Games that break new ground

In the D drive: FlatOut. It’s a racing game made by Finns and published by Brits. It’s sort of like _Burnout_ flatout_ouch.jpg meets Big Red Racing, where instead of driving exotic supercars, you run rally races with rustbuckets. And the crashing is utterly exquisite: if _Burnout 3_ is Hooked on Phonics, FlatOut is Hooked on Phonics: The Miniseries.

In particularily nasty head-on collisions, your driver is actually thrown out of the windshield! (They even have sick little stunt games to play the yuks up – like the one where you use your poor battered body to knock over ten pins in a oversized bowling alley.)

My only peeve is that the game becomes exponentially harder as you progress. A analog stick for the throttle control is pretty much mandatory to beat the Silver stage.

In Silverlotus’s D drive: Guild Wars. A MMORPG with a twist, made by ex-Blizzard luminaries and published by Koreans. I bought it for her on Saturday afternoon, and she’s already logged 10 hours. She’s happy that the game does away with a lot of the grinding and annoyances she experienced playing Asheron’s Call. For example, she doesn’t have to wander around miles and miles in the underbrush looking for quests or towns; you can instantly transport yourself to any town, and all quest-giving NPCs reside in these towns.

And because all the wilderness is instanced for just you and your motley crew, you will never journey to battle the Death Panda That Can Only Be Slain by the Chosen One, only to find a dozen people already there waiting for the Panda to respawn. Even the PvP people get their own private battlegrounds to fight each other.

You don’t have to worry about people stealing your items or looting your body, because items are reserved for pickup by you only, and you keep everything when you die. And if you don’t feel like assembling a team together, you can recruit NPCs as henchmen.