Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Book Review: Dragon Age - The Masked Empire

If there's one thing that fantasy novels like Dragon Age: The Masked Empire share in common it's that after the first half or two-thirds of the novel, the story winds up describing a D&D campaign, especially when the book is set in a familiar video game world.

My memory of the first two Dragon Age games aren't branded across my brain like some games – where are the Cole Phelps novels? – so I'm not entirely sure where The Masked Empire sits in the chronology of the games, but the book definitely feels like it came from that universe. Mages, elves treated as second-class (or barely classed) beings, political machinations, rules of honour, and otherworldly beings popping up at the most opportune times.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Review: Alien: Isolation (PC)

alien isolation
In this picture we observe the xenomorph "stepping out" as viewed from
a cowering position under a desk. Not pictured: My stained underwear.
The feeling of dread, suspense, and horror that permeates Alien: Isolation comes from such a weird place. Best know for their intense strategy games like Total War, developer Creative Assembly was quite possibly the least likely studio to be able to produce such an amazing first-person experience, especially with a license that has generated its fair share of mediocre or downright awful video games. Not only that, Creative Assembly has made a game for fans of the Alien film universe and people that possibly know nothing about Alien.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Review: FIFA 15 (Xbox One)

The annual release of sports titles continues!

FIFA 15 is still quite fresh in my mind having just a few months ago taken a swing at the World Cup title – but the EA team does not sit on their laurels and they continue to improve their masterwork. With the mid-year release, the improvements over last year's title are not as drastic as most iterations but that's not to say that there aren't any. Graphically and aurally, FIFA 15 is pretty much the same game as last year: still looks amazing, the sound from the crowd noise to the in-game commentary are top notch. No disappointments here, at best minor nit-picky points.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Review: Fantasia: Music Evolved (Xbox 360)

Guitar Hero took the world by storm, for a time. It wasn't the first time that a music game was released, but it certainly was the game that made it popular. Rock Band followed and then we got to play Dance games when Kinect and other motion controlled hardware made it possible. Now, we have Fantasia: Music Evolved as the latest in genre that for me, was getting very tired.

I started this game up and of course Kinect wanted me to do something. I was comfy on the couch. I thought, "Can't I fake this, and just wave my arms around?" I got up and put some effort into it because that is what game reviewers do. We sacrifice for the people.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Review: Destiny (PS3)

Because of lofty aspirations, Bungie’s first title following the phenomenal success of the Halo games was destined to leave many gamers disappointed in some way or another. It’s a difficult task in any entertainment arena to attempt a follow-up to such an overwhelming success as the Halo franchise was for Bungie. Destiny is that game.

And it has its share of disappointments, primarily in failing to be the massively multiplayer offering it had aspired to be, and having a primary focus on repetitive missions. But it clearly sustains many of the stellar qualities that made Halo a universally well-regarded and lucrative gaming hit, and has even showed improvement in first-shooting game-making, showing lessons learned from the past were implemented by Bungie in its present.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Review: Skylanders: Trap Team (PS4)

I first became aware of Skylanders last year at Activision's multiplayer event for Call of Duty Ghosts. We were whisked away on our last day to a hotel room that was showing off Skylanders: Swap Force. I was in awe because it was my first time playing a PS4 and seeing the Skylanders series. I rediscovered my inner child! This year sees the release of another Skylanders game called Trap Team. Trap Team introduces an interesting new concept that allows you to trap enemy bosses and play as them for a period of time.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Review: Halo: Master Chief Collection (Xbox One)

Halo defined the original Xbox. It single-handedly brought people to the machine, secured Bungie the respect of a world-class developer, and changed the lives of gamers everywhere.

While the original lacked online play, Halo 2 followed it up with the anticipated online play and a wonderful single-player campaign. Then Halo 3 and Halo 4 extended the universe and drew more players to the franchise. Bringing these titles back to life on the Xbox One is something I have been looking forward to since the announcement, and I'm happy to report that this does not disappoint.

This package contains all four main Halo games and this is the first time that Halo 2 has been available in high definition.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Review: The Last Tinker: City of Colors (PS4)

I love third person action adventure games.

In fact, it is my favourite genre. Games like Ratchet & Clank, Jak & Daxter, Sly Cooper and the 3D Mario games are among my fondest gaming memoreis. I am not sure why the genre has declined but I'm glad to see games like the Last Tinker try to revive it.

You play as the Last Tinker in a world where the colours are like races and are no longer getting along. The bleakness has arrived to take all the colours away and you must figure out what happened and get the aid of the various colour spirits along the way in order to do so. Once you gain their trust and confidence, they provide you with their powers (conveniently mapped to the D-Pad) and you can progress further in the game.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Review: Sunset Overdrive (Xbox One)

Starting the game up I wanted so badly to love Sunset Overdrive. After all, I'm a huge Insomniac fan, with standees of Ratchet & Clank throughout my basement and I proudly wear the achievement of completing every single game in that series (even the mobile one). I never really got into Resistance (although I'm still willing to give it a proper try) and for some reason, Fuse hasn't even made it into one of my machines even though I own it. Come on, Insomniac, give me something to love if you aren't giving me the Ratchet and Clank HD remake until next year.

I closed my eyes and started to play. (Then played with my eyes open after that.)

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Hands-On Preview: Evolve (PC)

Evolve is one of the highly anticipated titles for 2015, and the game is now entering it's first widespread alpha. After some hands-on time there is a lot I love about the game and a lot that still needs to "evolve." so to speak.

For the uninitiated, Evolve is a four versus one game where the group pursues the alpha predator. It plays like a highly charged game of Cat and Mouse, with the monster getting a twenty second head-start to comfortably situate themselves in the wild, consuming various wildlife to grow stronger.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Review: Stronghold Crusader II (PC)

Stronghold Crusader II is the sequel to the popular Stronghold series of games by Firefly Studios, and it’s safe to say that Firefly has delivered plenty of what fans loved about the series.

Stronghold Crusader II focuses specifically on The Crusades-Era, allowing the player to assume the role of King Richard, or Saladin should you so choose. The objective is simple: to overtake your opponents’ stronghold. This won’t be new to veterans of the series, but does the sequel they bring anything different to the table?