Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The 35+ video gamer reviews two new ones

I just finished "Conan" for the XBOX 360. And if you're curious, no, I didn't kill the end boss. I just gave up. It took so long and it was so excruciating to execute the quick time button mashing at the appropriate times during the final showdone that I got bored and started a different game.

It's a pity, since I thouroughly enjoyed the gameplay and the number of cool moves you could execute and master in this interesting and engaging hack and slasher. I'd still recommend it for someone who has more time to mess with finishing the ending than I did -- or more interest in beating the game. This title does get some extra points for the voluptuous half naked vixens you get to save while playing. Just make sure the kids aren't in the room...

I also just finished "Prey" -- in which I did kill the end boss. This easy to play game is based on the "DOOM 3" engine and has the look and for obvious reasons has the look and feel of previous Doom and Quake titles. In Prey, you're a Native American fed up with the reservation who is abducted by aliens and must fight to try and save your girlfriend and escape the alien ship. You have an array of interesting weapons which are a mix of tech and biology, with none of them really feeling like they pack that much of a punch.

The levels are easy and move quickly; and once you get into the game, you want to see it through to the end. Along the way there are some interesting level bosses, none of which are difficult to defeat since in Prey you cannot really die. If you do run out of health you're merely transported to the spirit world where you can use your bow to shoot targets which will restore you to health. The game's autosaving feature is also very generous in dropping you right where you left off so you won't have to repeat any of the gameplay.

While being in general a pretty basic first person shooter, the game has a few interesting features like gravity powered walkways and panels which when shot will flip you upside down or sideways in space. Strange portals also allow you to travel between sections of the ship through some type of interdimensional gateways. A few puzzle-like situations are also solved by entering spirit form where you can walk through force fields and across unseen spirit bridges.

For the 35+ gamer, this game is a good distraction from the everyday doldrums of work and family life, while still leaving some time for, well, work and family. Don't expect to be blown away, though. Do expect to feel like a stud for being able to finish it in a relatively short amount of time, say 10 hours or less.

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