2010: The Year in Review

So, with 2010 drawing to a close, and after enduring my last New Year’s Eve as a thirty-something, I take heart in the old adage: another year older, another year wiser, right?

Erm… not quite.

2010 turned out to be an odd year, rife with emotional turmoil and great steps forward in responsibility, mixed (paradoxically) with chunks of silly self-indugence; and that personal stuff impacted on my beloved hobby somewhat. This year marked the first time in years that I’d failed to complete a game in a calendar month… not once, but twice, with December being barren as well. But I don’t feel as unhappy about that as I thought I would: massive inroads into long-standing bugbears were made in December; the foundation of an assault on The List in the year ahead.

But enough yakking; it’s time for my light-hearted, piss-weak, ridiculously-limited-and-skewed look back on 2010!

The Where-Have-You-Been-All-My-Life Award: Why hello, Miss Fifty-Two Inch Telly with HDMI Inputs; I do love you so very much, and can’t possibly imagine what life would be like without you now… Side-by-side, or Picture-in-picture, is the most wonderful thing to have happened to my Gaming World in aeons. Miss Portal was a worthy runner-up, but so far back in the field it didn’t matter.

Blast From The Past Award: So… Chrono Trigger, eh? 70 hours in, and only one of the thirteen endings unlocked. Bloody nice game too. RPG-grinding goodness just made for those long plane flights I suffer for my work.

Proudest Achievement of the Year: After hours and hours of shit-yourself scaredy-cat timid play, I finally beat Halo: Reach on Legendary… solo. A Monument to All Your Sins was mine.

The “Go Fuck Yourself” Dismissal: Introduced last year, this Award allows me to vent at a game that annoys me. This year’s winner? Astropop. May I never play – or mention – it again.

Disappointment of the Year: Not much of a contest for this one; No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle takes the gong for taking a big steaming shit over everything that was wonderful about the original game (my Game of the Year for 2008).

WTF Gaming Moment of the Year: Pretty much all of Bayonetta. Wackiness from beginning to end.

Surprise Discovery of the Year: Back in 2006 I bought Gears of War and, after completing all the campaign elements, I tried out the online multiplayer… and was disgusted by the nature of the people who habited that world. Arrogant, gobby fucks, the lot of them. So imagine my surprise when, returning to Gears for the first time in three years to do a bit of Achievement boosting, I discovered that the vast majority of people still playing the game were kind, fun-loving, and considerate… a delight to play with. Massive props to Lita, narv, beets, Bolch, Raven, Slash, Danger, and others who I’ve just offended by failing to explicitly mention… you guys (and gal) are awesome :)

The “I am the King of the World” Throw-Your-Arms-In-The-Air Trophy: I like the name of this one, and it goes to Braid – or, more specifically, the whittling down of my speed runs until the final Achievement popped, and all the Hidden Stars were collected. An utterly wonderful game, and a totally doable – and immensely rewarding – Achievement.

The Shrugging “Huh?” (for Most Notable Lack of Comprehension for Critical Acclaim): Uncharted. Why, exactly, do people rave about this game, with its sloppy controls? Or am I only going to figure it out on my fourth painful playthrough?

Multiplayer Moment of the Year: Boosting in Gears when three people popped their “Seriously” Achievement in one session was pretty impressive; but Crackdown 2 takes this award for the Battle Bus adventures I experienced with a bunch of people online.

The More-Of-The-Same… And-We-Like-It-That-Way Appreciation Award: Super Mario Galaxy 2 takes this one easily, after Crackdown 2 sadly failed to challenge it. Galaxy 1.5 it may be, but that’s just fine by me; the gameplay is as solid as a rock, and just as rewarding as the original.

The Easy-Peasy… Oh Shit! Discovery Award: This is a new award intended to honour the game that looked like an easy one to beat, but reveals itself to be a List-haunter. After Burner Climax was a doddle to get all 200 GS in, but obtaining all the medals in Score Attack mode? Insane, and about as doable for me as Wave 100 in Robotron. Whoops… a great example of an impulse buy gone bad.

The “I Love You… Honest” Missive of the Year: Get ready for a surprise… because the PS3 console hardware takes the gong. I love my Slim, it’s a beautiful box of electronic goodness – quiet, cool(-ish), and powerful. If only the DualShock controller, XMB software, and PSN were up to the same high standard…

Under-Appreciated Game of the Year: Why oh why aren’t more people raving about Costume Quest? It was the perfect example of a bite-sized, joyous, downloadable nugget of a game, with a wonderful sense of humour and awareness.

