Archive for November, 2007
I just watched the tail end of the Celtics/Knicks game (final score: 104-59 Celtics) and now the Nuggets/Lakers game came on. The camera panned over the Los Angeles skyline and zoomed onto downtown L.A. and Staples Center. For possibly the first time in my life, I felt homesick. Christmas break can’t come soon enough.
I am so addicted to Team Fortress 2. When I can’t exercise any self-control, I turn to my buddy Temptation Blocker. It is a very cool app where you can block any program on your computer for a specified time interval. If you try to run the blocked program, a message pops up telling you to go back to work. And just in case you have to run that program, you can enter a 32 character password to bypass the timer.
Thank god for this application because I still feel like I’m on Thanksgiving break. Now to get some work done.
Mass Effect for Xbox 360 comes out tomorrow. It’s the latest space opus RPG by BioWare (developers of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Baldur’s Gate) and according to most everyone, it is a can’t miss game and a shining gem to the 360 library.
Whether I’m going to get it or not is not the question. But when should I play it? I have the next 5 days off for Thanksgiving, which would seem like a perfect opportunity to sink my teeth into a RPG. But without the luxury of a HDTV at my apartment, I’m afraid I’ll miss out on the gorgeous subtleties of the facial expressions in the conversation system as well as other pretty niceties. I guess I could play it through a second time when I go home for Christmas break, but will I really want to do that?
On the other hand, I actually got a Wii and Super Mario Galaxy yesterday. More on that purchase experience next time. Thank you Wii for making my decision for me. You don’t even support HD lolz!
Call of Duty 4 is something special. Sure, it still has the trademark scenarios of the series that have become tired clichés for me: move from house to house clearing rooms, or defend a building against waves of assailants attempting to overtake the position. In fact, the core gameplay analyzed clinically is somewhat antiquated. You can still blow up tanks by walking up to the glowing indicator and pushing the Use key. You can’t open doors by yourself and have to wait for your AI squad members to usher you in. Enemies respawn infinitely until you push forward and activate trigger points. And heaven forbid if you stray too far off the linear path because… well, they won’t have any of that.
But what a linear path it is, framed by a refreshing modern day setting and the most cinematic gaming experience I have ever played. Infinity Ward lovingly crafted a narrative that quickly hooked me into the game and gave context and meaning to all the action. The story is told through many scripted events as well as a few shocking 1st person, non combat sequences. This is the closest I’ve felt to actually playing a movie — the Metal Gear Solid series doesn’t count, it is a movie.
There are too many favorite moments to list. Storming nuclear silos while the missile doors are opening and steam is erupting and oh no we have to stop the launch!! Lt. Price coolly sliding you a handgun across the floor in your darkest hour (the fact that I even remember the guy’s name says a lot). And who can forget the two-part flashback mission to Chernobyl, one of the finest levels I can remember playing in any game. Intense.
Call of Duty 4 is fairly short, yes, but I’m liking the recent trend of games that know how to pace themselves and don’t dilute the experience by dragging for too long (Portal being another recent example). Call of Duty 4 pounces from the opening infiltration, then guides you along a phenomenal ride bountiful with adrenaline rushes and emotional highs, leaving a lasting impression that’s still strongly resonating.