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Showing posts from June, 2011

Lessons From The First Half

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Much like 2011, this blog is only half finished. What was meant to be a comprehensive look at some of the biggest gaming stories of a very eventful first half, is instead a much shorter glance at the last six months. There just isn't enough time in the day!

So without further ado: Thus far, 2011 has taught us that.....

...if a game has been constantly delayed over the course of 13 years, there was probably a pretty good reason (Duke Nukem Forever)

...Microsoft are convinced that gamers want nothing more than to talk and gesture to their TV

...even the biggest, most sophisticated companies aren't hacker-proof, and that is something we should all be very concerned about
...its always nice to have free games (PSN Welcome Back)
...the allure of giving an existing title a current generation polish and re-release is overwhelming, and far more palatable to increasingly risk-averse publishers than a new IP or even a sequel

...if you give a demo of a game that is entirely on-rails, pe…

Monday Spotlight – SEGA Saturn

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Each and every Monday I take an in-depth look at one video game topic. This can be anything related to games and the industry, from individual titles and consoles to developers and prominent figures, and everything else in-between. All related topics are fair game and I will offer some history, commentary and insight for each.

The SEGA Saturn has long suffered an identity crisis. It is both celebrated as the true beginning of the fifth generation, a pioneering console rich in ground-breaking and critically acclaimed titles and derided as an overly complicated piece of machinery that bombed outside of Japan, surviving just long enough to irrecoverably change SEGA’s fortunes as a console manufacturer. That’s a lot for a system that only survived three years in the West.
Released in Japan in November 1994, a month ahead of Sony’s PlayStation, and following in the West in 1995, the Saturn was fighting an up-hill battle from the get go. Although in Japan it initially outsold Sony’s maiden co…

Musings of a Gamer IV

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1. LA Noire - A Spoiler Free Rant
LA Noire has been showered with praise since its May release. I enjoyed it in places, but I cant say that I share the unquestioned enthusiasm offered by the gaming press. I commend Team Bondi for aiming for the stars with their detective opus, and it definitely has its fair share of redeeming features, but my lasting memory is of a flawed game that was overly repetitious.
LA Noire boasts some great ideas, some of which are new whereas others are borrowed and refined, but I found the execution to be lacking. The aim is to gather clues and interrogate witnesses so that you may make an informed decision as to whodunit. Unfortunately, the way that you use evidence to dictate interrogations is extremely limited and often just guess work where your sleuthing is either right or wrong, with nothing in-between. I may have had a very logical reason as to why I chose to present a certain piece of evidence during a particular line of questioning, but if its not th…

A Day in the Life of a Helghast Grunt (Killzone)

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I finally bought Killzone 3 a couple of weeks ago. I have really enjoyed blasting my way through legions of Helghast - the intergalactic, cockney Nazis who spend the whole game on the wrong end of a machine gun - and feel that overall it is an improvement on KZ2.

Much like I have done in the past for Yakuza's Kazuma Kiryu and Red Dead Redemption's John Marston, here is a tongue-in-cheek diary entry of an unfortunate, Helghast grunt.

Warning: The following post contains traces of Cockney rhyming slang.

4.30 am - Cor blimey guvnor, its brass monkeys this morning and I've only gone and landed the early morning guard shift.
6.00 am – I have spent the last hour stationed next to an explosive barrel. I need to speak with health and safety.
8.00 am - Guard duty is over and it’s time for a spot of propaganda at a huge military rally.
8.15 am - I’m surrounded by red, black and white insignia. Rousing and hateful rhetoric is blaring through loudspeakers and is being lapped up by hundreds …

The End of Weekly Recommendations

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I have posted a set of Weekly Recommendations each and every Monday for the last seven months. They consist of three games which I have played and highly recommend, all loosely related to a topical news story. I have greatly enjoyed dipping into my video game collection and sharing my thoughts on a multitude of games old and new, but I think it’s time to move onto something a bit different.
Before I go into the details of its replacement, here are the games which have featured over the last 28 posts, grouped and linked as they were posted, ready for your perusing pleasure.
Final Fantasy VIII - Call of Duty: Black Ops - MassEffect 2
Tomb Raider - Resident Evil - Final Fantasy VII Seaman 2 - TimeSplitters Future Perfect - Road Rash 3 Christmas Nights Red Faction Guerrilla - Final Fantasy Tactics - PanzerDragoon Saga Uncharted 2 - Metal Gear Solid 4 - Infamous Streets of Rage - Dante's Inferno - Legend of Dragoon Policenauts - Xenogears - Message Navi Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII - Metal Gea…

Late to the Party - Discovering a Game After the Hype

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For all the damage it has done, I'm happy to say that the PSN outage has brought some sunshine into my life. If not for the month long PSN down-time and the subsequent welcome back offer, I would never have played Super Stardust HD. Over the last week, I have been thoroughly smitten by its simplistic charms and addictive gameplay. To paraphrase a famous bar owner, I have been bitten by the Super Stardust bug and it has burrowed under my skin and laid eggs in my heart. Now those eggs are hatching and the feeling is indescribable.