AAA-HypeTitle I Missed Award: CODBLOPs. Gran Turismo 5. Red Dead Redemption. Heavy Rain. Mass Effect 2. Assassin’s Creed. I missed ’em all.

Boomshanka – that’s 2010 over and done with. And, for the first time in ages, I don’t have a post ready-to-go about my game of the year… because I like to have crossed stuff off The List before assembling the final article. I like to have experienced all the game has to offer before I clumsily rant about how great it is. And the two real contenders for my Game of the Year are both still firmly on The List.

Halo: Reach coupled a fantastic campaign (which encouraged you to empathise with characters you knew were going to die) with stunningly flexible multiplayer; rich stats tracking wreaks havoc with my OCD, meaning I’ll never be truly satisfied until I hit that Inheritor rank… in another 19.4 million cRedits’ time. Until then, I’ll be ducking in for my Daily Challenges, popping grunts in the head, and belting through the campaign again… and loving every second of it.

But Reach misses out.

Because my 2010 Game of the Year is Bayonetta.

From the moment I first saw Bayonetta in her first teaser trailer – a few brief glimpses and half a lingering calf – I was smitten. A strong female lead in a game of gunplay? Oh, yes please. But when the first gameplay videos came out, I became conflicted; it looked like a hack-and-slash button masher, a style of play with which I’m completely cack-handed. But when I got my copy (well, two copies, really… with playing cards and Scarborough Fair replica pistols) in my hands, all concerns were erased; Bayonetta plays amazingly well, allowing even the clumsiest player to bludgeon their way through to the utterly gobsmacking ending. The combat also has incredible depth; there’s oodles of different combos and attack options, always something new to learn, but endless options should one route prove too difficult.

I love it.

And the storyline… words can’t describe it. I cannot imagine a crazier progression; sure, I’ve engaged in battles on the wings of flying aircraft before, but I haven’t laid the smack down on a many-cocked god-like creature with my hair-fists before. I’ve not had the opportunity to unleash my hirsute hair suit (see that! clever!) as a demonic monster that bites the heads off enemies while I look on, comfortable in my statuesque nudeness. I’ve not ridden a motorbike along the body of a space-bound rocket, punched a space-statue in the eye, battled a massive deity, then flung her through space, guiding her into the sun.

I mean, seriously… Bayonetta won the WTF Gaming Moment of the Year for good reason. But it’s winning my 2010 Game of the Year for a thousand better reasons.

HaloHaloHalo (and a little bit of Crackdown)

Just a really quick one this week (or fortnight, as the case may be), because I’ve been doing bugger all for the last five weeks while I’ve been off work but I’m heading into the office again tomorrow and I’m completely unprepared and I’m worried that my sleep pattern is all out of whack and stuff.

With my little writing exercise successfully completed, I thought about giving myself a nice little project for my remaining holidays: visit the folks? Did that. Finish populating The Moobaarn? Well, I did a bit of that. Have a nice relaxing read? Did a tiny bit of that. Resurrect one of my coding projects? Avoided that like the plague.

Play a shitload of Halo games? Oh, alright then.

But first, I wrapped up Crackdown 2 with a sizeable amount of multiplayer. Now, more will be written (hopefully) about Crackdown 2 later on, but the multiplayer components are definitely its strong points. There’s lots of fun to be had, even if it is derived from people who quit a game because their team is losing, then immediately search for another game… and get matchmade with, surprise surprise, the under-manned team they just left. Again and again and again.

So – Crackdown 2 off The List. And I looked at the vast amount of time I had off, and at the remaining multiplayer Achievements I had on the 360… and I thought I might clear a few of them up.

First stop: a Halo 3 boosting session, abandoned by its “host”. I’d already committed to the session, and had created a little spreadsheet of all participants’ required Achievements and cross-referenced them with maps and gametypes. Three hours later, everyone who joined in had every Achievement they required; I cajoled the group where necessary, kept everyone focussed, and reveled in their delight. And when the sole Achievement I required popped… well, I was pretty damn pleased.

But that left one Halo 3 Achievement outstanding: the Vidmaster Annual. Final level, Iron Skull, four players, all finishing on ghosts. My usual crew seems to have disbanded (or, more accurately, gained aspects of life that I’m too immature to indulge in myself), and I’d read a guide on Vidmaster Annual that had mentioned the Spartan I Project, who were “available for hire” (worry not – no items of value change hands).

