Mr. Fisher, it’s been a while

Originally posted on October 22, 2010

On June 13, 2010 I saw about a level of Splinter Cell: Conviction with my brother-in-law

A little more gritty than I would have liked – I enjoy my Splinter Cell quiet and in the shadows – this was more in your face.

I’ve been out of the series for a while (my last game was Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory), so Sam may have moved in this direction while I’ve been away.

Regardless, the sequence I saw was still great and someday I may be the one at the controls.

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Be nice and play with your friends: DS multi and the big jump

Originally posted at GameSpot on July 15, 2008

Playing a bit of catch up on the gaming front; my brother-in-law had some time before he stated his new job, so he can over last week on Monday (June 7) and Thursday (June 10). He and his girlfriend just bought a DS – one for each of them. How sweet is that?

Monday it was just him and I, and we played The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. This was the first time I had ever seen the game in action, and I was impressed; I hope to get this someday for my DS as well.

I was able to see some of the single-player action; from drawing the path of your boomerang to blowing out candles through the mic. The game play looked engaging, and I think it would be great intro for me into the Zelda universe.

Watching him play was fine, but the multiplayer was outstanding. Playing as either Link or the soldiers, each of you had to stop the other from reaching your respective goals. If Link, the goal was gathering jewels – if a soldier, your goal was stopping him from doing so. The warp doors, wind barriers, and vision tricks the game made each map have its own special craziness.

I especially liked the power-ups – cloning yourself, speed or strength, and then being able to run over and deny them from your opponent was great.

We closed the night with a little “Boarding Action” from Halo: Combat Evolved. He won, naturally – but I will say I enjoy that map a lot more than I used to. Some good moments.

Thursday had even more going on with four DS’s in my living room. My wife was able to try Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends, and she liked it. I was finally able to play some multiplayer for the first time on Star Fox Command, and it didn’t disappoint. Power-ups spread throughout the map were well-balanced, from bombs to various laser options, and barrel rolls while trying to get behind the enemy.

I won more of these battles; but to be fair he had never played the game before.

Other DS multiplayer action involved the New Super Mario Brothers. This is one of the best games for the DS, not just because of the tremendous single-player campaign, but for the fantastic multiplayer. We played some very intense ten star matches, each of us jumping or shooting fireballs like mad trying to crush each other.

Besides the “level” multiplayer, we played some of the mini-games as well. Card games, rolling snowballs, and bouncing Mario’s all made an appearance here – including my former best, the hidden faces! He dominated in a way I didn’t expect – I need some training. Perhaps a refresher course with some Where’s Waldo books?

You can’t play any new Mario without thinking of the old, and I showed him the GBA version of theSuper Mario World. I am currently stuck on a level, but I booted it up just to give him a little nostalgia.

I entered a world just to show him where I was at, and after commenting on how I found the game a little tough I promptly fell off the edge into nothingness. We lost it, laughing so hard at the perfect illustration of my current game progress. Oh course, funnier if you were there, but it was the best set-up I could’ve had.

He fell off once as well for good measure, and we figured it was time to put that baby down before wereally hurt our pride.

Even with all the DS goodness, we managed to get some Xbox in. After trying (and failing) to figure out the multiplayer of Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory, we ended up with Need for Speed Most Wanted.

I finally beat the “Get through 6 police roadblocks” on the challenges, but the real jewel of the evening came when my brother-in-law was trying to beat the same challenge. I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the best features of the game is at certain points of the city, the camera will snap back into a cinematic third-person view while everything moves in slow motion. It mixes up the racing very nice at key points, and I find myself trying to hit those “slow-mo points” with as many cops behind me as I can, just to make it a cooler shot.

Anyway, he had just come up to a road block and smashed through; happens all the time right? What was special about this time was the fact that his car was thrown in the air lop-sided, and it was just over a hill at a slow-mo part. So when he flew in the air, car twisting around, it was like watching our own action movie. The car flew up and we both could hardly speak due to all the awesomeness, and then he jumped up with an “Oh yeah!” that I was more then happy to second.

