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Xbox 360 Must-Haves

 
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mseaver
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:18 pm    Post subject: Xbox 360 Must-Haves Reply with quote

So I'm probably picking up a 360 next week... the combination of a little extra cash and a dying original Xbox (which also serves as my apartment's primary DVD player) helped me determine that the time was right.

Now I need to know what the hell to play on it. Halo 3, GTA 4 and Dead Rising are the givens that I will probably pick up almost immediately, along with the most recent licensed MLB game. But what else? I'll take all comers, old and new. Heck, old is almost better than new, cause those are CHEAPER!

What are your favorites?
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Kand El
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh... Matt, Matt, Matt, I truly could talk about this all afternoon- you are opening floodgates here.

I think first and foremost, I would like to save you some dough and allow you to replay all your old favorites on the new console. Go to the following:

https://om.one.microsoft.com/opa/Validation.aspx?StoreID=5416cfac-d7d8-4c7f-aa34-9c0913b65035&LocaleCode=en-us&JavaScriptOn=yes

This will get you sent FREE, a cd that will upgrade your 360 system to play just about all of your old X-box games, so you won't have to toss or trade in games you still love to play from the old console (I just couldn't give up Crimson Skies). Its a pretty nice thing for MSFT to do all things considered- I immediately started replaying Halo when I received mine, and now I'm giving Knights of the Old Republic II another go.

Also, I should mention I don't play X-Box live- I have better things to do than be insulted by 10-year olds- my games need action, fantasy and strong story-driven elements. I also despise sports games as I feel video games should allow me to do things I can't conceivably pull off in real life (the exception being the fun interaction provided by Nintendo Wii). Given that, I'll say that the following are must-haves for the X-box, played multiple times on my system are the following:

1st Person Shooters
Bioshock- story, story, story- I have rarely seen such a magnificently realized plot (which makes the curious decision to base a period science fiction game on the works of Ayn Rand), bolstered by some of the greatest visuals to ever grace a console. Gameplay itself ends up being a pretty entertaining, remarkably clever shooter with some extras (yummy, Plasmids!), and some puzzles that through repetition can get annoying. Still, it manages to take the FPS genre and make everything old new again.

Halo 3 Duh. (I play this and the other two over and over and over- love it. Love all 3- but the first is still the best for story).

Half Life Orange Box (I don't have this yet, but having played HL2 on the old console, and knowing that there are further .5 episodes and a whole other physics driven game called Portal on this expansion, I gotta say its recommended- particularly if you haven't played HL2 yet- its one of the most engrossing shooter-worlds I've ever seen).

3rd Person Shooters:

Gears of War- lite on character development- (imagine directing special ed-kids, one of whom can claim that they have a family estate complete with a wine cellar)- incredible gameplay- the duck and cover elements bring a different style than the FPS' above, and though it could use more story elements, the atmosphere is nicely done, and the action is addictive. And hey, you'll be all set to pick up Gears of War 2 afterwards, which will probably have dropped in price by then.

Role Play:
Mass Effect I have never played a game that really gave the feel of being on a Star Trek episode like this did- mind you, its not Trek, but you can survey and explore planets, take a craft down to ride around and find stuff, and that's all window dressing amid a fairly derivative plot dressed to the nines with excellent real time combat (you can actually shoot your enemies rather than popping in a list of actions that you then watch your character passively carry out, KOTR style). The resource management system can be clunky, but its all worth it when whatever you wear, however you want the character to look, it becomes part of the cut scenes- and the voicework and character development are excellent- lots to do and redo in this game.

I am intending on picking up Fallout 3- an apocalyptic world RPG set in decaying Washington DC. I am hearing great things about this product, but as I haven't played it, I can only throw the name out there, I can't recommend it yet.

RTS:
I have yet to find a good console real time strategy- that new Tom Clancy endwar thing looks interesting, but again, I like strategy and story, so I'll stick with Starcraft on my PC for now. I will say that Halo Wars will pretty much be bought sight unseen, so I hope it doesn't suck.

Third person platform:
I don't know if you've played God of War. I haven't, so Conan was a lot of fun for me, but I'm torn because I'm not sure how much I'll revisit it after the first go-round. Its fun combat but really comes down to button mashing, which I have no problem with, but does get repetitive. The story is aces though, and Ron Perlman does a truly inspired job getting across the character as Robert E. Howard intended.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance Gold Edition- Ok, I played this first on the old X-box but upgraded for the 360 so I could get the expansion where I could play as Doctor Doom. If you are anywhere near the comic book fan your brother is, I cannot recommend this enough. Its the best dungeon crawler I've ever played, and I've played this one over and over and over- with all the different heroes (and now villains) you can choose from, all the easter eggs for a die-hard Marvel fan, and many of the satisfying powers that are correctly applied to characters, this is a big bag o' fun, but I understand that it can get very very repetitive as well (forget Conan, this is the most but-but-buttoniest masher that ever button mashed), and some of the voice acting is downright atrocious.

