Tag Archives: Xbox Live

In The Grim Darkness Of The Future There Is Only Xbox

When it comes to flogging successful product lines the Sheriff seems to always do pretty well in the video game market. Well games based on their intellectual properties at least; I don’t think there’s a snotling computer lab somewhere in Nottingham churning out software.

Little plastic men? Pffft… digital bloodshed is where the real money’s at nowadays. Make a nice little shooty pew pew game and the fans will come flocking to the stores to pick up battalion boxsets. Unfortunately, personal experience shows that that might not happen.

Space Marine, the Xbox 360 game has been hotly anticipated by the more mobile-thumbed of the crew for quite some time. Was it worth the wait? Hell yes! Step into the almighty blue armour of Captain Titus and slaughter your way across a planet in what I describe as one of the most violent video games I’ve ever seen. Gone are the wussy auto health regenerations of the COD generation, here is a game which forces you to physically pull limbs off, eviscerate and decapitate your opponents in sprays of violent gore in order to keep going. All in very good looking, suitably gothic and appropriate surrounds.

Are there any downsides? Well of course. The usual bunch of twelve year old Russians will still own you in competitive multiplayer, but rumour has it that soon cooperative multiplayer will be available. Flufftards are also going to hate it because its about the blue GW poster boys, rather some more deserving chapter, and the main character Captain Titus isn’t actually listed in the Ultramarines order of battle. Personally I wouldn’t have cared if it were about Captain Flower Applejack of the Rainbow Warriors.

Anyway, if you want a real review rather than my random thoughts go check a real review site. I certainly like this game.

Will it influence sales of little plastic men? Well since getting this game I haven’t touched a single figure!

Operation Flashpoint: Red River – Released in North America (XBOX 360)

Red River came out in Europe back in April to largely indifferent cries of meh, and rapidly started filling bargain bins everywhere. Today sees it’s release stateside.

Carabus and I have been playing the swearathon that is Red River for a few weeks now, and I can quite happily say that it the best of the Flashpoint games so far. I’m not sure what game most reviewers were playing for it to get such lacklustre ratings, but essentially it is a very polished addition to the franchise.

These games have always worked best as co-op games, so if you are a fan of the Flashpoint series and have some friends; ignore the ratings and get yourself a copy ricky-tick.


Electronic Arts (EA) Online Server Woes

True to form, 6InchMove proudly brings you the news several months after it has already happened!

Regularly reading spambots to these pages will be aware that Carabus and myself often like to relax by blowing stuff up over Xbox Live. Every once in a while we invest in game and play to our hearts content, usually in co-op whilst having a good chat (about tough bloke stuff obviously, we are nothing like a bunch of old women).

After hunting around for some appropriate Lord Of The Rings themed games we came across a title called ‘Lord of The Rings: Conquest’. Reviews were not particularily favourable, except where online mode was concerned. It seemed the real fun with this game was playing with your buddies. So we went out, and each bought a copy.

It was not long before we found out that EA no longer run any online servers for this game. A game which isn’t even 2 years old! In fact, further study reveals that they pulled the servers after only 14 months! They claim that this is because few people play the game online. Now I’m no computer genius but surely it can’t be that hard to set up some kind of dynamic servers that host whatever games customers want to play?

So anyway, the 6InchMove citadel now contains two copies of a game with very little promise. Personally I am disappointed, and a tad wary about buying online EA games again.

All was not lost however, as instead we played Eidos’s excellent multiplayer ‘Battlestations: Midway’. Carabus being the shortest snugly fitted into the Japanese role, and proceeded to rewrite history by destroying my entire US fleet. To be fair though, I doubt Chester Nimitz was running things whilst watching TV and having a chat with his wife!

Note to EA: This game is nearly FOUR years old AND has had a sequel yet can still be played over Xbox Live. Hooray for good customer relations!

