We need a bigger television

A quick review of recent video game purchases in casa Spinneyhead.

Midnight Club: Los Angeles

Drive around a detailed Los Angeles, challenging other drivers to races and winning or buying cars and upgrades.

Good Mayhem, just like in Midnight Club 3. The customising is still fun, though I haven’t yet found a car with the option of a roof chop.

Bad There don’t seem to be as many hidden jumps as in MC3, such as over the aircraft carrier in San Diego or the huge one which gave you 20 to 30 seconds of air time as you flew over several city blocks. Also it doesn’t seem to have a direction, or perhaps I just haven’t challenged enough of the right drivers.

Also available for the Playstation 3.

Burnout: Paradise

Another entry in the Burnout franchise. In Paradise you have a city to explore, the same as in Midnight Club. Rather than challenging other drivers as you find them you can join races at most junctions. There’s a variety of events- racing, survival, point scoring stunt runs and the lunacy of Takedowns. I haven’t found any crash events yet. It would be a shame if one of the best parts of earlier iterations was missing from this one. There are also barriers to be broken down, billboards to smash and top jumps to make, so the fun rarely lets up.

Good Chaos, takedowns and so many things to break.

Bad Possibly no crash events. I write off my car too often (okay, that might be me). Navigation in races can be a pain.

Also available for the Playstation 3.

Dead Rising

This has a lot of promise and I enjoy some features. But certain idiosyncracies make it infuriating. Perhaps if I’d played more survival horror games I wouldn’t have so many problems with it. You play a photojournalist trapped in the biggest scoop of your career- a shopping mall full of zombies. All you have to do is be at the helipad when your three days are up. Along the way you can figure out what has happened, or just kill lots of zombies.

Good Almost anything you can pick up can be a weapon, apart from food which replenishes your lives. My favourites so far are the lawn mower and the hockey stick. The latter saw off nearly a hundred zombies I’d cornered in a narrow hallway.

Bad The controls. Specifically for the radio I’m supposed to use to get missions sent to me. I can never seem to answer it and usually end up dropping weapons instead. Aiming and firing guns is clumsy, making them possibly the least useful weapons.

Also available for the Wii, coming out next year. Maybe the Wiimote will make shooting easier. It should definitely make waving things around more entertaining.

All of these games would benefit from a bigger television to play them on. The racing games are so detailed that you can get overloaded and drive into a wall. Blowing them up would probably help that. Dead Rising has tiny text that I can’t read for the mission briefings, often leaving me with little clue what’s going on. A bigger screen would solve that as well.


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