Good news tinged with bad today - the rumours are indeed true, Rock Band has finally got a release date in Europe, that is to say May 23rd - provided you have an XBox 360 that is. PS2/3 and Wii versions won’t appear until around September time, thanks to a timed exclusive deal. I bet Microsoft had to lay out a pretty penny for this one, Rock Band is one of the most hotly anticipated titles around and I have to admit I’m dying to get my hands on it.
I’ve finally pretty much exhausted the games I got over Christmas and New Year; not being an ultra-completist I pretty much play until I feel the fun curve waning beyond what I consider worth my time, and the games I have are now firmly on the plateau. I completed Mass Effect and Super Mario Galaxy (although I only got to just over 100 stars, compared to the rest of this exemplary game, getting the remaining ones seemed more an exercise in frustration rather than fun).
I like co-op games a lot - currently my wife and I are battling on-and-off through the triple-distilled gameplay that comprises the multiplayer co-op levels on N+ - and both ruthless and supremely entertaining they are. I’m glad that game designers are starting to give this mode more attention these days, and so when I initially saw Army of Two (peripherally), I was semi-interested given that it was clearly designed for co-op from the outset.
It’s a sad day - Gary Gygax, pioneer of pen-and-paper roleplaying games and one of the original DnD creators, has passed away aged 69. While I never played the original DnD (I was only a year old when it was released), Gygax had a hand in many of the seminal experiences I had with PnP RPGs. I’ve had a long history with them, starting from MERP (which all came about from reading LOTR) when I was 13/14 all the way to the present day.
I’m not even sure it’s possible, but EA seem to think it is. I’m kind of intrigued by Battlefield Heroes - they’re making it free to download, apeing the Team Fortress 2 toungue-in-cheek approach (along with the cartoony visuals), and supposedly making it friendlier to those who don’t live & breathe online gaming. I’m skeptical though, I’ve yet to see any online FPS that is actually fun to play unless you practice like a man posessed.
I never touched Flash coding before this weeked - I’ve never really felt inclined to do so, I generally dislike Flash interfaces on websites and as such I never felt the need to buy expensive tools from MacromediaAdobe to develop in that environment. There was also the fact that forcing someone to install a plugin to view your content always left a bad taste in my mouth. A few things have changed that attitude recently though.
XBox Live Arcade continues to serve up some great small gaming experiences, it’s one of the major boons of the platform at the moment I think. It’s great to indulge in some micro-slices of gaming goodness while at the same time supporting independent developers - that’s why N+ is to be the latest addition to my collection. I played the demo version last night and thoroughly enjoyed it so I intend to buy the full game next time I’m on the 360.
Burnout Paradise has polarised opinion in gamers, to an extent that perhaps only gamers can be polarised (well, religeous zealots too, but they don’t quite have as many online forums yet), driving a steel-tipped wedge between the people who are quite happy to go with the flow of the alternative direction Criterion took with this instalment, and those who consider it to be a defilement of a gaming icon, equivalent to ram-raiding a convent and doing donuts in the nearest cloister.
Oh, it’s just too ironic. For so many years over-enthusiastic console fanboys have been lambasting the PC as a gaming device with arguments such as: You have to patch them all the time The install process takes too long, I want to just play Now of course, both are starting to happen on consoles, with the latest spat being over Devil May Cry 4’s 20-minute install process on PS3 as it installs it on the hard drive to speed up loading times.
I can’t remember when I last had this many games to play on a single platform, all at once. Microsoft have been chest-thumping about their record-breaking attach rate recently, and that pattern would seem to be borne out in my house too, where we’ve had the console for about a month and a half, but we already have 5 full-price games and 6 XBLA games (although one of them was free).