Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gamer's Diary 2009-04-12

Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts is, as one would expect, a collect-a-thon. But I am finding enough humor, interesting environments and fan gameplay activities to keep my interest. I'll be playing more of this one - after some other games that I'm currently more interested in.

Puzzle Quest: Galactrix on Xbox Live Arcade seems pretty much like Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, replacing the fantasy theme with a sci-fi one. I'm enjoying it more than the reviews say I ought to.

Reviewers have complained about the DS version's loading delays, the hexagonal puzzle board, and the overly frequent need to hack jumpgates. The XBLA version has no loading screens, the hex grid doesn't bother me at all, and jumpgate hacking hasn't annoyed me...yet.

Alien Hominid on Xbox Live Arcade is pretty much the same game it is in Flash or on the PS2. But somehow it doesn't seem as punishingly difficult here as on the other two platforms. Perhaps it's not. In any case, that's where I'll be playing it in future.

I am liking Condemned 2: Bloodshot better than I did Condemned: Criminal Origins. The combat is significantly more varied (almost to overcomplication) while still being visceral. The sets and lighting convey a much darker and creepier atmosphere than the first game. And the protagonist's character, portrayed in the cutscenes as a disillusioned, cynical, angry, violent drunk, is entirely congruent with the brutal acts that the player must make him perform in order to progress. This at once makes the character's dramatic consistency far better than, say, Niko's in Grand Theft Auto IV, and harder for the player to identify with. I think though that identification may be overrated as a dramatic virtue.

I'll be playing it again...after I finish the first one, to find out how the rest of the story unfolds.

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