I'm not feeling very productive this weekend, might have to do with the shitty weather in Berlin...just the right weather to stay at home and play some games. I bought Bully for my 360 last week. I didn't play the original on the PS2, and although I read that the game "might freeze on some older consoles" I gave it a try. And guess what, it froze on me about 2 hours into the game, loosing at least 1 hour since the last save. I'm waiting now for the patch RockStar promised should come last week, since the game really looks like fun. Lousy certification job though, this bug shouldn't have slipped through.

Played through the first chapter of Rainbow Six Vegas again... and I must say the game hasn't aged very well. The graphics is a bit too dirty, it's very hard to make out enemies against the background at least in the Mexican setting in the beginning. There's still no better cover system in any other game though, but I had a hard time to adapt to the controls again (blew myself up several times because 'B' is 'throw grenade' instead of crouch). I think it was the right decision to make the graphics in Vegas 2 that much cleaner, even though I was turned off at first by the "cartoony" look of the screenshots.

After that mildly frustrating experience I played some more Ninja Gaiden Black on Hard difficulty. I finally want to kick Alma's ass. This game just gets better the more you play it. The structure of the game is very different on Hard difficulty. There are new enemies, items are distributed differently in the world, you get weapons and their upgrades only much later, and the boss fights are much more challenging because the bosses are now accompanied by minions. It is amazing how well balanced the rock-scissor-paper system in Ninja Gaiden is. A different weapon can make a subtle but very important difference for a specific enemy type. For instance, at first glance, the new cat-demons in hard difficulty just look like a more annoying version of the Black Spider Ninjas, but while the ninjas can be controlled very nicely with the Lunar staff, I feel much more comfortable fighting the cat-demons with the nunchuk (need to do some experimentation with the Vigorian Flail though). Hard difficulty also forces you to learn blocking, jumping and rolling much more efficiently to avoid attacks. I recently downloaded Ninja Gaiden as an Xbox Original title even though I also own the disc version. Not having to swap discs for a quick round of Ninja Gaiden fun is well worth the 1200 points IMHO :)

I also played an hour of Crackdown. This game is still so much fun... I was playing around with some of the more advanced stuff I didn't use during my earlier play-throughs. For instance, specifically aiming for body- or car-parts (head-shots with the sniper-rifle over insane distances, or causing havoc on the highways by blowing up the gas-tank or tires of passing vehicles). I read somewhere that GTA4 will use a similar targeting system, if true this would be great, I really started to appreciate the added targeting functionality in Crackdown, especially when playing a bit more tactical instead of blowing up the whole perimeter Terminator-style.

I finally ended the day with a few rounds of COD4 multi-player. I'm now on my second prestige-round. I guess I have finally finished my transition from a keyboard/mouse- to a gamepad-FPS player. I can pull off shit with the gamepad now which I deemed impossible one year ago :)