Displaying articles written by

Brad Johnson

who has written 85 posts for Gamesugar.

Review – Hard Reset

Review Hard Reset
I’m going to be honest with you: I have no idea what Hard Reset is about.

Indeed, the problem is even more fundamental and more deeply rooted than that: I have legitimately no idea what is happening in this game.

As a disciple of electronic entertainment simulations, I’ve endured some pretty miserable narrative constructs. I managed to make some kind of broken, incomplete sense out of games like Vanquish, and endured the emotional incompetence of Gears of War, so I feel like I’ve run the gauntlet of bad videogame stories and come out the other side with my sanity mostly intact.

Hard Reset, however, elevates poor storytelling to an artform—though, fortunately, it doesn’t make the game any less fun.

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Review – Resistance 3

Resistance 3
After the death of Nathan Hale in Resistance 2, Joseph Capelli has gone underground. Having sworn off the seemingly hopeless fight against the Chimaera, Resistance 3 sees him forced back into the fray—but in a way that’s decidedly more grounded in the story of one man than the clash of warring armies.

This sequel is a much-appreciated respite from the thunderous, flag-waving epics of many other triple-A shooters. It’s a campaign without patriotism, without battlecries, without hooahs; Joseph Capelli doesn’t represent a country, a world, an ISA or UNSC—he’s a man on a truly miserable roadtrip to protect his family.

Though, like many triple-A shooters, the title suffers from a relatively thin story, it mitigates this with a well-crafted atmospheric tone that makes it unique among its contemporaries, and offers a handful of poignant, choice moments that serve to elevate the narrative.

Capelli is unique among modern shooter protagonists in that he is aware of his morality. The Master Chief, Marcus Fenix—these guys don’t talk about dying, except perhaps in some poetic, vaguely glorious way, but Joseph Capelli doesn’t want to die, and doesn’t want to leave his family. Though his feats are as super-heroic as his competition, it’s touches like this that afford him a simple humanness to endear him to the player.

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Operation Kingfish Debuts at XP

Call of Duty Operation Kingfish
One of the more interesting bits to come out of Call of Duty XP this weekend was Operation Kingfish, the successor to the fan film Find Makarov from earlier this year.

Operation Kingfish is something of a success story; after many mistook Find Makarov for a part of Activision’s MW3 marketing campaign, the publisher hunted down the men and women behind it—but not to shut them down. Instead, they wanted to put the team to work crafting a sequel.

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The Last Call (of Duty) at XP

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 Spec Ops XP
Saturday was the last hurrah for Activision’s first fan-event for Call of Duty, and I made sure to sit down with the new Spec Ops Survival mode before tactically ex-filtrating via zipline (followed by epic shuttle bus).

I was teamed up with a girl who hadn’t yet played Survival herself, and she asked me if it was akin to zombie mode from Treyarch’s parallel series. I hadn’t though of it that way, but the comparison is apt; Survival is the Modern Warfare stab at the now ubiquitous horde mode concept, much like zombie mode was for Treyarch.

The difference, of course, is that Modern Warfare puts a slightly more in-universe spin on things—and a little more traditional, too. Treyarch’s zombie maps have been increasingly experimental, putting bizarre twists on Call of Duty gameplay—but Survival takes a different approach, instead packaging the standard COD trappings in a reasonably straightforward Battle Royale, though that’s not to say there are no new ideas.

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The View From Call of Duty XP

The View From Call of Duty XP LA
I arrived at Call of Duty XP unprepared for the level of loyalty the series commands, and the nature of that loyalty; if you had asked me a year ago, I might have questioned whether the fanbase was really there. Not in terms of scale, of course, but in terms of investment—everyone (almost literally) plays Call of Duty, but does it control the type of entrenched fan that seeks (or demands) an experience like this?

I wondered what niche XP filled, what need it answered.

Or, to put it another way: a lot of people watch Survivor, just like a lot of people watch Star Trek—but you can’t really have a Survivor convention the way you can have a Star Trek convention—it can’t be leveraged that way, and it doesn’t need to be. I thought Call of Duty the same.

Turns out I was wrong.

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Hands On with Modern Warfare 3’s Multiplayer

Call of Duty XP Weekend Event
Team Sugar answered the call and descended upon Los Angeles yesterday for Activision’s debut of Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer component at Call of Duty XP, striking fear in the hearts of decent Americans everywhere with our radical Canadian notions.

After being briefly lost in the shuffle as hundreds of Xbox’s were claimed by other raging nerd-journos, I eventually got my hands on the game—and found an equal share of the expected and unexpected.

Call of Duty has made its mark by endlessly refining a very particular product; succeeding in the science of visceral, fast-paced close-quarter combat, in a shooter where shooting is even more integral than the name implies.

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Review – Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex Human Revolution
I spend most of my days waiting for games like Deus Ex: Human Revolution to come along; games that do science fiction well, and authentically.

William Gibson has said that all great science fiction isn’t really about the future, it’s about the present—and that’s part of the strength of Deus Ex. At the heart of Human Revolution is the augmentation debate, and within it are shades of modern day quandaries, reflections of the everyday arguments of politics, science, and religion.

Care has been taken here to craft a genuine, believable world. This game doesn’t feel like a caricature; the ideas and conflicts feel true to life, and so does the argument the game hinges on. That fidelity informs Revolution down to its core, and makes it successful.

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