Monday, September 11, 2006

Last weekend was a "new" old experience

I had figured that last weekend would be a good time to catch up on several games. Unfortunately, my entire Saturday was consumed by a seemingly unending car show. By the time I returned home, I was too exhausted to play anything serious.

I recouped some on Sunday, getting a few Quake 4 and Full Auto Achievements. It's very difficult to decide which game I want to proceed with since there are so many "TO DO's".

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What I really gained from Sunday was a reaffirmation of how essential a HDTV is to the Xbox 360 experience. My original experiences with Quake 4, PDZ, COD2, and Full Auto were on a 27" SDTV. While the graphics looked good, they weren't striking.

Today, I'm going through a 51" rear-projection HDTV at 1080i.

As I was cruising through "Lieutenant" difficultly on Quake 4, I couldn't help but admire the extended graphical detail and crispness offered by 1080i over 480p. From individual hair stubbles, to the environment, to the enemies, the game seemed much more alive and impressive than it did on the first run through in December of 2005. Nine months have passed, and the game just doesn't seem as I remember it. In fact, it seems better.

I had similar experiences with PDZ, Full Auto, and Condemned. These games really look great in High Definition. Despite my fighting it mentally, HD gaming really is the way to go. We'll see if I have a change of heart for movies as well.

Besides a visual improvement, I am noting that Achievements have really changed my experience. At first, these little goals meant very little to me because I was the only person I knew who owned a Xbox 360. Once my XBL friends finally had their chance to upgrade, my opinion on Gamerscore changed drastically. Suddenly, I had people to compare my scores and achievements to. Gamescore became part of our discussion while playing. Friendly mockery ensues on a regular basis.

achievements alone are invigorating to replay value. I find myself being able to hold off on further game purchases because there's still so much I can do with the games I have. Sure, I'll still have my game-buying sprees on occasion, but they are now less frequent.


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