Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Splendid Splinter

I’m not spoiling anything by telling you that the plot of Chaos Theory revolves around tensions between Asian powers China, Korea, and Japan. It’s all laid out in the first cinema before you start to play. It’s extremely topical with the recent protests in China over Japan’s continued lack of a proper apology for wartime crimes. The biggest sticking point (I’m talking about real life and not game plot from here on) is recently approved school books that gloss over Japan’s aggressions during that time period. Great strides have been made between Korea and Japan (although plenty of still work remains to be done), but relations with China continue to decline. Japan’s Prime Minister just came back from a 2-day visit to China with nothing much resolved. There are numerous cultural factors that will make true resolution hard, but I’m hoping for the best.

Maybe it’s because of the real world political climate that I’m still hungry for more Splinter Cell, even though I just beat the single player portion of Chaos Theory last night. I’m guessing it’s the escapist fantasy that a solution in the form of Sam Fisher can straighten the world’s problems that’s so appealing right now. The following may count as a slight spoiler so please note this warning. Through the course of the game, you come into contact with Korean and Japanese forces. It certainly added hours and frustration, but I’m happy to say I killed no other Asians in Chaos Theory. I got rewarded with a higher mission percentage rating, but the true reward was doing my small and mostly inconsequential part in non-violence among Asians.

Ironically, my initial plan was to move on to Jade Empire, a game based on a mythological version of China. I’m still very psyched for Jade, but I may go back and play Pandora Tomorrow for now. I didn’t play it much past the 1st mission when it was released mainly because I was more intrigued by the online bits and ended up getting rid of my Xbox version a while ago. I snagged the very affordable PC version (I think it was like $9 at Target or some similar retailer) for reasons I can’t recall at this moment, but it sure comes in handy now.

The Xbox version of Pandora Tomorrow didn’t support widescreen or even 480p! It still looked pretty decent, but I remember my PC version looking very sharp when I loaded it up back when. I have the latest Logitech analog PC pad, which I’m praying will work somehow with the game. Still, I’m quite torn about not moving on to Jade Empire. I didn’t even mention how much I also want to play Psychonauts, which also comes out this week.

Doom 3…pass. Half-Life 2…bring it!
I checked out the demo of Doom 3 in the lastest issue of the Official Xbox magazine. It’s pretty slick looking and the button functions map beautifully to the Xbox controller, but it’s just not for me. Having played through the PC version at fairly high graphical settings, the Xbox version looks too muddy to me. That’s not the whole reason though since I’m also passing on the PC expansion. I’m not into the demons stuff right now I guess. On the other hand, I couldn’t be happier about the upcoming Half-Life 2 expansion. Thank goodness we won’t have to wait another 5 years to find out what the hell happened.

Best case scenario would be the upcoming Xbox version of HL2 has the original game and the expansion. That would be hot. Playing HL2 on Xbox Live plus getting the expansion would be enough to stomach the trade off in graphical punch. I think. Maybe.

Madden 360
So excuse me for waiting till the end of the column to write about the pics above. A 60- second preview commercial of the new Madden is scheduled to air during the NFL Draft this weekend. The pic on the left is the first teaser pic EA showed at a conference last year and the pic on the right is the one they released yesterday in conjunction with the announcement. At the time of the first teaser, everyone assumed the visuals looked too good to be actual gameplay. The latest pic appears to be from the same footage, but close scrutiny points to very different character models in the two shots. The pics aren’t large enough to properly analyze so I could be outrageously wrong. My gut still tells me the final footage won’t look anywhere near as impressive as the shot on the left promises. Posted by Hello


Jazon said...

Doom 3 was overrated anyway. so was halflife 2.

Wataru Maruyama said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wataru Maruyama said...

I think most people will appreciate the HL2 expansion since there isn't the same level of insane hype around the game now. Instead of looking at it like "I thought HL2 was supposed to cut the crust from my sandwich too" to something more reasonable like "this is a damn fine game that is still a hair ahead of its time".

Awesomelord said...

HL2 added extra crust to my sandwich.