Beyond Good and Evil

Oooh! It has finally happened. I've been waiting for this ever since it was announced:

Beyond Good and Evil (HD) has landed in the Xbox Live Arcade.

I played this game back in the PS2 era, and it was excellent. Beautiful graphics, a wide variety of game play style, and a combat mechanic that was well forward of its time.

Combat in BGE is very fluid, particularly in the multiple-opponent case. Push the stick in the direction of who you'd like to give the smackdown to, press the attack button, and Jade flows her combat moves over to that opponent. A brilliant set of animations and an easy and direct flow to combat. In modern games, this is best demonstrated by Batman: Arkham Asylum, and how Batman fluidly moves from one opponent to the next.

The game just appeared on XBLA, and is still downloading. I didn't need a trailer or a demo or anything. Bang! MSP 800 away, and the game is mine. Of course, I really should play the damned thing before recommending it, but I will say this is a game you should take a look at.

Driving Skill

If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you'll know that driving games are one of my favorite genres. And that I tend to like "arcade-style" racing games rather than "simulation" driving. In short, give me Burnout any day, over Project Gotham Racing or Forza Motorsport.

A few months ago, I received a 6-month Gamefly subscription as a gift. This was very cool, but also has some drawbacks (and as I write that, I think a future blogpost is coming up). But with this subscription, I've had a chance to rent two driving games so far: Blur and Split/Second.

I saw Blur a long while ago, and it sounded very cool. The trailers looks great. I got the game in the mail and popped it in the Xbox. Sigh. It was back in the mail two days later. Why? Simply put: your driving skill doesn't matter whatsoever. You are totally subject to random events. You fly past your rivals, taking every turn with precision, and then what? ... a freakin' bomb drops on your ass, and you fall back to 3rd place. Did you have any way to avoid it? Nope. It Just Happens. The game is just a frustrating exercise of avoiding random encounters with your opponents, hoping they don't take you out. Sure, you can work your wonders and get the Right defense powerups, but in the end? It doesn't help. You run out of defense much, much faster than the cars behind you run out of shit to throw at you.


Today, I received Split/Second in the mail. I'd played the demo, and it was great fun. Stuff blowing up all around you, making you dodge at the last second. But you can dodge. Your driving skills actually matter in this game. It isn't about a roll of the dice, but about you. Crap blows up around you (awesome!!) and you need to scoot around it. I'm just starting on the game, but it is already apparent that it has got some great fun, and that I need to learn more. If I bring down a bus on a rival to take him out, then I need to be very careful to dodge that same bus! The game lets you know when you've beat yourself down!

Split/Second is going to stay here for a while. After playing for a while, I'll decide whether to return the game (after sufficient play), or to send the game back quickly (to get the next one) and order myself a copy to keep. Regardless of that outcome, this is a fun game, without the defeatist gameplay of Blur.

Try it out! Download the demo, and see what you think.

Plants vs Zombies

This week, there is a sale going on for Plants vs Zombies. I highly recommend this game. There is a lot of replay value in its mini-games, survival modes, and even the gentle Zen Garden. It is quick to pick up, fun to play, and will keep you going to unlock all of the play modes.

Another alternative to downloading the game from Xbox Live Arcade is to purchase a disc with the game. The disc has Plants vs Zombies and comes with Peggle and Zuma. It is just $20 from Amazon, and can be sold off on the secondary market when you're done with it (unlike the download).

A World of Keflings

NinjaBee shipped A Kingdom for Keflings back in 2008. I tried the demo and was hooked, so bought the real game (it is an XBL Arcade game). Other things came up at the time, and I never finished it. Then I got back to the game in September or so and played it through.


Then I saw news that a new Keflings game was coming out. And even better: Major Nelson said that it was going to be part of a holiday series of sales promotions! Just 800 MSP (aka US$10).

I bought A World of Keflings the very day it came out. My wife and I played local coop through the entire game over the next couple days. It is simply one of the best games for this. Most local coop games have one person in charge of the play, and the second person participates in some limited fashion. Not in World of Keflings. Both players are in charge. It does an amazing split screen when the players are distant and then seamlessly merges the two panels into one, when the players are in the same world space. It is completely fluid and does not disrupt gameplay.

There is a fun story and a great sense of humor throughout the game.

This game is a must-buy, whether you are playing by yourself or with a partner.

(and if you're an XBL friend of mine, then don't hesitate to share collectibles with me! I have enough of them to get you one of the achievements)


Tonite, I just saw a new radiangames game ("Fireball") appear in the Indie section. This is their fourth or fifth title so far. As soon as I saw the developer name, I downloaded the trial.

These guys really know how to put together great games and offer them at crazy affordable prices (all their games are 80 points, aka US$1). They have beautiful flowing graphics, great soundtracks, and play mechanics that are easy to learn.

End result? For a buck, you can grab a game that is wonderfully fun to play.

These guys seem to just keep cranking the games out. Maybe one every month or two. I've bought several of them already (including Fireball, tonite!). I'm going to keep watching the Indie games section for them, and if they ever move up to an XBLA or full title? Hell yah.

My eye is on these guys. Highly recommended.


I just finished the indie game BlindGiRl. Very cool puzzle game, with an excellent set of visuals and sound. And for just 80 points (aka US$1). The past hour has been well worth it!



I've been playing Darksiders the past few days. Picked it up on sale at GameStop for just $19.99 (see This is a fabulous price given how new this game is. And it is well worth it!

The combat is sweeping and visceral. You fight against multiple foes, moving among the opponents with massive weapons, and some awesomely bloody "fatality" moves. One of my favorites is jumping up to grab onto a huge bat's neck, then plunging my huge sword up through its body, and ripping it into pieces in a spray of gore.

Yup, similar to God of War, and along the same lines as Dante's Inferno that I commented on earlier.

The game feels pretty linear, as you move through the story, growing your fighting capability. Some basic environmental puzzles in the areas (get this, unlock that, jump here, etc) provides for some light thinking between the episodes of combat. The graphics are detailed, with vast, open spaces to play in.

Metacritic gave Darksiders an 83. I agree, and for just $20, this game is a no-brainer to pick up.