Tuesday, 16 September 2008

On the bubble...

With my "To Trade" pile drastically reduced after Saturday's visit to CEX I have started to build it back up again. I currently have three 360 titles sitting in a pile halfway between where they would usually be (neatly slotted into a wall mounted storage unit) and the "To Trade" pile. All three are "on the bubble" and could find themselves back in their slots or in the pile.

The three titles are:

  • Perfect Dark Zero
  • Tomb Raider Legend
  • WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2007

I'll start with Perfect Dark Zero. It seems a sound enough game but I just found it all very uninspiring. I never played the original Perfect Dark on the N64 so I don't know any of Joanna's back story which may have helped, but also the setting of the opening level and the action incorporated in it didn't really excite me like I would expect a FPS to.

My only major complaint is that I did find the little changes from first to third-person perspective and back jarring. Just make up your mind, first or third!! Now I know other games do this, Rainbow Six Vegas for instance, but there it just seems much smoother and less obtrusive than it does here.

Tomb Raider Legend was purchased on a whim when Game had it in their sale. It cost me all of £4.99 brand new. Interestingly I had purchased TRL previously, it was one of the games I stockpiled prior to receiving my 360 at Christmas last year. Unfortunately I originally had my 360 rigged to a 4:3 VGA monitor and for some unknown reason TRL was squashed on the screen as if it was in the wrong aspect ratio, so I traded it in. I've since switched to a 16:9 CRT (sacrificing the lower quality image for the aspect ratio) with an RGB scart cable so I decided to try it again and picked it up when I spotted it in the Game sale. The game displays perfectly now, but I am finding the action in the game very frustrating.

I don't find repeating the same section over and over because I was just a teeny-tiny bit out on the jump that made up the very last bit of the section enjoyable. I also find games like this, i.e. where I am controlling a very acrobatic and versatile character, frustrating when I want him/her to do something that hasn't been planned for by the designers. Yes, I know that rock is slightly taller than Lara's waist, but it's not exactly smooth I'm sure she could manage to clamber onto it if she made an effort! No? Oh well...

Finally WWE. Me and Player Two have a long history of wrestling games, mostly purchased in an effort to recapture the fun on an old N64 wrestling game. The name of the game itself has been lost in the mists of time (but I believe it was one of the WCW/NWO titles) and Player Two was recently speculating that perhaps we remember it a little too fondly and if we went back to it now we would find it to be terrible.

What I do recall is that you could take on a series of fights in two player to ultimately try and win the tag team titles. If you then decided to go for the titles again with two different wrestlers, the last pair that you won the title with would remain the title holders until you fought them. I always thought that was brilliant!

Hideously complicated controls meant that myself and Player Two gleaned little enjoyment from our admittedly brief playtime with WWE. The big question is whether we can be bothered to apply ourselves and learn the controls in order to get anything from the game? I think we will need to explore the range of matches available to us within the game first. If we can embark on a series of bouts in pursuit of the tag team titles, it might just be worth it!

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