Friday, 31 January 2014

Review: World of Warplanes (PC)

One aspect of World of Warplanes that the developers absolutely nail is the feeling of flight, at least on a casual basis because this isn't a flight sim by any stretch.

It makes me wish I still had my three-button Gravis joystick (circa. 1991). It also makes me wish there were more games that nudge up against that part of my brain that releases endorphins every time I think of X-Wing, Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, or the Rogue Squadron games. Then World of Warplanes makes me wish there was more to do within the confines of the game.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Review: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PC)

The whack-a-doodle nonsense of the Metal Gear universe is delivered by Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Within the first 30 or 45 minutes, cyborg protagonist Raiden guts a towering Metal Gear then "befriends" a (sadly underutilized) robot dog. Why? There's something about child soldiers, private military contractors, Raiden's past life as "Jack the Ripper" and in all likelihood a Ronco product that slices, dices, and minces.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Review: Broken Age - Act I (PC)

broken age
Broken Age tells a story of… well, that part’s still up in the air because this is only Part I but more accurately, I don't want to tell you anything about the story.

The game opens with no explanation. Instead Broken Age begins with two characters seemingly leaning back-to-back but separated by time and place. Click on either one, it doesn't matter since players can jump between the space-faring Shay and the would-be monster killer Vella on the fly (to a point). And that’s about as much of the game as I'm comfortable revealing because Broken Age is best left to be explored and be surprised by  and find answers like why Shay is stuck on a space ship or why Vella feels the need to kill the giant Mog Chothra.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Editorial: Raving Rant - The Night Elf and The Snowman

It’s been a while since I've found myself bereft of speech on an issue.

To be fair, the last several months have had a near daily flood of information that part of me didn't want to miss by trying to nail down any one set of specifics. I've been watching the near daily revelations of Edward Snowden with the same sick fascination one would properly expect of a train wreck, particularly one of this magnitude.

For years, I've been following a lot of the topics that the Snowden Files address, but always with the degree of removal that good investigative journalism imposes: you get a clearer picture, but you know that there’s probably information even the journos missed. I've long been opposed to the post-9/11 surveillance state policies that have warped and twisted the world into the shape it’s in now. And for good or ill, we've seen far more than even I could have even begun to imagine, and I've got a very good imagination. For example, the fact that half the alphabet soup agencies on the Federal Register blew time and taxpayer money hunting for terrorists in Azeroth.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Feature: Modern Day Collectibles

Collecting video games is becoming more and more of a popular hobby. The problem with that, however, is some of the real "Holy Grails" of game collecting are getting more and more difficult to find. Instead of talking about game collectibles that are going to be really tough for you to find, I thought I would showcase some variants and collectibles that should be easier for you to track down today, in the hopes that they will be more valuable and collectible in the future. At the very least, all four of these items are conversation pieces for when your gaming friends come over.

First we have "The Last Remnant." This Square Enix role-playing game was directed at both Western and Japanese audiences, which is partially to blame for the weak reviews this game received. However it still sold reasonably well and a result had more than one print run. For the Xbox 360 version in North America the initial release had a silvery reflective tone to it (as can be seen in the picture on the right hand side). Subsequent releases ditched the silver for standard issue (and likely cheaper) white. If you are a true collector and/or a Square Enix fan, you are definitely going to want to get both.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Review: Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse - Episode 1 (PC)

The Broken Sword adventure game series was always riding somewhere in the middle of my "To Be Played" pile. As long-time fan of adventure games, leaping in now with The Serpent's Curse, the fifth game in the series (well, the first part of it anyway), there's this definite undertone that someone with experience of the previous titles is going to get more out of this game. I didn't feel lost, but there are definitely some characters from previous games that have returned.

What starts out as a "run of the mill" art theft, which includes the killing of the gallery owner, spirals into something deeper involving the Gnostics, a weird painting, hidden symbols, and the best kick to the head of Gabriel Knight III's horrible cat fur moustache puzzle ever. The adventure pairs George Stobbard (American insurance man) and Nico Collard (French reporter) to unravel the mystery surrounding the theft that kicks off the game.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Review: FIFA 14 (PS4)

My first experience with the FIFA series was back during the 1998 World Cup. Back then, I rented FIFA 98: Road to the World Cup for the Nintendo 64, not sure what to expect.

I fell in love with the series immediately. So many teams, arenas and options!

I was 12 at the time and had a sleepover birthday party with a group of friends and we were up the whole night doing a two-on-two tournament on the indoor soccer court. We even had a little trophy we gave to the winner of the tournament. Fast Forward 16 years and I come to to FIFA 14 for the PlayStation 4. Even after all this time, FIFA still has that great gameplay I first fell in love with, but doesn't quite match my memories in some areas.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Review: A-Men 2 (PS Vita)

A-Men 2 is a game that suffers from murky instructions, ho-hum graphics and a difficulty curve so steep you may as well just jump off a cliff. It’d be a whole other matter if the game gradually introduced mechanics in a clever and subtle way, which sadly is not something A-Men 2 does well.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Review: Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus (PS3)

Back in 2002 Insomniac games introduced us to the world of Ratchet & Clank on the PlayStation 2 and for me, my world was changed forever. I loved that game and the two direct sequels (Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal) that grew alongside the popularity of the PS2. I ended up skipping Deadlocked as it wasn't a full story-driven adventure but I did consume the Size Matters offering on the PSP before they made the move to the PlayStation 3.