This is going to be fairly easy, so I’ll give it in bullet points:
- Everything I said about the original Rock Band remains unchanged.
- Beatles Rock Band is visually gorgeous. The progression of the boys’ straight-up suits through to shaggy psychedelia is perfectly reflected in the game.
- My 62 year old mum, who has probably never touched a computer game before, was singing along enthusiastically while my 5 year old played bass and I played drums. Name me another game that three generations of family can enjoy at the same time.
I?m not a massive Star Wars nerd. I have seen all six of the movies, regardless of how badly I want to un-see the last one, but I wouldn?t know the name of any Wookie other than Chewbacca, or even how to bulls-eye a womprat in my T-16.
Having said that, I do enjoy a good bit of lightsabering and Sith mayhem, which is exactly what Star Wars: Force Unleashed offers up.
The game starts in an admirable fashion. No namby-pamby cutscenes here. You?re dropped straight into the game as none other than Darth Vader. Starting as Lord Vader gives you an opportunity to see the potential of the game, with virtually limitless ?Force? power, you can throw opponents across the screen, push them off bridges, collapse trees and structures, and just generally wreak mayhem.
Once the initial level is over, you are back to a more mundane character, albeit still with a good deal of Force powers and plenty of lightsaber skill. From there you progress as per most modern games, unlocking skills and powers as you work through multiple levels, meeting ?boss? characters at the end of each one.
The beauty of Force Unleashed is not in the storyline (although this is adequate), but in the gameplay. The visceral fun of flinging boxes, crates, bombs, and characters around the environment is palpable. I find myself using Force powers more than the lightsaber, purely for the fun of it. A few levels offer a platform or puzzle segment where you must use your ?Force Grip? to move objects or parts of the level in order to progress.
I haven?t completed the game, so I don?t know the length of it, but at the moment I?m having so much fun playing the game that I hope it never ends.
The XBox 360 has been receiving some positive press lately, mainly about the increase in sales in several markets. This will be a welcome change for Microsoft after the horrific “red ring of death” news previously.
If you look back through the news, you’ll see PS3 sales and XBox sales leapfrogging one another on an almost monthly basis. I won’t even mention the Wii because it is so completely dominating the overall current-gen console ware.
Outside of Japan, PS3 and 360 sales are effectively neck-and-neck, with the 360 holding a 6 million unit head-start. You can see this pretty clearly by the parallel green and blue lines in the TGDaily graph below:
Even within Japan, the 360 is getting the occasional boost from new releases and console price drops. While tiny, these victories to Microsoft would have been completely unheard of with the previous generation consoles.
Overall, I think Sony has a hard road ahead if they want to overtake the XBox 360 in worldwide sales. The 360 has just had another price drop, and is nearing a likely hardware refresh. Sony, on the other hand, is reluctant to lower PS3 prices – probably pointing to the lack of cashflow they are seeing from lower than expected game sales. If they (as you might expect) forecast console and game sales on the meteoric trajectory of the PS2, I’d imagine there are some pretty long faces around Sony boardroom tables.