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Showing posts from January, 2012

Classics Revisited

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To some extent, I think we all have a tendency to award special treatment to cherished games of the past. We elevate them above their station, singling them out as being above reproach. Memories blur as we come to view old favourites through rose tinted glasses, forgetting the limitations of antiquated hardware and game design. However, deep down we know that, if played today, there’s a fair chance that an old favourite would disappoint and force us to re-evaluate its spot in our personal gaming pantheon.
Is Final Fantasy VII really the height of JRPGs, or have I just conveniently forgotten about the daft characters and settings that Square Enix has seen fit to alter in subsequent spin-offs? Is Sonic 2 still the speedy mutha I recall, one that shits on almost every Sonic since, or is my memory a victim of SEGA’s clever marketing and hyperbole? Is Metal Gear Solid really the perfect mix of film and game, or has it aged as poorly as the 80's action movies from which it drew inspirati…

The Final Junk

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My finances have fared rather well this month. Resident Evil Revelations, bundled with the frankenstick, has been my only game related purchase. I heroically resisted the urge to import a Sega Saturn iPhone case, which saved me a cool £25, and I even made the fiscally responsible decision of not pre-ordering the PS Vita, but will wait a couple of months for a price decrease instead. However, with a month left on the clock, there is still a chance that I will succumb to launch over-exuberance and put down the £265 needed for the WiFi model, Uncharted and standard memory stick.

Despite my continued Skyrim infatuation- I’ve convinced myself that last night was my final session until DLC arrives - and having a gaming backlog as extensive as Nintendo's financial losses for 2011, I have found myself tempted by a handful of PSN bargains that have appeared over the last few days. Us lucky Brits have been given a week to make the most of a rather generous Final Fantasy sale, which includ…

Musings of a Gamer XIII

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1. Papo, Yo and PSN
Papo & Yo has quickly become my most sought after PSN game for 2012, alongside Journey, even if details are currently scant on this colourful, fantasy adventure. What we know so far is that you control a boy named Quico, resident of a South American slum and best friends with a hulking beast by the name of Monster. The usually amiable Monster happens to have a frog eating addiction, which causes him to go a bit wrong in the head and cause all sorts of mayhem. As Quico, you must track down a cure and save your friend from himself.
Behind the charming exterior is a dark tale of addiction, one that draws upon the troubled childhood of creative director Vander Caballero, whose father was a drug addict and alcoholic. Going on the trailer, and that is pretty much all we have at the moment, Papo & Yo looks like a unique title that will balance charm and creativity with the kind of substance that is sometimes missing from similar games.
While we are on the subject of …

Resident Evil 6: Another Bloody Trailer Analysis

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Is there anything more lazy and uninteresting than a detailed analysis of a launch trailer? With the possible exception of an unboxing video, it marks the lowest point of video game journalism and makes me cringe each time I see one on the front page of a major gaming website.
Last week's Resident Evil 6 reveal trailer had the big sites scrambling to dissect what was a rather interesting and well put together three minutes of Resi. Roundtable discussions, podcasts and editorials wasted untold words on what the images within may suggest. One high profile website even went so far as to produce an exhaustive and thoroughly pointless breakdown of the trailer, with a shot-by-agonizing-shot accompaniment of stills that totalled 101 in all. It must have been a slow news day.
To celebrate this mammoth waste of time, and not to be outdone in stupidity, I thought I would turn my hand to unravelling the mysteries of Resident Evil 6.
WARNING: In the highly likely event that my reading of the t…

Farewell to my Blue Friend

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I kept going at it longer than I should and far longer than I really wanted to. I should've just quit. I kept subjecting myself to badly designed levels, unintuitive gameplay, throw-away challenges and bonus battles that made me despair. Sonic Generations teased me with brilliance, yet frustrated me with hideous game design and superfluous nonsense that proves once and for all, as if it needed proving, that when it comes to creating quintessential Sonic, SEGA are now clueless.
I was well aware that Generations was going to serve up content that I'd enjoy and some that I wouldn't; for the most part, this can be split between classic and modern Sonic. My first session was encouraging as, despite an early appearance for his friends and Sonic being given the gift of speech, I still found plenty to keep me entertained. The new versions of classic levels moved at pace and the occasional switch to three dimensions was well integrated with the more familiar 2D platforming. Althou…

