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What’s been on the Xbox lately

July 30th, 2007 · No Comments · Gaming, Reviews, Xbox

The Darkness

A gimmick game with a very fun gimmick. Basically it’s Chronicles of Riddick with the sci-fi prison motif replaced with a supernatural gangster one. Not deep, nor innovative, but you do get demon tentacles that sprout out of your back and eat the hearts of your enemies. The graphics aren’t great, and the story is fairly typical video game fare, but it is done competently enough for its brief length. Still, I had a good time with it. I haven’t tried the multiplayer, mostly because it’s just the usual deathmatch and capture the flag nonsense.

Mad Tracks

Here’s a cute, fun racing party game for Xbox Live utterly destroyed by a completely broken lobby, or more correctly, the absence of a lobby. One good patch to this game could redeem it, but the developer made it pretty clear it’s not a big priority to fix it. So while this one had a lot of potential, with two packages of downloadable content with more maps and mode, I wouldn’t bother.

Catan

Settlers of Catan, the classic board game, arrives on Xbox Live in this close to perfect version. While true Settlers’ fans might complain that their favorite expansion pack isn’t available, the original game is where it’s at anyway. My only minor nit is this is a game that screams out for Xbox Live Vision support, and oddly, it’s not there.

Carcassonne

Another great boardgame comes to Xbox Live. While generally a solid implementation, it could benefit from better player tools to help predict final scoring (which always was the hardest part of mastering the game.) The current tools are awkward to use, and buggy (I’ve crashed twice using them), but hopefully that’ll get patched. At least there’s Xbox Live Vision support.

Bomberman Live

A solid version of Bomberman, a classic game I had heard about but never played until now. Conny View definition in a new window, a veteran from an earlier Bomberman back in the early 90’s, gives it a thumbs up. Supports multiple guests on one console, so up to 4 people can share one Xbox Live account to play online (for a total of 8 players in a game.) Clever use of the camera for the after-game summary (the “Gloatcam”), and the ability to customize your Bomberman with outfits is a nice touch. We played for almost 3 hours last night, which is impressive when you realize one game lasts less than 3 minutes typically.

And when we aren’t playing board games and party games on Live, we’ve been spending our time with some old standbys made a little fresh: terrorist hunts on the new Rainbow Six: Vegas maps and getting re-familiar with Chromehounds, which has been patched to adjust game play (twice since we were actively playing.)

Plenty of good stuff to hold us all over until the great games rolling out for the holiday season start hitting the shelves.

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