Monday, 29 September 2014

An Early Look at Lords of Xulima

Retro-styled RPGs are certainly becoming a thing of late. There have been no lack of crowd funded projects going that route and several small teams have been throwing their hat in the ring as well. I'm certainly all for it being a fan of these sort of games. Today, we'll be taking a look at Lords of Xulima, which is also trying to tap into many of the things folks find appealing about RPGs of old.

Xulima is an overhead isometrically viewed RPG with first person combat sequences. There is a very obvious level of influence from classic role-playing games like Ultima and Wizardry as well as more modern offerings such as Divinity and Legend of Grimrock.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Review: Wildstar (PC)

When it comes to MMOs that are outside the usual heroic fantasy mold, things don't always seem to click as well as you'd like to think. While The Secret World and Star Wars: The Old Republic are holding their own, they're still pretty small change compared to fantasy worlds like World of WarCraft and Guild Wars 2. Carbine Studios looks to break the mold on that with WildStar, and they might have the formula.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Review: Madden NFL 15 (Xbox One)

The Madden franchise exists to remind you of the sheer depth of complexity that exists in the game of football. Earlier Madden iterations gave you the opportunity to tinker around a bit in formations, do some play-calling, and perhaps a bit of clock management. Madden '15 comes with a requisite love of football, because if you aren't fanatical, the huge information dump that is forthcoming will be painful to say the least.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Review: Dead Rising 3 - Apocalypse Edition (PC)

Dead Rising 3 initially scared me a little. When I first saw the reveal trailer, I was concerned the game had tossed away its campy stories and incredibly silly gameplay and weaponry in favour of being more “edgy."

Fast forward to the launch of the PC version. (It was released about a year ago for Xbox One.) I purchased it giving Capcom the benefit of the doubt, and despite some optimization issues, this is Dead Rising at its best.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Review: Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light Redux (PC)

I can't recall a recent game that has so believably created a sense of place. Right from the get-go I bought into the sci-fi setup of the Metro games and the resulting hardscrabble life of living in underground tunnels. Little snippets of what life is like, coping with hardship, the various factions that have risen up in place of a central government, the cobbled-together devices and an economy driven by bullets and the ever-present threat of mutant attacks and the mysterious Dark Ones. During the periods of downtime I found myself poking around in corners trying to understand how these people are surviving. Even during periods of shooting, sneaking, and battling mutants I often lingered in "cleared" areas to soak in the atmosphere.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Review: Firefall - Part I (PC)

At this time in my life I don't have the necessary patience to grind, grind, grind, grind... and grind some more. And every free-to-play game relies on the grind to make money. The logic being, "Hey players that want to climb the ladder to avoid the grind they'll pay real money to buy items and XP boosts in the game! Cha-ching!"

Think it's boring to run between objectives? Well, there are vehicles available for purchase right now rather than grind with the idea that one day, maybe, you'll have enough in-game currency to buy one and affirm yourself a masochist.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Review: Tricks of the Classic NES Tetris Masters (Book)

The great thing about a self-publishing platform like Amazon's CreateSpace is that it allows for the creation and distribution of wonderful little publications that might not otherwise see the light of day. "Tricks of the Classic NES Tetris Masters" by Brian K. Smith is such an example.

While Tetris itself is one of the most beloved video games of all time, dedicating an entire book to just one version might seem a little too niche. This book runs with that idea, however, and it's a great way to take what turns out to be a tremendous amount of information and focus it.

The book includes a well written single page introduction from Alex Kerr, a Tetris Grandmaster, that gives some insight into why the NES version of Tetris is special and later in the book the author discusses the Tengen version of the game that was taken off the market. There could have been more discussion about this version, although I understand why there wasn't.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Review: The Last of Us Remastered (PS4)

Like a handful of successful PlayStation 3 titles, The Last of Us has been remastered and brought to the PlayStation 4.

My first encounter with the game was a little underwhelming to say the least. I played Last of Us on the PS3 last summer for a few hours and couldn’t really get into the game. I found the pacing too slow and quickly stopped playing the game. I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. I even remember walking from electronics store to electronics store being told by the cashiers that all their copies of the title were sold out. Naturally, I just downloaded it from the Playstation Store and it say on my hard drive not being played.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Review: The Walking Dead - Season 2 (PC)

This review takes a look at The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episodes 3 - 5.

There are few things I'll give developer Telltale credit for and one of them is owning up to the fact The Walking Dead series is merely a Choose Your Own Adventure (or possibly more accurately, "gamebook" or "interactive story") rather than an adventure game, where players might have to solve a puzzle or two along the way. You know, combine items, use game logic to figure things out... there's really none of that, even in comparison to first season of The Walking Dead.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Interview: Jane Jensen (Gabriel Knight 20th Anniversary Edition)

I suppose the first question is, why now. Why now for a remastered version of Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (besides the 20th Anniversary aspect)?
It was really just a series of fortunate events. I first started talking to Activision about doing something with them around the time of our Pinkerton Road Kickstarter in 2012. There were some managers there who wanted to see the old Sierra franchises brought back (those same people were behind the new Sierra brand I expect). The idea of doing a 20th anniversary edition of GK1 came up. (We were all shocked to realize it had been 20 years.) The chance to be able to redo the game that established me as a designer as one of our first Pinkerton Road titles was too good to pass up.