Army Of Two: The 40th Day (Xbox 360)

One can have a dream, baby,
Two can make that dream so real.
One can talk about bein’ in love,
Two can say how it really feels.
One can wish upon a star,
Two can make that wish come true, yeah.
One can stand alone in the dark,
Two can make the light shine through!

Or so sayeth the wise Marvin Gaye. Seems like a funny premise upon which to base an Xbox game but there you have it. Anyway, the other day I saw this title for sale for a tenner and bought it. Turns out my good friend also owns it, so we’ve spent the last week getting to grips with this intriguing title.

Video games nowadays all tend to be very convuluted and complicated. Back in my day after we had spent all day down the mines all we had when we got home was a cold cup of tea from a rolled up newspaper and space invaders to fill our evenings.

Army Of Two TFD happens to be pretty straightforward. Get yer guns and shoot the baddies. Why? Well, no one really knows to be honest. It’s set in the exploding city of Shanghai, and the plot is not really obvious. Not that it matters, for the lack of plot cut scenes means more time for shooting stuff.

Initially I thought the game was some kind of mexican wrestler mutant spawn of Gears Of War 2 and Modern Warfare 2, for it has elements of both. Most of the game is set as a 3rd person shooter like GOW2, but it has weapon loadouts and non-sticky cover usage like MW2. These thoughts led me to be dissapointed with the game, for in these aspects it is not as good as either GOW2 or MW2. But then I rubbed my neckbeard in a pondorous manner and realised that this game is not trying to be either of them.

What we have here then is a third person shoot’em up. Easy. Lots of bad guys, lots of explosions, lots of running around, lots of hiding behind walls. No messing around with plots or deep character development. Loads of guns. Did I mention that? Yes, it is possible to customise your guns to ridiculous extents (soda can silencers, screwdriver bayonets, sticking an AK47 barrel on your M4 etc), and lots of shooting action.

Importantly this game is definitely designed for two players who want to play co-operatively. None of this getting headshotted by a squealing 13 year old from Russia we have so come to expect from shoot-em ups. After some practice it all flows very well. Soon enough you are ducking and weaving with ease to sneak around the back of that pesky bunker while your friend draws all the fire with his super noisy pimped up attention whoring hand cannon. The game has a WoW-esque threat and aggro system – seems odd at first but actually is very effective.

So, if you have a friend, and just want a straightforward fun, action packed shooting game then I can fully recommend this game. Just don’t expect anything deep. Bought on the cheap this is definitely worth it!

Rodents and Bombs – A Good Combo? (Gerbil Physics Xbox 360)

I regularily search through the games on Xbox 360 Live Marketplace to see if anything catches my relatively short attention span. In the marketplace, hidden in the corner under a pile of dusty carpets next to the fake beards and gourds is a section called ‘Indie Games’. Here you find games produced by the community available to download. Most of them are reasonably simple efforts, obviously programmed by a twelve year old called Dave inbetween teatime and maths homework. But occasionally I find a gem, and this is a good one.

Enter a set of games called ‘Gerbil Physics’. The story is straightforward and infinitely more believeable than an Australian soap opera. A bunch of gerbils in boxes have been stacked up, but they all want to live below a line. It’s your job, armed with bombs and ropes and lasers and stuff to blast them there. Don’t worry, no gerbils are harmed and they actually seem to get quite excited when they get below the line. It’s a bit of a demolition simulator. You need to work out where to put the bombs to knock over the stack of gerbils. Add in exploding fruit, flying penguins and Gerbil Physics and Gerbil Physics 2 become addictive little puzzle games.

Final Fight Comes To Xbox 360 Live Arcade!

As I was casually strolling through Xbox Live Arcade earlier imagine my excitement as I noticed that Final Fight has finally crawled out of the woodwork and on to a popular console.

Ok, so maybe you can’t imagine. Maybe it wasn’t even excitement, maybe it was more of a raised eyebrow, but you must understand that over 20 years have elapsed since my excitement at first playing this game. Down to the local arcade we used to stroll in our inflatable shoes which seemed like a good idea at the time, and put our hard earned coins into the Final Fight arcade machine.

