Good Gaming and Turkey

November 20, 2006 by Tim

So lets talk about some video games, shall we?

First of all, am I the only one who was severely disappointed by the Rainbow Six: Vegas multiplayer demo that hit the marketplace this weekend? I don’t know what happened. I loved the single player demo, and I guess I had high-hopes for the multiplayer portion of the game, and it just didn’t deliver. It seemed slow and clunky, and nobody bothers to use the cover system. They just run and gun like Halo. And the graphics seemed a bit… unimpressive. I really hope the 4-player co-op mode makes up for it.

At least we’ve still got Superman Returns: The Game hitting this week. I’ve got to say, when I first played the demo, I wasn’t sure what to think. I had been looking forward to this game, and when I played the demo, it was clear that it was the best Superman game so far, but given past games, that’s not saying much.

I was sort of on the fence, and I think it was primarily the controls that put me there. I liked the feel of the game, I liked flying and running at super speeds. I liked being able to pick up practically anything, and I liked… well, feeling like Superman. But the controls were really awkward at first, especially in fights. Trying to master flying, running, targeting, combos, and the camera put me off a little bit. Not to mention the unrelenting stream of Brandon Routh’s voice as Superman while fighting the boss. Seriously, it felt like every single punch I threw elicited some sort of one-liner. I found myself less concerned with beating Metallo, and more wrapped up in yelling at Superman to shut the hell up.

Anyway, I didn’t give up on the demo, and played it a few times, and I think each time I got a bit more familiar with how to really take advantage of the Man of Steel’s powers. One of my favorite moments in the demo was putting out the fire in the burning building. It’s such a trivial thing, but it really felt like Superman to me. In particular I liked trying to pull off the various combos available to Superman. Also, I think the idea of not giving Superman a health bar, and instead giving the city of Metropolis a health bar is ingenious. A great way to approach a game where the protagonist is nigh invulnerable.

Also, I’ve fallen in love with a little gem from a few months ago that I’d mostly overlooked; The Godfather. Saturdays are my day off, and I got an itch to put the game in and give it more attention than I had when it came out, and I was pleasntly surprised. Very pleasantly surprised, actually. I wish that there was an XBL Demo I could tell you to download.

The graphics are pretty sharp. While the environments aren’t all that varied, the character’s faces are incredibly detailed. The game doesn’t do a whole lot new with the sandbox genre, however it does everything solidly, and even does a few things superbly. Such as fighting.

Using the two triggers, and two analog sticks, you can pull off such a huge variety of moves. You can throw your standard jabs or hooks, but you can also grab the guy by the collar, and wail on him that way. Or slam him into a wall, or bash his head against the counter, or dangle him out a window (or toss him out, if you’re feeling unsympathetic), or toss him into traffic. And all of this comes into play in one of the game’s refining mechanics; extortion.

There are dozens and dozens of businesses around 1950’s New York, and they’re all ripe for the picking. Some are paying protection to rival families, but that doesn’t matter to you. Via verbal threats or physical violence, it’s up to you to convince the shopkeepers that it’s in their best interest to pay you instead. It’s neat because all the shopkeepers have different weakspots. Some will fold under verbal intimidation, while others will buckle if you trash their shop, or shoot one of their customers. Some you just have to beat the shit out of.

The storyline follows the movie somewhat closely. Obviously they had to alter some things slightly to make a game out of it, and to allow for a new guy that wasn’t in the movies to take part, and I’m fine with that.

I’ve got an auction up on eBay for a set of Limited Edition Hardcover books. Some of you may remember that when Volumes One and Two went back on sale in 2005, we offered a limited number of Hardcover books. They sold out very quickly, but we kept a few sets in reserve in case anyone that ordered some had theirs get lost in the mail, etc. Well, it’s over a year later, and I now have those sets in my posession, which I’ll be auctioning off, or giving away as prizes every so often.

Each year I try to choose a new charitable cause to support. Last year I donated all of my December merchandise profits to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. This year I’ve chosen the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. All of the proceeds from the auction will be donated to the MJFF. The auction starts at one penny, and we’ll see where it goes from there. You can click on the picture to be taken to the auction. Good luck!

Well, I’m done for the week. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I’ll catch you all next Monday!

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