I’m a long time fan of Remedy Entertainment from way back, when all they did was code tech demos for PC benchmarking. Their break-out 2001 game, Max Payne, successfully melded an adult, hard-boiled storyline with explosive gameplay and graphics. A couple of years later Max Payne 2 took it all to the next level. With Alan Wake, Remedy took the know-how from Max Payne and applied to something more akin to an episode of The Twilight Zone.
When I first heard about Alan Wake it was via a tiny piece in the front pages of a UK games mag, it was a bit different to the game that Microsoft ended up publishing in 2010. The early Alan Wake was a sandbox game where Alan could wander around Bright Falls safely during daylight, but was pursued by evil during the night. For reasons that are beyond me now, I was quite taken with the idea of taking a cable car up into the mountains. I think it was the whole newness od the interactive sandbox thing. I still enjoy aimlessly wandering and exploring in games like Far Cry 2 and Fallout 3. I wonder what that sandbox Bright Falls would have played like, especially as I’m currently having so much fun with the zombie sandbox, Dead Island. Remedy have gone on record stating that the changes were necessary to tighten and refine the story experience, something that they believed to be impossible with a sandbox environment. Continue reading Retrospective: Alan Wake Xbox 360 Review→
I’m currently well and truly caught up in the hype for November’s Assassin’s Creed Revelations. Having reviewed the last two Assassin’s Creed games, I’d be buggered if I’ll spoil the gaming experience by have to rush though Revelations in order to shit out a review for a web deadline. No, I’ve got my Assassin’s Creed Revelations Animus Edition for the Xbox 360 all reserved nicely, as every smart gamer should and I’ve going to play it in my own time.
Now I could wax lyrical about Assassin’s Creed all day. In fact I’ve already written some, which I’m going to publish on this very blog at a later date. For now all I’ll say is if you have a PlayStation 3 but no PlayStation Plus subscription, go and bloody buy one, you tight sod, and then download the Assassin’s Creed Revelations multiplayer beta as if you life depended on it. Do it now, and once you’re done come back here are read my Assassin’s Cred Brotherhood Review, as (possibly*) previously published in Game Console magazine.
After my Assassin’s Creed 2 hands-on with Patrice Désilets over at Ubisoft’s Sydney headquarters, I later had the opportunity to review the game for NetGuide magazine.
Playing the game in the comfort of my own home, and not (badly) in front of the game’s creative director was a lot less nerve-racking. What’s amazing about the Assassin’s Creed series is just how much each game improves over the last. Whilst Assassin’s Creed was a very intelligetnly written game, it only really served as a prelude to the incredible gaming experiences that were to come.
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.