In for the Long Haul

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On a day where a number of high profile websites have put their money where their mouth is - fuck anything that causes me to be Wikipedia-less – I thought I better say something about SOPA and PIPA. If you haven’t already, then it’s well worth familiarizing yourself with both sides of the argument for these controversial bills. I don’t know nearly enough about the US system to comment on whether they have a shot at being passed in their current state, but if they do then the fallout will be felt far and wide and it will negatively affect the online presence of our favoured industry.
And now for something completely different.
*******
After an anti-climactic final showdown with an overgrown lizard and almost ninety hours of spelunking, looting, brawling and blacksmithing, I think I am finally ready to move on from Skyrim. Over the last couple of days loading screens have started to drag more than usual; each new mission has appeared just that little bit less interesting, and the required…

A Whole New World: iPhones & Gaming

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I have never been one for mobile phones. I have made no attempt to keep up with the latest models, chased upgrades nor based friendships on phone ownership. Although I have come to appreciate the advantages of having a Blackberry, I see phones as a necessary evil and have made little use of their multimedia functions.

I’ll text family and close friends, make the odd call, and check my emails but that’s pretty much all I have ever used my phone for. I don’t take many pictures, listen to music, surf the net or play games on my phone, as I have a perfectly good camera, MP3 player, netbook and PSP that have those activities covered. However, that may all be about to change as I will soon be the owner of a shiny new iPhone 4S. Before long I shall be hanging out with trendy types, using annoying buzz words, wearing colourful trousers and dancing like one of those twats on the TV ads. Or so I’ve been led to believe.
I have resisted an iPhone in the past (I have a good camera, 80 GB iPod, Vi…

730 Days of English Gaming

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Pork cutlets and cardboard are the first two things that come to mind when I think back, almost two years ago to the day, when I returned to England having spent the previous four years living in Tokyo, Japan. The pork cutlets (tonkatsu) were my carefully selected last meal on the eve of my long flight home, enjoyed in one of my favourite eateries in my favourite part of town: Akihabara. I still remember the taxi ride home and peering through the back window as the neon signs of my old haunts disappeared into the distance. It was at that moment that I realised a part of my life was coming to end, and I wondered how long it would be before I would see those familiar sights again (only nine months as it turned out - I'm an impatient bastard).

The less delicious, but equally as important cardboard is of the boxes that contained all my extra bits and bobs that I was hauling around Narita airport on the morning of the 12th January 2010. I rushed from counter to counter completing a l…

Gaming Wishes for 2012

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With the New Year in full swing, now is a good a time as any to look forward with some gaming wishes for the year ahead. Just like last year, these are most definitely not predictions - they are the ravings of a rabid gamer who only has an hour to cobble together a blog post.
Next Gen Desirables
The Wii U is coming this year, and rumours continue to circulate that the next Xbox and the PS4 will be unveiled at E3 (Sony have denied it and Microsoft have thus far kept stum). I hope we do hear from both parties, as it will make for a truly memorable E3. However, I would like to see both companies hold off on releasing their next generation hardware until late 2013 or early 2014, though I think Sony do need to be wary of launching significantly later than Microsoft, as it proved costly with the PS3 and 360.
I'm looking forward to hearing more about the Wii U, and in particular the software which Nintendo have so far been very quiet about. As for the Nextbox and PS4, my two wishes are fo…

Musings of a Gamer XII

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1. PS Vita & Jumping the Gun
As we have already established, I'm rather confused about the PlayStation Vita. It strikes me as a console destined for a niche market, with a customer base of core gamers who are excited by things like dual analogue sticks, three-axis gyroscopes and a new Uncharted (basically people like you and I). However, Sony seems to think that the Vita is a do-it-all device that will appeal to a far broader audience than the PSP. This misjudgement may prove costly, which is a crying shame as it is clearly an impressive piece of kit with an equally impressive line-up of software.
I'm still unsure of when exactly I'll buy one, though it is definitely a question of when and not if. I'm unlikely to adopt at launch, but I'd be surprised if I made it twelve months without taking the plunge. Despite this uncertainty, I have already managed to pre-order two games; you know you have a problem when you are ordering games for a system that you have no im…

Welcome to the Future - Potential Highlights of 2012

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Just in case you hadn't noticed, it's 2012. I was under the impression that by now we’d be controlling games with our minds, playing in virtual worlds indistinguishable from our own and all from the comfort of our moon bungalows. Instead, we are two months removed from the umpteenth edition of Mario Kart, are still incomprehensibly wowed by 3D and are only weeks away from yet another relic of the past - a game dedicated portable - floundering its way through an underwhelming debut. Welcome to the future, by which I mean a very slightly different and infinitely more frustrating version of the past.

Although the 21st century has yet to pan out as Hollywood predicted there is still plenty for gamers to look forward to in 2012. I can't say that there is anything I'm overly excited for at present, though that is likely to change as some of these games near release. Besides, I still have lots of tasty leftovers from 2011 to feast upon - Assassin's Creed Revelations, Da…