Dust: An Elysian Tail [5 Minute Review]

Anyone who can kill things with a hat pulled over his eyes is tops in my book.

Anyone who can kill things with a hat pulled over his eyes is tops in my book.

Dust: An Elysian Tail is full of surprises. The graphics, presentation, voice acting and art style are fantastic for indie fare. The gameplay, with its simple collection of combo strings, Metroidvania approach and mild RPG elements, is oddly addictive and compels you to see the game through to completion. What’s most surprising of all, however, is the whole game was designed and programmed by one guy. Not a bad effort at all.

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I Hate That I Love You – Battlefield 4

Getting there, one step at a time.

Getting there, one step at a time.

An orange-red triangle lights up on my minimap; someone has spotted an enemy near me, and they’re headed my way. I change tack and ready my PDW, weapon trained on the corner. Sure enough, the enemy comes into view, and I open up on them. Bullets spray forth, but my hit marker only flashes sporadically. He just keeps on walking, unfazed by my attack. Frustrated, I switch to my sidearm, but he suddenly wakes from his stupor, bringing his Type 88 to bear and perforating me with a handful of rounds. I die in a heartbeat. The screen fades to grey and highlights my killer: an AA vehicle, sitting at the edge of the map, firing blindly into the sky.

I sigh, feeling my jaw tense, and wait to respawn.  Continue reading

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Widening the Rift: Facebook, Oculus, and gamers

There's no reason to be upset.

There’s no reason to be upset.

I don’t think anyone could have seen this coming.

The Oculus Rift, the virtual reality headset that enjoyed a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign and received the endorsement of several high-profile game developers, managed to successfully rekindle the dream of truly immersive gaming. It was a refreshing step forward that didn’t involve fiddly motion controls or the aimless pursuit of resolution and frames-per-second. The company the virtual reality dream, made it work, and—most importantly—got people excited about it. Every impression had the same message, “I am a believer”. It could be done. The hope and emotional investment was tangible.

And then Facebook bought it. Continue reading

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Late to the party: Diablo 3

I'm gonna hit you wif my bwoadsword.

I’m gonna hit you wif my bwoadsword.

Diablo 3 has been in my “don’t touch” bucket for the longest time. The amount of negative press, justified or not, soured my anticipation for the game. Always online connection required? A real money auction houseColourful environments? “How dare they, those wretched motherfuckers,” the comments echoed.

Well, I finally got it. For better or worse. Continue reading

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Splinter Cell: Blacklist [5 Minute Review]

"I feel younger already."

“I feel younger already.”

Splinter Cell: Blacklist reboots the series in more ways than one. Sam Fisher looks younger and more spry, and gone are gravelly tones of Michael Ironside complaining about how he’s too old for this shit. The rest of the game follows close behind, with a steady shift towards action kicked off by the divisive release of Conviction. Purists may have forsaken the fast pace of Blacklist, but the increased offensive options and gadgets help to keep the action going, if nothing else. Blacklist is a reflection of the times, for better or worse. Continue reading

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FUSE [5 Minute Review]

"Tonight, on 'Chicks With Guns'..."

“Tonight, on ‘Chicks With Guns’…”

When FUSE (formerly Overstrike) caught my attention, I was surprised that the project was seen through to completion. The ideas didn’t seem terribly unique: four player co-operative shooting with futuristic weapons and “deeply flawed” characters have been promised before, but I rarely turn down the opportunity for a shooter when I see one. Unfortunately, FUSE reminds me why shooters are getting a bit long in the tooth, and why “good enough” just can’t cut it any more.

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Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance [5 Minute Review]

I can make up words, too.

I can make up words, too.

Ready for some Metal Gear Solid “tactical espionage action”? Well, that’s too bad, because Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has as much sneaking in it as monster truck rally. The frenetic combat and over-stylised presentation in Revengeance is fun, but it lacks the depth of other established action RPGs. Yes, this was made by Platinum Games, but be sure to leave your Bayonetta mindset at the door before setting foot in this short action slasher. Continue reading

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