Tuesday, October 30, 2007

First impressions

  • There are some very cool tracks in III. Disappointing that they didn't get more master tracks, though. Also, just like in the last three, there are some cover singers that do an awful job.
  • The on-screen streak counter is a great idea. Finally, we can get an idea of exactly how long we've gone ... on the other hand, it can be one more thing to distract you while you're on that streak.
  • A menu item to view your achievements would have been nice. Not sure why that isn't available.
  • For some reason, the leaderboards weren't working. Maybe I was looking in the wrong place.
  • Battle Mode is interesting, but I think it'll be better to do co-op. Now if only I can find someone who can help me through career co-op ...
  • There are some really cool encores and some that are eh. There is also one song that has ABSOLUTELY NO BUSINESS BEING IN THIS GAME! (You'll know which one it is when you see it.)
  • Finally, cash for completing tracks on Easy! Makes it a little less painful to work on the five-stars-Easy achievement. Also, you get quite a bit of money for completing a set.
  • Bonus tracks are eh once again.

I'm glad I got the game-only deal. Between shady package deals and problems with wireless guitars, there were a lot of potential hazards between me and an evening of rocking out. Then again, the rumor mill says that the Rock Band guitar won't work with GH III. Good thing I've got two guitars already ...

Monday, October 29, 2007

I wanna rock!

Your package is on time with a scheduled delivery date of 10/29/2007.



Good thing I'm doing my presentation today. I won't even see GH III until after it's done. Now I just have to figure out how to catch up on my charting ...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

XBLA review: Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (10/10)

Crackdown, Forza 2, and the Orange Box are sitting on my entertainment center. Haven't played 'em since Tuesday.

Yeah, it's that good.

So what's got my attention? Well, it's a straightforward turn-based RPG, so you know it's going to score points with me, but it's also not heavy on the RPG stuff. (For an XBLA game, that's a good thing.)

To start up, you simply pick a class and play. You defeat monsters to win experience and gold so that you can increase your attributes and get better gear. You can make your own magic items with runes that you find in certain places (if you defeat the Runekeepers guarding them), capture enemies so that you can learn spells or even train them as mounts, and build a citadel where you can do all this.

The catch? You're playing Bejeweled to do it. Yep, lining up three or more gems in a row, alternating with your opponent. There are four colors of gems (to match the elements: earth, fire, air, water), plus coins for gold, stars for experience, and skulls to damage your opponents. As you progress, you learn more spells and have access to more items: in towns, you can buy items of certain types, but many have level or skill restrictions.

You can carry a weapon, a piece of armor, a helmet, and a miscellaneous item into battle with you. Items can have many different effects (more damage, more gain from gems you match, reflective effects), and between the store-bought items and crafted items, you'll have many different combinations you can choose.

Movement in the world is similar to Heroes of Might and Magic, except you move directly from town to town instead of a certain distance per turn. Some creatures will appear randomly on the map and block your path, forcing you to defeat or capture them. (Unlike combat, capture is a chess-type puzzle: you must remove all gems from the board. Succeed and capture, fail and try again or give up and fight.) Others are quest-related and are fought in towns and cities.

The storyline is well written and even has contemporary dialog: it feels like it's been translated into modern speech rather than stilted, ancient, by-the-book speech. You'll know what I mean when you play it.

It's very easy to get into and very easy to play for long periods of time - the "just one more battle" force is strong in this one.

I'd definitely recommend giving this one a try. It's $15 right now, but it's a great deal, and you can get all but one of the achievements offline. Go forth, young warrior, and puzzle.

zlionsfan's rating: 10 coins out of 10.

The rabbit is back

Watching the Iowa-Purdue game (muted half the time - the production is awful as usual. Can't wait for someone at ESPN to get fired so that the new head of programming shows football instead of interviews and movies), and after one of Purdue's touchdowns, a rabbit ran on the field to celebrate.

No word as to whether or not he's related to the award-winning rabbit. In 1993, a rabbit ran the length of the field during a break in the Michigan-Purdue game. (He led the Boilers in rushing.) He ended up winning an ESPY for it.

I'd love to see that on YouTube ...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Slacking off

Sorry for not posting more often. It's a busy time. I'm desperately falling behind with respect to XBLA reviews - I'll work on catching up on those this quarter. Between class and the Orange Box and Puzzle Quest (can you really be between three things? should that be among?), with Beautiful Katamari on the way, a few Crackdown achievements left, and Forza 2 wondering why I'm ignoring it, I should have plenty of games to cover soon.

Plus Guitar Hero III is just around the corner. (Right about when my first presentation is due, which is right before I leave for my weekend in Virginia. Good timing.) And then Rock Band is a few weeks later ...