despite having played some really good ones.
So without further ado, here are some random thoughts on a few titles I’ve checked out lately:
Turok (Xbox 360)
I tried with all of my might to stay interested in this game far past the admittedly cool intro sequence, but I simply couldn’t hang in there very long at all. Derivative of the 14,839 first-person shooters that have come before it, Turok just feels…well, blah to the nth degree. And to be perfectly honest, if you’ve already run around the jungle killing dinosaurs in a first-person perspective in Peter Jackson’s King Kong (as I have already done on both the PC and Xbox 360), then you’ll probably be just fine erasing knowledge of Turok‘s existence from your memory banks.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – Anniversary (Xbox 360)
I bought this for the PC on the day of release, but only got around to finishing it on the 360 version that I recently picked up. (Go, achievements!) In a nutshell, this is exactly what it was advertised as: a “reimagining” of the original Tomb Raider in the Tomb Raider: Legend engine. The former is great, and the latter is great, so as hoped, the end result of this combination is one great title. There are enough elements from the original game to take you back to late-90s tomb raiding, while a good amount of fresh material has been added to keep things lively. From beginning to end, the game looks, sounds and plays wonderfully, and is certainly a must-have for any Tomb Raider fan.
The only downside? About 3/4’s of the way through the game, it kinda begins to feel a lot like work. It’s just one series of puzzles after another, and during the Egypt stage it begins to wear a bit thin. I don’t remember feeling that way when I played the original version (which had as much of a puzzle slant as this update does), so I guess I’m just getting too old and ornery these days to enjoy Tomb Raider‘s particular brand of grind.
Puzzle Quest (Xbox 360)
Who would’ve thought that a ripoff of Bejeweled with a seriously heavy RPG influence would actually work? Well, not I, and I couldn’t have been any more incorrect. The quest for better items, more powerful levels, and ever-improving spells & abilities actually work quite well in a puzzle game, and I often found myself in some very lengthy play sessions — just having to play “one more game”.
On the downside, I couldn’t really get into the game’s emphasis on storylines, and just ended up skipping all of the dialogue as fast possible. And after a few hours in, the random encounters you experience while traipsing around the world map became quite an irritation — just like in the traditional RPGs that Puzzle Quest tries to emulate.
God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP)
So this is what the PSP is capable of when the processor is unlocked from 222mhz to 333mhz (via recent firmware update)…wow. If there’s any game that really shows off what the PSP hardware can do, it’s this one.
While not quite as lengthy as the original game on the PS2, Chains of Olympus is a very satisfying adventure that shouldn’t be missed by any PSP owner. From the audio-visuals to the gameplay, this title just oozes quality and I can easily see myself going through it a second time. Just like Kratos himself, this game is all kinds of badass, and I completely fail at coming up with any worthwhile negatives to share about it. It’s simply that good.
Dynomite Deluxe (PC)
I first started playing this game back in June of ’05 and quickly developed an addiction to it. I eventually managed to kick the habit, but have often found myself returning to it and its OCD-facilitating charms. For the last week or so, I’ve been hopelessly back at it again.
More or less a Jurassic-themed version of Puzzle Bobble/Bust-a-Move, Pop Cap’s Dynomite Deluxe is a great little puzzler that can really get a hold of you — Tetris-style. I think it’s highly unlikely that anyone could play one game and walk away, so consider this your warning.