Monday, 09 November 2009 19:40

Dragon Age: Origins (PC, 2009)

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Overview

Dark times have come to the nation of Fereldan. Having recently freed itself from a century of occupation by a neighboring country, now a new, ancient threat has begun to move in the southern reaches of her lands. The darkspawn, a twisted mockery of life created when the mages of old attempted to breach the Maker's city, are rising. So evil that just being splattered by their blood can be enough to corrupt you and turn you into one of them when it doesn't just kill you, they are legion – and man alone is not enough to fight them. Enter the Gray Wardens, an order of heroes who appeared when all hope seemed lost during the first invasion by the darkspawn so long ago. Men and women of all race and creed, immune to the taint, and gifted with unheard of strength and power and... Oh, sod it, we've heard this story before, let's just get on with the review.

Thursday, 22 October 2009 14:36

Ghostbusters: The Video Game (xBox 360, 2009)

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Overview

1984. A relatively unremarkable year, all things considered. Ma Bell was broken up, Michael Jackson provided his own stage lighting when his hair caught on fire during a Pepsi commercial filming, and Ronald Reagan tries his hand at humor with the line, "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes," during a radio voice check. Nothing particularly interesting. A legion of little transforming toy robots invaded and forever corrupted my co-writer's consciousness as Transformers debuted. Like I said... small potatoes. And oh yes... A little town on an island on the East Coast got overrun by ghosts, goblins, ghouls, spirits, apparitions, and one really nimble little minx with a flat top... But who you gonna call when something like THAT happens?!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009 21:31

Shadow Complex (xBox Live Arcade, 2009)

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Overview

There's something that we've lost as gamers in the years since the shift from 2D to 3D based graphics. Sure, you might say, we've gained the more immersive world of the Halo series or Gears of War shooters, or the riveting, beautifully crafted vistas to be found in games like Final Fantasy and Mass Effect. The shift to 3D allowed us to focus on world crafting, on building settings in which the player could lose themselves in as easily as the story itself. Remember how incredible that opening area in Metroid Prime on the Gamecube was? The stunning, pouring rain, the rich, lush vegetation and the ripples of the water as Samus ran around in it? The Metroid series, though, highlights that something that we lost in the transition from 2D to 3D. After all, long before Samus was running around the world of Tallon IV, she was an explorer of the dark, side-scroller tunnels of Zebes – a platformer. For all the advantages of 3D, it just doesn't do platformer style games well, much less the sort of huge-map, backtracking, hunt-and-seek style gaming of games like Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. What does all this have to do with this review's target, Shadow Complex for the xBox Live Arcade? Everything.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008 15:14

Infinite Undiscovery (xBox 360, 2008)

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See?  He's heroic.  Sorta.

Overview


One of the things I've been a fan of since the first time I picked up that little rectangular N.E.S. control pad is RPGs – in fact, the very first game that I owned was the original Final Fantasy. I've been hooked on RPGs ever since, partly because the storylines are almost always so engrossing, and because, pound-for-pound, I've found that I get the most bang out of my buck with a good RPG. They're longer – though not as long as they used to be unfortunately – than any other type of game out there, and while some would turn up their nose at the idea of replaying an RPG, I find that it's interesting to go back through with the knowledge gained at the end of the story and see the little nods used to setup the ending. With that in mind, I decided to pick up a little game that I'd heard absolutely nothing about purely on the fact that it was an RPG, and it was released by Squaresoft... erm, SquareEnix, the same company that made one of my favorite games of all time. That game was Infinite Undiscovery.

Thursday, 06 December 2007 22:30

War Front: Turning Point (PC, 2007)

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Overview

Ok, what's the last time you played a new, good, solid Real Time Strategy game - let me guess, the first name that popped into mind was Command & Conquer 3, right? Yes, the C&C series is still pretty much the best series in the RTS genre, right along side Warcraft if you like that much micro-management of your resources. When C&C3 came out earlier this year, though, there was another RTS that it completely eclipsed. Now, to be fair, the creators of the game just did not have much in the way of brains, putting it head to head against C&C3, so it's no big surprise if you've never heard of this one. War Front: Turning Point is an RTS that plays a lot like Red Alert 2, with a storyline unusual enough in the RTS world to be called great.

Wednesday, 05 December 2007 00:00

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PC, 2007)

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Overview

I have something of a soft spot for World War I and II era games, I'll admit it. There's just something about the time period, for all its horrors, that seems... better. Better by far, at any rate, than our current global policy... When I ran across the demo version of Call of Duty 2, I knew that I wanted to play the full game, and indeed, it, along with Call of Duty 3, were two of the first games that I picked up when I got my 360. Just like I'd known I would, I loved every minute of them, too. They told damn good stories, and wove their multi-national tales together damned nicely, especially in CoD3 where all the groups were, in the end, working toward the same end point. When I first heard about Call of Duty 4, I was excited - until I saw the sub title. Moving CoD from World War II to a modern setting was just the sort of thing that could either be very good... or completely destroy the series.

Wednesday, 05 December 2007 00:00

Halo 3 (xBox 360, 2007)

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Overview

Yeah yeah... better late than never, right? Halo 3's only been out for two months, so considering that I don't actually have a game console to play it on, I'd say I'm not too late... erm... yeah. So, right, do I really need to spend too much time over viewing this one? I found myself ready to finish the fight at about 11:55pm on October 24th, and walked out of Game Stop at 12:04am Oct 25th after arriving at 12:02am with a fresh copy - much to the irritation of the sorry sods that hadn't had their copy bought and paid for six months prior and had to wait in the block-and-a-half long line. Of course, I wouldn't actually play it for another three weeks - after borrowing a friend's 360 - but I had my copy, right? Er, yeah... let's get on with the review.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007 00:00

Granado Espada (PC, 2007)

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Overview

A couple weeks ago I heard that World of Warcraft was having a free 10 day trial/attempt to re-ensnare former users. I played back when it first came out. My server was Proudmoore - one of the eight most troubled servers - and was in one of the first three guilds to take down Ragnaros. Got some of the loot from that first kill, too. I spent about a year and a half pissing my guild off to no end that I wouldn't go Marksmanship on my Beast hunter, and finally left when I realized that I was spending more time developing an add-on than I was actually playing the damn game. I decided to play my way through the trial, and as it ticked down, I realized that I still wanted to do some general MMO'ing. I just didn't want to pay for it. Enter Granado Espada, and their pre-open beta.

Tuesday, 06 March 2007 00:00

Gears of War (xBox 360, 2007)

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Overview

If there's any one particular type of game that I really like, it's a good solid action game with enough story to overcome the typical run'n'gun game play that is the hallmark of such games. Halo managed that, with flying colors. I realize that there are those out there that weren't all that impressed, and that pan the series for being too generic, but... These days, what isn't generic? Halo was a fairly standard shooter, but it had the storyline to drive the FPS portion along at a nicely hectic pace. Until recently, the xBox 360 was missing a similar game to appeal to the players interested in solid, high paced action and combat, but that space was filled with the entry of Gears of War to the console's lineup.

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