As a games reviewer you have to take the rough with the smooth. For every Call of Duty, there’s a Barbie game that wants reviewing. Sometimes reviewing a game that’s off the radar yields a surprisingly good gaming experience that may otherwise have been overlooked (I thought, to my shame, that Batman: Arkham Asylum was going to be a bit poo).
When I was asked to review Lips: Number One Hits, an eyebrow or two was raised. A karaoke game isn’t the usual fayre of a male gamer in his late thirties (as I was back then).
I wasn’t asked to review Just Cause 2, I volunteered. It was one of those games that fired me up with so much excitement that I really needed to write about it.
I’d really enjoyed the first Just Cause, even though it was a bit lacking. The demo for the sequel looked great on the Xbox 360 and it looked awesome on the PC. I picked it up on Steam before it was available in NZ at retail, enabling me to write a review whilst the game was still fresh.
Just Cause 2, for me, is a game that still keeps on giving. Not the most powerful in-game narrative, but it is massive and there is alway something to do (i.e. blow-up). I think the game provides a level of entertainment value-for-money far in excess for a lot of today’s games. I recommend that you give it a go if you haven’t already. It’s still available on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.
I still return to it on a regular basis. In fact, I’m going to have a go now. Here’s my review as originally published on the Game Console website in April 2010.
Ninja Theory’s Enslaved: Journey to the West was an ambitious undertaking. A Sci-fi retelling of an old Chinese myth. Even the mouthful of a title alluded to the game’s questionable marketability.
The game review below was written for the Game Console print magazine. Due to space constraints it was never published. Which was a shame, as it was a devil of a review to write.It’s not problem to write a “I hate this turd of a game” or an “I adore this game” review, but it’s another matter entirely when you are battling with your conscience over a game so close to being fantastic.
In October 2009 I was invited over to Ubisoft’s Sydney offices to have a go on a few upcoming games and to have a chat with some of the folks behind them. One of the games on show was Assassin’s Creed 2 and my host was the game’s creative director Patrice Désilets.
Assasin’s Creed 2 was the first part in what would become a trilogy of adventures for Ezio Auditore, his story coming to a conclusion in November with the release of Assassin’s Creed Revelations. Assassin’s Creed 2 had a lot ot live up to. The first game, whilst technically a work of genius, was dull and repetitive to play. With the sequel, failure was not an option. If Ubisoft failed for a second time AC2 was likely to be it for the series.
The most vivid memory of the trip was of me being completely shit at the game in front of the game’s creator- an overly excited French-Canadian who was practically bouncing of the wall whilst observing my complete ineptitude.
Time to regurgitate another of my old missives. I assure you that this current trend of mine is only in order to put some of my old material to good use. Normal service will most likely return at the weekend.
I hated reviewing Arkham Asylum. It was with tear-stained eyes that I hurried though the game, barely pausing to take in the game’s magnificence. When I put my hand up for the Games Console reviewing gig , as far as I was concerned Arkham Asylum was just another half-baked attempt to bring the Dark Knight Detective into the realm of the video game. It had been tried before and, as far as I was concerned – as with previous attempts – it was likely to be shite.
I love Alan Wake. I love the setting, that quaint little town in the American Northwest. I love the “something in the woods” story. I also love the TV episode design style and the fantastic soundtrack.
Before I reviewed the game for Game Console, I wrote a little piece about the inspiration behind Alan Wake. The game is full of little nods and tips of the hat for the amusement of the initiated. Whilst the game was overly ambitious and didn’t really find its commercial audience, I still believe it to be one of the best games of 2010. I’m not sure if this was ever published, if it was, it would have been in the Game Console section of Techday.com. Anyway, here it is.
My first assignment for Game Console was a visit to see PlayStation NZ and have a go on an early build of Infamous. The resultant preview article is presented below in its entirety, complete with the stylised inFAMOUS title.
I remember at the time being left feeling apprehensive about the game, a view that I still hold. I was later invited to review the finished game, which I’ll post up soon. As much as I enjoyed the game, the empty feeling that it left me with is what put me off trying the sequel (although I’m told that I’m missing out).
Check it out, then maybe post a comment on how you found the game.