So – one forum post later, and I’ve got a team, well versed in the art of this Achievement. And, with their guidance, it doesn’t take long before the Achievement pops – and it was a lot of fun, too, whetting my appetite for a Solo Legendary run through Halo 3. Instead, I started a Solo Heroic run, and got about three chapters in (on the road to Voi) before becoming irritated by the lack of friendly checkpoints.

And then the DLC for Halo: Reach was released. Cue a somewhat painful boosting session for that, with one participant continually whining that he wanted another specific Achievement… even after being politely told “no; set up another session for that”. Over and over. Still, Achievements were achieved, and another session wrapped up the last of my Reach Achievements… for now.

Finally came ODST. Now, my memories of ODST were not fond, but I found myself in a Firefight with another Aussie and a couple of Americans that went really quite well. We cleaned up a couple of Firefight Achievements, and then I thought (as with Halo 3 previously) that I might start a Solo Heroic run, just to see what it was like. But I slipped, and accidentally selected Legendary… what the hell, I thought, I’m going to play that eventually anyway.

So I started playing through the levels on Legendary. And bloody hell ODST is good. In fact, I couldn’t stop playing it all weekend – cricket and work-prep be damned! – and I’ve only got the final level to go before it’s done. Boy, knocking ODST off The List would make a pretty nice Christmas present…

More CrackHaloBraidWars

Just a very quick one this week, because I’m just about to scoot back to my childhood home to spend some time with my folks. My writing continues unabated and, despite the fact that the novel itself is turning out to be utter trash (what was intended to be a cutting analysis of modern social networking and the Baby Boomer / Gen X divide has morphed into a deathly dull diatribe about some bloke who just wanders around letting stuff happen to him. But he’s managed to get lucky and, as a result, I’m now deeply envious of him), I’ve managed to get a stack of gaming in this week.

(Read that first paragraph again. Check out that mighty fine structure, with the massive bracketed bollocks in the middle messing up any flow the paragraph may have had. Yeah, I’m a writer ;)

Last week, I ended my post with a tiny little snippet that said I was starting to tackle Braid again. And, dear lord, did it sink its teeth in. I basically played that game for three days straight, improvising and analysing and testing and replaying speed runs over and over again in order to snaffle my last outstanding Achievement on the game, and finally managed to snaffle it (the tale itself is long and boring, but I like it; that’ll be another post, I reckon). But that wasn’t enough to knock Braid off The List, oh no! I went back and bested all the Challenge Times for all the speed runs, then went and hammered out all the hidden Stars. Maybe it wasn’t the Herculean effort that it felt like at the time, but I was mighty pleased to have managed it. Off The List.

What was next, then? Geommie Wars 2, and the Smile Achievement. Much practise, little progress. Harrumph.

But then Crackdown 2 got its Deluge DLC and, despite another rocky start with the DLC installation (the DLC was available for purchase from Marketplace for a good nine or ten hours before the title update that enabled it), it’s again managed to up the interest factor in Crackdown 2. Deluge adds yet more new abilities to your character, and adds some arcadey Horde and CTF modes which are pretty bloody good fun. Though I’m pretty sure there’s a large number of people out there who consider me a griefer for my penchant to spam the helicopters in Deluge mode; certainly, several gained the habit of blowing all the helicopters up before I could get near them.

And so to my final big session for the week, a Halo 3 multiplayer boosting session. I had a solitary social Achievement outstanding, and I joined a boosting team in order to try and snaffle it. The team’s instigator didn’t even turn up to his own session, so I – and my trusty spreadsheet of attending players and Achievements and maps – became the default Master of Ceremonies. And it was a delight – hammering through Rumble Pit and, later, Team Mythic maps, we managed to stay focussed on the tasks at hand… with the occasional devolution into the random explosive mayhem that can make Halo multiplayer so much fun. In the end we managed to get everyone all the social multiplayer Achievements, so it felt like a really productive session.

One more thing before I dash off to the bus station: last week I was quite remiss in not mentioning that I’d managed to snaffle one of the pre-order versions of the Japanese No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle sets (the Hopper Edition – try to buy at Play-Asia). Since it was a pre-order, I managed to grab the “erotic comic” that was issued with it, and… yeah. It’s interesting to see some more of Suda51’s ideas in the NMH universe, and more interesting still to see the Japanese trailers and FMVs from the first game, but… hmmm. Dunno whether it was worth expanding The List for, y’know?

