Gamefly Redux

I’ve resubscribed to Gamefly to start playing a few games that I don’t feel like buying (Boy and his Blob, Brutal Legend, Borderlands, etc). The last time I subscribed to them was about two years ago when I first got my Xbox 360. What really soured me was the time it took to get games – it could take a week or a week and a half after a return to get a new one in my hands. It looks like they’ve solved this problem via a clever system. As soon as the game is marked as received by the USPS, they send you another one. This cuts a few days out of the turnaround time and I’ve been getting new games in three days. This has been working out much better for me and has basically fixed my big complaint with the service.

I’m still wishing that Netflix would start doing games as well, because paying only one fee is always better than two, but I think that might be a bridge too far for them. Speaking of Netflix, I saw that they’ve agreed with the movie studios to delay renting some DVDs up to 30 days after release day. In return, Netflix gets 50% off the price of those DVDs. On the one hand, I think the plan will backfire on the movie studios, because people will probably just let the movies sit in their queue until the availability picks up. Second, if people can’t afford the DVDs anyway (which is why they’re renting them), why do they think this will force people to buy them? Netflix is clearly winning on this one because lower purchase prices means better business for them (and perhaps no increases in our subscription fees).

Back to Gamefly, I beat Brutal Legend the other day. I’ve softened a bit on the RTS stuff – the actual RTS game itself is quite fun. What drove me nuts (and still does) is that it’s tough to manage your army for no real reason. On some of the larger maps, giving orders can get a bit tedious. The game also doesn’t have much explanation for some of the hidden elements, like the dragon statues. No NPC tells you how to unlock these things. I’m not expecting the game to tell me exactly what to do when I walked up to them, but why couldn’t my dudes back at camp give a clue? The biggest sin, though, is the lack of a minimap, for both driving and RTS. Though the blinkers on the back of the Deuce help with navigation, it’s still not as good as  a map. Having to pause multiple times to make sure I’m on the path is a huge drag. I actually think if they had a minimap in the RTS segments it would help a lot of my complaints there too. Simply seeing where the enemies are coming from (and what units are enemies) would have taken a lot of the drudgery out of it.

Still, the whole heavy metal thing redeems the game. I loved every second of the awesome references, and there’s nothing quite like blaring Kickstart My Heart when you get the Mouth of Metal for the Deuce.  The pluses do outweigh the minuses on this front.

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