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Stuart-Hart
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Age / Gender:
30, Male
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UK
Joined:
10/2/00
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Still playing way too many games. Still doesn't care.

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Today I briefly talk about video games. Not in any fancy way - just what I've been playing recently, old or new, mostly on the 360.

I haven't posted for a while. If I was any more disciplined it wouldn't have been a problem. Truth be told, I'm a bit of a video game addict to the point that there probably isn't a single day that goes by I don't think of something video game related, or compare something in reality to a video game. I regularly visit Kotaku several times a day, though I try to make it a rule not to make any comments on the posts that go up. I figure I don't want to get involved in any discussions like that while at work because it'll waste too much time. Of course, I really shouldn't be there in the first place, but whatever. Anyway...

Braid
That's a clever game. Gorgeous too. I first saw it at GDC06 and I thought it was completely mind blowing. I knew it'd be something pretty special - despite it looking really visually incomplete back then, the game mechanics were all in place and played very much the same as it does today. I loved the finished product from start to finish and highly recommend it to everyone. If you really despise puzzles though, perhaps it's not for you.

Castle Crashers
I'm quite certain that most everyone here at NG has played it. It's a good game. I'm not sure I'd call it great. I don't want to sound too negative, but there are some design flaws that I thought were a little bad/strange. I'm talking strictly on the gameplay there - the actual visual design is fantastic. Paladin's work is pretty damn phenomenal and the game flows effortlessly from one set piece to another. The sound design feels lacking to the point it sometimes feeling like I'm playing a game that's missing all it's sound cues. Even just a little "Argh!" sound when a baddie is dead would have been very much welcome. If not that, then give enemies health bars. Instead I tend to be juggling enemies in the air for a while, just to make sure they're definitely dead when they hit the ground. Some levels have really huge foreground objects that will entirely block your view. Strange, as the camera view is normally only 3D 3rd person games need to worry about. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if the tolerance on lining up with your enemy to hit them wasn't so strict. There are other problems, but overall it's a good game that could have been great.

Bionic Commando Rearmed
I never played the original so I wasn't so sure what to expect. All I could tell was that it looked fun from the videos. Firing it up, I immediately realised what the developers were striving to create - a faithful remake of the NES original, complete with remixed music that manages to feel retro as well as modern without betraying the 8-bit versions melodies. The game itself is hard as nails but very satisfying and reasonably lengthy. There's a load of optional bonus levels to complete at your leisure so if you're really into it, I think it can keep you busy for a while. A great game with some quirky humour that only Capcom seem capable of and wonderfully vibrant visuals. If you don't feel like buying it, you could always check out the demo or play the original over at Virtual NES right inside your browser.

Grand theft Auto 4
I decided to sit down and go for 100%. I think I just wanted the achievement, but they really could have rewarded you a bit more on this. Instead, just your ammo limits are removed but even when you save your game, any "extra" ammo you had over the limit is removed. Unfortunate, but with the upcoming episodes soon available for download, perhaps the developers didn't want to give the player too much power with infinite ammo, instant reloads, etc. Oh and, yeah, it's a brilliant game.

Halo 3
Well, sure, I played through this a while back and thought it was pretty good. If you can, play it co-op with a mate or 3. It adds a lot more to the experience and driving a Warthog while your mates shoot stuff up is just a heck lot more fun. Speaking of multiplayer, I finally tried out the online multiplayer of this game and I can kinda see why there was so much hype for this game as it's release approached. I'm not a Halo nut so I never played Halo 2 online but now after having a quick go online with Halo 3 I can see that it must have been something pretty special in the last game. For some reason it seemed to remind me of a good old game of Goldeneye64 back in the day. I don't know how I managed to make this comparison, but I seemed to get the same satisfaction from taking someone down in Halo 3 as I did in Goldeneye64, despite Halo 3 being a much more detached kind of environment. I mean, you're not in the same room with your opponent with Halo 3 but... whatever. It's fun. I might play it some more, I might not.

Geometry Wars 2
I loved the original with the exception of one thing. It took way too long for the game to pick up speed and to get to what you really wanted - complete mayhem on screen with a ton of baddies chasing you all over the place. Geometry Wars 2 fixes all that and things speed up much faster with it only taking about 30 seconds or so to get interesting and it just gets better from there. Ironically though, despite them having much improved the core game mode, I have much more interest in the Pacifist game mode. There's something very satisfying about killing those damn drones with the gates and soaking up those geoms. I think I'll continue to play this one for a while, trying to beat my own highscore. Plus it's just really pretty to look at. Highly recommended.

Ninja Gaiden 2
In this game you play as a Ninja that runs around killing things in awesome ways. If you stand still for more than 2 seconds, you die. It's a great action game with some unfortunate framerate issues, not to mention that whacky camera, but it's probably one of the best hack-n-slash games you can get. It's pretty damn big too. I recommend it, unless you hate to die a lot, though it's no way near as difficult as it's predecessor on the default difficulty.

Spore
Most people know what Spore is. It got a lot of attention over it's years of development, only to feel a little lacking on it's release, stunted by an extremely harsh DRM system. Ignoring that issue though, I think it's a fun game. Not as much to it as I would like maybe, but it's otherwise fun. I love creating my own stuff in it, and I find it quite exciting just to see what other people make for it and enjoy seeing their creations being used in my own game. We're undoubtedly going to see some add-ons or expansion packs for the game that will hopefully deepen the gameplay some more, but should we really be paying extra cash for features in a game to make it as deep as we wanted? I guess not, but the game is enough for me as it is. In fact, I'm glad the RTS elements of the game are so light because I'm horrible at those type of games.

Bangai-O Spirits
This is an incredible game from Treasure that's somehow been magically ported onto the DS from the Dreamcast (which is a port of the N64 version). In Bangai-O, you control a robot suit capable of unleashing hundreds of missles on screen with the size and number of the missles being dependent on how much enemy fire is in your immediate proximity. There's a fair selection of missle/shot types as well as a sword for cutting through thick enemy fire as well as a baseball bat for knocking enemy fire back. There's well over 100 levels and if you get bored, you can make your own and/or have a mate transfer his to yours via sound that will be interpreted by the receiving DS and build the level depending on what it "hears". At least I think that's how it works - I've actually yet to try it! The game is incredible - if you're into shooters in the slightest then I can't recommend it enough. It looks great, sounds awesome and plays brilliantly. Get it. In fact, I'd probably be playing this in bed right now if my DS hadn't gone and broken.

That's it for now. I'm sure I've probably been playing more than I've listed here, but these are what came off the top of my head for now. It's quite a generic list I guess, but I wouldn't mind hearing about what other people have been playing too. Am I missing out on anything big?

People should really watch what they eat

I guess I've been playing a lot of video games recently.