On beauty in unexpected places

January 30, 2011

Crackdown 2 is many things: loud, brash and easily excitable being chief amongst them. In many ways like a hyper-caffeinated teenager, or an over exuberant puppy. What it also, somewhat unusually manages to be, is unexpectedly poignant. By use of the same city scape as the previous game, albeit one ravaged by an intervening period of mutant and insurrectionist destruction, we are presented with a landscape at once immediately familiar and at the same time subtly changed. On several occasions whilst indulging in a spot of orb hunting I found myself unexpectedly in what had been bastions of my formers foes power, now lying deserted and left to rack and ruin. As a testament to the transient nature of power, whilst not exactly being “look on my works ye mighty and despair” it was surprisingly touching, and coming in the midst of a game better known as being big dumb fun, doubly so.

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You’ve got to save as often as you can, old dude.

March 22, 2010

So I’m currently playing through Lost Odyssey as a way of avoiding buying Final Fantasy Eleventy-Billion, and am realising why I stop playing traditional RPG games: to whit, I can’t be doing with games that dictate to me how long I have to play them for in any one sitting. The other night for example, it took me 2 and a half hours to get from one save point to the next. 2 and a half hours. Whilst I recognize that set against the 60 odd hours the whole game is going to take that isn’t a great deal, but I just don’t live the kind of lifestyle that affords me that amount of time to play games at the drop of a hat anymore…

Look Daddy, Adam!

March 18, 2010

By and large Bioshock 2 is nothing more or less than a competent sequel. On the one hand it lacks the originality and associated elegance of plot and character development of the first game, and is somewhat shanghai’d in terms of its own storyline by having to exist within the framework lain down therein. On the other hand it tightens up on the gameplay dynamics and offers an accomplished (and predominantly boss fight free) gaming experience. The one section it which it shines however is towards the end of the game when you take control of one of the little sisters. Whilst there is little here to actually do, it is the brilliance of the art direction as you see the world through the eyes of the little sister that almost makes the game worth playing simply to experience this section.

The remarkable thing is this is actual the second time on recent months that I’ve sat and play through a section of a game in open-mouthed wonder, the first being the Scarecrow sections of Arkham Asylum (and in particular the initial set up thereof in the morgue). Are games starting to come of age? I’d certainly like to think so…

Who dat?

February 8, 2010

Hell of a comeback. You simply can’t argue with 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter…

Mass Effect 2

February 3, 2010

When I finished the first Mass Effect, I was so enamoured with it that I immediately started it again so I could make all the other choices just to see what would happened. So to say I had high expectations for the sequel is something of an understatement.

Luckily Mass Effect 2 seems to have pulled off the very neat trick of taking the first game, keeping everything that was awesome about it, stripping away a couple of layers of annoyance and adding extra shiny in place.

And any game which features the line “Isaac Newton is the deadliest sonofabitch in space.” is alright by me.

And we’re back…

February 3, 2010

“Normal” service will now be resumed.