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Showing posts from April, 2012

No Balls in the House

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I have followed the NBA for over fifteen years. I first got into the league back in '95-96, inspired by the Upper Deck basketball cards that suddenly appeared in our local newsagent and encouraged by a magazine show that was starting to gain popularity on terrestrial TV. I latched onto the Phoenix Suns at the very end of the Barkley and Johnson era, and have followed them ever since. I’ve also played a bit of basketball over the years, until my night time pick-up games were brought to an abrupt end by a nasty twist and an ankle the size of a baseball. Healed-up and back in the UK, an absence of local facilities, general laziness, a lack of fitness and the fact that I have forgotten how to jump have served to stifle my comeback attempts (don't worry, I'll get to video games soon).
It's always been a challenge being a basketball fan in England. Coverage is better than it used to be but basketball has still failed to register with a sports loving public. In the past, wit…

Making Multiplayer Fit

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The announcement earlier this year that Mass Effect 3 would feature multiplayer caused a riot. The more vocal elements of the ME fan-base lambasted Bioware for sullying their headliner with bollocking multiplayer and opening the floodgates for an army of mic’d up imbeciles that would ruin everything with their teenage swagger. They wrote to their local Member of Parliament, burnt effigies of the Bioware doctors and cried themselves to sleep for a solid week. Panic stricken, they convinced themselves that the evil empire, EA, had finally consumed Bioware and that we were only months away from the series being re-located to current day Afghanistan and re-branded as a modern warfare shooter.
I have played a dozen or so rounds of ME3's co-op over the last fortnight and am happy to say that all the fretting was for naught. I found it to be simple yet well designed, a worthwhile addition to Mass Effect 3 that can add umpteen hours to its shelf life. Combat is fast paced, challenging an…

Coming Up...

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With Mass Effect 3 finished – more on that another time - I have now switched my attention to a game that has long sat atop my backlog pile: Dark Souls. My lack of patience and a bloody-minded unwillingness to adapt to new foes has brought back familiar frustrations, but overall it seems to be a more reasonable and enjoyable game than its predecessor. In fact, I think I have achieved more in three hours of Dark Souls than I did in ten hellish moons of Demons.
Dark Souls was to be the beginning of a catch-up period, as I had convinced myself that the next three months offered few new releases of interest. I had long been eyeing the spring-to-early-summer stretch as the ideal time to put a sizable dent in my pile of shame and put some money in the bank. On closer inspection it turns out that April-June looks a lot more promising than I’d initially thought, serving up a mix of intriguing games that will look even more enticing after a couple of weeks of Dark Souls induced panic attacks.

A Lost Franchise?

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"Hurry up and get inside its mouth!" Ours was definitely one of the stranger conversations had at the Sony booth at Tokyo Game Show 2009. The three of us were excitedly shouting tips as we worked together to overwhelm the gigantic boss that starred in the co-op demo for Capcom's Lost Planet 2. Having done irreparable internal damage, we eventually downed the slimy creature, proving once and for all that you should never swallow a soldier with a mini-gun. We came away from the demo suitably impressed and in agreement that it was among the highlights of the show, deciding that we would pick up copies when it was released later that year - it would eventually slip to spring 2010 - so we could continue the messy, co-op shenanigans.
That was not my first encounter with the Lost Planet series, as I had attempted to play the first game earlier that very year. Sauntering back from an afternoon spent in the pub, I stopped by my local game shop just before closing and stumbled upon…

Catching up with the Wii U

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Until yesterday, it had been rather quiet on the Wii U front for a good nine months. Following a large helping of (badly presented) information at last year’s E3, the Wii U went stealth as Nintendo focussed on reversing the fortunes of the 3DS and the gaming press busied themselves with Nextboxes and Orbisi. I had hoped that Nintendo were using this down-time to devise a new name for the follow up to the Wii – Super Fami-Wii, the Satoru Box and the Wii Wii would’ve all been preferable – but it would seem that Wii U is here to stay.
The new console was back to making headlines this week, as word spread that Nintendo's next generation hardware is barely up to spec with the current. The following is taken directly from GamesIndustry.biz, who broke the story:
"No, it's not up to the same level as the PS3 or the 360," said one developer who's been working with the Wii U. What does that mean? "The graphics are just not as powerful," reiterated the source. This …

Musings of a Gamer XVI

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1. Journey
Journey is a simple yet beautiful game. With its haunting soundtrack, impressive use of colour and a basic yet incredibly effective multiplayer it has struck a chord with gamers, becoming the fastest selling game in PSN history. It’s over in a flash and does suffer from a second half that is far less interesting than the stunning first couple of levels, but even still it is one of the finest PSN games since the days of Shatter, Flower and Battlefield 1943.
As much as I'm still enjoying Journey, I have no great urge to write about it. Much like Flower, it is something best experienced not necessarily discussed. It is a game that will mean different things to different people and is near impossible to write/talk about in any real detail without sounding like a pretentious twat. I'd definitely recommend downloading it and experiencing Journey for yourself.
2. Mass Effect 2 and the Best of the Current Gen
I have finished my second run-through of Mass Effect 2 and am now ten…