Summertime, and the livin's easy. Of course, livin' easy doesn't always mean livin' like I do 10 months out of the year, which generally means about 12 hours a week devoted to gaming. Even though most weekends have been dedicated to beaches and traveling, I still manage to keep somewhat of a gaming profile together in the summer months. It's a bit more eclectic, to be sure, and actually more varied than the fall and winter, during which times AAA titles are most likely to get face time.
For those of you who don't know my habits, they break down as such – commuting gaming (for the 2 – 3 train rides week back and forth to the office), treadmill gaming (3 miles a day 6 days a week), and free-time gaming (generally spent with my 360). Of course, these days, a fourth category has been added, called work gaming (meaning sitting down for reviews and previews that I would normally not be doing in my free time).
My commuting gaming has been dominated by the inimitable PSP title Field Commander. I had been cruising along pretty nicely through the first quarter of the game, only losing once or twice, until I came upon a nasty little escort mission that thoroughly kicked my rear end for about 15 straight defeats. Once I finally got past that on the train Friday, I felt immediate relief. I then proceeded to jump right into the next fray. God, I love Field Commander.
My treadmill gaming for the past month has been a bit of a departure for my standard exercise fare. Normally, the treadmill translates very well to a sports title (for example, I must have walked 500 miles – no exaggeration or joke - while playing a full 162 game season of MVP 2005 last year), but this July and August I've been immersed in the hedgerows of Normandy and urban ruins of Carentan in Gearbox Software's simply amazing Brothers in Arms: Earned In Blood. The follow up to the magnificent Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30, while flawed in parts, is hands down the best military game I have ever played, and I've played 'em all. It's also the most difficult, but when you finally figure out just what the heck you're supposed to do, it's incredibly rewarding. I have only got the final two missions to go, but I can tell it'll take me about 20 or 30 more miles to finish off the Wehrmacht once and for all (or at least until the next-gen title in the series, Hell's Highway).
My free-time gaming has been mostly dedicated to THQ's addictive, maddening, and visually beautiful MotoGP '06 on the 360. It is technically demanding, and surprisingly stingy with the Achievements. So stingy, in fact, that I've easily invested 10 hours and I don't have one yet. I'll get at least one, dammit, since I am only three victories away from the first Achievement on the list. Conversely, EA's disappointing NCAA Football 07 gives away Achievements like a drunken frat boy at a strip club. I've started a dynasty and played a few online games, but overall it leaves me flat and hoping – nay, praying – that this month's Madden finally gives the 360 a football game worth a damn.
That's what's been on my pretty bare plate these days. Man, I can't wait 'til September rolls around and life gets back to normal!