Lego Star Wars The Original Trilogy- very cute, can be repetitive, but damn its fun putting shit together between blasting the crap out of everything- its simple playtime in the best playground ever, strung together with some of the most witty jokes I've seen about the films without having to tear the movies down to do it. I could also recommend the Indiana Jones version and the Batman version, so it comes down to taste of which series you like more- frankly, if you've played one, you've played them all, but these titles are especially great to play with nieces/nephews, your own kids, wives, etc.

Definite Maybes"

Star Trek Legacy- this might fall under some other category, but frankly you run around shooting other things, only you are one of eight federation ships rather than a humanoid, so I'm putting it here- this one might be an acquired taste- some of it is very entertaining, some of it will cause hair-pulling. The best parts of the game use Archer and Kirk's Enterprises, as its some really nice ship to ship battles. But honestly, this one's only ok. I've played through once, one day I'll give it a go again, but I can't call it a must-have. I will say that Shatner actually provides some amazingly emotional voicework in his storyline that takes place in the twilight of Kirk's career whilst everyone else kinda phones it in.

Overlord- this one can be very fun, but I seem to remember gnashing my teeth in frustration as well, and I don't know how quick I'll be to replay. You are basically Sauron in a funny send up of LOTR- you are rebuilding your evil empire after being defeated by the archetypal heroes of fantasy, who you now have to overcome one by one, aided by up to 50 minions who are absolutely hilarious- basically, you point them in a direction, sit back, and watch them set about the countryside in your name. I recall save-point frustrations, getting lost due to no real mapping system- so there's a lot of doubling back- and losing a lot of minions due to their reckless, uncommanded charges into danger. The satire is fun, but also loses a few teeth in that as an "evil" guy, your choices aren't so evil. Depends on taste- I had some fun with this one but I don't know about replay value.

I can't think of much else for now, but doesn't that say something in and of itself?

Tell you what, I'll include my list of must haves for the original X-Box since you'll be able to play those as well, and there are still titles that demand attention:

Farcry- very nice shooter- good story, not quite up there with Halo or Halflife, but gets the job done with verve.
Knights of the Old Republic I and II- incredible role play, still the best Star Wars games out there- truly makes you a part of the universe and gives you imaginative play by smartly divorcing itself from the slavish continuity of the movies by roughly 5,000 years, and lets you take center stage rather than some whiny puler who can barely read his cue cards.
Incredible Hulk Ultimate Destruction: The best of the Marvel Games (out-performing Spider Man 2 just by the fact that you don't have to chase balloons or follow instructions from Wanda Sykes- though I will recommend SM2 as well, just to experience jumping off the Empire State building). You can tear the shit out of everything, its great free roam play-- nuff said.
Crimson Skies- Immaculate flying shooter- beautiful vistas, very cool flight moves, awesome multiplayer, exquisite story/voicework- A MUST HAVE if ever there was one, and frankly begging for a sequel.

Brian McKay, come on down, your turn!
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mseaver
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow... ask and ye shall receive I guess. Thanks man! My additional thoughts below, because I've only been at work for about 2 hours and I'm bored as hell...

Kand El wrote:
I think first and foremost, I would like to save you some dough and allow you to replay all your old favorites on the new console.


The link sent me to an error page, I'm guessing because it was a form-generated result. I'm sure I can find something similar. I've also heard that the new dashboard setup and hard-drive installs make a world of difference for the supported original Xbox games, so I'll definitely be giving that a shot. I don't have an overwhelming desire to keep many of my original games, but both Halos, Far Cry, Mercenaries and MVP 2006 (with a few others) will not be going anywhere.

Quote:
Also, I should mention I don't play X-Box live- I have better things to do than be insulted by 10-year olds- my games need action, fantasy and strong story-driven elements.


Absolutely agreed on the requirements. I will pick up Live, primarily for the new Netflix streaming option, but also because one of my buddies and I make a helluva Halo 2 multiplayer duo.

Quote:
I also despise sports games as I feel video games should allow me to do things I can't conceivably pull off in real life


Agreed, mostly. Baseball is the one exception. I need my off-season Red Sox fix.


Quote:
Bioshock

I have it for PC. It's fantastic.

