October 29, 2010

Review – Dead Rising 2

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 9:06 am

In playing open-world games, perhaps the quintessential dilemma is to what extent it is necessary for a game to push players to explore what it offers, and at what cost to player freedom–where at one end of the spectrum the player becomes bored and complacent, and at the other, the game is no longer open at all. I have found it can be far too easy to become mired in endless side-quests and irrelevant mini-games, thus losing a sense of progression and purpose, and while it’s certainly true that the player is ultimately responsible for utilizing the game assets, it is also fair to say that the game is responsible for presenting these assets in an engaging way.

Dead Rising 2’s solution to the problem is to grant the player freedom, but with consequences—the same as you find in the good, old fashioned real world. This is achieved chiefly through demanding that the player manage his or her time. Unlike, for example, Red Dead Redemption, where you could conceivably hunt bounties for a month before choosing to start the next plot event, Dead Rising 2 is characterized by a ticking clock, and story events that occur at specific times on that clock—whether the player is ready or not.


September 9, 2010

Review – Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadowbroker

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 8:00 pm

When the original Mass Effect was on its way to shelves, there was talk of expanding the galaxy map with a supply of downloadable content—an idea that never quite took flight. With Mass Effect 2, Bioware has produced content on a consistent monthly basis, finally delivering on the promise of an expanding galaxy—and what’s more, DLC has been employed to expand and refine the gameplay experience, meaning that Bioware doesn’t just give you more to play, they give you new ways to play. Today we’ll be covering the two most recent releases; the Lair of the Shadowbroker mission pack, and the Firepower weapon pack.


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