Me, Kameo, my Xbox360 and I

Ok, it’s been quite quiet for the last couple of days. But contrary to all the rumors that I’ve been playing Xbox360 all day and all night, I had quite a lot of stuff to do for University so actually not all the much gaming for me so far. But this weekend I finally changed that and first of all, finally restored my previous savegame for Kameo (for some reason when you first create an account on your Xbox and then try to import a Gamertag from Xbox Live you end up with 2 different accounts :-? ). I’ve also got some achievements for Geometry Wars , but first things first.

So far I really enjoy Kameo. It’s basically exactly what I’ve expected of it: A fun action adventure with some cute little animal friends. I think it was in the EGM review that someone criticized it for more or less just emulating what made games from Nintendo great, for example the Morphball in the Metroid series. Actually, I don’t see the similarity there. The ball in Kameo for me doesn’t feel like the Morphball at all. It’s very similar to the dash movements of Sonic in the Sonic Adventure series, but absolutely no Metroid in there … Btw.: I loved the dashes in Sonic Adventure 1 and 2, so I also enjoy Major Ruin in Kameo :-)

Also the graphics are great. I haven’t played on a PC for the last couple of years so I can’t really compare the quality there with the graphics of Kameo, but man, this one looks just beautiful compared to all the - what should I call them now that the Wii, the PS3 and the Xbox360 are basically available (except where I live) - last generation of consoles.

For me Kameo is somehow like Starfox Advantures (where I guess I was one of the handful of people out there that really had a good time with it ;-) ). It’s simply fun and it does quite a lot of cool stuff to keep the game from getting too repetitive. For example: I just got my 5th (at least I guess) elementary warrior that looks somehow like a big squid and can shoot water (you would never have guessed that, would you ;-)) and right after entering “his” world, you use him like some kind of submarine and start hunting down troll divers, mechanical submarines and boats. Very funny, I can tell you :)

On the other hand, some people might find the whole gameplay to be a little bit too repetitive. The elementary warriors you have to get in order to fight your evil sister and her troll-king-ally have been captures by some other evil creatures and you have to free them. But first of all you have to get to them, which ends up as your normal stage. And then comes the fight: You can’t physically attack those Shadow Trolls, but there appear some other “light” creatures that you can basically knock out and use to fight the troll.

And there are the more story driven worlds where you head to free your kidnapped family, which always seems to end with a big boss battle. After winning this battle, so far, I always had to head back to the Badlands (a big battle ground between the Elves and the Trolls) where I had to take some mission to push the trolls back a little bit. Again: This might be too repetitive for some people, but I enjoy it so far :-)

And here we come to my (so far sole) minor problem with Kameo: The war in the Badlands somehow feels to be completely separated from the rest of the worlds. For example: You leave the Badlands and enter the Mountain Falls level … where people are simply living there normal lives without an apparent influence by the war that is going on … 5 seconds in the other direction. This wouldn’t be a problem if there was some kind of visible barrier between the worlds and the battle field, but this is simply not there.

But now enough of Kameo and on to the rest of the console. I love it. I think I can say, that this is the machine, I had the most fun during the first week after purchasing it so far. Sure, the SNES had Super Mario World, the N64 had … basically all the launch titles, the PS2 had Airblade and GTA3 and the Xbox had Halo for me, but somehow … well, I don’t really know how to describe it, but I simply have a great time with my Xbox360 right now. Even enough that I’m not even remotely interested in the PS3 and only minimally interested in the Wii. Sure, I will get both of them when their time comes, but …

A big part of what I love about the Xbox360 is the whole achievements system. For those of you who haven’t heard of it yet: It’s basically back to the roots of video gaming where you build up a score showing how good you are. On the Xbox360 every games has a number of achievements you can unlock when doing something special, like finishing a certain level in a certain amount of time etc. And these achievements have a certain amount of points that get added to your overall score which you can compare to other people’s score. It’s simply a nice feature and it’s integrated extremely well into the whole experience of playing games. And it also changed the way I play some games. For example today I played about an hour Geometry Wars just to unlock one single achievement. And this was my only motivation for playing Geometry Wars today :D

On the other hand, the Xbox360 is not perfect. My biggest complaint is how loud it is. Sure, compared to the PS2 and the console I have, it’s extremely close to my head (~1.5m compared to at least 3.5 meters for the PS2, the Xbox and the NGC), but it’s still loud. Not that this would keep me from buying one, but it’s just a complaint :-)