Join community writer Tristan as he journeys into the streets of Geebung, a town where anthropomorphic animals roam and a seedy turnip trade threatens to throw the new mayor over the edge.
stories by Tristan Damen
Sometimes I think games that fall outside of the AAA sphere get bullied unnecessarily – Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate is one of those games. Rather than allow it to stay in Review Hell, I’ve decided to step in and defend it from unfair criticism.
Here’s what it takes to conquer BioShock Infinite’s deviously-difficult 1999 mode.
BioShock Infinite is a perfectly fun game that looks great, but flaws and plot holes emerge under sustained glare.
There comes a time when I think I have every video game genre pegged. First person shooters more than anything else, I guess – but, yeah, sometimes I’m almost certain of what I’ll find when I boot up a game like Sleeping Dogs. Fast cars, awkward cover-shooting, a foul-mouthed supporting cast and a seemingly endless run of extremely-violent situations — some of which are either mandatory or optional to experience — were all I expected to find lining the streets of Hong Kong, but thankfully, there were more than a few surprises lurking in the ports, markets and alleyways of this neon city.
Polygon’s changing review score for SimCity shows that the outlet’s policy is inconsistently applied and serves no real purpose.
Here’s what it takes to conquer some of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’s harder difficulty modes.
Find out why Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a cut above its 3D brawler lineage.
I take Ninja Theory’s reboot of Devil May Cry for a spin with sexy results. This old dog has some new tricks, but it’s still that same dog you’ve loved for over a decade; don’t let the haircut fool you.
Dealing with issues regarding Dead Island: Riptide’s Zombie Bait edition in rhyme. This marketing goof is a serious crime. Stop by and have a read. Fuel the change that gaming needs.
For the first part of the 2012 High Horse Audit, click here.
I love sandbox action games. Now that I've moved away from my hometown and don't have any readily-available friends for local play, I dare say that the genre has eclipsed fighters as my favourite. There's something so powerful about the fully-realised worlds and mechanics found in the genres greatest champions — Grand Theft Auto IV, Just Cause 2 and Red Dead Redemption off the top of my head — that allows me (and most probably others) to tune out from reality and forget about the troubles of modern life. Great story and characterisation aren't a pre-requisite for enjoyment with these games, and that may just be the reason that Prototype 2 succeeds.
Controversial admission: I don't like Borderlands. Don't get me wrong, I've tried; and this response to the latest "Bitmob Wants You" callout marks my fourth attempt at taming Gearbox Software's RPG/FPS hybrid.
To me, Journey is not only a poignant representation of the circle of life. It's a beautiful game that evoked some anxiety-laden memories. The more obvious themes of the title inevitably forced me to reflect on those that I love, that I've lost, and those that I've yet to meet, but it was the music from the initial stages that brought up some very specific memories.
Despite my best efforts, I've so far been unmoved by thatgamecompany's previous efforts, flOw and Flower. I couldn't adapt to the former's Sixaxis controls, while Flower proved to be a little too abstract for me to want to follow it through to its end. Journey appeared to be in a similar vein: more art than game. I thought this would've been appealing at first, but my need for some indication of success, progress and — to be entirely honest — excitement would have me rushing for the nearest shooter or fighting game. Much to my surprise, Journey excites, it teases and tugs at the heart strings, and it had me hooked from beginning to end.
This post contains spoilers for Uncharted: Golden Abyss.
Ever feel like something that you desperately want to succeed is destined to fail?
Recently, Sony released a list of PlayStation Portable titles that are compatible with the incoming PlayStation Vita. There were some notable omissions (Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories) and the promise of further additions down the line. While some of my favorites didn't make the cut, here are five PSP games that will help Vita early adopters stave off the post-launch blues.
It was a bright Saturday afternoon when I'd first realised that I didn't like the direction that the Soul Calibur series had taken. I'd just finished an hour long session against a skilled opponent who'd bested me five times straight with Edge Master's feminine duplicate, Elysium. Cycling through a series of move sets – both old and new- and coupled with a near-unblockable Critical Edge attack, I had found my match for the day. I persisted, however: another five fights until a breakthrough – and not to mention, painfully-close – fifth round win. In spite of this achievement, I felt nothing but apathy for a series that I'd loved since my final years of High School.
