Konami's greatest games keep appearing on Xbox Live - and somehow, Scramble showed up too. While games like Time Pilot aged gracefully, this side-scrolling space shooter feels old and inflexible, a crusty gaming battleship dragged out of drydock. All you can do is stare and go, "Wow, that's old."
Granted, they gave the old girl a fresh coat of paint - a major improvement, considering the horrifying original color scheme changes flourescent shades every few seconds - but the gameplay underneath
The only game in the next-gen hockey line-up last year was NHL 2K6, but EA Sports jumps into the fray this year with NHL 07 - and they didn't spend two years developing it for nothing. Don't be deceived by the sleek presentation: NHL 07 is full of complexity, but it's all been honed into an experience that looks and feels as close to actual hockey as ever.
The wonderfully detailed player models may not be the spitting images of their real-life counterparts, but a lot of effort has been made to
The 2K Team's last NHL entry on the 360 left us a little wanting. While NHL 2K6 introduced a snazzy new feature, Crease Control, the game didn't do much else to separate itself from its current-gen counterparts. NHL 2K7 steps back onto the ice after an intensive overhaul - it sports all-new animations and a host of new presentation and gameplay features. It's all great stuff in principle, but how does it all hold up on the ice?
There are hundreds of new animations - not only have old
Monday 11 September 2006
In all the excitement over Test Drive Unlimited, it's been easy to forget that the free-roaming racing game has been attempted before. Indeed, the genre's top-selling franchise Need for Speed has already tried it, with some success, in last year's Most Wanted. But the landscape of EA's games is as unreal as a model set next to Test Drive Unlimited's Hawaiian setting.
Based very closely on the island of Oahu, this is a believable real-world space on a scale seldom
It's about damn time the Xbox 360 got an offline role-playing game (sorry, Final Fantasy XI). Unfortunately, the first one we got was Enchanted Arms. It's likely to reap the sales benefits of being the only game in town, but it's precious little more than a color-by-number exercise in tired RPG traditions.
The bright colors and skillful use of fancy lighting make Atsuma's world of enchanting and forgotten ancient magic light up the room, even if the too-frequent random battles barf more than
With the unstoppable success of Xbox Live Arcade, you'd expect them to start stumbling a little after awhile, but with the release of the unbelievably addictive shooter Time Pilot, it looks like we'll have to wait at least another week for the runaway triumph train to derail. A pure, adrenaline-fueled button-masher, Time Pilot hits the sweet spot of simplicity and challenge that requires repeated attempts to beat your previous personal best.
You get a little time travelin' space ship that
Aside from the formula for Coca-Cola, no pop culture secret has been more difficult to replicate than Grand Theft Auto's recipe for open-ended videogaming thuggery. A few have had moderate RC Cola-level acceptance, but most have been Crystal Pepsi-sized failures. Finally, however, we have a winner. Saints Row is the Pepsi to GTA's Coke.
Emulating GTA with near-perfect precision - a subversive, satirical sense of humor is the only thing lacking - Saints Row drops your custom-created anti-hero
If you want to see the fun and charm brutally stripped from yet another of your favorite classic games, check out Bomberman Act: Zero. For some reason, Hudson Soft felt it necessary to take the cute, friendly style of Bomberman and turn it into a contrived cyberpunk bore-fest.
The Bomberman character has been completely re-conceptualized for the 360: you're a human guinea pig trapped in an underground test facility, and the only way to get out is to strap on a cool looking battle suit and
Poker fans have been waiting for Texas Hold 'em on Xbox Live Arcade for months... and this is what we get? As long as you're chatting and betting with other human beings, Texas Hold 'em works, at least until someone loses. If you play a tournament, there's no "railbird" option - once you're out of chips, you're kicked out of the room, so you can't watch to see who wins. So much for social conversation. Even when playing with other people, the computer takes its time moving the action around the
Last year, Madden glitzed its way onto next-gen platforms with sparkling graphics - lifelike stadiums, impeccable players models, feckless animations and solid gameplay. But the extras that current-gen users took for granted were missing. This year, that's all changed - but not for the better. The gameplay is better than ever, but the Superstar mode isn't properly executed and the minigames don't have the same oomph.
In fact, one of the game's greatest improvements spans all generations of