May 25, 2010
Meet Pinhead. He is the colourful, slightly deranged fruits of my first Modnation Racers labour. Initially built in the free demo available to all on the PSN Store, the full game of ModNation Racers recognised that I’d already used their comprehensive suite of creation tools – which in fact was only a smidgeon of what I’ve subsequently found to be available in the retail version – and imported him for immediate use. It’s a thoughtful touch that immediately casts a positive light on United Front Games’ stab at the ‘Play. Create. Share.’ mantra that LittleBigPlanet so expertly established. And , judging by the handful of hours I’ve sunk into ModNation Racers, it is a positivity that is only tempered by a few creeping doubts.
May 23, 2010
Three hours in and I can make two sweeping assertions about 3D Dot Game Heroes: 1. It has the Worst Game Title In The World… Ever and 2. It is the Most Meticulous The Legend Of Zelda (NES) Clone… Ever. You might think that these are both undesirable monikers, and in the case of the first, it is. Seriously, who came up with ’3D Dot Game Heroes’? It sounds like a lazily-scribbled line for the game’s basic premise right back in its concepting phase – how it stuck is anybody’s guess. Of course, it could be a brutal translation from an awesome Japanese title that has no equivalent in the English language. Plausible, but unlikely. With regards to the second claim, however; it may be a meticulous clone, but that’s some source material. As T.S. Elliott once said, “Talent imitates, but genius steals.”
April 13, 2010
As readers of my over-verbose discourse on all things videogames will testify, I am rarely lost for words. BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger leaves me lost for words. A snapshot of Japanese insanity, conched in a beat ‘em up whose mechanics I have barely penetrated after a few hours play, BlazBlue both baffles and intrigues. With knowledge of fighting games stretching no further than the ubiquitous Street Fighter series, BlazBlue represents a bold step into the unknown for me, and it’s very fortunate that the Limited Edition of BlazBlue comes with a DVD stuffed full of tutorials on how to master its intricate complexities.
April 4, 2010
I can say, with absolute conviction, that Final Fantasy XIII has the finest-looking CG hairstyles of any videogame, ever. Any, more useful, assertions of the merits of Square Enix’s latest instalment in a long, long series may have to wait for the review, which in itself may be a long time coming. I’m over five hours in and after each one of those hours, enquiries as to how I’m enjoying Final Fantasy XIII have been met with answers along the lines of ‘I don’t know, it hasn’t really started yet’ or ‘I haven’t really done anything so far’. I’ve merely been pressing forward down what is essentially a linear, elaborately-dressed corridor, dispatching waves and waves of identical enemies by repeatedly stabbing the ‘X’ button, watching at least an hour’s worth of cutscenes and repeating ad infinitum. I’m tempted to say that, so far at least, Final Fantasy XIII has bored me silly, but at the same time, I still keep coming back to plug just another half hour into it with each play session.
March 22, 2010
a·gape1 /uh-geyp, uh-gap/
After a week’s break between the end of the demo and the release of the full game, the addiction has set in again. The single player campaign has been completely ignored for the multi-faceted, frenetic warfare that comprises the online multiplayer, and the best part of twenty hours has passed in the blink of an eye. During that time, preferences have changed – I now find myself picking the Medic class, whatever the situation, with my favourite class in the demo, the Engineer, a distant second. And then there’s the inevitable comparisons with the monster that is Modern Warfare 2, and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 will divide opinion as to which is the better game. For me, the answer is clear cut. This is a CoD-killer.
February 15, 2010
Although it was never quite going to match up to the Modern Warfare 2 juggernaut for sheer depth, Digital Extremes’ multiplayer component for BioShock 2 feels like a missed opportunity. It introduces some innovative features that really lend it its own personality, retaining the essence of Rapture and the BioShock universe, but poor balancing, ropey animation and lacklustre maps let the whole thing down.
February 11, 2010
Set in the submerged, dystopian city of Rapture and championing the power of the self over the collective, the original BioShock proved that game developers could take literature as its chief inspiration and still craft a fun but mature game based on its premise. The works of author Ayn Rand, particularly The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, played a crucial part in forging the atmosphere and underlying ethos of Rapture, and was the primary reason why I stuck with BioShock through to the bitter end when the gameplay mechanics had grown a little repetitive. Two and a half years later, I was keen to find out whether the narrative of its successor, BioShock 2, was the game’s saving grace or one of many highlights.
February 8, 2010
The first few hours of Dante’s descent into the nine circles of Hell are certainly a visceral experience (geddit?), with the wailing of lost souls and the impaled corpses setting a dark, twisted tone for what is to follow; but the game’s fixed camera (another slavish tribute to God Of War) doesn’t allow you to soak it in as much as you would wish. It would be nice to write about a game on this blog that doesn’t involve references to Sony Santa Monica’s mythological slash-em-up, but it is impossible to ignore just how much Dante’s Inferno lifts directly from the famous series. Two circles out of nine in, I’m hoping that the game starts to throw at least some original elements of its own into the hellish mix.
January 10, 2010
Darksiders doesn’t so much wear its influences on its sleeve as sport the official fan club badges on its gleaming plated breast; ‘We ♥ God Of War’ they read, and ‘The Legend of Zelda Appreciation Society’. But if you are going to steal, than its wise to do it from the best, and Darksiders takes this to heart; knitting together elements from both games under the banner of its own individual art style and over-the-top tale of the impending apocalypse at the hands (claws?) of The Destroyer.