Rock Band 2 – We were able to get our hands on Rock Band 2 and at the same time test out the special edition ION drums that are sold separately for about $299. The game itself is very similar to the first incarnation with obviously a different set of songs as well as new in-game performance environments. For instance the two songs we had played, the band was put in video shoot type backdrops. One was a plain white room and the other was a black room with neon lights both with zooming camera angles enforcing the feeling of being in a rock video.
As for the instruments, the only major addition/change to the set is the actual drum kit with 3 new symbol pads to go along with 4 drum pads. Whether you are playing the drums packaged with the special edition of the game or the ION drums that can double as an actual drum machine, the positioning of drum pads seem a bit awkward. With 4 pads on the base and 3 symbols up top hitting the far right and far left drum pads accurately (sometimes you will hit the plastic border as opposed to the actual pad) comes with a bit of difficulty depending on how you are seated. The other disappointment with the drum kit is that the symbols are not necessary in game play. They only serve as an alternative to the drum pad coded with the same color.
The one thing the representative wanted to stress as the advantage over the competition is the ability to utilize all your downloaded songs from Rock Band 1 to Rock Band 2.
Infinite Undiscovery – Exclusive to the Xbox 360, this Square Enix game has a more action based approach to the RPG genre than the traditional turn based RPGs Square Enix is so popular in Japan for. With game play mechanics set in all real-time, the action was intense in this playable level as I try fend off bug like monsters while managing my three person party with all the classic RPG elements, all in real time. This is a RPG game that feels like it’s definitely geared towards the North American market and is much faster paced than anything we’ve seen from Square Enix.
Silent Hill 5 – If you’re a fan of the Silent Hill games and universe, the fifth iteration of the game doesn’t really stray too much away from that. With updated graphics, a new storyline, and minor tweaks to the controls that are a bit wonky. Nevertheless, anyone who has been a fan of any Silent Hill game shouldn’t be disappointed with this one.
Spiderman Web of Shadows – This new and improved Spiderman game comes packed with an original storyline, cameos by other Marvel heroes (Wolverine confirmed) and most importantly a new game play mechanic that allows you to choose the traditional Spiderman suit or the darker symbiote suit. Each with their own moves set and attributes. The choice itself impacts how the public in this sandbox game perceives you either as a hero or someone to be feared and thus affecting the overall progress of the story and game.
As with other previous Spiderman games, you are able to swing around the city to your hearts content however the combat system has been beefed up significantly. From the ground with destructable/usable objects like cars, to the side of buildings, and from my experience in mid air as I tried to defeat one of the bosses while using oncoming henchmen as stepping stones to keep myself elevated.
This is definitely a game to watch as it etches closer and closer to its Holiday release date.
Lips – Microsoft’s answer to Sony’s Singstar, Lips ups the ante with motion control and the ability to sing along to songs from your Zune or Ipod. Singing “Young Folk” by Peter, Bjorn and John, the presentation seemed to be almost identical to Sing Star however the motion sensitive microphone that also lights up is a neat addition but not defining. The motion control adds the mechanics of raising/moving your microphone at certain points of the songs for a higher score and rating. While singing, a second player can take a controller and press buttons sequentially to add to the instrumental part of the music.
There was no demonstration on the much hyped use of the Zune or Ipod for personalized singing experiences.
Tomb Raider Legend – The playable level was set in Thailand where a new model Lara Croft was set to explore her vast surrounding. In typical Tomb Raider fashion the playable level was more exploration based as opposed to shoot ’em up action. The level sported a much more interactive setting than I’ve seen in any past Tomb Raider game allowing Lara to grab, hang, and climb on to almost anything in her environment. The graphics were also well presented rivaling the detailed and lush environments of Uncharted for the PS3.
The Crystal Dynamics representative was still pretty hush on the storyline as it is still being kept a secret. When prompted to explain the released trailer of the game, where Lara Croft is seen blowing up her own mansion filled with artifacts and treasures, the rep had no comment.
Years after the groundbreaking first Tomb Raider, and countless sequels that followed and just seemed to fall off the radar, this looks like the game to bring Lara Croft back to the forefront.