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Showing posts from July, 2012

Steam from Afar

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By all accounts, the Steam Summer Sale is one the most magical events in the gaming calendar. Each year I experience the bargain hunting through internet friends, eavesdropping on conversations about incredible deals and digital backlogs stretching into the hundreds, as my lack of a gaming PC precludes me from indulging in all but the most basic of titles.
The latest Steam Summer Sale has drawn to a close after ten days of mega value that kept users returning and making multiple purchases over ten days, perpetually terrified that they might miss out on a slice of digitised crack should they leave their computer for more than five minutes. Much like iOS games, it is easy to talk yourself into spending what amounts to pocket change on a handful of titles despite knowing that you'll never find the time to play them.  I shudder to think what would happen if Sony ran a comparable sale on PSN. I'd probably end up needing a second hard drive just so I wouldn't have to miss out o…

State of the Vita

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I created all of the artwork for this post using the Paint Park, Vita app. As you can see, I'm artistically challenged, but what else am I supposed to do with my Vita?
Even when it was still known as the NGP, I had my doubts about the Vita. The market for a game dedicated portable had shrunk drastically since the early days of the DS and PSP and a high price and lack of backward compatibility clearly would not help matters.  I felt that the Vita had the potential to resonate with a niche audience of core gamers, though I was concerned that Sony were expecting it to be much more and would therefore mishandle their new platform. It never even crossed my mind that Sony would do so little for the Vita, with their baffling display of indifference culminating in an E3 non-event. Unfortunately, they have done precious little since to dispel the notion that the Vita is without software.
I'm not usually an indecisive person. I lack the requisite patience for agonising over a decision, …

Classics Revisited: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

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Classics Revisited is about returning to my all-time favourite games to discover whether they are as good as I remember. From 8-bit classics to modern vintage, you can expect validation, disappointment and a sizable helping of nostalgia.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was released for the PlayStation 2 in America in late 2004 and March 2005 in Europe. Initially earmarked for the PS3, focus shifted to the PS2 once it became apparent that next gen hardware was still a ways away. Series creator Hideo Kojima wanted to create something that would stand apart from the first two Solids, focussing on a different character, Big Boss, and opting for a jungle setting that was a significant departure from the sterile and static confines of Shadow Moses and Big Shell. Snake Eater was a critical darling, shifting millions of copies, spawning two direct sequels - Portable Ops and Peace Walker - and numerous re-release across multiple platforms.
I first stumbled upon Snake Eater in the spring of 200…

The Summer Drought 2012

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Flood warnings, winter coats worn over shorts and t-shirt, depressed England football fans and a shortage of new and interesting video games - summer is here at last! Each and every year, the British rainy season (June - August) is accompanied by an uninspired smattering of new video games that has most of us reaching for the backlog or just going straight to bed after dinner, every day for three months.
With the comparative riches of autumn and winter still months away, here are the games that I hope will provide sustenance through the most barren season in the gaming calendar.
Last year's summer drought can be found here.
1. The Last of the Must-plays
I started Final Fantasy Theatrhythm earlier this week and am greatly enjoying it. It has reminded me of how much I once loved the series, a fondness that has lessened over recent years, showering me with nostalgia and some of the finest music to grace a video game. The gameplay isn't up to much - it's basically Elite Beat …

NiGHTS into HD

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Nights into Dreams is highly regarded and under-played. A standout for a console that was shunned by its own manufacturer, Nights was doomed to be ignored by a generation of gamers who opted for Sony or were content sticking with Mario. Two generations later and this sorry situation may yet be remedied. Nights is due a much sought after HD update this autumn as SEGA continue to milk the teat of nostalgia. Nights will join the likes of House of the Dead 3 and Daytona as a digital re-release, with Jet Set Radio to follow shortly. Rumours persist that Ryo Hazuki may soon be searching for sailors in high definition - it's not yet clear whether this will make them easier to find.
Developed exclusively for the Sega Saturn by Yuji Naka's Sonic Team, Nights into Dreams took the speed and shiny collectibles from Sonic and added a visual flair and charm that has always escaped the blue blur. Set in a dream world of floating alarm clocks and crescent moons, you soar through 3D levels sw…

A First Half Analysis

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It has been a strange six months. 2012 has yet to provide a great or defining game, no equal to Red Dead Redemption from the first half of 2010 or anything as enjoyable as last year’s Yakuza 4. However, with electronica blocks, space diplomacy, far eastern zombies, a gun totting alcoholic and everything else in between, I have been consistently entertained by 2012’s early offerings and have yet to find myself without a game to play.
For all the new shinnies that have graced my systems in the last six months, it was an old favourite that proved to be the best. Now in glorious HD, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was every bit as excellent as I remember and I'm now fighting the urge to buy it yet again for my PS Vita which, despite a less than ideal start, has given me another compelling reason to use my thumbs. My at-launch adoption of Sony's latest was my biggest gaming event of 2012, even if the subsequent months have done little to assuage my concerns regarding its long term…

Musings of a Gamer XVII

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1. Tell me XL Lies
Baseless speculation they called it. It was early June and Nintendo were having none of Nikkei's reports that a larger 3DS would arrive later this summer. Not a month removed from their vigorous denial, Nintendo were confirming that the 3DS XL is in fact very real and will be with us later this month, to follow in August in North America. It is a portable of Game Gear proportions, with upper and lower screens 90% the size of the current model and managing to look 90% more Fisher Price tablet. It's always great to have a larger screen, but I can’t comprehend the reasoning and timing of this upgrade. I could understand the thinking behind the DSi XL, offering a new variation and a sales spike towards the end of the hardware's life, but why come out with a 3DS XL so early on, while it continues to thrive at retail?
The 3DS XL does not sufficiently address the battery issues that make any trip without an AC adapter ill-advised, offering a relatively meagre i…