Geometry Wars 3 is Almost Here

For those that know my gaming habits pretty well, I am known as a fairly well versed gamer. I put in as many hours in a yearly iteration of Madden as I do a JRPG, my selection of racing games is rivaled by my selection of shooters, I have obscure puzzlers, platformers and character action games in a library that I have lovingly accrued over my adult life. But ask me what game I would drop into the hands of a person new to gaming and also for those who love all games, the answer is almost always Geometry Wars. Its twin stick controls are as easy to pick up as a basic platformer. One stick to move, one to shoot, don’t die.

Tucked away as an Easter egg in Project Gotham Racing 2, Geometry Wars was accessible by walking through your virtual garage and finding an arcade cabinet tucked in the back. That game was the original Geometry Wars, a retro style shooter that was simple yet addicting. A game that you never truly won, you just lived a little longer each time. When the Xbox 360 launched, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved came along with it as one of the marquee Xbox Live Arcade offerings. Gone were the black and white visuals of that little arcade game hidden in a hardcore racer. Instead, Retro Evolved featured bright explosive shapes and colors, launching fireworks at your eyes. If you had an HD display back then, the effect was incredible. Geometry Wars was a certified hit and was one of the simplest games to play, and the most intense to master.

When Activision purchased Bizarre Creations away from Microsoft, not only did Microsoft lose their Project Gotham Racing developer (and ultimately that franchise) but it also lost exclusivity to the Geometry Wars game. Unfortunately, Activision had no idea how to utilize Bizarre’s talent and squandered the team on a James Bond shooter and the poorly marketed (but criminally underrated) racer Blur. They did manage to push Geometry Wars: Galaxies out the door for the Wii and DS, but it was hardly the high definition eye-straining tear inducer that the two Retro Evolved games were.

When Activision resurrected the Sierra brand, the decided that not only would classic adventure games like Gabriel Knight come back, but a classic that would have an immediate impact would return as well. Oddly enough, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is a big deal to me and I can’t wait to peel my eyelids back and explore the new puzzles, 3D maps (almost like a mash up of Super Mario Galaxy) and make an attempt at those survival leaderboards.

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions will release November 25 on Playstation 4, Playstation 3 and PC and November 26 on Xbox One and Xbox 360. The game is being developed by Lucid Games, a studio comprised of many ex-Bizarre Creations staff.

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Top Ten Tuesday – Greatest Launch Games

Dead Rising 3

The funny thing about getting a launch day system is not about the fancy hardware, its about finding the right game to show off that fancy hardware. In hindsight, many launch games are fairly awful and even the once vaunted great titles look pale when compared to titles that come at the end of a console’s lifespan. The Xbox 360 in particular had a fairly weak launch which only produced one consensus hit, Call of Duty 2. There were other hits in the launch window but even Elder Scrolls IV has not aged well, and nobody is jumping at the chance to play Kameo and Perfect Dark Zero again.

Its no surprise that Nintendo is often the king of the launch classic as they seem to have mastered the art of crafting a game to showcase their hardware.

10. Lumines – Sony PlayStation Portable

Lumines

An under-rated title on an under-rated system, the UMD for Lumines lived in my PSP for much of the launch year (often swapping places with the PSP’s Ridge Racer). Q? Entertainment’s Lumines was a euphoric puzzle game that played with color combinations and used music to dictate the speed of the levels. Some levels would be fast, some would be slow, some would have a jarring off-tempo beat that would be make getting into a groove all the more difficult. It was a game that used the PSP’s big, bright screen to its fullest potential and a formula that has never quite been replicated for the franchise since. Continue reading

The Rise and Fall of Bizarre Creations

February 18 will mark a sad but all too common end to a solid game production studio. Bizarre Creations, the Liverpool, U.K. based studio responsible for the creation of hits Project Gotham Racing and Geometry Wars, will shutter its doors after a disappointing run with Activision that failed to capture the originality and challenge the studio had become known for.

Blur

image credit: blurgame.com

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