Etc.


— 9:51 AM on February 15, 2011

Well, I think my latest gaming obsession, strangely enough with Infinity Blade on the iPhone, is coming to the end. I've "mastered" every object in the game, killed the god king multiple times over, and have nothing left to prove.... until the expected update with new areas and multiplayer comes out, at least.

Up next, perhaps, is some form of Dead Space—either on the PC or the iPhone. I was tempted to pick up a copy of Dead Space 2 recently, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. See, I never did finish the original on the PC, so I reinstalled it the other night and got to shooting. As is my custom, I kept the save game file from 2008 since I'd never finished the game, but I figured I might as well start over at this point. Trouble is, the plodding pacing of the game and the sluggish controls, even with the worst problems handled, have made me less than enthusiastic about playing all the way through this one. That leaves me wondering: what is the statute of limitations on a save game file? I don't think I remember key plot points from the middle of the game, so I'd probably be lost if I jumped back to where I was back then.

Another option I'm considering is, yep, the iPhone version of Dead Space, which has a ridiculous number of rave reviews at the app store and, crucially, seems to get the control scheme right. I've not yet tried it, but I understand you use one finger to control movement while the other controls aiming, both on "virtual touchpads" on the right and left sides of the screen. There's no specific, pre-defined area for left/right/forward/back, either. Lifting a finger off and putting it back down creates a new "anchor point," and you can slide any direction from that point to move that way.

Here's a video of the scheme in action:

Watching that makes me think someone has finally nailed shooter controls on a touch screen, something past attempts have miserably failed to do. The graphics are very solid, too. If the gameplay is up to snuff, wow, iOS devices are starting too look like a heck of a gaming platform—I mean for real, hard-core gaming, not just so-called "casual" puzzle games and such, which are fine but sometimes feel a little limited. That's gonna be a problem for the PC industry, don't you think? I mean, look, the iPad doing this blows away most netbooks and ultraportables, right?

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