For now – toodle-oo. I’m off to, literally, revisit my childhood.

I Love A Good Grind…

After last week’s aggressive chunk of negativity (which I like to think was cathartic), I’m going to tap out a few words on something near and dear to my heart… something I often forget about until I realise I’m knee-deep in its clutches, having a rollicking good time: grinding.

Because I love a good grind-fest.

I’m currently focussing my gaming time on two gorgeous examples of great grinding: Chrono Trigger and Halo: Reach. The former, nearing the end of a second playthrough, has seen me level up from a relatively comfortable Level 35 to the mid-70s, exploiting the hell out of a couple of well-known EXP-farming spots exposed in the late-game sidequests.

Now, some people may think that running through the same areas over and over and over and over and over again, using the same button presses to dispose of your foes, with no variation in the proceedings from one iteration to the next… well, that would be boring, wouldn’t it? And there’s a part of me – a tiny little part of me, mind – that may (when the repetitions climb into three-figures) agree with them.

But the payoff… oh, the payoff. Running into battles with not a care in the world about the offensive/defensive abilities of the party. Caring not a jot for the fine-tuning of equipment. Being able to run into an otherwise tricky fight and beat the living shit out of your opponent…

Yes, I am a bully. A big, grinding bully.

I love games that give me the option of trading time for talent. Chrono Trigger gives me the ability to waste an hour or two on a long flight, or half-watch the news while playing, or catch up on e-mail during the predictable successful-battle celebrations… all while my EXP is accumulated, and I march steadily forwards to becoming an all-conquering tank. Now, I know that there’s no real requirement in levelling up that much (apart from the OCD stat-maxing that must be done… but hey, Chrono Trigger requires at least twelve playthroughs, so I’m not sure EXP accumulation is going to be a problem); but the feeling of power associated with being that over-levelled is undeniably intoxicating.

That trade-off – time versus talent – must be a bitch to get right… if indeed it is even considered. I’d love to think that it is a focus for game designers; certainly something like Ocarina of Time is moderately challenging if you’re just playing through “normally”, a doddle if you collect as many additional Heart Pieces as you can at any given point in time, and a major challenge if you’re attempting a Minimal Run. The very idea that the game can be satisfying on so many levels is fantastic.

So my Chrono Trigger grinding is pressing all the right buttons, so to speak; but what about Halo Reach? The obvious grindable benefit in Reach is for the accumulation of cRedits, used to buy additional armour and gain rank. The armour adornments are purely cosmetic – there’s no additional protection afforded by one piece over another – and the rank has, likewise, no impact on either single- or multi-player gameplay… but, when you discover the correlation between rank and cRedits, it all gets a little bit addictive.

Or maybe that’s just me ;)

Now – I’m no great shakes as a Halo player. Yes, I’ve completed the original Combat Evolved solo on Legendary, but I used many cowardly practices that would make hardened veterans scoff. Certainly, my ongoing solo Legendary run through Reach has seen me leave most of the killing to the rest of Noble Team; my thankfully-completed run through the Fourth Mission saw me notch up a mere 55 Covenant kills. Amongst many, many restarts.

So – I’m not going to attain rank through my inherent skills. But I can gain rank through… erm… time served.

And my time served is spent playing one of the Score Attack modes in Reach‘s many playlists: Gruntpocalypse. In particular, Gruntpocalypse on the Corvette map. Because, over the course of ninety (yes, I just counted) games so far, I’ve nailed that particular process. Sprint ability; run for ammo. Scoot to top of ramp. Headshots as Grunts emerge from doors, stairs, doors. Clean up, wait for “reinforcement” announcement, run for ammo. Rinse, repeat… 970-ish cR for twelve minute’s work.

And, after those ninety games, there’s still plenty to learn, and plenty to surprise me. The different intonations of Grunts when they’ve got you in their sights; the way you can drag the reticule whilst firing for a better chance at a headshot. And the repetition has even helped my in-game skills somewhat; dropping back to help a friend on Normal this evening was a real joy, with my precision skills making me far more useful on the battlefield of Reach than the scaredycat of old.

Of course, to hit the (rumoured) top rank of Inheritor I only need an additional 19,758,126 cR – which is only around 20,370 more games of Gruntpocalypse on Corvette. Now that is a grinding challenge.

