August 21, 2011

The Last Word on X’11

X 11
As you may have noticed from the slew of hands-on posts, Sugar went to X’11 and played a bunch of delicious games—and we’re not done talking about them quite yet.

In addition to Binary Domain, Rise of Nightmares, and Dead Island, I had the opportunity to get my hands on a whole mess of other games—titles like Space Marine, and some other little indie games you might not have heard of, like Mass Effect 3 and Rage. If these are the sorts of things that interest you, you may click onward to unfurl my parchment of mighty gaming tales.


April 14, 2011

Review – Crysis 2

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 5:40 pm

Crysis 2It’s not difficult to imagine EA sitting down with Crytek, somewhere in the indeterminate space between Crysis and Crysis 2, fingers tented carefully and asking “Can you make it more like Call of Duty?” I don’t mean “It’s a funny joke to think about,” I mean I believe this happened. I believe it occurred in our discrete reality.

Indeed, I believe EA has this conversation with every developer to offer them product.

It’s easy to peer into the product and see the result of this conversation (which I will now portray as a factual historic event); fibers of Call of Duty have been infused in the deep tissue of Crysis, coloring its fundamental layers, its skeleton.

Amazing, then, that it remains, unquestionably, its own game.


April 10, 2011

Review – Mass Effect 2: Arrival

Mass Effect 2 Arrival
Last week saw the release of Arrival, the final DLC package for Mass Effect 2, leading into the release of Mass Effect 3 (still intolerably far away, I might add). Arrival sees Commander Shepard infiltrating Batarian space to rescue an Alliance operative with evidence on the imminent Reaper invasion.

As has been the standard for Mass Effect 2 DLC, Arrival attempts to put something of a different spin on the gameplay and add something unique to the package. In this instance, it’s a rudimentary stealth mechanic, where players—if they are careful about choosing their route—can avoid enemy positions and complete the first mission without being detected.


March 28, 2011

A Rough Start for Crysis 2

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 8:01 pm

Crysis 2
Update 04/04/11: A patch has now been released, aiming to resolve many of the issues described here. Patch notes can be found here. Original post follows:

I’ve been playing Crysis 2 for the past week, and while normally this is about the time you’d be reading my unrelenting logic assault in the form of a review, it’s going to be a while longer before that occurs.

Crysis 2 has had an unhappy launch on the PC, with both the multiplayer and singleplayer components plagued by an entire menagerie of bugs, ranging from the annoying to the nigh-gamebreaking species. While this could fairly be grounds for a resoundingly negative review, I am not entirely comfortable committing such to print at this time, with the knowledge that the digital age affords developers the ability to promptly right such wrongs for all players.

Flaws remain flaws, and should be considered—hence this writing—but I would prefer not to write a review that could, in a week’s time, no longer represent the product. Therefore, I will allow some time to pass in the hopes that a patch will be distributed and the game can be properly reviewed.

In the meantime, however, I would be remiss not to advise players on the matter of the game as it currently exists. As I implied previously, I am playing Crysis 2 on the PC, and thus some or all of the bugs I describe here may not exist on the console versions; I urge players to do their research before making their purchasing decisions.


March 5, 2011

Review – Dead Space 2: Severed

Dead Space 2: Severed
This week saw the release of Severed, the first true DLC (save weapon and items packs) for the Dead Space series. Thus, I will again jump at the opportunity to discuss the merits of annihilating zombies in space, a subject very near and dear to my heart.

Severed features Gabe Weller, one of the protagonists from Dead Space: Extraction. The two-chapter campaign sees Weller battle his way from the government sector of the Sprawl to the psych ward in the civilian sector, in an effort to find his wife and get her off the station. This has the player literally playing the campaign backwards, revisiting many of the areas originally seen while traversing the station in the opposite direction, as Isaac.


February 4, 2011

Review – Dead Space 2

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 3:38 pm

Dead Space 2
Sometimes the front page is swallowed up by an array of posts about Japanese videogames, and that’s how you, the reader, can know that I will appear and offer relief by instead discussing a game that involves science, shooting, and outer space. Thus, we will now discuss Dead Space 2.

Visceral Games’ sequel opens three years after the end of Dead Space; Isaac Clarke is confined to a mental institution where the necromorphs have mysteriously returned. The opening sequence here is meticulously designed both as tutorial and introduction; Isaac is left to stumble through the halls, bound in a straight-jacket, frantically evading monsters and trying to get to safety. The sequence introduces the player to each of the Dead Space conventions as Isaac scavenges his key tools from machinery throughout the hospital, including a new plasma cutter cobbled together from a flashlight and surgical laser.


December 22, 2010

Demo Report – Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2
Alongside other heavy hitters like Dead Space 2 and LittleBigPlanet 2, yesterday saw the release of the Mass Effect 2 demo on PSN. As the resident Mass Effect addict, I took it upon myself to acquire this mystifying new software package and convert its contents into a convenient text delivery for your purposes.

The demo provides PS3 players with a short video explaining the basic premise of the original game, and then moves on to the opening scenes of Mass Effect 2. From there you’ll enter the character creation suite, where you can fully customize your demo Shepard. It probably would have been easier to simply offer the default appearance for Shepard in the demo, but including the entire creation process is a smart choice; customization is a huge part of Mass Effect 2, and this feature goes a long way towards communicating that to potential PS3 players.


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