Quote:
Halo 3 Duh. (I play this and the other two over and over and over- love it. Love all 3- but the first is still the best for story).


I'm actually playing through the original right now, and will probably move right onto 2. Ought to set the table nicely for #3, time-wise.

Quote:
Half Life Orange Box (I don't have this yet, but having played HL2 on the old console, and knowing that there are further .5 episodes and a whole other physics driven game called Portal on this expansion, I gotta say its recommended- particularly if you haven't played HL2 yet- its one of the most engrossing shooter-worlds I've ever seen).


Also on my PC. I've been a somewhat-rabid Valve fan since the original Half-Life, and I have the entire collection on PC (save Left 4 Dead, which I'm not yet completely sold on). I've gotten much better at shooters on Xbox, but I still prefer them on PC, especially for multiplayer - your previous Live comment aside, Team Fortress 2 is one of the best online experiences I've ever had, and I highly recommend it. Not even the most foul-mouthed asshole of a 10-year-old can ruin what Valve built. Especially for online play, I find the keyboard-mouse combo much more responsive and intuitive, probably because I've spent a lot more time gaming on a PC than on a console.

Quote:
Gears of War


Oh yes. I will have it.

Quote:
Mass Effect


I've heard both sides of the coin on this one, and I'm not entirely sold. Your comments give me a little more faith, because the one thing I didn't really like about Knights of the Old Republic was the combat system. Almost everything else was flawless and completely skillful, but the combat just seemed to bring the game's flow to a grinding halt. It's actually something that Bioware fixed in Jade Empire, which I highly recommend and I'm sure you can find super cheap now (like here, if you don't mind used).

Quote:
I am intending on picking up Fallout 3- an apocalyptic world RPG set in decaying Washington DC. I am hearing great things about this product, but as I haven't played it, I can only throw the name out there, I can't recommend it yet.


I've heard similar. I want to check out reviews and see if the combat is real-time, action oriented. If so, I'm probably sold. The open world format is something that few games have gotten right, and most of them have Grand Theft Auto in the title. It'd be great to see someone nail it outside of that world.

Quote:
RTS

I'm not a huge RTS guy. Age of Empires 3 was about as far as I got, and that I like much more for the civilization depth than the combat. I also have a hard time seeing how RTS can be well-controlled with a gamepad.

Quote:
I don't know if you've played God of War. I haven't, so Conan was a lot of fun for me, but I'm torn because I'm not sure how much I'll revisit it after the first go-round. Its fun combat but really comes down to button mashing, which I have no problem with, but does get repetitive. The story is aces though, and Ron Perlman does a truly inspired job getting across the character as Robert E. Howard intended.


I've not heard too much about it, but I'll probably give it a pass, simply because I don't know that much about the world, and it doesn't particularly grab my interest. To each his own, I suppose.

Quote:
Marvel Ultimate Alliance Gold Edition


It seems like an extension of the X-Men: Legends games, which were certainly good for what they were, but I never went back to them after the first time through.

Quote:
Lego Star Wars The Original Trilogy


I've got both Lego Star Wars games for Xbox, and love them dearly. They'll be hanging around as well. I'm also a little happier than I probably should to know that Lego Indiana Jones comes with the Pro bundle, which is probably what I'll be buying. Batman, less so. I played through the demo, and though I like some of the new features, it didn't hold my interest very long.

Quote:
Star Trek Legacy


I've only ever had one Star Trek game - some 3rd-person shooter for PC years ago - and it was in no way impressive. Trek has a history of terrible games, and I'd have to see some really positive reviews to get me to drop money, I think. I'm more a Wars guy anyway.


Quote:
Farcry
Knights of the Old Republic I and II
Incredible Hulk Ultimate Destruction
Crimson Skies


I have them all, and none of them will be going anywhere. Dated or not, they're all worth another play. Sometimes, after a stressful day, I stick in Hulk just to beat the crap out of things. It's very nice when designers recognize their strengths.

Thanks again. I only really have one videogame site that I read for reviews (IGN... am I allowed to say that on a UGO-affiliated site?), simply because it's the only place where I have consistently agreed with the reviewers. It's good to hear other takes as well-informed and thoroughly discussed.
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Kand El
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Not even the most foul-mouthed asshole of a 10-year-old can ruin what Valve built.


The loud laugh that line alone elicited made all my rambling worthwhile.

Sorry about the poor link- just google X-Box backwards compatibility cd, free, microsoft, and you'll get to where you need to go- it takes two seconds and within 3 or 4 weeks, you'll be plugging away at all your old X-box games.

