Tag Archive: XBOX 360

Xbox Live finally dropped the demo for Driver: San Franciso on Marketplace, so I decided to go for a test drive. In DSF, Detective Tanner returns once again to take down his longtime arch-nemesis Jericho, who has escaped  from a high-security prison. It’s as simple as that but I’m sure there’s a lot more to the story once we get the full game.

More importantly, it’s good to see the franchise make it on the next-gen platform after mediocre releases such as Parallel Lines and Driver 3. At first glance, DSF takes us back  to 70’s car-chase scenes that are full of adrenaline, excitement and carnage. Very much like the acclaimed titles on the original PlayStation.

I’m also really impressed with new additions from Developer Ubisoft such as over 120 fully licensed cars- including the Porsche 911 and Mustang Shelby for DSF. This is simply one of the best features to ever happen to the franchise. Quite frankly, tearing downhill on the streets of a beautifully rendered San Francisco in an Audi Le Mans is just  awesome.

Another cool yet odd feature to Driver is Shift and this where Driver for all its realism in car chases starts to get hairy. During the first mission, Tanner begins to explain to his partner after his near-death experience in a car-crash that he has the ghost-like ability to take control of anybody driving other vehicles. Like Jones, we find this crazy talk just as unfathomable. Suddenly we’re taking a reticule on screen that can hover over all of San Francisco then zoom and shift us into a different car.

Now Shift is a really cool dynamic that adds something fresh such as trying to finish a race in both 1st and 2nd place as you transport hundreds of meters between vehicles. However, I can’t get over the fact that Shift pushes out the all the realism that other original Driver titles once had. Developers trying to explain Tanner’s new-found powers will leave hardcore fans of the series a bit confused. Like why can’t we just jack other vehicles like normal people in GTA instead of becoming a ghost that can control cars?

Other than that, the gameplay is promising with realistic physics and smooth graphics and texture you expect to see on the next-gen platform, but it also has its shortcomings- The demo is riddled with environmental glitches as your car tends to smash through walls and get stuck in buildings. In addition,  the cars are somewhat built like tanks and handle roughly but after a few runs, you get used to the cars and better at driving.  Since this is the demo, we can cut Ubisoft some slack and hope to see a more presentable retail version when DSF hits stores Sept. 6.

The end credits roll on the plasma TV screen and a satisfied smirk spreads across my face. I just beat Mass Effect 2 on “Insanity” but I’m also tired.  My thumbs are sore with stiff pain and begging for mercy, but I can’t put down the controller yet. I will have to play it all over again for the 15th time. Just when I thought I saved the world from the inevitable onslaught of robot alien space invaders and insectoid monsters. I have been bombarded with tedious assignments of space exploration and more downloadable content, stacking my gameplay time to a total of 195 hours. Yes, I have no life but it’s not my fault. It’s these damn addicting video games.

Today’s modern games are substantial in depth. They are filled with challenges, compelling storylines and technologically advanced gameplay but the only problem is that nowadays, these new games may surprisingly offer too much content.

Hear me out before you label me with the derogatory term “casual gamer.” I’m hardcore! I sleep, eat, drink and poop video games. I’ve played hundreds of online ranked matches in FIFA, spent hours a day destroying over a thousand geth in ME 2 and helped Scott Pilgrim defeat the league of evil exes to win his beloved Ramona Flowers countless times.

But when you work 9 to 5 six days a week and take 15 credits of online classes, you start to realize you don’t have as much time to plough through  stacks of xbox games.

On top of that these games don’t make it any easier with their repetitive and time consuming sideline missions and near-impossible challenges.

For example, after beating GTA IV and the episodes, there are still some fun missions that include gang wars and street races with nitrous-fueled sports cars but it starts to wear on you after 10 and you start to groan painfully at the fact that you have 90 more to go. On top of that you have to kill 200 hidden pigeons and pull off 50 vehicle stunt jumps scattered all over the map. The challenges are long and excruciatingly difficult.

