Sunday, September 21, 2008

Impressions: Geometry Wars 2

One of the games I have been playing almost daily over the last month or so has been Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2. I absolutely loved the original Retro Evolved and it is my most played game on the 360 to date, so as soon as the sequel was announced I knew that I had to have it. I suppose it's no surprise to hear then that yes, it is just as addictive as the original.

First, allow me to break my thoughts of the game down into the six modes the game has;

Basically just like Evolved but with a three minute clock counting down. I like this mode because it puts a bit of pressure on you. Unlimited lives is nice but if you happen to die, it takes about 10 seconds before you have a screen full of enemies again so the trick to a high score is to not die and use the gates (new to Geometry Wars 2) and Gravity Holes to kill the enemies for you as they give you higher multipliers. Other than that, it is just collect as many Geoms (the more you collect, the higher your multiplier gets) as you can within the time limit and to kill as many things as possible. As I said before, the time limit puts pressure on you to not only avoid dying, but to try and utilise the gates or holes while also not trapping yourself into a situation where you die. Basically, the less time wasted = the more points at the end and as anyone who has played Geometry Wars will know, staying alive can be very hard.

King: Geometry Wars' take on King of The Hill is perhaps the best description for this mode. You can only shoot in these bubbles (if you will) with about three on the screen at the one time, the aim being to swap between the bubbles to shoot as many enemies as you can before leaving again, collecting the Geoms and finding another bubble. It gets rather hectic, fast and again adds to the pressure as you try to decide between collecting as many Geoms as you can or just ignoring them in favour of finding safety once more. It is fun, but a mode that I have found doesn't seem to have the same addictive gameplay that the other modes do so that has meant that I have pretty much ignored it.

Evolved: This is the main game from the original, returning as a mode here. Anyone who has played the original Retro Evolved will know what to expect here. The additions of the gates and Geoms have made it different enough to be worth playing all over again and this is definitely one of my most played modes. Love it.

Pacifism: There was an achievement in the original game that had you trying to survive a minute without shooting any enemies and obviously not being hit. Now it is a fully fledged mode with the aim to avoid being hit by the enemies. Difference here being that you can't shoot, you only have the one life and the only way to attack the enemies is to go through the gates. Surprisingly addictive and perhaps the best mode to play for a really high score, especially if you are good and can last for a reasonably long time.

Waves: The game that was featured in Project Gotham Racing 4 returns here as a mode and once again, it's quite fun to play with waves of enemies (mostly the arrows) coming at you from all directions. It gets intense, fast and is arguably the hardest mode out of the lot because like Pacifism you only have the one life.

Sequence: Basically 20 levels of different enemies and patterns, with the aim being to finish all 20 levels. Learning the various patterns is key here and while this mode has the potential to get old once you have mastered it, I still find it rather fun to play every now and then between rounds of Deadline, Pacifism or Evolved.

All in all, the new modes are welcome additions and the old(er) modes are still addictive as they ever were. The Geoms certainly add a new flavour to the overall experience and high scores are absolutely amazing because of it. Subtle things like having leaderboards viewable as you select the mode you want to play make the experience even more addictive, as you see people on your friends list with higher scores and then as a result get the urge to try and beat those scores. As an extension of this, while you play their (or yours if you're on top) high score will be displayed on the top right of screen, enticing you even more to try and beat the score.

Honestly, I can't actually describe why I am addicted to the game, I just know that I am. Maybe it is because the game reminds me of the days of the Arcade where beating high scores was awesome fun (and of course, addictive), or maybe it is because the game is simple to get into yet incredibly difficult to master and the satisfaction of seeing yourself improve is awesome. Whatever it is, I love it and can definitely see myself playing the game for many more days to come. Bring it on, I say.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Almost two months since I last posted here. If I could describe that in one word, it would be neglect. Neglect in the sense that I ignored this blog and stopped writing for far too long and regardless of whether it was unintentional or not, it shouldn't have happened. For that I apologise but the good news is that I am back and ready to write again. I actually plan on revitalising this blog a bit but more on that in a moment.

The reason I stopped posting here for a while wasn't anything in particular but more just a combination of little things. My time management (or lack thereof) played a part and I just couldn't find the time to write anything because I was always too busy playing catch up with stuff I wanted to read online, games I wanted to play or shows that I wanted to watch. One show in particular also played a part in the lack of posting, that being The Wire. I was so enthralled and even immersed in that show that I kept on watching its five seasons instead of keeping up to date with gaming news or whatever. An onslaught (if you will) of games also played a part as I went from a phase of not really having anything in particular to play (and as a result, swapping between many games) to a phase of having arguably too much to play at the one time. Again, more on that in a moment but basically the reason for the lack of posting here was because I just couldn't manage myself, my interests and what I wanted to do, very well at all and Raptured Reality suffered as a result. I intend on changing that right now, beginning with the following tidbits:

Changes - As mentioned above, I plan on revitalising this blog a bit. What I mean by that is to give it a slight makeover and change a few things around to hopefully make it more appealing to read. A big part of that is obvious in that I need to start writing regularly and I definitely plan on doing so from now on. I have a fair few things I want to talk about so I'm not short on content at the moment.

Gaming - Also mentioned above, my gaming entered a phase where I had a fair bit to play. From downloadable titles like Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 and Braid to catching up on some games I missed from the end of last year like Call of Duty 4, Skate and Assassin's Creed, I had quite a lot of gaming to be done and I am still not finished with these games. I'm fortunate enough to have some nice friends out there who lent me these games which I'm grateful for because if they didn't, chances are I wouldn't have gotten around to playing these games at all.

A Farewell - For the moment Raptured Reality has returned to just being my blog again as various commitments (like living in Japan) has seen the other main contributor, GTPod, have to stop writing here. I thank him and appreciate the work that he did do here though and who knows, maybe he will return in the future.

Back Up - I will probably start a secondary blog soon as an extension of Raptured Reality, this time just focusing on the 360 aspect of my gaming. This basically means anything and everything Achievements although I may include other things as well. As much as I love achievements, they aren't the be all and end all of my gaming thoughts (or progress, for that matter) so they definitely don't need such a strong focus here.

The Future - September sees us heading into the end of year rush of games and while it isn't as exciting this year as it was last year, I have still found myself anticipating a few of the upcoming titles. Much to my surprise some of these titles are games I wasn't expecting to be interested in but as more and more information came about for them, my interest piqued and now they are on my purchasing radar. I'll elaborate on this point soon.

On a separate note, unfortunately I can't play my 360 at the moment as it has randomly decided to stop reading discs. It was rather unexpected because on Saturday night of last weekend, I was playing it fine and it was running perfectly, then on the Sunday night I couldn't play anything. None of my games, DVDs or CDs (burnt or retail) worked and naturally as a result I was disappointed. Most would expect me to be angry, especially considering I had problems with my first 360 at around the same time (August) of last year but I am not angry, just disappointed. Perhaps a bit ridiculous here but I actually would have preferred it if the console had given me the infamous Red Rings of Death because then I would have been able to get the console repaired for free under Microsoft's 3 year extended warranty. Typically, the problem isn't the RROD so I now have to pay for the repairs to this console. Not happy with the idea of paying for the repairs but alas, it must be done and as such I now have a 'downtime' with the 360. I have been playing my older consoles in the meantime though so it hasn't all been bad.

And with that, it's time to articulate my thoughts on some other subjects. I have missed writing here so it is great to be back.