Call of Duty 2 (360) – Replay Impressions

So I’m going for what I think are easy Xbox Live achievement points in that completing Call Of Duty 2’s missions on the hardest, Veteran mode, should be relatively easy (60 points for each mission plus an overall bonus).

That was a huge mistake at least in that thought process.

I realize that for the computer AI to get a leg up over you, the player, it needs to cheat a bit, but I swear, just getting through the entire Russian campaign took a heck of a long time simply because there were so many points where you’d be shot immediately after poking your head around the corner because the game cheated badly with soldiers knowing exactly where you are as if I were playing a wall-hacked CounterStrike game.  Again, I have to say it is a matter of making it fair to the computer since once you’ve died, you now know where to expect the enemy and thus makes it easier to defeat them, but there’s also something to be said about the near-perfect aiming with machine guns at long range that makes me wonder how many tricks the AI is pulling here.

I’m similarly working through the harder levels on Gears of War, but it’s interesting how learning to use cover in Gears is helping me alot to think about some strategies on the more open points for COD2.

And it’s actually surprising that this game looks, well, poor, given what’s come out since, but more that it feels much more like a direct PC port or a game where the graphics engine was standardized among all consoles and PC and not given any spit and polish for the 360.

Burnout Revenge (360) – Replay Impressions

I completed the main series of events a long time ago, but decided to pick this back up as I realized I was missing much of the non-online achievements (mostly through completely each rank level perfectly, which along the way includes completing all the basic game modes).  It is still an extremely fun game though there’s certain parts of it that shine and other parts that are really annoying:

  •  Basic and elimination races are still fine.  These are usually easy enough to win and get perfect ratings as long as you screw it up on the last turn
  • Crash mode is probably the best part of the game.  I’d almost say that a Burnout game comprised only of Crash modes would be awesome, though I realize it would get boring – the mix of crash and race modes is what made Burnout Revenge the polished title it was.  A few crash points require being extremely accurate when you launch off in order to make the gold, but thankfully it’s easy to reset these if you fail (you don’t have to wait for loading screens unlike the other modes)
  • Burning/Preview laps are sufficiently hard – you have to basically be boosting all the time as to get the rating up to Awesome, particularly on shorter routes, and you have to be wise about shortcuts that you take – some may save a few seconds in one point but prevent you from getting a better time cut in a second route.  However, these really do help you to learn the routes (including the little stubs on walls that can crash you) for the other modes.
  • Traffic Attack mode – The only mode that using boost is actually bad, save when you have no traffic you can use to attack.  Plus, when you use the boost, it’s hard to tell what is a good truck you can hit safely, and a bigger truck that you’ll crash against.  Usually I found I needed to play these a few times to know where the major traffic patterns were so, such that I knew where I needed to boost through to avoid the wasted seconds in the slow parts.  Also learning how get trick shots (sending a car into a larger vehical) was key.  Getting the Awesome rating then usually comes easy as you do these, though once you get gold, you can boost without impunity to get your rating up.
  • Road Rage mode – The most annoying mode for me, as while I could deal with the time issue, it’s the fact that you actually can only crash so many times before the race is over.  There seems to be a lot more traffic on these, so making it through without crashing is a rarity, so it becomes a combination of knowing the tracks (as in Burning laps) and knowing the usual traffic patterns, and then knowing the tricks of how to bring takedowns (like riding a competitor right behind them while they are on rail, for example)

The largest annoyance in trying to complete these achievements; 4 stars is usally very easily but that 5th star (whether it’s the gold rating or the awesome rating) is the hard part, and unfortunately, if you restart or retry a race you have to wait for the game to reload the race which takes about 15 seconds.  For some Road Rage races, I had to spend close to a hour between racing and restarts to get the stars.

Still, regardless of the technical problems, I cannot wait until the next Burnout game which looks like it will take very good advantage of the next gen systems.