Tuesday, July 18, 2006


The reservations are made... We'll be in Alabama around the beginning of September. I'm excited to get home and see friends and family after more than a year away, and I'm not sure I'll want to come back when it's all done with. Well, only 10 months to go on the lease, I guess. =)

I picked up ChromeHounds for the Xbox 360 last week. It is a beautiful game and has all of the depth you could want from a mech sim. However, the single-player missions are horribly designed; the game has no friend-or-foe recognition at all (other than examining a target's camo pattern, which is difficult during duststorms or night deployments), and there's no way to track mission objectives. Often the game will tell you to do something very general ("destroy enemy units in the northwest"), and you'll end up failing the mission because the enemy units left the northwest, or your AI allies stupidly charged ahead and got killed.

The recommended "stock" mechs it gives you usually aren't up to the task either. In one mission, I was tasked with guarding a convoy. Unfortunately, the mech that was given to me was much slower than the convoy. So by the time I eliminated the first threat, the group I was escorting was so far up the road that I couldn't defend them. I ended up having to build a super-fast hover-mech with a few quick-firing shotguns to beat that mission. Once I get into the multiplayer side of things, I think I'm going to enjoy ChromeHounds a lot more.

Hillary and I have been playing a lot of Dynasty Warriors 5, as well (or as she puts it, "let's kill some Chinese dudes!"). I will go on record by saying that it is not, in fact, a very good game. The AI is dumb, the graphics are sub-par for a 360 title, and the strategy "boardgame" portion is repetitive and lacks much depth. Fortunately, it's still fun. You get to take a badass samurai and literally kill armies with him. The little red dots on the map taunt you, whispering "oh come on, just take one more supply base". It's also one of the few co-op games we've found on the 360, so it scores major points there.

We started watching the first season of "Dead Like Me" last night, and it's great so far. I've heard that there are a lot of similarities with "Wonderfalls" (especially since there's a snarky, sarcastic female slacker as the lead role), and I can definitely tell where people got that idea. Even the camerawork is similar, with a lot of creative angles and colorful background composition. Since the two shows were filmed at the same time for different networks on different sides of the continent (one in Quebec, one in Los Angeles), I'm sure it's unintentional, but it's still kind of cool. Wonderfalls was killed far too early, so Dead Like Me can be its spiritual successor.


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