So I made some time in my schedule (read: slacked off) for a bit of gaming, so that I could bring you some impressions today.
I downloaded and played the demo for The Club from XBL. It's such a miniscule demo... and in a game where I feel like the primary strength is going to be online versus matches, they don't let you get online in the demo. The single player match was... okay. Graphics and premise were neat, but I really didn't find much of a challenge in it. Maybe I'm missing something, or maybe I'm not far off in my assumption that this is a multiplayer game with a practice mode they call a "campaign".
So I'm on the fence at this point. The demo didn't turn me off, or have me reeling, it just sort of made me go "huh..." I'll probably pick it up anyway, because throw a bunch of live people in there, and I think it could be a good time.
Burnout Paradise came out yesterday, so I got down with that for a while. Overall, it is definitely a fun title. We're running a Biggest Crash Tournament at Digital Overload, and I think it will be a pretty fun event.
The graphics are pretty outstanding, and the crashes are gnarly. Some of them are so spectacular, I don't see them getting old for a good long while, which is good because I seem to spend half of my time in the game watching crashes. Mostly my own, but sometimes other people.
I plugged in my vision camera to take a picture for my Paradise City License, which was cool. Then I realize that if you leave it plugged in, it tries to take a new picture every time your license is updated (which is a lot), so I yanked that sucker.
The open world racing worried me, but so far it hasn't proved to be a problem. A lot of races are mostly straight-shots anyway, so the ones where you actually have to find your way are a nice additional challenge. The combination of the turn-signal, mini-map and intersection make following the standard route fairly easy once you get used to it, though keeping an eye out for alternate routes and shortcuts is key.
I love that you aren't just awarded cars when you win. Instead they're unleashed into the city, and start driving around furiously until you take them down. So you can hunt them down, or win a bunch of races and have your city crawling with rival cars to take down.
There are things that bug me, but they're pretty minor. My biggest gripe is that there is no driver in the driver seat of your car. I seem to recall Burnout Takedown at least had a stiff-as-a-board driver glued into the seat. Most of the time you don't notice, but when your doors are torn off and you're spinning around in an empty car... it just looks weird. I mean I guess I can just pretend that every car I drive is KITT, but come on. I can only imagine the lack of a driver has to do with maintaining some wussy rating for the game. Or maybe I'm just annoyed because I was playing Saint's Row last weekend and got used to blasting passengers through the windshield in a head-on crash.
Either way, Burnout Paradise is a pretty solid title. I definitely like Road Rage and Marked Man the best, but I've always preferred vehicular combat to straight racing anyway. Bring on a next generation Road Rash and I'll be happy.
For those keeping track, Winter-een-mas starts on Friday. I'm still hard at work with the goal of doing a 7-day story to update throughout the holiday. So get those video game systems warmed up!
Also Digital Overload registration is $50 for a 3-day badge until the end of Winter-een-mas. After January 31st, the price goes up. So get your registration in soon!
We'll be opening sign-ups for tournaments this week, and most of the tournament information has been posted, so you can start practicing. Tournaments have a limited amount of spots this year, so make sure to sign up early if you want to participate. You have to be registered and paid to sign up. If a tournament fills up, we will be starting a stand-by list, to fill any spots that open.
Additionally, we've got a couple of new features we're adding to Digital Overload this year. We're going to have a live band playing in the hall for the first time ever. Saturday evening, Boston-based The Konami Kode will be performing some rock covers of favorite video game themes for attendees.
Also we've developed an event-long Assassination Game that we're going to try out for the first time. Sign-ups for this will start with, or shortly after sign-ups for the tournament, and will also have limited spots for participation.
We've lined up some great new sponsors for the event as well! Zboard will be supporting us for the third year in a row, with lots of World of Warcraft and Zboard swag to give away! And of course you can expect a repeat of the Toss Your Keyboard For A Zboard contest.
ZeStuff is sponsoring our tabletop gaming section this year, with lots of great board games to give away, including a pretty awesome grand prize! Additionally, both Pierre and Simon from ZeStuff will be at Digital Overload hanging out and playing games.
Razer has sponsored the event with lots of cool swag to give away, including some really nice Diamondback G3's as prizes for the Call of Duty 4 tournament.
FSP will join us again, and we'll have lots of power supplies to raffle off and give away as prizes.
With all of our other great sponsors like Sumo, Privateer Press, Game Overdrive, Speak Servers, and with more on the way, we're going to have a a lot of really cool stuff to give away to attendees!