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 Dec 20, 2005 - 02:58 PM - by Michael
* Holiday Catch-Up

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Xbox/Xbox Games
A few things to mention, before the traditional holiday break catches up with me.

Quake 4
Quake 4 uses the Doom3 engine to do things I wasn't expecting. Honestly, I'm really amazed - Raven has done with Quake 4 what they usually do, which is take id's engine and make a better game than id made. Hexen/Heretic, the two Voyager fps titles, and now Quake 4.

Upsides on the PC? Better graphics, cleaner system, patches and multiplayer levels.

Upsides on the Xbox360? Still decent graphics, and Quake II's been included so that newcomers to the series can see the old one, and oldtimers get to see what Quake II looks like in widescreen 720p.

Call of Duty 2
No doubts here - Call of Duty 2 is the pinnacle of the first generation of Xbox360 titles. Quake4 isn't that bad, but Call of Duty 2 is the first crossover PC/Console title that somehow manages to look BETTER on the console. If you're a keyboard/mouse man you'll be disappointed, but it's still very worthwhile.

Tony Hawk's American Wasteland
Somewhere, the makers of the Tony Hawk series got off-kilter. THPS4 was great. Tony Hawk's Underground / THUG2 weren't bad, and I enjoyed the illusion of a storyline mode.

That being said, as the series has gone on, it's less and less about the skateboards and more and more about being hooligans. American Wasteland is more about being a vandal and breaking things than anything else. Stealing the "Get your skate park back" storyline from the old Skate or Die NES titles was good, but the rest - I'm sorry, but the illusion of skateboarding being respectable that the early games tried to cultivate seems to have vanished completely, and that's not good for a sport that already has image issues.
 

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