March 14, 2013

Review – Lego City Undercover

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 7:09 pm

Review Lego City Undercover
Lego City Undercover serves as my annual reminder not to make up my mind about a game prior to playing it.

Despite a well earned sense of exhaustion from numerous Lego videogames based on popular franchises in recent years, Chase McCain’s mission to save Lego City from seasoned criminal Rex Fury managed to sink its teeth in firmly, until I’d found myself saving said city some thirteen hours later and realized that I’d still only completed 18% of what the entire game has to offer.


June 15, 2012

Review – Lollipop Chainsaw

Review Lollipop Chainsaw
Following in the Shakespearean tradition, Lollipop Chainsaw tells the tale of young love versus young angst, with a coming of age story featuring classic themes of satanic rock, zombie hordes, and one very peppy chainsaw wielding cheerleader.

Our heroine, Juliet Starling, refuses to let any of the unfolding chaos of the zombie apocalypse ruin her eighteenth birthday – from the decapitation of her high school sweetheart to the death of her perverted sensei, and certainly not the hordes of undead classmates tearing up the halls of San Romero High School.

Confident and true, Juliet isn’t interested in hearing from the villains responsible, because they suck.

Instead, she fires up her chainsaw and slices her way through six stages of the undead, with all roads leading to the bosses at the heart of the turmoil. That very little seems capable of darkening Juliet’s day could perhaps be read as commentary on the youth of today, except that there are easy parallels to the self-absorbed Buffy Summers from 1992’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a film that certainly provides plenty of foundation for Juliet’s adventure here.

With that in mind, it seems more apt to say that the kids are still alright, insofar as being partly crazed and entirely ready for zombies at the drop of a hat makes them right as rain in the pop culture stew Grasshopper Manufacture stirs and serves a heaping bowl of here.


October 20, 2011

The View from Arkham City

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , — Jamie Love @ 4:30 pm

The View from Arkham City
Flying over the rooftops of Gotham’s urban mega-prison, the ringing of a payphone breaks through the music and radio chatter, interrupting the primary pursuit as I drop to the street to answer another call from Victor Zsasz.

Gotham’s more notorious super-villains are waiting for my arrival, but I seem incapable of passing on another opportunity to lose myself to Zsasz’s side-quest. There’s a game he’s playing with me, challenging me to reach another phone at a different location before time runs out and he kills the hostages he claims to have. It doesn’t really matter if he has hostages or not, since Batman can’t take that chance, and so I race to the next ringing phone, attempting to triangulate Zsasz’s position a bit more with each new conversation.

Those conversations are entirely one-sided, as Zsasz recounts the misfortunes that led him to where he is today – a serial killer who liberates the living from the burden of life, and keeps score of that crusade by carving a running tally on his flesh.

The reason any of this matters owes to the way I’m taking an active interest in a character I was unaware of before the Arkham series. Rather than simply reaching phones as a fetch-quest, I’m learning more about the character I’m trying to apprehend with each new stage in the game – listening to his madness and sorrows while tracking down his location. That’s seemingly central to the energy behind all of Batman’s opponents, a game where the constant is the challenge to understand motivation – cause and effect. It’s also one of the little touches that reaches into the source material to create the depth of game you’re likely hearing plenty of people heap praise on this week.

Arkham City is a game with an expertly crafted primary narrative, spread across a cityscape where it is just as pleasurable to stop and listen to the chatter of criminals – thugs who discuss their personal lives, as well as the major characters that have so much impact on their current situation. While I still have plenty of Arkham City to chew through, it’s clear already that a significant achievement is the way Rocksteady has created a space that not only convincingly feels lived in, but invites the player in via the subtle ways the signs of life are offered up for consumption, and could be missed entirely if one didn’t occasionally stop to smell the sickly scents of Arkham City’s mean streets.

August 19, 2011

The View From X’11

X11 Toronto
Microsoft’s annual Toronto holiday showcase of all things 360 took place yesterday, and I was fortunate enough to make the event with other members of Team Sugar to check in on upcoming releases for the system.

This year’s showing was undoubtedly the largest one in recent memory, with a slew of publishers showing so many titles that the mind boggled at how to break down and digest so much content. It’s not often companies like Square-Enix, Bethesda, 2K Games, and Sega come to town, and the result was a never-ending sea of screens that left me feeling a bit dizzy by the end of the day.

With that said, I’m going to stay true to form and simply tell you what caught my eye.


March 16, 2011

Demo Report – Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat Demo
The demo for Mortal Kombat rolled in yesterday on PSN (having previously been available only to Playstation Plus subscribers), and as the resident MK veteran, I have taken it upon myself to describe its violent offerings for your entertainment.

The Mortal Kombat franchise spent the entirety of the previous generation building itself up, becoming more elaborate and more complex. While some found it was losing sight of itself, I considered the Deadly Alliance series of games (especially Deadly Alliance itself) to be superb fighters with a wealth of depth absent from previous Mortal Kombat entries.

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe took a step in the opposite direction, choosing to burn down the excess that had built up and return to a truer representation of the old school MK games, a trend continued by this latest iteration.


June 7, 2010

Your Monday Brain Teaser

Filed under: News Feed — Tags: , , , , — Jamie Love @ 11:32 am

Super Scribblenauts
I’ve just received an early morning email challenging my ratio of coffee to awakeness. Awakeness might not actually be a word, but like I said, it’s early.

Anyway, this morning’s brain teaser asks what you get when you conjure up a fierce windsurfing werewolf, a purple flying fish, a yellow plaid bus and a small zombie riding a polka-dotted hot air balloon.

My first guess was the type of nightmares I have after eating a big sandwich before bed, but the correct answer is in fact Super Scribblenauts – the DS followup promising to bring the magic of adjectives, which allow players to change the color, size, style and behaviors of the objects summoned via the power of the word.

Said image is mildly amusing, but as with the last release I’m looking forward to seeing what scenarios all of you come up with. I’m also incredibly happy to see the word “Super” return to game titles.


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