Tag Archives: xbox 360

March Game Backlog

As of the last few months I’ve begun to embrace the current economic climate and have been trying to find new ways to maintain my video game prowess on the cheap. I tried using sites such as playswitch.com and goozex.com before I eventually had success with swaptree.com. I much prefer the one to one trading on swaptree to the game value to points conversion based economy of many other game trading sites. There is just something that is a little disheartening about being a new user to one of these sites, listing the games, and sending one out in the mail without any assurance that you’ll get your game back. But that’s a discussion for another day.

As I was saying I’ve been using swaptree, ebay, and my superior deal finding abilities very frequently as of the past few months. As a result I’ve realized that for the first time in the past year I’ve amassed quite the backlog of games. Feel free to comment on what you think I should be playing in what order if you feel the need. I could use the guidance.



Even though this game came out around the time I got my Xbox 360 I always had some game that I wanted to play before I would get a chance to go out and buy it. I have only ever heard good things about it. It even got a few nods for game of the year from a lot of people, but for some reason I just kept putting it off. A few weeks ago I made a trade and obtained a copy through swaptree and now it waits on my entertainment center to be enjoyed.

Burnout Paradise

burnout paradise

As I’ve said in a previous post this was a game that I bought used at Gamestop after hearing a lot of great things when the “reboot” of the game was released this winter. I’ve played about 6 to 8 hours of this so far and have really enjoyed it but I feel like its a game that I can pick up and put down at random. Maybe it’s because I’m not really a driving game person or maybe it’s because that’s how the game is designed. Regardless, it’s still on the backlog list.

Guitar Hero World Tour


This was my first ever rhythm game purchase. I have only ever played these types of games with my family or friends. I was always under the impression that I’d feel like an idiot banging on plastic drums alone in my room. But last week when I found an ebay listing of the full band version of the game for $99. I was skeptical as I usually am with ebay listings, but after some investigation I found out that the box was opened but the game was never even played. The seller had about 400 of them and had a very good reputation so I made the purchase. I’d enthused to play this but I’m still trying to figure out the level of committment you need to make to the game for it to be really enjoyable. So for now I’ll play here and there with my girlfriend until I can make time to start racking up the achievements.

Prince of Persia


This is one of my two games I’m renting from Gamefly at the moment. I have heard mixed things from this game, but since it’s just a rental I won’t mind if it’s bad. I played through the first level just to get an idea of what it was like and had an okay time. It feels like more of a rhythm game than a normal third person action game. This seems like a game that if I don’t like it I’ll still finish for the achievements.

Mirror’s Edge


This is the second game I currently have rented from Gamefly. At the date of this writing, I’m at the very last section of the very last level of this game and I’m frustrated. After hearing things about the achievements and subsequently scoping things out for myself, I decided to play the game without shooting any enemies. This has made the game fairly challenging in a very good way. It seems more like a puzzle game when you take the guns out of the equation. But this section of the last level seems almost impossible. Maybe I’m just not good at the hand to hand combat in this game, but I’ve tried so many times and cannot complete it. So for now, until I feel up to trying it out again, Mirror’s Edge is in my backlog.

I’ll update on my progress as I wade through these titles, but it may take me a while. Until then I’m going to try to divert my attention from any other games I feel I need to catch up on for my sanity at the very least.



In this post I’m going to go over some of the games that I’m currently playing but haven’t finished. I’ll do a full review of these games when I’m finished, but I think it would be awesome to see my initial impressions at the start of a game and my final thoughts on the entire game.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Xbox 360)

I waited on this game for a while. I’m a huge Star Wars nerd. I know every line to the original triology, I often think about distances in parsecs, and to be totally honest I used to play the Star Wars Customizable Card Game. In fact, I still have my entire collection of cards just sitting at my parents house. So I was very cautious about this game, since I knew it took place after the events of the bad trilogy and before the events of the good trilogy. I played the demo cautiously and found the controls to be really wonky. It felt like they were trying to be more complicated than they should have been. But my brother talked this game up to me and convinced me.

So recently this game came to me in the mail through Gamefly. As of right now, I’m only on the second level (not including the prologue.) I have to say that it took a good bit of time to get used to the controls but I’m really liking them now. I think the hardest thing for me was using the force to pick up large objects and throw them at enemies. It seems like one of those things that you just have to keep doing to get it. I like the force point system even though there isn’t any interface for displaying how many you’re receiving as you play the game, other than the graphic indicator you get when you level up.

The combat is nice mix of fun and challenging. Your enemies are all low level grunts and the occasionaly tough droid or guy with a repeating blaster. Running into bigger enemies also seems to mark your progress. So far I’ve battled AT-ST walkers and Junk Titans at the mid and quarter points of the levels. Each level concludes with you fighting a different jedi master. These battles usually take place in what I thought could’ve been a more substantial set piece, but really the camera just shifts and stays relatively fixed unless you move drastically. These battle are tough, but often only because you either can’t stop your opponents special force attacks or because the camera angle is wonky.

This game has been fun so far. More to come on this when I’ve finished the main storyline.

Burnout Paradise (Xbox 360)

Burnout Paradise came out at the beginning of 2008, more than a year ago! Now, when I played the original demo of this game I wasn’t impressed. First of I’m not really that interested in driving games, cars, or Guns ‘N Roses. So initially I discounted this as another game that I was not going to play. Until I started hearing about the large amounts of FREE downloadable content being pumped out and then the subsequent revamp of the entire game. I hear other reviews about how good this game was from people just like me.

