I’m just going to go over my impressions of a couple more 360 demos.
Burnout Revenge was something of a surprise. I didn’t like it very much, although I played Burnout 3 to bits. It’s prettier, yes, but it feels very chaotic. The graphics are much too dark, at least on my TV: it’s mostly just black cars on black roads against black backdrops. Anything that’s hit by sunlight is glaring so that you can’t see it clearly. I take it this is because the game’s been designed to look good on back-lit LCD screens, but it’s a major problem.
Related to visibility problems, many of the games are nigh-unplayable because of way too small onscreen typeface. I literally can’t read the instructions on kicking a teamkilling player in Battlefield 2. Burnout recognizes that it’s being run on a STD TV in 4:3, and doesn’t display in widescreen format, so there are no problems there, but many others insist on widescreen format. Maybe this is just a problem of the demo versions.
Battlefield 2: Modern Combat has an excellent multiplayer demo. I haven’t played the Battlefield games before, but they’ve always sounded like a blast. The vehicular warfare moves very fast and is good fun. The 16 players in the demo servers feel like enough, although certainly there’s room for more. This is going very near the top of my shopping list.
Special kudos to Battlefield for having an option to display the HUD in colorblind-friendly mode. Way too little attention is paid to make games accessible, when in reality a lot could be done with very little effort. It is very odd indeed that they’ve gone to the trouble of taking the colorblind into consideration, but haven’t given an option to double (at least!) the size of the typeface.
Electronic Arts could bring about a change with a simple checklist for designers: make it playable to colorblinds, deaf and lefthanders, at least. Not to mention people with normal TVs.