As the car landed he went back into first-person perspective, and we actually saw the landing through the windshield – the car flopping back into place. Simply put, it was a fantastic gaming moment that made us stand up and cheer. When we rushed upstairs to tell the ladies what had happened you could see the light in our eyes, describing how sweet a moment we had just witnessed.

They might not have shared our enthusiasm, but that didn’t matter. It was a great jump, and a great night.

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Bachelor party done right

Originally posted at GameSpot on March 14, 2008

Last night I was privileged to go to a bachelor party, first to a restaurant and then back to the bachelor pad. I could go on and on about how times like that with my friends and family serve as a reminder of what’s really important in life, but that’s not what this blog is about – it’s about the games!

So, I’ll get right to it – here’s a breakdown of the gaming that went on:

Rock Band  What is the first thing you do after going out to eat? You come home and you ROCK! That’s exactly what we all did when we got back to his place, with Rock Band humming in the Xbox 360.

I had never played the game before, but now I can see what all the fuss is about. As a party game, this has to be my favorite hands down. With everyone jumping in on vocals, drums, or guitar, we all had a blast jamming to the songs.

That’s what makes the game great – all ages were able to sit down, do the same thing, and have a great time.

The game shines when you have a big group like that, but I don’t see how it could be just as fun by yourself. Granted I’ve never tried – but it just seems like something would be missing. It is called a rock band, after all.

Favorite tunes were “Enter Sandman,” “Ballroom Blitz,” and “Say It Ain’t So,” for various reasons.

Halo 3  I finally got to play this thing! There’s not too much to say – it was Halo, pure and simple. I only played multiplayer, and the action was familiar and fun – I got chills when the theme song came on. Hopefully when I can afford a next generation system (in ten years), people will still be playing this game.

Assassin’s Creed  Amazing game to look at, and a very Splinter Cell-ish kind of feel to it – sneaking around, clever kills, etc. The mission I saw was a little too free-roaming for my taste, but to be fair I didn’t understand the mission objectives. I’m really into the historical subject material, so it stands to reason that once I know what the heck I’m doing I’ll love the game. Again, hopefully this game will still be available for purchase when I can get a next generation system. (Please see comment in parentheses in above paragraph about how long I think that will be.)

-Super Smash Bros. Brawl  Good times with the Brothers of Smash. I like the series (another game I think can best be enjoyed with a friend or two), but I wasn’t exactly counting down the days to play it. It was a lot of fun, although I didn’t see a big difference from Super Smash Bros. Melee – I’m assuming that’s because I just button-mash when I play the game.

That said, the backgrounds were just as crazy as ever and I like having more characters to choose from – although I still love the Kirbster!

Closing to’s:

– To get all that action in, you can imagine it ended up being a very late night – I left his place at 2:30 a.m. Well worth it to get that quality line-up in, however.

– To play those four great games all in a row and in one night is something every gamer can appreciate.

– To the bachelor – congrats, all the best, and thank you!

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Late Night Chaos

 Originally posted at GameSpot on January 29, 2008

This past January 4th, my brother-in-law came over late and we hooked up Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. I had my first exposure to the series over at his place; a combination of good story, great adventure, and excellent stealth mechanic made me want to see more.

Two games later, I now find myself in possession of the collector’s edition of the third installment in the franchise, and I’m looking forward to playing it – when I have the time! My wife really enjoyed watching (or as she puts it, helping) me go through the last two games, and trying to find time were we can sit down together and go through it is proving to be a challenge. Still, I know it will be waiting for me when we do find the time.

It’s unfortunate that I wasn’t able to blog here on GameSpot as I went through the previous games, but the simple truth is that they were fantastic. I’m sure it will be a similarly enjoyable experience when I get to Chaos Theory.

Now, back to my brother-in-law – he came over late, and we played some two player co-op on the first mission. I have to say, it was a blast. I’ve never played co-op in games except to shoot the next thing that moves, but this was a completely different experience. Each of us had to communicate with one another on the position of guards, how to get over the next obstacle, or where the heck we were supposed to go next.

And don’t even get me started on the training mission – let’s just say the concept of opening a door has never been so confusing!

We closed shop around two in the morning, but it was all worth it. He’s borrowing the game now for the single-player experience, but I have to say I’m looking forward to taking on the next mission with some help.

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