I’ll be working on what I expect to be a fairly long What to Play This Weekend post off and on tonight and tomorrow, if necessary, but I figured in the meantime, I’d chime in with thoughts on some of the stuff I’ve been playing the past few days.
“Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction” (rated M, $60 on Xbox 360 or PC): Thanks to “Final Fantasy XIII” taking up all of my life for a few weeks there, I’m a bit late to the party on this one. I finished the shortish single-player story on my own over several nights this week and last. Last night, my buddy Carl and I knocked out most of the co-op campaign. I’ll probably devote a full column to this game in the next week or two, but I’ve gotta say that playing through the co-op chapters has markedly improved my impression of the game. The single-player is a competent stealth title, but the story is at times needlessly complex given its relatively short length, and the drama of Sam Fisher’s search for his daughter is often hackneyed. (It probably makes more sense to folks who’ve played past “Splinter Cell” titles. I’ve only got a smidgen of 2005’s “Chaos Theory” on my resume.)
The two-man game, which seems like the title’s bread and butter, has its own separate story that serves as a prequel to the main game, and teaming up with a friend to sneak around and get the drop on guys opens up a whole new avenue of stealth tactics. I’m looking forward to wrapping up the last level of the campaign and trying out some of the two-player online modes.
“Red Dead Redemption” (rated M, $60 on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3): I just started this last night. I didn’t get very far, as I wanted to write a blog post about something else, but it’s looking fantastic. I have to be honest and admit that this game flew under my radar a bit, as 2004’s “Red Dead Revolver” didn’t exactly set critics’ hearts aflutter.
“Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers” (rated T, $10 download for Xbox 360): I picked up the latest $5 add-on for this when it became available last Tuesday. I’ve already beaten the new opponents, unlocked the new decks and beaten all the challenges but one. But I’ve been working in the occasional single-player game to unlock more cards when I’m too tired to get into anything more engaging. The final boss in the single-player campaign was a little on the cheap side, and it’s kind of weird that one of the new achievements isn’t really related to any of the new content, but whatever. It’s solid.
It’s possible that, as the weekend progresses, I’ll fire up the PS3 for one kind of “God of War”-related adventure or another. That’s another game/series that kind of got short shrift during my “Final Fantasy XIII” binge. “Split/Second” is looking good, too. Oh, and I finally have my PlayStation Portable, but nothing much to play on it yet. Still, I might tinker a bit and make an impulse buy.