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.


August 11, 2011

Review – Red Faction: Armageddon

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 12:17 am

Red Faction Armageddon
Red Faction: Armageddon—the latest in Volition’s series of destruction-centric shooters—picks up with Darius Mason, descendant of the previous entry’s protagonist, and the colonists of Mars trapped underneath the surface following the destruction of the planet’s terraformer.

To make matters worse, Darius has accidentally unleashed a horde of alien monsters that seek to… well, it’s not really clear what the aliens want. They do appear intelligent (intelligent enough to destroy machinery Darius is trying to use against them), but they possess no character or story to speak of, instead assuming the role of predictably mute monsters to turn into paste.

The story is soft and more than a little dumb at times, with a cast of bland characters that, though voice acted quite capably, don’t have a scrap of personality between them. One could argue that it’s refreshing not to be fighting yet another revolution in a Red Faction game, but I felt the title lost some of its identity by choosing to go the fairly standard alien invasion route.

Of course, the real cause for concern is the switch to the closed, scaled-down environments—moving away from what made Red Faction: Guerrilla such a success. With its new setting, Armageddon eschews the wide open expanses of Guerrilla for a series of tunnels and chambers. Darius will occasionally visit the surface, but always in closed environments.


February 12, 2011

Review – Stacking

stacking review
Stacking is one of those games that could only exist in the current generation of consoles—a labor of love the digital market allows for that, six or seven years ago, would have never seen release. In the vein of LittleBigPlanet, it often feels more like someone’s cute arts and crafts project than it does a videogame, characterized by sharp art and a carefully designed gameworld—however, in this instance the art unfortunately overwhelms the game, leaving the experience ultimately unengaging.

The player controls Charlie Blackmore, the youngest child in a family of chimney sweepers. The game begins as Charlie’s brothers and sisters are drafted as child laborers to pay the family debts; Charlie, too small to be of any use in such endeavors, is left behind, and embarks on a journey to reclaim his lost family. The story is told through silent-film style interludes, and the design here is impressively genuine—though the animation in these films largely consists of dolls shaking (to indicate speech), which becomes tiresome as the game progresses.


January 4, 2011

Keeping Up With Grubbins

Costume Quest Grubbins on Ice
Costume Quest’s DLC retains everything from previous save files, making it easy to put a unicorn costume back on while also trying coveted battle stamps with the new costumes Grubbins on Ice offers. The DLC is an extension of Costume Quest so there isn’t anything new introduced in the gameplay – if you haven’t tried Double Fine’s downloadable trick or treat title as of yet, you may want to catch our original review.

The later PlayStation 3 release found me catching up with Grubbins on Ice during the Holiday break, and the DLC actually takes place during the winter as well. Everett and Lucy have been hypothesizing about the monsters they fought on Halloween night, and begin searching for tangible evidence, all of which leads to Lucy getting kidnapped after stumbling upon a receiver in the snow that opens up a portal – of course Everett, Wren and Reynold are left with no choice but to suit up and save her.


October 26, 2010

Review – Costume Quest

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 7:23 pm

Costume Quest
I’m doing my very best to wear out the word nostalgia while writing reviews this month. Mind you, I’m not complaining that so many releases seem to be tapping visuals and controls that take me back to those earliest memories of clutching a controller in my hands – and began the era of my parents trying to wrench them away from it to occasionally get some fresh air.

While Costume Quest wants for the word nostalgia, the digital release hits a different pocket of memories with the childhood recollections of suburban existence. In time for Halloween, the game revolves around that one magical night each year when we stumbled from house to house collecting the candy needed to fuel a power fantasy preceding those offered by videogames, imagining ourselves to be the very characters we tried to mimic beneath an awkward mix of plastic and cardboard.


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