I'm still not a convert to iOS gaming, or the mobile scene at large. There are a few exceptions: addictive, though ultimately-shallow experiences that keep me hooked for a few hours but – in most cases – fail to deliver the responsive controls and sumptuous visuals typical of games found on dedicated gaming consoles. When I play an iOS game, it's often because it's been recommended to me by a friend, or – in the case of Temple Run - a game journalist I follow on Twitter. Imangi Studios delivered this strikingly-ugly app towards the end of 2011 and it's already enjoyed a great deal of success. Does Temple Run live up to Dan Ryckert's claim that it is "Jetpack Joyride done right"?
Full disclosure: Dinoroar Interactive provided me with a copy of Havoc for the purpose of this review.
Who would have thought that a first person shooter loosely based on the Batman license would have been any good? Despite my lack of faith, Gotham City Impostors may just be the surprise of the year. You can dismiss this as hyperbole – it is early February after all – but the time that I've spent with the beta trial has me buzzing. Try this on for size: Impostors has so far been more enjoyable than the entirety of Batman: Arkham City.
Tonight will be the last night that I spend on this couch. The "leather" has started peeling, there's hair from creatures of various species tucked between each cushion, and the armrests have started to cave in. I've never liked this couch, but my word have I had some memories on it. Some I won't share because, quite frankly, I don't know who's reading this; and others I'll gladly share… because I don't know who's reading this.
I'm trying to find my Focus.
This past week, Nintendo finally brought their 3DS eShop into the modern era by offering downloadable demos for Resident Evil: Revelations and Cooking Mama 4. Outrage at the limited use of said demos aside, 3DS owners are now allowed hands-on time with a game that will (presumably) be better with the upcoming Circle Pad Pro: an add-on that affords 3DS owners an extra analogue stick and shoulder button. The ugly peripheral doesn't arrive until the end of the month, but I was suprised to see how functional Revelations was without an extra few inches of tacky plastic.
Growing up with games like Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight and Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, I mourn for the days where the expansion pack reigned supreme. Add-ons like Mysteries of the Sith and Beyond the Dark Portal offered fully-fledged single player campaigns AND additional content for multiplayer. The modern equivalent – downloadable content or DLC – is a poor substitute as it's often overpriced and always under delivers. Developers also have a tendency to focus on multiplayer with their DLC efforts, which is puzzling as anything undercooked doesn't stand a chance against FPS stalwarts like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3. We have seen some exceptions to this rule, with worthwhile solo expansions to games like Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption and Bioshock 2. Epic have thankfully shrugged the map and skins model of DLC to produce RAAM's Shadow, a brief campaign that catalogues the trials of Zeta Squad "shortly" after Emergence Day.
I've always had mixed feelings towards the Mario Kart series. I haven't played every instalment, but when I pick one up I often find that I have a visually-pleasing racer with woefully-scaled difficulty levels, belligerent AI and addictive mechanics that provide satisfaction and tear-inducing frustration in equal measure. I'll play these game over the course of weeks, months, even years, and not grow tired of being repeatedly screwed over by the shells of various colours, or many other power-ups that are inspired by the diverse cast of characters. Will Mario Kart 7 prove to be any different from its predecessors, or am I just playing these games for the sake of comfort and familiarity?
Saints Row – a series that is equal parts essential and disposable. The first instalment providing the Grand Theft Auto patch that Xbox 360 early adopters craved, with enough personality, flair, and humour to be considered essential. The sequel returned to a familiar space but took the vulgarity and nihilism hinted at in the first game to near-unacceptable levels. It also felt like an unpolished turd after GTA IV's release just months earlier, which featured a polished game world that felt alive. Saints Row: The Third gets the f#@k outta dodge with a new setting, and a set of missions and activities that makes its predecessors look sober by comparison.
Note: This post is a response to the Bitmob Writing Challenge – January 2012. This post also contains spoilers for Saints Row: The Third.
Note: This post is in response to the Bitmob Secret Santa Writing Challenge. Jolly Old Saint Nick gave me a topic that reads "What game this generation have you sunk the most time in?"