In the Mass Effect series, apart from the main missions, you get swarmed by people who constantly need your help and want you to take on their missions for them. Some have you space-travel to many planets to complete an enemy clear out then report back, and others  can be as minuscule as traveling to a market to buy ingredients  for your staff chef, who is also the janitor.

According to Rockstar, Red Dead Redemption‘s single campaign player takes a whopping 20 to 25 hours to complete. However,  hours may vary among gamers depending on their skill.  In addition to that, the game challenges you to complete a 100 percent of it by hunting every single animal, taking out gang posts, winning poker stakes and other numerous challenges. With all these side missions, that’s another extra 10 hours of gameplay.

Honestly, that’s just too much to ask for us avid gamers, but it’s not all bad. There is a reason why these games offer us so many of these challenges to take on along with countless hours of gameplay. After completing the main story of a particular game, some gamers will take on the side missions and multiplayer because they offer precious replay value. Gamers who also put in the extra time to take in on harder challenges get rewarded by gaining points, leveling up or unlocking new weapons or armor. For me, There’s no denying the level of pride and joy  when that Xbox gamerscore pops onto your screen to notify an unlocked achievement or winning trophies on the PS3.

As time consuming as the extra content is for today’s video games, they offer huge incentives and that’s why we keep playing. I may not have as much time as I used to with but I’m still torn in between this love-hate relationship with today’s video games and I wouldn’t change a thing about them.

When I was a little kid, I remember my big brother had his friends come over to our house to hang out. My brother’s friends also brought some kind of decoder-looking device with them. I was looking at the machine with such awe wondering what it was while they hooked it up to the TV.

It was a video game console and when they turned the power on. I saw the screen flash white with a voice shouting, “SEGA!” in the background. That’s right, the Sega Genesis was the first console I played when I was five-years-old. We all took turns playing Sonic the Hedgehog and the rest was history.

Since then, I became a video game freak. Playing all kinds of video game titles from Contra to Super Mario. I constantly begged my mom to get me the latest game consoles and when she got me my own Sega Genesis, it was like Christmas every day. The excitement that rushed through my body as I played Super Street Fighter II with my older brother for the first time was unforgettable.

As the years went by, video games had evolved from cartoonish 16-bit graphics to amazing 3D graphics with more realistic gameplay. I owned various game consoles like the PlayStation and Nintendo 64. Not to forget the more advanced consoles like the Dreamcast, PlayStation 2 and the XBOX. But it didn’t stop there, from 2005, gamers like me witnessed the introduction of next-generation consoles like the Wii, PlayStation 3 and the XBOX 360. These next-generation consoles totally revamped the gaming experience  becoming a $36 billion industry in the U.S. this year alone.

But from over the years of playing so many video games, I think I developed some kind of life-hindering addiction. I remember constantly thinking about playing FIFA  or how I would beat the new Grand Theft Auto while my professor was babbling about some random topic in class. There were times my friends and I would talk about nothing but video games 24/7. There were times I would not even want  hang out with my friends, go out to play or even talk to my girlfriend because I had to finish HALO or my world would come to an end. I would wake up at night and sneak to the living room and  play from midnight until daybreak every chance I got. 

Then my concerned mother had to seize all  my video games from me. It was a horrible experience whenever she seized my video games; I could feel my nerves twitching anagonizingly, my brain smashing itself against my head and suffocating from this unbearable boredom because I had not played video games for a week. If there was rehab for addicted gamers, I think my family would have an intervention and send me there. Seriously. 

But now that I’m 21, I have managed to outgrow video games just a little bit. I’m doing more productive things and made better use of my time by reading, exercising, hanging out with my friends and even blogging every now and then.  I’m especially proud of myself now that I have more of a life and haven’t been on the couch playing video games all day like I did last summer. I still have my urges but it’s definitely under control. At least I hope so.

Yep, getting high off my 360.

Yep, getting high off my 360.