Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gamer's Diary - Bionic Commando Rearmed, Command and Conquer 3

Bionic Commando Rearmed: Despite comments that the game would inflict punishment on the non-elite player, the demo, erm, hooked me. I had never played the original, and so had no basis for comparison, but taken on its own merits the game delivers a healthy helping of fun for 800 Microsoft points.

As far as I can tell, the major review sites have given this title the praise it deserves. I played the demo, enjoyed it, and paid for the full game.

Command and Conquer 3: I'd had a yen to play this - and Universe at War - for days, and finally got to. Then I played it for three days straight, starting over from the beginning as I've done on other games I haven't played in a while.

On the first day I finished the tutorial and the prologue mission. On the second I got my rear repeatedly kicked by the first campaign mission (The Pentagon). On the third I did some research and found that the tutorial had omitted a selection option that made things easier. With the aid of that option I handily defeated Nod at the Pentagon. After that I checked the game manual and found more selection options.

This both gladdened and saddened me. It gladdened because I now have additional ways to organize and command my forces. It saddened because it makes the game a throwback to the days when vital information needed to play resided in the manual. Lose the manual and you couldn't play the game, or in good conscience pass it on to someone else.

That aside, the limited selection modes annoy me. Why not offer drag-select? Even the Playstation version of the original C&C had that. And I found a selection action which even the manual doesn't mention: holding the left shoulder button and moving one of the analog sticks presents something that looks like a formation selector. Though, why you would need something like that in a game like this mystifies me.

Don't let my griping put you off the game. I only spend so much time complaining about this one defect because the rest of the game delivers brilliantly. The selection issue certainly doesn't break it. Nothing satisfies quite like seeing my grenadiers blow the stuffing out of a garrisoned building which only recently rained bullets and rockets on my troops, or seeing the ion cannon strike I called in make the enemy base blow up real good.

Next up: One more session of C&C3 (to try out the additional selection options), then I will play Universe at War: Earth Assault.

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