Since the last time I wrote, I have been through a lot. I am finally back from PlayStation 2 hiatus (after a $100 repair bill for a new laser lens pickup and cleaning), and even went as far as obtaining one of the rare Network Adapters.
Granted I only have 56K thanks to a certain cable company not providing internet services (*cough* Adelphia *cough*) and also because my phone line isn't DSL-ready yet. But at least I can get some online action going, which I will get to in a bit. I have also kept my word about getting rid of my cable in general, as my place will be retrofitted with a new DIRECTV system next week.
I can't wait to go to the cable company's office, slam the box right in front of them, say "F you" and walk out the door for the last time.
In addition, I have been preparing myself to write some new reviews for both Dead to Rights and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I will start off by saying that I am a little mixed about Dead to Rights. While I enjoy the all-out gunplay, I was immediately turned away by the shallow fighting engine that is used at key moments. Hell, one stage alone is all fighting and it bored me to death.
Buffy, on the other hand, has been nothing short of enjoyable. Although I have not watched the series a lot, I am immediately hooked to the fighting engine, which is what DTR should have used (although I believe DTR should have been all shooting), and it looks true to the series, or what I have seen of it so far. I'm getting some background research with the help of my girlfriend, a Buffy fanatic, and by watching the first season on DVD.
In addition, with the start of football season next week (FINALLY!), I will be providing my annual football report card, testing out both NFL 2K3 and Madden 2003. I wanted to include NFL Fever, but since a reviewable copy was not made available to us, that option was left out. Nonetheless I can say that both football titles are great.
At the time of the writing, I was unable to play either title online (since the XBox titles were reviewed). But upon receiving the PS2 Network Adapter, I was able to test out a demo of Madden 2003. Considering I was running at the dreaded 56K, I was surprised at how well Madden performed. This is EA's first attempt at online football for consoles (I have no experience with their PC online titles), and I am very impressed. I had no disconnects, there was slight lag for certain plays but it was very unnoticeable most of the time.
I do wish at times I got this version instead of the XBox one, but that's where 2K3 came in. Based on Sega's track record of making very playable titles at 56K, I traded in my XBox 2K3 for a PS2 version, and I'm glad I did. It was just like playing 2K1 on the Dreamcast again. Smooth online functionality, no severe lag, no disconnects (except from sore losers), and a mini-ladder showing how many games I won or lost, and how many times my carrier was dropped (which, I'm happy to say, is at 0 so far).
Unfortunately not all was good this week. Yesterday I was hit with some bad news. It turns out that the government of the flamboyant country of Greece don't like gamers like us, as they have now banned all forms of electronic gaming in general.
Why you may ask? Violence? Sexually explicit material? Storng Language? No"how about to curb GAMBLING!
Anyone who is found gaming will have to serve jail time and pay a fine of up to $75,000.
So let me get this straight, if I'm caught playing Halo, I will be found guilty of taking part of an act of gambling. Gambling for what? How many Covenant forces I gun down?
I know I've been very harsh on Lieberman and his Super-Friends of Censorship, but this goes way beyond that. I'm sure that the Greeks have more to worry about than a bunch of kids playing Halo, such as "bending over backwards" to provide hospitality, but outlawing gaming to prevent gambling is just absurd. Perhaps the two words were spelled too similarly, so the legislators got confused.
This was not the first time it happened, as you may remember, pinball machines were originally considered a means of gambling, but there were modified to become games of skill rather than chance. Why can't the Greek government get their heads out of their buts and realize that Halo, Mario, MGS, and every other game we know and love are NOT means of gambling.
I'm sure Doug Lowenstein, IDSA president, knows about this and will speak his mind out on it, and since this ruling is under appeal, hopefully someone will grow a brain and repeal it. This is not the way I want to end a good week, but it figures there has to be someone to piss me off like this.