Last week I picked up a used copy of this game since the price was right ($17.99 and I really just could’ve bought a new copy for $2 more) but I’ve been super impressed so far. I’ve only put maybe 4 or 5 hours into the game, but it’s impressed me graphically, technically, and contextually. I must say that even though it’s a pretty repetitive game it ends up being fairly addictive. Each event win chalks up another point on your licence. Once you get a new license, you get a new and better car. You’re also able to drive better, faster, and more powerful cars along the way. The promotion of discovery for the sake of convenience and advantage during races is excellent. Each car seems to handle differently from the next and the turbo like power ups for each vehicle vary from car to car as well. I’m going to forge ahead with this game and let you know how it turns out. I’m not sure if I’m going to be a completionist about this one or not, but that goal seems pretty accessible so far.

Life: The Video Game

Growing up, my brothers and I had a great life. We were raised well, provided for, and given the things we wanted, within moderation. But the one thing that was always out of the question was video games. Every year we’d put Nintendo, Sega, Gameboy, etc. on our christmas lists to no avail. We’d save our birthday money and plan out a way to ask nicely for a ride to Toys ‘R Us but it was always futile. My Mom was a school teacher and “saw what video games did to kids.” So that was that. The only exposure I ever got to video games was when I’d get to go to a friends house who had an NES, SNES, or Sega, or when we’d go to my cousins house and spend hours upon hours in the basement.

I gave up on begging for video games at around age 12. I continued to play at friends houses when I could as well. I kept up with the industry information through the internet and soaked up all I could. During high school I got my own computer and started dabbling in emulators desperately trying to catch up on games I had never completed during my sparse jaunts to see my cousins in New Jersey or at my friend Steve Ayers house.

In college I had an even better PC and was finally able to play some of the latest game releases. I played through Max Payne probably a dozen times as a college Freshman. A year or two later I got my hands on a copy of Half Life and finished it just as Half Life 2 came out. I was entranced. Half Life 2, to this day, remains my favorite game of all time. I played World of Warcraft for about a year and a half before I started needing to get serious about finishing my college education. I hit the books instead while I finished school.

I was never a bored or game addicted kid, so my interest in video games was always spurred from my interest in technology and computers. Not being able to have video games as kid only increased my interest as an adult. So after I graduated college, moved out of my parents house and got a job in a new city, I finally did it. I bought an Xbox 360.

Currently my biggest dilemma is not when or how I’m going to get my hands on a game again, because I know I can play any time I want. Instead it’s actually finding the time to play and enjoy gaming. I have a full time job that occasionally requires me to work overtime, a girlfriend, homework during the week, and graduate classes in another city all day on Saturdays. I probably get to spend about 6 to 8 hours a week playing video games. Now as most gamers will probably tell you, this is probably the length of an average single player game these days. That doesn’t account for taking your time and enjoying the game, playing online multiplayer modes, or the fact that you probably paid $60 dollars if you bought the game new. But all dilemmas, commitments, and annoying industry trends aside, I’d consider myself and extremely informed and extremely satisfied gamer. Here are some things that I do to to keep myself entertained, informed and satisfied being a gamer with a life.

  • Set gaming goals for yourself each week – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost track of time playing a game. But if you’re as short on time as I am when it comes to gaming you can’t really afford to spend an entire day playing Halo 3 sniping n00bz in Valhalla. Instead, to conquer the storylines and garner a fair amount of achievement points in every game I play, I generally set a point or a specific set of objectives for whatever game I’m playing every time I sit down to play it. Which leads me to my next point.
  • Do your research on games before you start playing them – I hate starting games and not finishing them. But naturally I find it extremely hard to play through terrible games. This is why you have to do your research. Knowing what you’re about to play before you play it will save you a lot of time if you find yourself trying to pick a game to play. The best source for information on what sucks and what doesn’t suck is all at your finger tips. Joystiq, Destructoid, Kotaku, Giant Bomb, and Cheap Ass Gamer are all really great places to start.
  • Stay on top of the video industry game current events with podcasts – All of the sites I listed above post industry news on a daily basis. All but one have great weekly podcasts as well. Sure, you might get some overlap in the news but an informed gamer is a happy gamer. Most of the podcasts run an hour to three hours long so if you drive as much as I do, you always have something to rely on to keep you interested in gaming throughout the week.
  • Get a Gamefly account – Do yourself a favor and stop buying games at full price. Then do yourself one better and start trying games out before you buy them. If you’re sick of the hastle of buying and trading then Gamefly is for you. $16 a month gets me two games out at a time, and I get to play them for as long as I want. When I’m done I just drop them in the mail and wait for the next game on my list to come. It’s simple and that’s the name of the game when you’re playing with your precious time.
  • Don’t over-do it – There are really only so many hours in a week and yes, video games may be an important part of your life, but you have to have your priorities straight. Playing games may be a great stress reliever, but remember not to play until it causes stress in other parts of your life. Sometimes it’s okay to put the controller down and ride your bike, or cook a meal, or talk to someone who isn’t a racist 13 year old who is freakishly good with a pistol in Call of Duty 4.
  • Embrace casual gaming – as much as hardcore gamers might hate to admit it, casual gaming is here to stay. In some cases it can be pretty addictive too. A quick five minute game of Peggle or N+ can be really satisfying if you have the means to get them. And don’t let Peggle fool you either. Unicorns and Rainbows can be manly and competitive too.
Most dudes would probably be more into peggly if it looked like this.

Most dudes would probably be more into peggle if it looked like this.

These suggestions are only what have helped me be a gamer with a life, and they might not neccesarily help you, but it’s a start.