Monday, 29 April 2013

Review: Army of Two: Devil's Cartel (360)

The Army of Two formula is brilliantly simplistic: two jackasses with heavy weaponry wreak havoc against a nearly endless supply of enemies, with the typical jawing between the characters. It's a winning formula; it's simply fun and an entertaining game. The first two games worked it to perfection, but Devil's Cartel tries to stretch for more depth and falls flat on its face as a result.

Gone are the main characters Salem and Rios. Instead you get to control Alpha or Bravo. It's ironic that they chose characters abbreviated with A or B seeing as I couldn't be bothered to care about either of them.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Review: Don't Starve (PC)

Finding a box thing
Discovering a rather forbidding camp
Well, it looks like I've found another game that will deprive me of countless hours of sleep over the coming weeks, and it's called Don't Starve. It's a game where your character magically gets whisked away into the middle of the wilderness by some jerk, and players have to do their best to survive, gathering basic resources to build stuff, and food to eat so that their character doesn't starve, as the game's title hints at. There's a lot to do, and players need to find a logical way of going about it. Don't Starve is one of those games that will have players thinking, "Well, I'll just do this, this, and this, and you know what, while I'm at it I might as well do this too..." Then it just keeps going like this until suddenly it's 4AM, and you have to get up for work in a couple of hours. It's just that much fun, and absorbing.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Review: Guacamelee! (PS3)

Perhaps the lasting legacy of this generation of consoles will be the rise of independent (indie) development studios.

At a time when big game studios appear to be struggling in a sluggish economy, indie developers seem to have flourished. Sony, Microsoft and Apple have made it easy for these developers bring their works to the masses. 2012 was a great example as the indie game, Journey, took home many game of the year awards.

Drinkbox Studios new title, Guacamelee! feels like another title that should get a lot of attention from gamers.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Review: God Mode (PC)

Fighting necromancers in firelands
Necromancers can be annoying if left unchecked because they'll just
keep resurrecting enemies
Horde mode features in a video game can be good for a quick bit of fun. Fire it up, and the game will toss legions of enemies at the player to blast to bits. Hell, bring some friends along if you want. It makes for a nice little distraction. There are games, however, where this is all that they have. They eschew any single player campaign, and just go all in, existing purely as a horde mode game. The challenge with this sort of game is trying to remain interesting while having such a narrow focus. God Mode has gone this route with mixed results. There is some mindless fun to be had in this game, but it's held back by a number of bugs, a lack of variety, and some questionable design decisions.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Feature: Looking Back at the Rock Band Franchise

Back in September of 2009, I wrote an article on the state of the rhythm game genre, which was written prior to Guitar Hero 5, The Beatles: Rock Band, Lego Rock Band, Rock Band 3, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and Rocksmith being released.

That sentence in its own holds the real problem of why the rhythm genre died. In just a single span of a year we saw six music games being released for this generation's consoles. My conclusion from the article was that unless Publishers and Developers started to innovate their music titles, we would see an end to the rhythm game genre. As the years passed, this has become more evident as Guitar Hero was put on hiatus back in 2011 and Harmonix, the company behind the Rock Band series, released its last piece of weekly DLC on April 2, 2013.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Review: Sacred Citadel (PC)

Boss fight against Queen Digestya
Queen Digestya is one of the few somewhat interesting bosses in
Sacred Citadel
Growing up, I played my fair share of beat 'em ups. It was a genre that was pretty hard to miss in the early 1990s with games like Final Fight, Streets of Rage, and Golden Axe dominating consoles and arcades. Eventually companies got to thinking it would be fun to toss in RPG elements first by adding a level up system, then fancy loot with even fancier stats on it. Capcom was particularly good at this, creating some of my favorite beat 'em up / RPG hybrids like The King of Dragons and a pair of Dungeons & Dragons games. Sacred Citadel appears to try and hark back to those days, being a beat 'em up with some role playing elements tossed in. Unfortunately, as rose tinted as my glasses can be towards the glory days of this genre, Sacred Citadel falls well short. It's biggest problem is that the game is just too easy. AI in the title is so poor that everything feels incredibly tedious while traversing it.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Review: BioShock Infinite (PC)

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I'm sure there are older, more technical examples of the Multiverse Theory in literature, film and academia, but I'm more familiar with Red Dwarf and the finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation. BioShock Infinite, so steeped in the theory, comfortably slots into the Top 5 interesting takes on Multiverse but the game lacks the ability to sky surf on the back of a crocodile so it's definitely not in top spot no matter how slickly the game presents the theory.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Review: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 (360)

With the inclusion of legendary combat – playing rounds against Nicklaus, Player, Hogan, Palmer, etc. – and the chance to play golf at night, it's come to my attention that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 has utterly failed in offering the complete golf package. Of course, the additions I have in mind would push the game from “E” for Everyone to “M” for Mature in a heartbeat and possibly herald the return of Outlaw Golf or least a Dead Space themed DLC course.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Review: Tomb Raider (PS3)

Tomb Raider's origins date back to the original Playstation. The world was a much different place back in 1996: the Internet was in its infancy stages, the economy was booming, war was the last thing on anyone's mind and nobody had ever heard of Britney Spears.  After eighteen years, the series still maintains a presence in the video game world.

While the track record for the series over the past five or six years has been arguably dismal, the newest iteration of the series is not only the best game in the series, it's one of the best adventure games to come along in a long time. Tomb Raider provides a great and lengthy single player campaign even if it comes at the cost of a mediocre multiplayer experience.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Review: StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (PC)


One thing that StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm does extremely well is present the monstrous Zerg as an undulating blanket of slimy, unspeakable nightmares. During the course of a few of the large scale battles when there were literally a hundred Zerg units crashing into enemy defenses, my skin actually crawled and I felt a flash of fight or flight. Something about the way the units are animated… it’s creepy. And when they’re all lumped together it’s close to terrifying.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Revisiting Soul Blazer (SNES)

Soul Blazer title screen
Combining city building with an RPG isn't necessarily the most obvious choice when super gluing two genres together, and calling it a game, yet it has worked on several occasions. The Dark Cloud games would be an excellent example of relatively recent games to accomplish this. However, there were games that came along much earlier and took a stab at this sort of thing. One of the earliest that I ever played was Actraiser on the SNES. This combined a city building element with an action game. It was something that I'd never seen before, but my curiosity was peaked. So, when a new action RPG came along a few years later that combined rebuilding cities with, well, an action RPG, I decided that it was something that I'd like to try.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Review: Need for Speed:Most Wanted U (Wii U)

An actual reason to dust off my Wii U controller? Sweet! The Need for Speed franchise is like crack for true gearheads or any car aficionado, and Most Wanted U is no different. Taking a sandbox approach, you are given keys to a sweet ride and told to go acquire cars, race, modify your rides or pretty much just tool around causing mayhem. No two drivers will have the same experience.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Review: God of War: Ascension (PS3)

It feels like a long time since I've entered the God of War universe. In fact, I've been holding back on playing the PSP game "God of War: Ghost of Sparta" just because I didn't want my love affair with the game franchise to end. I've waited for Ascension to get here, and now it finally is.

First of all, this review is strictly for the single player game. I have just finished the campaign and I'm not quite ready to jump into multi-player. It feels wrong to me somehow, having been in this universe since it first graced the Playstation 2 in 2005.