Before leaving, though, I played Far Cry 2 for another evening, at one point infiltrating a marina mercenary base and blowing up their fuel supply for one of my buddies. I think I'm going to parcel this game out over several months or years like I have Oblivion and likely will Fallout 3, as well. Speaking of Oblivion, I'm planning to pop that in just this evening after writing up this post and having dinner.
Arriving at some friends' house for a barbecue, the outdoor munching and conversation shifted indoors as the sun went down and the mosquitoes came out. In a gathering full of moderate to hardcore gamers, it's no wonder Left 4 Dead on the 360 on my friend's 47" TV was a big hit. My friend's wife (he prefers to watch) and I played through the No Mercy campaign right up to the end, and she (Louis) and I (Bill) were the only two to make it onto the helicopter to escape. The game plays very well on the 360, but the limit of 2-player only for splitscreen kind of sucks for what is meant to be a 4-player experience.
Everything else I played over the past week has been portable. I worked a little further into the fourth trial (Miles Edgeworth as the defendant) in the first Ace Attorney game on a couple of plane rides, and started Galaxy On Fire on my iPhone, and played completely through Underworlds, also on said device. There's no denying the iPhone as a powerful platform for gaming at this point.
Galaxy On Fire is a fully 3D mission-based space flight game, a la Colony Wars, albeit suitably simplified for the platform. I have to go against my usual stance here and recommend tilt controls over the digital analog (not an oxymoron) stick. Touch-sensitive Dpads/sticks just do not work very well for me at all. I can sort of hack it in iDracula just by sliding around in a circle, but here it's too imprecise and you end up obscuring too much of the screen. Thankfully, the tilt controls work pretty well in GOF, and you can enable autofire on your ship's cannons just by double-tapping the fire button. The game features a familar mission progression and seems to later enable free roaming in the galaxy and all the cargo trading you'd expect in a space game. I'm looking forward to playing more. This was a pretty awesome value for $3.
I believe I have written on this blog that I would be all over a Diablo-alike for the iPhone, and true to my word, I was all over Underworlds for a couple of days, playing right through it (about 3 hours) and starting another run immediately thereafter. It's basically Diablo shoehorned onto the iPhone. It's definitely not as polished or eminently replayable as Diablo, and it kind of runs like shit, but there is enough there to make for a pretty addictive mobile dungeon hack. I'll outline a list of wishes for the next update or sequel:
- It needs to run better, with less stuttering in the frame rate.
- Touch controls need to be more sensitive and precise.
- There needs to be more than one real character class (the melee-centric warrior).
- Gear changes should be reflected on the character model, ideally.
- The level cap (10) needs to be done away with to encourage replays on higher difficulty settings.
- There needs to be a better shopkeeper interface for choosing which loot to buy/sell.
- There was music, but I barely noticed it.
I fear this reads like I hated the game, but that's really not the case at all. I really enjoyed it, and have spent more time with it than any other iPhone game with the possible exception of Galcon. Underworlds is a really solid foundation for an excellent Diablo clone, and for $1, it's practically an obligatory purchase.