Lastly this week, I just wanted to sing the praises of three gamers I met during a Crackdown 2 session this weekend. We gathered using TrueAchievements‘ party support to wrap up some of Crackdown 2‘s trickier multiplayer co-op Achievements; focussing on a common goal, we nailed the immediate problem, and then the group started cleaning up other outstanding Achievements. This resulted in me wrapping up the current batch for the game (though I’m reluctant to strike the game from The List just yet, with additional DLC incoming), and a great wodge of progress for other players, too – it really was a wonderful session, with a great bunch of strangers gathering to be helpful. So thanks again to lordmaster andy, LitaOsiris, and hatchywatchy – for reminding me that not everyone on LIVE is a mewling teenager :)


Something I neglected to mention last week was that I’d managed to ignore my previously steely resolve regarding the purchasing of perhaps (retail therapeutically) unnecessary games in purchasing After Burner Climax when it was on sale on XBLA recently. Post-blogging last Sunday night, I sat down and played it for the first time… and bugger me if it wasn’t a barrel of fun. Lots of things flying about at breakneck speed, Achievements popping left and right, and an extras system that frequently unlocked ways to make the game more explodey and… easy.

Yes, ABC is one of a select group of games that seems intent on making it significantly easier for the gamer the more they play… and it’s not just a matter of practise making perfect. The EX options steadily add options that make the task at hand (at worst, a fifteen minute run through a dozen stages) a doddle: auto-fire, increased lock-on capabilities, decreased damage rates. So, after a handful of runs though the game, all the EX options are unlocked, the Achievements on offer are cleaned up, and I’m ready to knock ABC off The List almost as quickly as it appeared on it…

…until I dug around the Score Attack section of the game. More specifically, the Medals awarded for various events in Score Attack mode. The Score Attack mode which, in the interests of fairness, doesn’t allow any of the EX options to be enabled when blasting through the game. And – to be quite honest – I’m fucking rubbish at After Burner. My aiming reticule zips across the screen with no semblance of control, my fighter plane is rolling almost constantly, and the enemy appear to just hang out in the distance, giggling at my inept piloting.

And those Score Attack medals… they mock me. My OCD is terrified of them now, and I have that bitter taste of disappointment in my mouth that I usually get when I make a rash purchase that lingers, goading me.

In short: another game on The List that will take ages to cross off, even with all the GamerSmarties acquired.

Crackdown 2 also got a bit of a hammering this week, with a little elbow grease yielding decent progress. I was pottering along at a comfortable rate of an Achievement-a-day, which was nice; a few clever exploits coughed up all the Renegade Agility Orbs, and then I started on a few races, a few Renegade Driving Orbs. But on Friday, I went chasing one particular Orb; scooting around canyons, in all manner of vehicles, frustration rose… and then something snapped. The experience was, quite tangibly, not fun. I turned off the 360, and fired up the Wii…

…for a return to Super Mario Galaxy 2. I was already well into the Green Star Challenge, which I was lock-stepping with my Luigi playthrough – finishing a level with Luigi unlocks a staff ghost, just the kind of content I love. And in the last couple of days I have absolutely caned SMG2; the Luigi playthrough is complete, all the Green Stars have been obtained, and the Grandmaster Galaxy opened up as a result.

Now, Star 241 – The Ultimate Test – wasn’t too difficult; sure, a lot of lives were lost exploring the worlds contained therein, but that was just practise, really. Star 242 – The Perfect Run – was a return to the same worlds… but in a one-hit, no checkpoint, daredevil format. And I don’t mind admitting that I attempted that level upwards of 150 times – lots of little mistakes ending promising runs – before finally managing what was, indeed, The Perfect Run.

And, just like that, Super Mario Galaxy 2 was off The List.

Somewhere along the line, the ability to display the Death Count on the SMG2 save file is unlocked; when I saved after acquiring that 242nd Star, the Death Count read 1257. That’s a lot of deaths… but a hell of a lot of fun. Not once during this weekend’s onslaught did the game feel like a chore, or an impossible challenge; I was always aware of what was required of me, and all the mistakes were my own. Compare and contrast to Crackdown 2, where I constantly feel like I have to exploit the game to garner any progress from it; compare also to Uncharted, which I fired up to celebrate SMG2‘s passing… and quickly switched off again.

