Gears of War – Working Together

I know, I know – I decided on Splinter Cell:Double Agent over Gears of War and other games. But this past week I rented and as my XBox 360’s Blog points out I’ve been playing Gears of War with my sons and online friends, and I’m impressed. Graphics, story, music and sounds, and especially the cooperative play.

As fun as multiplayer-battle games are, I have the most fun with games where players are working together toward an objective, and Gears of War‘s co-op shines. Not only can a player join another’s campaign at just about any point without interrupting the story-line, but you’re encouraged and rewarded for doing so. Both players get credit for having completed a section, the second player can earn additional achievements for helping, and both players get credit when one picks up a “COG Tag.” There are sections where cover-fire is just about required to be completed, and as in a real battle whenever one player’s character is injured, the other needs to come back to them and revive them.

In Gears of War, more than any other game I’ve played, co-op really means working together rather than just playing at the same time.

Gaming Decision Made

I made my decision. Between Splinter Cell:Double Agent, Rainbow 6 Vegas, and Gears of War I was torn, but then I picked up Splinter Cell: Double Agent for my son and had a few days to play it before he came home from college that weekend. When he got home I told him he had to buy a copy for himself- I was keeping the copy I’d bought.

Sam FisherI’m really enjoying Double Agent. The solo missions are tough — downright hard — and very good. And I really like the co-op missions (which you get to play in the demo). These are three-person teams playing against AI players; either you’re a set of spies or the folks chosen to defend against spies. Get a couple of friends together and play through the missions as spy first, to learn your way around the various buildings.

There are a whole lot of people diving into Gears of War and Call of Duty 3 today, and that’s cool – there are plenty of games to go around. For now though, I’m happy adding another Splinter Cell to my library.

Decisions, decisions, decisions

Ah,an XBox 360 it’s not even Halloween yet and the run-up to Christmas has begun — with so many new games either just now available or coming very soon. That means it’s time for gamers to be looking at game videos, demos and reviews as well at getting together with their friends to decide what the next thing to buy will be.

What’s on the list? How ’bout Splinter Cell: Double Agent (available now), Rainbow Six Vegas, Gears of War, Viva Piñata, Star Trek: Legacy, Forza Motorsport 2 (early ’07, get your pre-orders in) and more.

Life is full of choices, LIVE even more so.

XBox Live is dead, Long Live XBox Live

Actualmente Xbox.com está en proceso de actualización.

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Estaremos de regreso próximamente con toda la información que necesitas sobre Xbox, Xbox 360, y tus juegos favoritos.

No, no, no… definately not dead, just resting and recharging for bigger and better community gaming action starting soon.

Everything’s Connected, if You Look Far Enough

One of my favorite nonfiction authors, Steven Johnson, has an article in today’s New York times: The Long Zoom. He writes about Will Wright’s still-in-development game, Spore, and the way it can help people take a set back to look at the bigger picture and how their actions are connected into it.

Spore’s players will get to experience firsthand how choices made on a local scale — a single creature’s decision to, say, adopt an omnivorous lifestyle — can end up having global repercussions.

Those connections, between one’s actions and the consequences that aren’t seen right away, are a big part of maturity. Johnson posits that perhaps games like this one would be g good educational too, and I agree. Exploration is a powerful tool for learning.

Connections are always interesting, and the next book I’m starting is in it’s own way connected. Recommended by Alex Lindsay (or was it Emery Wells? It was one of the TWIM guys), The Victorian Internet is about the rise and decline of the telegraph, and offers the promise of connections to today’s online experience.

Lego and Star Wars – A Great Combination

A big thank you goes out to John Porcaro, for giving me a nudge. I had seen talk about LEGO® Star Wars® II: The Original TrilogyScreenshot from Lego Star Wars II in various forums, but hadn’t really thought much about it. The other evening I saw an ad on TV that made it look pretty cool, and then John poked me via IM and asked if was going to get it. I went an looked a bit more and then last night grabbed it from Blockbuster – and boy am I glad I did. (When the rental period was over, we went and bought a copy, too.)

This is a great game! It’s fun to play, has some really funny and irreverent cut scenes (I can’t believe that Lucas approved all of it. “You have to ask yourself how did they get away with this? Surely LucasArts normally go mad at people playing with their property?” says OXM UK’s review) and in-game sets, and it’s a wonderful game to play – with the kids or just being a kid yourself. Haven’t we all, for decades now, wanted to rescue the princess and blow up the Death Star?

Besides, just how often do you get to see Chewbacca trying to wear a stormtrooper helmet?

The short version: this is easily the best family game available for consoles today.

(btw, Lego Star Wars II is available for PlayStation as well as XBox and XBox 360 consoles.)

Today’s The Day

If you have an Xbox 360 but aren’t yet signed up with Xbox LIVE, today’s the day (yes, Rob, this means you). Today’s the day to get your butt back home, plug that network cable in and get signed up. At least get signed up with a Silver membership. tiny screencap of Texas Hold 'Em game

Why today? Easy – to get a free game. Free’s good, right? And hey, free’s even better when it’s a game you can play with your friends. Starting this morning, for 48 hours only (and some of those hours are gone already, so you better get yourself movin’), Texas Hold ’em is free to download. So what are you waiting for? Sign up, visit the marketplace and get yer’ poker game, and let me know when you’re ready to loose some chips.

C’mon man, let’s play!