I’m now hosting a new podcast called Neekcast for those of you interested in keeping up with my stuff. Also still writing reviews at GIZORAMA.com. YAY FOR NOT BEING FIRED!
I am now studying creative writing, and have created a blog to post some of my work. Have a look at it with your eye globes if you want.
I also write videogame reviews over at GIZORAMA, so if that’s your thing, you can do that too!
Peace and love x
For a Few Consoles More: RAW Is Console War
Some months ago, I put to paper one of the silliest, most moronic things I have ever written. A Fistful of Consoles: The End of the Console War was a short piece of writing in which I personally ended the seventh console war by comparing each individual piece of hardware to a flavour of ice-cream; highlighting both the flaws and qualities of the Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3.
Barriers were demolished, friendships were re-kindled, and the balance and calm of society had been restored. One of the greatest and bloodiest wars of our time had been ended by the simple words of a lowly blogger. But now, with the re-emergence of three once-great global super-powers, a new war is brewing, and in an attempt to douse the flames of conflict before they are re-kindled for good, I must once again take to my keyboard to save the videogame industry.
You may be thinking: “The ice cream analogy is old news. No way is comparing the snobbery of PS3-era Sony to a lemon sorbet going to save us this time.” And right you are. I’m not one to rest on my laurels, so without further filler for extra paragraphs: the eight generation consoles are exactly like pro-wrestlers.
Breathing New Life into (Un)Death
“Zombie games are overdone”.
This statement has become something of a motto in some circles, particularly circles of people who follow the games industry and games media extensively, and those who enjoy analysing and observing the ever-shifting trends the market has to offer. The general “consensus” seems to be: zombies are an overplayed tool used either as a means for the player to kill endless waves of humanoid bodies without it damaging their moral compass, or as a cheap narrative device used to force a group of characters into situations wherein their most extreme emotions and actions become the norm.
I happen to think both of these theories are true to a certain degree, and there are countless examples of games in which these tactics are used (although not always in a negative way). However, zombie games still, and probably always will, have a place in the games industry.
Review: State of Decay
Other than brown, linear corridor shooters, the one genre that has wholly dominated the seventh console generation is the zombie game. We keep claiming to grow tired of it, but there’s always some new take on the post-apocalyptic pop culture phenomenon that takes the world by storm, breathing new life into (un)death.
State of Decay, a new (timed) XBLA exclusive zombie game, is one such game; a game that promises a true sense of survival and community amidst those flesh eating beasts. State of Decay is one of the buggiest, roughest, most un-polished games I’ve had the utter pleasure of playing all generation. What it might lack in raw power or visual quality, it makes up for tenfold with sheer ambition, engrossing design, and a real sense of player agency found so rarely in AAA zombie titles.
Review: Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider is one of the most legendary videogame franchises in existence, and as such, you’d think it would be immune to the constant “re-boot peer pressure” of the games industry that seems to have claimed so many beloved titles. But it seems that the powers that be decided Lara needed a new, gritty, Zack Snyder-esque reboot to keep Tomb Raider relevant.
The weird thing is, 2013’s Tomb Raider actually excels at the new, foreign elements it so blatantly pinches from other series like Uncharted, and tends to fall down on the classic Tomb Raider elements it tries to retain for returning fans. As such; Tomb Raider is not a “Tomb Raider” game. It is something much more and something much less.
In Defence of BioWare
By Liam Lambert
In the wake of the recent announcement that EA now owns the rights to develop and publish “core” Star Wars games, some predictable yet reasonable discussions have arisen around the internet pertaining to what these game might actually be. Of course, fans came out in droves to declare that DICE would be the “obvious” choice to develop Battlefront 3, and there are even some smaller groups entertaining the idea that Visceral Games might develop a game based on the ludicrous (yet highly entertaining) zombie-horror book Death Troopers.
As an avid Star Wars fan and games enthusiast, these reactions didn’t surprise me, and it was actually nice to see many fans becoming slightly hopeful about new Star Wars fiction, even if that hope was mixed with a pinch of salt and heap of apprehension. What did surprise me though, was the reaction many other enthusiasts like myself had towards the idea that BioWare might return to make a new Knight of the Old Republic game, or a different single player Star Wars RPG. Instead of the overwhelming sense of happiness and flashing neon signs that invade my brain when I hear the words KotOR, many gamers seemed annoyed or simply apathetic at the prospect of BioWare returning to the post-Baldur’s Gate series that successfully brought them to a more mainstream audience.
Demo Impressions: Fuse
When Fuse was revealed at E3 2011 under its original title “Overstrike”, it had people pretty excited. A new IP from Insomniac Games that had a colourful pallet, a quirky, over the top art style, and a sense of humour; “Overstrike” was a breath of espionage flavoured fresh air amidst its brown and grey shooter pals. When EA rebranded “Overstrike” as Fuse late last year, the reception was more of a lukewarm sigh of frustration. Many gamers and pundits noticed that the game had undergone a significant makeover, trading in a fair amount of its more colourful style for a grittier, darker look.
Although I was among those critical of this decision and the new direction “Overstrike” seemed to be taking, after playing what was a thorough (albeit short) demo for Fuse, I feel confident that the game has still retained much of its charm, along with bundles of fun to boot.
News: EA and Disney Sign Exclusive Star Wars Development Deal
Following on from the closure (or “re-branding”) of LucasArts last month, Disney has now signed a deal with Electronic Arts for the publisher to exclusively release “core” Star Wars games, while Disney handles casual and mobile games within the franchise.
Veteran development studios DICE, BioWare and Visceral will be developing as-of-yet unannounced Star Wars games as part of the deal.
I’m swinging both ways on this one. On the one hand, the idea of BioWare being allowed to make another (proper) Knights of the Old Republic game excites me immensely, and the thought of DICE working on Battlefront 3 is rather interesting. On the other hand, I’m pretty sick of EA damn near ruining every franchise the acquire, and there’s only so much molestation the Star Wars franchise can take.
What are your thoughts on what’s sure to be a pretty huge part of the industry in the years to come?
Late Review: Far Cry 3
Open world games tend to be tricky to get right, due in no small part to the expected size and scale that these games usually aim for. Ubisoft knows all too well that just cramming tons of content into an open world doesn’t always make for an enjoyable game (see Assassin’s Creed 3), and can oftentimes make the whole thing feel bloated and messy.
A tropical, open-world first person shooter, Far Cry 3 could have suffered the same fate by relying on repetitive missions and dull set pieces. Thankfully, the team at Ubisoft Montreal seemed to grasp that less can sometimes be more, and Far Cry 3 is a game that feels fresh and fun, for the most part.