Unfortunately our summer is coming to an end and while the average person was out embracing the sun’s beautiful rays, we were indoors, getting our pale on with the annual Xbox Live Summer of Arcade event. If you haven’t checked out any of this years lineup, we’ll let you know what’s worth your time and what’s just plain weird.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD
Mileson: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 will always hold a very special place in my heart. I played the original games for what one might consider, an obscene amount of time. This HD remake is the perfect tribute to those original iconic releases and in my opinion, the best release for the Summer of Arcade. They take everything you know and love from the first two games and incorporate a modern graphics engine that really shines. My only complaint is the loss of the level creator, which I’m sure they will charge me $10.00 for as DLC later on.
Agentgear: This was one of my favorite games back when I was a wee-lad and it still holds a special place in my heart (great minds think alike). The execution was spot on with extra challenges, modes, and characters all in high-definition. Unfortunately they stripped many of the features that made the series popular, such as couch co-op, but I can forgive Tony as long as he promises to never release another skateboard peripheral game again.
Agentgear: Wreckateer was the only Kinect game on the lineup this summer and it fell a little short. Essentially you used your body to control a gigantic catapult to throw objects at a destructible castle, similar to Angry Birds and other physics games. While it was entertaining watching the castles crumble, the controls were just not precise enough to feel like you had total control over the outcome.
Mileson: This was one of the weird ones. I didn’t particularity care for this release. Just imagine Angry Birds for the Kinect, but it’s different because it has a fantasy setting right? Wrong. When Microsoft is only charging 400 points for a new release, you know something is off.
Agentgear: This game is the one I had kept my eyes on during the previews and it was a blast. Similar to Microsoft Studios’ Shadow Complex, Deadlight is a 3D sidescroller on a 2d plane, with zombies. I really enjoyed the realism behind the experience. Instead of just handing you a gun and some grenades, you have to rely on your environment to get away from the undead. This game just oozes style and is packed with intense dramatic moments that will leave you wanting more. Much more, because the entire campaign can be completed in under 5 hours, but it’s a thrill-ride while it lasts.
Mileson: Deadlight did an amazing job of creating engaging atmospheres. I constantly found myself surveying an area for several seconds before continuing, unsure of what horrors may be lurking around the next corner. If you played the Oddworld series for PSOne, you will be very familiar with the side-scrolling, trail and error type gameplay. I especially appreciated the post-apocalyptic Seattle setting, being a Seattle native and all. The game is well deserving of a playthrough, but for $15 it’s semi-disappointing how incredibly short it is. I completed my first run in just over three hours.
Mileson: This was definitely the wild card in the deck that is Summer of Arcade. Initially, I had no idea what this game was about. The generic sci-fi shooter theme didn’t spark my interest whatsoever, but when I heard about the unique tactics map that showcases two warring military factions, I became interested quickly. You choose your side and face off in an online war zone. Each battle counting towards your armies overall control of the countries on the tactics map. There is a decent amount of customization to be had and any fan of cover based shooters, will find themselves right at home.
Agentgear: Hybrid was the one game I actually thought was going to be the worst, but turned out to be my favorite by far. Imagine Gears of War with jet-packs, with an over-arching, meta-game similar to Risk. I know, it sounds completely ridiculous, which is what I first thought, but you really need to give it a shot (it comes with a free one hour trial of the full game). Complete with two waring sides fighting for Dark Matter and lots of aerodynamic antics, you really can’t go wrong.
Dust: An Elysian Tail
Mileson: Normally I love sprite-based, side-scrolling, RPG’s, but for some reason I couldn’t appreciate Dust: An Elysian Tail. The combat was simply too repetitive to really keep my interest peaked for more than a few minutes at a time. Also, the art style, albeit absolutely beautiful, was rather creepy. Not in a horror sense, but in a “I hope some wierdo is getting too excited over this in his mom’s basement somewhere,” kind of way. It tried to recapture some of the magic of last year’s Bastion, but definitely fell short.
Agentgear: This game comes with a “love it or hate it” stigma, that you really can’t look past. Created by Dean Dodrill, his name is enough to determine whether or not it’s something that interests you. Everything else aside, this game has a beautiful art style that really captures every area perfectly. The story is very basic and comes with all the standard amnesia elements, including progression without explanation. The combat is enjoyable and flows smoothly, but the lack of skills and upgrades has you using the same combo the entire game. While maybe not the worst game of the summer, you could probably spend your points on something with a little more substance.
I like the double team-up reviews, rather cool. Now if I only I owned a 360, oh well, someone has to be the hold out!
Double the pleasure, double the fun and maybe one day you will man up and take the plunge. The marriage to Xbox anyway.