The New IL-2 (and the dust on the old one)

Originally posted at GameSpot on June 19, 2008

Good news: IL-2 Sturmovik is getting another follow-up in IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey. I’m a big fan of flight simulator games, so this comes as good news. Now if I can just get a PC to play it on. . .

Truth be told, I haven’t even played the original IL-2 Sturmovik, and it’s not for lack of wanting to. I have the game; it’s placed neatly on the rack with all the others. But since the game came out right around the time my PC decided to become obsolete, it has sat on that rack for years – serving as nothing more than eye candy.

It’s a sad tale, I know. It’s the same story with Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty for the PC. I wanted the game so bad I bought it thinking my machine could handle it and if it couldn’t, I would soon get an upgrade. But, that upgrade never came – and the game sits on the same rack, collecting dust.

I really don’t mind – I ended up playing MGS2 on the Xbox thanks to my wife, and now a bigger and better Sturmovik is soon to hit the shelves. I don’t know if I’ll get a PC upgrade or a Xbox 360 next (assuming I ever get either!), but I’ll plan on getting IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey when I do.

I suppose I could get it on the DS, but we’ll have to see what the general consensus is before I do that. Flight is hard to do; I love it on the PC, but everything else is a toss-up.

I have learned my lesson about getting games your system can’t handle though. I know the next time I buy a Sturmovik game, it will be when I know my machine handle it. And once I do, look out friendly skies!

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Ladies’ Night means Modern Combat

Originally posted to GameSpot on April 30, 2008

This past Friday (April 25th) was Ladies’ Night for our church group. That meant the guys were stuck at home with the kids.

Now, I use the term “stuck” very loosely, because – while it can be a little more stressful with kids – hanging out with your friends is hanging out with your friends. So, we were able to talk, eat, and just have a good time in general.

That’s all well and good, but how does this night relate to games? Ah, here’s the part where we come to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. After the kiddos went to bed, this allowed a few of us to head to the basement for some FPS action. I’ve never played the game before, so I was looking forward to seeing it.

To put it simply, it was fun. I was able to hang in there with the guys I was playing against, and that always makes things easier. Nothing is worse then playing with a new group and getting blown away. Dying every ten seconds can easily become boring.

I had two impressions from the game. First: what’s the big deal? Yes the graphics look nice, but really – is it that better than every other war-themed first-person shooter? We only played multiplayer that night, but that’s what seems to be the major selling point of the game anyway. Second: the more I played, the more I saw why this is such a highly rated game. The weapons handled expertly, from the sniper to grenades. The knife swipe was a nice touch as well! The environments were all well done, with some of the indoor sections of the maps making for some intense action.

My verdict? A great game, one that seems pretty standard at first but begins to prove the hype the more you play. I had the feeling that the more time I played the game, the more appreciation I would have for it.

I also had the feeling that I wanted to play with more people! There were only two of us set up, but to see a match with more people would have been great.

Someday, I hope to play this game on my own Xbox 360. Of course, that will be when our economy has reverted back to the barter system. “I’ll give you three sheep for that 360!”

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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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