Monday, 26 January 2015

Review: WWE 2K15 (PS4)

wwe 2k15
Last year's WWE 2K14 was one of the best sports games (or sport entertainment games if you will) released for the previous generation consoles. Needless to say, after setting such a high water mark for the franchise any reasonable expectations would have to live up to, if not better, their previous results. Well… we have a partial success in this case.

Visually the design team did an excellent job of rendering the wrestling talent. All the wrestlers look even more real to life than they have in the past. The rings, crowds, and sets look a little sharper but not as drastic an improvement that the wrestlers have. That being said, there are some cases of the team reusing art assets from the previous game except not cleaning up anything. So we get storylines where last generation rendered Vince McMahon comes out to talk to current generation rendered talent. It would be like substituting the design of Mario from Super Mario on the NES into a modern Wii-U game. It almost feels though the sting of getting a yearly released game out the door meant that certain things would have to be skipped or left as is.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Review: Citizens of Earth (PC)

citizens of earth
When I first saw Citizens of Earth pop up on Kickstarter, I was cautious, but optimistic. It appeared that the title was aimed to draw from the classic SNES title EarthBound not only in writing, but in gameplay as well. While the game succeeds in parts, others either left me frustrated, or left me wanting more.

The big appeal of Citizens of Earth is that you can recruit almost every NPC to your cause, and boy, did Eden Industries accomplish that! Your party is incredibly fluid, and will see School Mascots, Conspiracy Theorists, hobos, and even your own mother joining the ranks. Each party member also grows in effectiveness the more you use them, which encourages experimentation. They also have talents that apply to overworld exploration, and these range from purchasing items, to fast travelling, or even re-battling old enemies.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Review: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PS4)

call of duty advanced warfare
For me Call of Duty: Ghosts was a low point in Activision's much beloved series. The game represented everything I had come to expect from a franchise being released year after year.

Too much familiarity. For every moment of brilliance in the game, there were ten more moments of familiarity. Going into Advanced Warfare, I was both skeptical and excited about the new direction the franchise was headed. I knew that Activision could only make so many games based on Modern Warfare and that eventually we would see a game set in the future with new weapons, gadgets and vehicles. Advanced Warfare represents the biggest jump for the series since the game shifted from World War II to Modern Combat.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Raving Rant: The Year in Review - 2014

Another year come and gone. The old saw about time flying when you’re having fun seems apropos for gamers. Especially when some of the stuff is not fun in the slightest. But it’s been interesting nonetheless. We’ve had all new heroes and villains, as well as some old familiar faces popping up, and it’s worth taking a look back to see how we got through it.

GamerGate
I’m going to get this one out of the way right now. I spoke at length on it earlier, and I’m not going to beat a dead horse, but this is probably the single biggest story of the year. I wish it wasn’t. Arguably, the shitstorm that is GamerGate is still ongoing, although it’s now down to a dull roar. A certain segment of the Internet is being incredibly shitty to a few particular women, and pretty much anybody of a certain degree of visibility who calls them out on it. I don’t agree with Anita Sarkissian’s work, I don’t agree with her positions, but I will defend her right to make them and distribute them. People are, likewise, free to disagree with her and not support her if they choose not to. But this shit has gone way too far for way too long.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Review: Watch Dogs (Wii U)

Starting a new franchise is never an easy task. Some games make it, and some don't.

When you have a big developer like Ubisoft behind you there is more at stake but there are also more resources to draw upon to create the game. Watch Dogs is one of those new franchises that had some new elements embedded into it that made it interesting enough to look forward to. It came out on most of the video game systems in the Spring but took around 6 extra months to come out on the Wii U. So, here it is.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Review: Escape Dead Island (PC)

escape dead island

Maybe it's because it's the close of 2014 and the beginning of 2015, and another birthday for yours truly, that I'm feeling too old, decrepit and tired to have any patience for video games that are slapped into lock-step with tried and true formulas that have proven effective in the past but stopped filling me with awe or, hell, interest.

And that, predictably, is where Escape Dead Island comes in.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Review: Skylanders: Trap Team (PS3)

skylanders trap team
"We have seen the evil of the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors in our midst; let us try prohibition and see what this will do for us."
- Thomas Jordan Jarvis
Swap out "intoxicating liquors" for "Skylanders" and you'll know where I'm going with this review of Skylanders: Trap Team. In fact, I really wanted to write this review in the spirit of a 1920's speech on the evils of liquor and the shortfalls of Prohibition because this is the era that Skylanders has started to conjure in my mind. Not just for the addiction angle and the corruption of youth, but because it would be pretty interesting to see what homebrew figures would look like.