As the title suggests, these kinds of posts aren’t gonna be full-blown reviews, but just talking a little more casually about games I’ve been playing lately. I think the purpose of these will be mostly for games I want to talk a little bit more in-depth about, without doing an actual review (because, you know, that takes work).

But yes, I’ve played a little bit of Nexuiz. That is, the new, Illfonic developed XBLA games using CryEngine 3, and not the original free open-source PC game by Alientrap. I have no idea how to properly pronounce that. Some friends and I have been pronouncing it “Nexus”, though the original game pronounces it “Nex-ee-us” on it’s main menu screen. Either way, it’s a silly name. Currently, it’s only out on XBLA, but PSN and Steam releases are planned for the future. Hopefully the near future in the case of Steam, because this is a game that I feel will play much, much better on PC.

However, even on Xbox with a controller, this game is surprisingly fun. It’s very fun, in fact. To someone who is unfamiliar with the game, it’s an arena shoooter, a-lá Quake or Unreal Tournament and is similarly fast-paced, though the very nature of the system it’s on slows the gameplay down a little, but is still significantly faster than your average console shooter. Perhaps this is why the game surprised me so much. The thought of playing a Quake-esque game with a console controller is almost absurd. I think Quake 3 is actually available on the XBL marketplace, but god knows what that plays like.

Nexuiz just feels… right with a controller. I’m not saying better than with a mouse and keyboard. This game will obviously play much better with that control setup, but the fact Illfonic have made a fast-paced arena shooter that works well on a console is commendable. In fact, it makes me even more excited for the eventual PC release because, if it plays this well with a controller, it must be phenomenal on PC, right?

The gameplay is pretty typical of these types of shooters. You run around in a small enclosed map shooting dudes with the crazy sci-fun guns also typical of these types of shooters. The main twist is the inclusion of “mutators”, effects that can drastically alter the way the game is played for either yourself, your team, or everyone. There are some of the fairly typical ones you would expect: double damage, infinite ammo, etc, but there are also some pretty crazy ones, like inverting everyone’s aim, making a random person explode, turning everyone into sombrero-wearing piñatas… some of them are pretty hilarious. And it’s the inclusion of things like these that gives the game it’s character and shows that the game doesn’t take itself too seriously. Which is a good thing.

So, I think I’m gonna try and play more of it, in amongst all the other games I have going on right now (which can be a whole other blog post in and of itself). It’s a ton of fun, and a lot of the people I play with think so as well, which is a rare occurrence. There’s a demo on the Xbox Live Marketplace if you want to try it out. It limits some features… like playing with friends… but like the Gotham City Impostors demo, is enough to get a jist of how the game plays.