The premise of the game seems so simple now, but at the time it was groundbreaking. You, and a friend, got to beat the proverbial out of hordes of street villians in what proved to be one of the best beat ’em up games of the era. The storyline was suitably flimsy – the mayor’s daughter has been kidnapped by Mad Gear, a motley crime gang and not some kind of dutch mail order catalogue. Unluckily for the kidnappers the girl’s boyfriend is a badass street fighter, her best friend is a ninja and her dad (the mayor) happens to be a behemoth of a pro-wrestler. So rather than calling in SWAT, our heroes take to the streets to personally hand out the beatdowns. The gameplay was straightforward, no complicated moves to learn and the on screen characters were suitably large.

Fast forward many years of occasionally finding this gem in a seaside arcade and it finally comes to the mainstream and a new generation. The Xbox Live Arcade version is a superb remastering. The options available are excellent – you can choose original soundtrack or a remixed version. Graphically you can reproduce the arcade cabinet down the sides of your screen. You can even reproduce that unique arcade CRT screen glow. Unfortunately though this once king of beat-em ups has aged very badly indeed. Of course, I played it again and loved it, but this game has a certain novelty nostalgia value for me. Viewed from a neutral standpoint this game is nothing more than a button mash. The moves available are limited to basic punches, kicks and the occasional throw. Only occasionally do you get limited use of a weapon, and there’s no option to block. At the time this game was awesome, but it has now been surpassed by so many games in so many ways. But still, this little piece of gaming history was important in the development of the genre. Capcom, not long after making Final Fight released the legendary Street Fighter 2, and you can catch a few glimpses of Final Fight’s influences in that game.

Overall then, this game is worth trying if you remember and love the original. If this all seems like ancient history to you then steer clear, there are better beat-em ups out there nowadays. Personally though, this is a trend I would like to see continuing. A few of the things that would probably make me explode not including ZombiePirate actually fielding a fully painted army would be if beat-em ups such as ‘The Punisher’ and ‘Captain Commando’ were to get similarily re-released to Xbox Live. I wouldn’t have to face the trauma of scouring Margate seafront, dodging all the purple rinse grannies in kiss me quick hats for a game and end up spending my entire weekend surviving on candyfloss and chips in an arcade with seedily sticky carpets. I’m just to old for that kind of malarky now!

Captain Birdseye’s Xbox 360 of COD and Modern Warfare 2

So finally I struck Xbox (live) gold. Call it very late in the day to be a real fan but I finally got my hands on Modern Warfare 2 on the Xbox 360. My last attempts were foiled when I took some old COD titles to my local gaming shop and managed to exchange them for Bayonetta. That shopkeeper is a sly one! But hey, I was not at all disappointed, in fact I blogged about it *here*. Several weeks of insane gameplay later and I finally completed it (after giving God a good kicking – Bayonetta is that kind of game!). So with wifely permission I set off again to my friendly local retailer who this time was willing to let me buy MW2.

Now then, the first thing I noticed is that the bloke from MW2 doesn’t have guns in his shoes. Bad times. Also he doesn’t wear librarian glasses. And his hair cannot morph into enormous demons and eat his foes. Nor does he ever get naked, and he completely fails to walk on any ceilings. Hopefully then you can understand my initial disappointment with this title. However, I was willing to persevere through these flaws…

Honestly, this game is amazing! So yeah, you guys have been loving this title for ages, but seriously, wow! This is what Xbox Live was made for! First person shooters have never felt so good! For those of you who have been living under a rock for the last few years, here is a a brief summary of how the Call Of Duty games go: If you are awesome: Move, shoot, kill. If you are a noob (like me): Move, bang, look at ceiling. I won’t go into complete review mode, but just mention why I think this particular game stands out, and why you should play it on Xbox.