That’s the thing about Great Games, isn’t it; they may not be the prettiest, but they’re always upstaging their shinier cousins.


The past week began with me wholly immersed in Super Mario Galaxy 2; I was anxious to get through the first batch of 120 Stars before the arrival of Crackdown 2 later in the week. Tuesday night saw the final two stars (including the terrifying cousin of Luigi’s Purple Coins) succumb; a replay of the divine final level then unlocked the Green Star Challenge, another 120 collectible stars. Then I discovered that playing through levels as Luigi unlocks staff ghosts, full of nifty tricks & techniques… so now the target is to play through the whole game again as Luigi, collect all the Green Stars, and polish off whatever else gets in the way.

So – a long term project, then.

Thanks to JB Hifi reliably breaking street-date again, Crackdown 2 was welcomed into The Moobaarn… and first impressions were mixed. The opening cutscenes felt muddled, and first steps were disappointing; the once cheery and vibrant Pacific City was now decaying, decrepit. The distinct gangs of the original were sorely missed, replaced by an anonymous night-time foe that annoyed me so much in my early progress that I feared the in-game darkness.

But, technically, the game looked amazing; the graphics harken back to those on display during the original Crackdown‘s development, a gorgeously solid cel-shaded-lite. And the draw-distance is incredible… incredible. Looking from atop the Agency Tower, it’s possible to spot details of action within each of the three islands… it’s really quite an amazing achievement.

The gameplay, though…

Oh dear.

Initially, I was nonplussed – run here, cause some damage, open up progress to the next little bit. But then comes the first big Freak battle, defending your beacon from the oncoming hordes – and I’m lost. I get mercilessly pummelled, confidence shattered, and my desire to continue evaporates.

So I decided to sidestep those particular battles and play the rest of the game instead. Orb collection, rooftop races, stunt rings… all the side-quests that are so memorable from the original. And that was genuinely enjoyable – my OCD kicked in, I started collecting away like a busy little bee, and the hours flew by.

Strength was my first attribute to max out at Level 5, unleashing a wonderful ground-pound that has since become my signature get-out-of-trouble move. Agility soon followed, allowing all the freedom associated with unrestricted bounding around the city… but it also allows access to the biggest gamebreaker in Crackdown 2: the helicopter.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the helicopter, I really do, but its inclusion in this game (along with the new “orb-sonar” ping that can be performed using the minimap) butchers the OCD-aspects that made the original Crackdown so satisfying. It’s now possible to cruise around the world eyeballing for Agility Orbs, making the quest to find all 500 quite straightforward (it took me less than four days, maybe less than 20 hours game-time). Hidden Orbs are a little trickier, but a regimented scan-and-sweep dug them up without too many problems.

So – with most of the game done (except for those loathsome beacon protection battles), OCD thirst quenched, and my head sore from beating it against the wall from the frustration of some of the later rooftop races, I was pretty down on Crackdown 2. I considered it a passable attempt at carrying on the legacy of the first game (my game of the year from 2007, I remind you), but bits had been changed for the worst without any improvements being added. Kinda like No More Heroes 2 in that regard, I guess, but nowhere near as disappointing…

But still disappointing.

And then a friend of mine popped online – he’d snaffled Crackdown 2 last Tuesday. I ping him; his world or mine? He joins my game, and all of a sudden everything changes. We leap into beacon defence situations and blast through them with barely a scratch. We fall back into old Crackdown habits of attempting a silly stunt then failing then blowing the crap out of each other with rockets, then attempting the stunt again. It’s brilliant with a partner by your side; all the depressing bits about the game are forgotten, you revel in the fun. My game gets finished in short order, so we switch to his, more objectives conquered and Orbs sought and experiments performed. Give me a pair of mag grenades, a helicopter, and an SUV, and I’ll show you two men laughing their arses off at the result.

I’d be hard pressed to think of a game that manages to change so drastically with the presence of a second person; Crackdown 2 manages to transform from a grind-to-the-finish experience into something that I wish I was playing right now. Sure, there’s still a stack of Achievements that need achieving, races to be run, and rings to be leapt through, but what I really want to do is grab a UV Shotgun in one hand and Cluster Grenades in the other, sitting in a car suspended beneath a helicopter until the pilot takes a turn too quickly tossing my SUV into the heli blades destroying them both, resulting in a five minute rampage around Pacific City while I try to stuff a grenade down his throat. Then we beat up bad guys.

What a great week :)