Making my selections of PSN freebies, I had few expectations for Super Stardust. I had long overlooked Housemarque’s twin stick shooter, even when it had been heavily discounted, as I had convinced myself that it just wasn't my thing. How wrong I was. It is a joy with its vibrant colours and fast but simplistic gameplay, which make it one of those games where a ten minute session soon turns into a two hour marathon. I have lost count of the number of t…

E3 2011 - An E3 Do-over

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The dust has settled on E3 2011. We may now look back at a show full of excitement - one that showcased an expanding industry in its element, more confident than ever of its place in popular culture. But not everyone came away from LA best pleased. Peter Molyneux, excitable developer and head of Lionhead studios, has been losing sleep because of a misleading demo for his studio’s latest game, Fable: The Journey, shown during the Microsoft press conference.

The short demo for the Kinect-enabled entry in the popular Fable series has been labelled a "horrendous mistake" by Molyneux, who feels it was misleading and unrepresentative of the full game. He’s concerned that the demo gave the impression that The Journey is an on-rails shooter, as it didn’t show the ability to navigate, and has since been eager to point out to the press that it is anything but. The stage show was not particularly well received, as many felt that it was an on-rail spin-off, which relied too heavily on …

Cops & Robbers – Weekly Recommendations 13/06 – 19/06

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Every week I give three gaming recommendations (very) loosely tied to something topical. These recommendations span platform, generation and genre and are all games that I have played, enjoyed and highly recommend. As always, comments are very welcome so please do chime in with any recommendations of your own. Check back each Monday for a new set, and click here for past entries.

Last week, Spanish police apprehended three members of the hacker group, Anonymous.Implicated in the PlayStation Network security breach which led to the theft of personal information of millions of users, these three masked vigilantes could be facing upwards of 3 years in the slammer if convicted.
There have since been conflicting reports that the accussed may not have been fully involved in the PSN hack, and continued attacks on other gaming companies and websites - Nintendo is the most recent to be breached - point to the true scale of a problem that is never going to go away.
With video game police work in t…

E3 2011 - Thoughts on the Last Three Days

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Believe it or not, E3 exists outside of the big three's opening press conferences. Here are some musings on a handful of the biggest games and announcements from one of the largest gatherings of twenty and thirty something year old males, outside of prison.

I have avoided topics that were covered in detail during the opening press conferences, unless significant new information has since been released. For a round-up and opinions on the press conferences, click:
Microsoft - Sony - Nintendo

Overstrike Insomniac's (Ratchet & Clank, Resistance series) new IP has been revealed as a multi-platform shooter. The trailer looks very promising, expertly mixing Insomniac's expertise by offering an OTT shooter and exotic weaponry with humour and more exaggerated character models. It is slated to be a 4 player co-op experience, though there has been no word on what it will be like for Billy-no-mates, though I'd hazard a guess some capable bots would step into the shoes of imaginar…

E3 2011 - Nintendo Press Conference

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This is the final post for the big three, E3 press conferences. There are still plenty more games and announcements to come over the next few days, so keep checking back here for lots more updates and opinions.
Nintendo’s E3 2011 Press Conference
Nintendo opened-up in style with a symphony orchestra playing over dramatic footage from the last twenty five years of Zelda. It was a goose-bump inducing opening gambit, even for a Zelda ignoramus such as me.
Our walk along memory lane continued as Shigeru Miyamoto talked us through what is in store for Zelda's 25th birthday. He explained that there would be a Zelda for each Nintendo console, including a downloadable Link's Awakening for Wii, 3DS Ocarina of Time and a free DSi downloadable, co-op title, Four Swords. He capped this off by putting to rest a persistent rumour by announcing that Skyward Sword would be coming to the Wii this holiday, and will not, as some believed, be a Project Cafe launch title. What all of these Zelda g…