Why Xbox 360?

So I have a friend, who is a PC nut. All multiplayer shooty games should be played on a PC. Well I say he is incorrect, probably even elitist, and by being so he is missing a major trick. A good gaming PC could whup an Xbox 360 any day. And that is the problem. If I am crap at a game I could feasibly go out, spend a large wedge of green on hardware and internet to give me an advantage. I can buy my way to victory. Failing that, I could run bots and hacks and win that way. Us Xbox 360 players don’t have these issues. The playing field is level, everyone has the same gear. If you beat me it is because you are better than me. If I beat you it is because I was lucky or you goofed up. As for how it compares to the Playstation 3 version, I don’t know. My experience is that most titles are of similar standards across both platforms. However PS3 online is free, Xbox live costs money. An important life lesson I have learned is that you get what you pay for… Beyond that I couldn’t possibly comment!

What Makes It A Great COD?

It’s breathtakingly exciting in it’s single player mode. It’s the kind of game that has you trying to dodge the bullets by moving your head (and by the looks of things that might be the only exercise some players get). It’s a non stop rollercoaster with a good storyline. Take it to multiplayer and we are in a different league. Multiplayer is where it’s at. When I was a kid I used to play ‘army’ a lot with my little buddies. We would run around, hide in bushes with pretend guns and make dakka noises at each other all day. Nowadays I am far too respectable and unfit to pull any such kind of stunt, but with MW2 I don’t need to. I can now be Rambo in a vitual world, and get shot at by people from every country. The great thing is though, it doesn’t really matter anymore if you are a little slow on the controls. If you fluff things up a lot, the game almost pats you on the head and sends you back outside like your mum used to. Bad players get special perks after three deaths which are pretty powerful to allow them to stand a chance. Also, when you do finally made a kill the game cheers and claps and showers you in xp beyond the wildest dreams of decent players. You get xp for killing the enemy, bonus xp for finally aiming straight, bonus xp for getting your revenge on those pesky good players and so on. It really does try to appeal to every gamer, and on the whole I think it succeeds.

The Eternal Dilemma

I had a look at the stuff on Bioware’s new epic, Dragon Age and couldn’t make head nor tail of it.  Apparently the first rule of Dragon Age club is that you don’t talk about Dragon Age Club.  I am a Bioware RPG fan though so I’ll probably check it out when it finally comes out from behind the sofa.

But…  Which platform to use?  This is the eternal dilemma which has faced geeks since the geekdawn of geektime.  Back when I was a youngster and finally realised there was a world outside of digging in sandpits the fight was between the Commodore 64 and the ZX Spectrum.  We were quite young so had no concept of the technologies involved, and no ability to get involved in deep arguments, so we used to let our fists decide.  Hordes of kids would rumble for their cause, when in reality it made no difference because we had no purchasing power and therefore no choice as to which side we were on.

As time wore on, we became wiser and got jobs and better pocket money and eventually began fighting over the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST.  By now we knew what kilobytes were so could argue and sound technical.  The ST kids would forever go on about their better sound capabilities, but in reality the Amiga was unbelievably better in all other respects, most importantly in the games department.  Realistically, if you bought an Atari ST you were either a peasant (the Amiga was more expensive) or a bit of a masochist.

Around the same time other kids were fighting their wars over the consoles available.  Firstly the Nintendo NES versus the Sega Master System.  Both were pretty lame compared with the 16-bit computers available, but then some people just don’t have the dexterity to work a keyboard.  Eventually the kids became entrenched for either the Sega Mega Drive (AKA Genesis) or the Super Nintendo.  Both sides had their plus points and their followers willing to die for their brand.

