Tag Archives: Review

Dragon Age: Origins retrospectacle – Grey Wardens and grey environments

One of the downsides of having only recently (within the last year really) joined the PC master race is that I suddenly find I no longer have any excuse to avoid many of the games I wistfully daydreamed about for so long when I couldn’t run any of them. Pretty high on the list of games I was disappointed to miss out on at their release, and always told myself I would play it if I ever got the chance to, is Dragon Age: Inquisition. DA:I was Tim’s game of the year for 2014 (which, while admittedly not a great year for games, is a pretty glowing recommendation on its own) but I have never been one for jumping into series halfway through… So one of the things I was determined to do was to actually complete Dragon Age: Origins first. The first installment of the popular series, released all the way back in 2009.

Life is Strange review – “Hella” ain’t no place I ever heard of

Say “hella” again. I dare you, I double-dare you motherfucker say “hella” one more, goddamned time. Okay, now that’s out of the way… I assume people by now are aware of “The Telltale Game”? You know: a point-and-click, character-based, interactive-story with rapid decisions made during dialogue, minor puzzle-solving, and several major decisions made over the course of the game which will have far-reaching consequences in the scope of the game? *Gasping inhale* The sort of game which I have heard, in my opinion slightly unfairly, termed as interactive films, rather than games. Well, Life is Strange is a new Telltale game, by DontNod entertainment and NOT by Telltale surprisingly… This is indeed a most disturbing universe…

Undertale review – Not set in Australia

Undertale is the darling of indie games at the moment, one of those one-man projects which manages to achieve a far greater sense of depth and meaning than any number of Triple A titles. Funded on Kickstarter to the measly sum of $51,000, by all rights Undertale ought to be entirely unknown and unplayed. It uses pixel sprite graphics more reminiscent of Mario and Pokemon games from the 1990s than any games which are deliberately trying to be “retro” (like Shovel Knight) and looks, frankly, like the sort of game which ought to not hold anyone’s attention for longer than a few minutes. Despite its looks, the fact that practically its entire development is the work of one man (Toby Fox), the tiny budget and the general status of “absolutely insignificant” Undertale has gone on to sell over half a million copies (at the time of writing this) and won enough Game of the Year awards in the same year that the Witcher 3 was released that it might just be beyond comprehension how successful it is.

Hacknet review – MI5 Status: Hacked, Area 51 Status: Hacked, Illuminati Status: Hacked

Hacknet is one of those wee indie games that is something of a success story in the way its design process came about. It was actually started as one of those “make a game in 48 hours” projects, all the way back in 2012. I’m not sure if it was done for a competition or just for the lulz, but that is definitely the humble origins of the game, those original versions still available on ModDB. Created by a single man, Matt Trobbiani (as part of his one-man group Team Fractal Alligator), Hacknet then received enough attention and acclaim from gamers that it went into full time development in order to release a completely updated and expanded version last year.

Wolfenstein: The New Order review – William Blazkowicz did nothing wrong

I remember being very iffy when I heard the announcement for the latest iteration in the Wolfenstein series of games (an announcement which is now lost way back in the mists of time) but a lot of my fears were rather quickly assuaged by the fact that the game would NOT be set during World War 2, like every other Wolfenstein, and also by the trailers which showed an alternate timeline where the Nazi’s won World War 2 and now ruled the world (and indeed everything else as well basically). This alone seemed like a decent selling point as I am new enough to cyberpunk and steampunk that I am not worn out on them yet but it also was rather innovative, in a slightly cheating sort of way.

Tales from the Borderlands review – 870 gazillion less guns

As I stated last year, when I had finished reviewing The Wolf Among Us and the second season of The Walking Dead, I refuse to play and thus review any of Telltale’s games until they are actually FINISHED, with every episode released. So, if you are wondering why the heck this is the first you are hearing of Tales from the Borderlands from me, when perhaps I ought to have been raving about it last year at some point, then that should fill you in. Now that’s out of the way I can actually tell you that I have now, at long last, played the game and formulated some opinions on it.

The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings review – Because “Monster Hunter” was already taken

The Witcher, by CD Projekt Red, is probably the slightly nerdy and unsociable kid in the school of Western RPGs. While games like Skyrim might be the friendly jock, who everyone likes and is easily accessible, The Witcher is a series that is less well known, less popular, but is every bit as good (better in some ways, worse in others) if one takes the time to get to know it. Sticking with the school metaphor for now as well, it is also a game that feels a little bit more aimed at a specialist crowd rather than at a wide market (and I never really thought I would say Skyrim is supposed to be aimed at a broad market, but in comparison it is). Or maybe that’s just what we like to tell ourselves after we’ve finished it, in the same way that people who have completed Dark Souls like to go up to those who haven’t and act painfully smug about how easy they found it.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter review – Dear Esther Plus

Of course, that’s a rather unfair way to introduce any game by describing it as being similar to Dear Esther, because while there is much that The Vanishing of Ethan Carter does indeed share with Dear Esther it also involved rather a lot more interaction than the in/famous walking simulator. Developed by The Astronauts, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, is one of those story-based “experiences” set in the fictional Red Creek Valley and following the protagonist, the supernatural detective Paul Prospero, who is investigating the death of one Ethan Carter. The first thing one does have to say about it is actually pretty much my summary of the entirety of Dear Esther in that it was really rather lovely. However, there is also much more to Ethan Carter which makes it that much more enjoyable and thus far more easy to recommend to anyone at all. It also was re-released rather recently (in mid-July) for the PS4 and so now is actually a rather opportune time to review it.

Arkham Origins review – Learning to Dark Knight

So, you want to make an award winning video game series, or as they call it in Ubisoft and EA: “a cash cow”? Well, look no further than this simple guide which can get you there in the smallest of steps. First of all you need an interesting and novel idea. Perhaps you are an assassin who jumps into hay bales, perhaps you have a chainsaw attached to a machine-gun. You’re Batman? No, I think that’s been done before… Oh, you want to make a GOOD Batman game? Well, then, proceed directly to Step 2! Step 2 is easy, by now you’ve made a successful and exciting video game which may have even won awards and has generated enough capital for you to make another game. For Game Two *huuurrk* The Revengeancing you just need to have a look at what people liked and didn’t like about the first game! Easy-peasy! They like the combat and the stealth, then give them MORE of it! They dislike the enclosed size of the map and difficulty in traveling around, well make the map bigger and give them the ability to extend their glides almost indefinitely! They think there are a little too many Riddler trophies? Well… Perhaps that’s not the best example… The point is, that making a second game is as simple as simply making MORE of Game One (with the wrinkles ironed out). But then one gets to game three. Game Three is the hard one, by this point people will start expecting good things from your games. They’ll want more of what they liked from the first two, but now will also want OTHER new things to excite them as well. From here, you’re pretty much on your own because the third game often seems to be something of a stumbling block for franchises (unless your Bethesda or Rockstar, who will literally NEVER fail at making a good game).

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea DLC review – Constants and variables

The following article contains some spoilers for the end of Bioshock Infinite. Bioshock Infinite was unquestionably one of my favourite games of 2013 and remains every bit as excellent. It ought to be a mark of its excellence that I actually played the game through twice despite its linear path and story, simply because I enjoyed playing it so much. Indeed it was only in the past few weeks that I completed my second playthrough on 1999 mode (and got all those collectible achievements along the way, I might add) and decided that I just had not yet had quite my fill of Bioshock. This prompted me to buy the season pass for the game and work through the various DLCs on offer.