Wow Matt, I'm 2/3rds the way convinced I should buy Live just to hang out with you given our similar tastes. A few words on some points you brought up to perhaps better help your selections- the good and the bad.

Mass Effect has one of the slowest intros to a game ever- and right after a character creation system that left me giddy with the possibilities- I love a good RPG that allows me to tweak... everything, so if you are like me on that (and given that you have played KOTR I think you are), prepare to have your jaw dropped- my guy looks just like me at certain angles, though he has cooler scars.

But then you go through about 30 minutes of exposition and wandering- and look, I'm being blunt here, its like molasses running uphill- the load times can be annoying, and when you step into an elevator, have a novel handy- a thick one.

And that said, I say pick it up- because its all careful buildup, and once the game gets rolling you will be absolutely charmed and locked in. The combat is superior to KOTR (though I dont' have a problem with KOTOR's command/turn base system, particularly when I'm flailing around with a lightsaber)- "Mass Effect" becomes a third person shooter, with the equivalent of force powers- its awesome.

The dialogue and voicework are staggeringly good, the choices your charcter must make are not as unforgiving or black/white as KOTR (where I can almost never bring myself to go to the dark side, because frankly, I find you don't turn evil, you just turn into an incredibly rude, offensive, churlish asshole- kinda like turning Hayden Christiansen up to 11 on the suck-o-meter)- I almost expect the avatar to grow a moustache just so he can twirl it. Ahem... back to Mass Effect.

Its great, plain and simple- when you aren't fighting, the exploration kicks ass (dude, call me a nerd- I love doing a scan of planets- you really feel like you are in command of not only a ship, but a full crew), and I'm the type of guy that will look in every corner of the universe for every single thing.

I wish they had an equivalent of Knight Speed for both the vehicle and foot travel- because there's a lot of ground to cover in sequences and yes, it can wear on you, but honestly, its a very small nit- I am certain you will enjoy this game based on my conversation with you- get it used. Over 50% of my library is composed of used games I bought off some gearhead on Ebay that plays and moves on to the next thing- I've never had a problem, provided you do your seller research- Gamestop isn't bad either once and awhile.

For Fallout 3, you have two combat options- one is real time, which is supposed to work ok- the way I hear it, their turn based system is supposed to be far more effective, and much more fun- you spend some sort of fighting points in a pause menu, and cherry pick were on the body and how many times you want to shoot at your opponent, as well as which weapon you want to use- what follows are graphic, detailed cut scenes showing you blowing off someone's kneecaps, head, hand, and this of course affects them in their counterattack- That sounds pretty cool, but yes, you can keep it real time if you want- as I said, I haven't played it, but it sounds intriguing, and thus far all reviews I've read (and yes, I too use IGN, and find UGO a little forgiving on games everyone else is panning- but I also research a lot of other gaming sites to get a consensus before plunking down upwards of $60, and I ask all the game geeks on another forum I visit), are really generous towards the game as a whole.

I have to make another argument for Marvel: Ultimate Alliance- the game cleans up the fighting, power, upgrade, and inventory system of X-Men, which was fun, but very limited- in Marvel UA, the characters are much more free to use their powers over and over again (For instance, flying with Thor won't use up his power, because the guy can fly- its how he moves around- with X-men, yes, Storm or Rogue could fly, but then you had no power left to hit with a lightning bolt or super strength- the power system keeps the inherent strengths of the characters intact), the upgrade menu is less convoluted, the differentiation of powers is much more visually interesting, and the sheer amount of characters one can play in so many different combinations makes a strong argument for replay- also, it looks great on the X-Box 360- the heros jump right out of the comics, and the cinematic cut scenes are probably the best I've seen in any game- and yes, take that grain of salt because I am a huge Marvel Zombie. The storyline is also pretty damn good.

Crimson Skies is my after work ass kicker. And for story, its very rare that games really make a period piece feel authentic- its every bit the Indiana Jones style one could hope for- I am hoping there is a sequel in the works.

Now I'm researching Mortal Kombat versus DC- I still haven't seen once DC superhero game worth a damn (Lego Batman is a kind of different animal), and this is supposed to be it.

I too am having a slow workday, so no worries from my end. I'm actually off to the gym now. Ah, the problems of the young, white and privilleged... Razz
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mseaver
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got it. Much thanks for the advice. I picked it up from Best Buy, so I got four games thrown in there.

My first mountain, however, is GTA IV. Thus far, fantastic, and I highly recommend it, so long as violence doesn't bother you. Assassin's Creed it also GORGEOUS, if not a little bit repetitive. The story is worthwhile, though. I'm putting up a post about all this stuff on my blog, if interested. It'll be up in probably 20 minutes.
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