Slow Roll

Word on the street is that the 360 is going to roll out slowly, rather than with a big bang of deliveries. Sounds like they are probably just starting production, so the pace of delivery will be gated by how fast they can build the boxes. I'm crossing my fingers that I'll get my 360 reasonably soon. Not getting it on the first day is fine since I'll be away for the Thanksgiving break, but you can be damned sure that I want my box once I return...

One of the recent stories made it sound like most of the preorder places have sold out through most of the year. Kinda silly to say that, as who the heck knows what the production rate will be. But it does say one thing: if you're hot on getting a 360, then don't take any chances.

That said, I still have a billion other xbox games to play. There is still much much fun to be had. Play on!


Been a while since I've actually finished a game. Been playing a bunch of stuff, but in the past few days, I've finished both Far Cry: Instincts and Jade Empire. Reviews of each shortly.

I also pretty much completed Burnout Revenge, but there are still a good chunk of unlocks to do, and some races where I need to improve my rating (and medal).

Briefly: all three of these games are excellent. They're different genres, so pick a genre that you enjoy and then go pick up one of these games. You can't go wrong.

Far Cry: Instincts


So Far Cry has been on my hit list for a long time. It hit the PC last year, but I held out waiting for the Xbox version. My buddy picked it up for the PC and said it was great. Still I held...

A friend was in town, so I bought the game for us to play with. Woo. Far Cry is amazing. The graphics are awesome. Sure, it looks a bit wacky as you crawl through some of the bushes, but I have never seen some of the "extra touches" that these guys thought of. When you're swimming and come up out of the water, your vision is blurred for a bit until your eyes clear of water. Who the heck thought of that?!! Kudos!

This game has FPS bits, vehicles (ATV, Humvee, jet ski, boat, and hanglider so far!), stealth, awesome animations and sound, and more. It looks like the game is maybe 15 to 20 hours long (good), and has been very engaging. The plot opens up very well, though it can be disconcerting when you think that you got totally blasted while on your ATV, but it is just a cutscene taking over. A very excellent transition which also moves the story along.

I'd say this game is very close to something like Soldier of Fortune 2: Double Helix in terms of overall gameplay. It is mostly killing instead of stealth. I'd be surprised if you could get by most of the areas without some serious killing. But it is not your basic first-person shooter either.

Great looking game. Great audio. Very fun and engaging gameplay. Recommended!

(and no, I'm not going to drop hints about the "feral abilities"... hehe...)

The Xbox 360

So if you're curious about the two versions of the Xbox 360, they're detailed on the site. Check out the product page.

I'm going for the "premium" version. All the way, baby.

Hmm. Seems they dropped the premium label, in favor of plain and "core"


A friend of mine was concerned about preordering his Xbox 360, saying that GameStop was told by Microsoft to stop taking preorders. That Microsoft had already presold every thing they could build. I called my local GameStop, and sure enough... no love.

But wait! Not so fast there, smokey. I called EBgames, and the guy said "Sure, we're taking preorders. Filled up the first batch, but you should be in the next batch. And heck, with the amount of preorders we have, Microsoft could even increase our first delivery, so you might be lucky." Woo!

So I dropped by the store today, forked over my $50 deposit, and got my preorder for the premium system. If you want a system this year, then I'd highly recommend that you get yourself to a store and preorder. Call ahead to your local game store to double-check. Generally, you also want to avoid the web-based preorders — they're bundling a bunch of games and other stuff which you may not want. Brick & mortar stores will do barebones systems.

The countdown begins...

Update: yes, I know GameStop and EBgames are the same company. Why they have different policies... well, they'll probably be managed quite separately for a while.

Burnout: Revenge

Well, the latest in the Burnout series is just as excellent. By now, I would assume most people have read the reviews. IMO, most people should have copies, too. Simply an awesome game.

The graphics, sound, and handling have all been improved. The crashes are even better, and the new crashbreaker is awesome. During races, when your crash, you can pop off a crashbreaker to take down your opponents. Man was I psyched the time that I took out all five enemy cars at once. Had done 4-way kills before, but I finally got a 5-way.

The crashbreaker lends a whole new style and consideration to the race types in Burnout. For example, there is the "Crashbreaker Road Rage" mode. If somebody takes you out, you can quickly smack your crashbreaker to take them out, too. But if they're too far away... you just lost all your boost to catch up. I found that you generally didn't want to use crashbreakers in road rage — the enemy cars are almost always ahead of you (and usually, you use the crashbreak to kill off cars behind you by waiting for them to drive up near your wrecked car).

The crash mode lost its replay, though. And that sucks. When you're going for that perfect crash, you kinda want to see how you goofed up. The new "Traffic Attack" mode is also pretty difficult until you learn that you have to bounce cars into buses and trucks to get that maximum time extension. Even then, it can be hard, so this was one of my least favorite new modes.

One thing that I definitely noticed is that the highest end cars are not as fragile. In Burnout 3: Takedown, zooming around in a formula racer was always a dance on the edge of death. But in Burnout Revenge, you can smack them around quite a bit more which makes the races much less frustrating.

And a kudos to the new medal and rating system. It means you're going for both technique and crazy driving to max your score. Nice.

At this point, you have to ask yourself: buy it now for the Xbox, or wait a couple months and buy it for the 360? I couldn't wait...

Stealthy Games

I got a request on one of the blog comments for a stealthy game other than Thief: Deadly Shadows or the Splinter Cell series. But are there really games other than those?! Yes! Not to fear!

Last year, I posted about Hitman: Contracts. If you're looking for stealthy, then Hitman is definitely a must have. You can play a game in pure stealth mode. I'm not quite that refined... (ahem) but it might be perfect for you.

There are stealth elements in a lot of games. One of my favorite games was Beyond Good and Evil. Beautiful game. Fun. Lots to do. Story. It has stealthy elements, but I wouldn't really call it a stealth game. Games like Psi Ops: Mindgate Conspiracy also have some stealth.

But for hardcore stealth: Thief, Splinter Cell, Hitman.

Go get 'em...