October 4, 2011

Review – Rochard

Review Rochard
Rochard is the story of burly asteroid miner John Goodman Rochard, his accidental discovery of an ancient alien artifact, and his quest to protect it from his nefarious corporate employer. It’s a story of lasers, gravity, physics, and boxes dropped on the heads of badguys.

Rochard begins the game with naught but his G-lifter and somewhat preposterous jumping height for a man of his, uh, build. The G-lifter will snatch items from anywhere on the screen (assuming an unblocked line of sight) and pull them to Rochard, whereupon they can be set down or launched as projectiles for both puzzle and combat applications.

Rochard later acquires the ability to create zones of low gravity and fire a mining laser at enemies, alongside a handful of other offensive and puzzle-based upgrades. In true Metroid-fashion, these upgrades enhance Rochard’s ability to explore and navigate the world, while skipping the backtracking that characterizes that series.


September 12, 2011

Review – Resistance 3

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 8:45 am

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.


August 17, 2011

Hands on with Resistance 3

Resistance 3
Gamesugar had the opportunity to attend the Toronto media launch event for Resistance 3 today—an event filled with raging, violent game journos and also some snacks.

The gathering occurred in a darkened cellar that could have easily passed for a bomb shelter, well suited to the chapters of the game I played. These early stages see new protagonist Joseph Capelli battling the Chimera in basements, cellars, and abandoned towns—there has been a clear effort here to ring true to the name “Resistance.” Suburban America has been bled dry, and what few drops of life remain struggle to survive a war that’s seemingly already lost.

Indeed, a more visceral feel permeates the game, especially during combat, with several weapons having been adjusted to feel more weighty and satisfying to fire. Equally, enemies splotch nicely when obliterated, while the player character responds to heavy attacks and falls in a decidedly human fashion.

I happened to overhear Creative Director Marcus Smith explaining that the impetus in Resistance 3 was to create a less superheroic and more human game, which was certainly apparent in the chapters I played.


June 20, 2011

Review – Infamous 2

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 8:42 am

Infamous 2
Like its predecessor before it, Infamous 2 is a game that teeters on the edge of greatness; it may not be quite there yet, but it surmounts its flaws with solid core gameplay and a consistently satisfying experience.

The player once again controls Cole MacGrath, the gravely-voiced electro-kinetic who must choose to follow a path of light or dark to defeat his enemies. As detailed at length across the internets, Cole is a little bit different from before; he’s no longer afflicted by an Infinite Scowl, and a new actor provides a slightly more human voice. Both alterations serve to make Cole more comfortable and relatable, though some of the changes to his design squander cool elements of his look from the first game.

Like most heavy-hitting franchises in the industry (Call of Duty, Gears of War) the plot of Infamous 2 is characterized by a solid concept and weak execution. Core concepts aren’t satisfactorily developed, competent voice actors are given very little worth saying, the emotional story is lazy and the core threat never really materializes the way the plot promises.


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