Nowadays, we are older and have better jobs, so now the hardcore child gamer within us no longer has to pick sides.  Our younger selves had to fight for the cause because we could only afford one machine, so we had to justify our decision.  Our older selves could, if needed, stray from one platform to another.  The loyalty is no longer so strong.  Personally I have a PC for work, internet and a few games, and an Xbox 360 for gaming.  I ended up with the Xbox because it’s main rival, the PS3, is comparatively a bit overpriced with no discernable increase in game quality for the types of games I like to play.  Online play is important to me and I’m wary of anything that’s free.  Xbox Live does cost, but in return it’s an excellent service.  With the PS3’s online service you get what you pay for.  However, if things changed and the PS3 became the more appealing choice I would probably invest in one, because after all, I am no longer the battle-hardened platform zealot of my youth.

So back to the crunch of the matter – When Dragon Age comes out, do I go for the console version or the PC version?  At the moment I am not sure.  Yeah the PC version will be better, have better mods, be more customisable.  But it will also be as buggy as as a beetle colony, be more likely to have hardware conflicts and take ages to get running correctly.  The PC online servers are going to be full of hackers, bots and spammers.  The console version on the other hand will be way easier to run, and will work well.  In multiplayer modes there will be no hacking, but there will be a high likelyhood of getting yelled at by a 13 year old.  From Ohio.

Flashpoint 2 – First Impressions (Xbox 360)

Once there was this game called Operation Flashpoint, and it was awesome.  Awesome how?  Well, it was a first person shooter that really made you duck.  In retrospect, ducking while sat at a computer screen probably wasn’t all that effective but it probably game some computer nerds some much needed exercise.  The tension and excitement was palpable, it had a realistic feel that was unknown to gaming up until that point.  Flashpoint was rather unique for the time in that it didn’t involve running around like Rambo, guns blazing.  You weren’t some super warrior, instead you were a mere grunt in the US Army, fighting a conventional war with the USSR in 1985.  You were a single soldier among thousands of equals, and this is what made it great.  The battles were vast affairs, fought over very large fields with aircraft, ships, tanks, and other assorted vehicles, all of which you could use.  There’s nothing quite like roaring into battle in a farm tractor.  This was all a long time ago, so please forgive me if this description is a bit rose tinted, but I do remember playing it and all expansion packs to the end, so it must have been good.  So it was with a sense of nostalgia that I saw Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising for sale while out shopping at the weekend.

I am happy to report that Flashpoint 2 follows in the same vein as the original.  The small fish in a big pond feel is still there.  The graphics are obviously vastly improved and of a high quality.  The sound effects are suitably realistic.  The game, put simply, is great fun to play.  Xbox live takes the game to the next level with multiplayer co-op.  If you were a fan of the original then you will not be disappointed.  Inevitable comparisons with ‘Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’ will be made, and I think both games are equally good but at different things, as I shall mention.

In single player mode, Flashpoint is the vastly superior game.  The missions are a big improvement, they are much larger, with much more realistic enemy behaviors.  The fact that you can use vehicles adds a massive new dimension.  In comparison, COD 4 single player seems very ‘arcade-y’.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but Flashpoint is definitely the more engaging game.  This superiority also applies to multiplayer co-op, as here COD 4 is rather limited.

Where COD 4 really comes up trumps is the multiplayer PvP.  I’ve played a few PvP missions on Flashpoint, and to be honest they are quite dull.  The maps are simply too big for the number of players.  Yes it sounds exciting to be able to drive a tank into the enemy base killing their dudes, but in reality its a lot of sitting around waiting for the enemy to attack, or for your team to walk the 2 miles to the objective.  Where COD 4 is also a winner is in one specific area of realism.  In Flashpoint you can literally shoot an enemy 3 or 4 times before they fall over.  With a single shot sniper rifle this can take what seems like an age.  COD 4 seems that little bit more realistic in that one well aimed shot is generally enough.

So to summarise, Flashpoint 2 is a great game.  If you’ve got friends then go team up for some fun co-op.  Even if you’ve got no friends Flashpoint is still very good.  If however you’re a bit 1337 and your friends happen to be n00bs in need of a good pwning, then you’re probably better to stick with COD 4.