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Tycho / on Wed, Mar 8 2006 at 4:12 am

My Next-Generation Forays

We’ll be getting our copies of the stuff that came out today when we leave “work,” here in a couple hours or so.  I suggested that it was the darkness of my predicament that kept me from previewing those games earlier, when the reality is more that I had a very brief time with each one, so brief that I can’t tell you anything you won’t learn in the first twenty minutes with either title.

Also, it’s a case where I think people know if they want one of them already, and don’t need a lot of help making up their minds.  For example, Burnout is a port - a port of a game that’s been out for almost six months.  A port of a game that has been out for six months that looked amazing on current gen.  If you’re picking that up for 360, it’s for one of three reasons:

1.  You haven’t played it yet.  I suppose it’s possible.

2.  You’re intrigued by the enhanced Live features that tie into persistent rival tracking.

3.  The idea of playing something other than Geometry Wars is appealing to you.

  Being able to save thirty second clips out of crash mode is definitely a cool feature, but do you buy a whole game for it?  I just don’t see it.  They take a while to load, and the interface for finding your friends’ crashes is pretty cumbersome.  You need to scroll through every person on your list, even if they don’t have any crashes - even if they don’t own the game, even if they don’t own a 360.  So, no.  Put me down for number two up there, though.

I’ve only played a single level of Ghost Recon, and I enjoyed that level, but I wouldn’t call myself an expert.  Something I didn’t really pick up on during the media onslaught was that there is no co-op support for the main campaign.  I should have understood it immediately, as soon as they started releasing shots of airborne shooting galleries.  I don’t know what Bob is supposed to do while you’re tooling around in your simulated Blackhawk.  I think it just never sunk in because full co-op through the retail campaign is just something the series has always offered.

I was disappointed until I saw that - like Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory - there are four custom maps in radically different locales designed exclusively for co-op play.  Playing against the machine with my people is the whole point for me, so I was relieved to see that we were well taken care of, if not in the way that I originally expected.  I’d be surprised if downloadable content didn’t take this form.

As I said, not a whole lot of experience with it - all the stuff I just told you was me satisfying my curiosity via the menus.  One thing I did learn, though - if you are running and you begin to take fire, click and hold the left stick - you’ll leap and hit the dirt, ready to fire from prone.  You might have seen that in the videos that have been released.  Something I hadn’t seen before, something I did on accident, was click the stick once and then let go, which put my character into a kind of baseball slide with the weapon pointed forward.  I think it gives you the option to crouch quickly, I mean, I think that’s the game purpose - but I’d never seen anything like it.  Jumping or sliding behind cover makes you feel like Pimp Supreme.


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