Category Archives: Game Reviews

Game review: Dear Esther

But is it a game?

Game, interactive story experience or pretentious twaddle? the commercial release of the former Source Engine mod, Dear Esther, promises to divide its audience.

I’ve been playing games for far too long. So long, in fact, that I rarely actually have an original gaming experience. Most games are basically derivative efforts that I’ve seen before. I’m not saying that as necessarily a bad thing, it’s just truly original ideas seem to be getting few and far between these days. Dear Esther seems to be a change from the gaming norm. Continue reading Game review: Dear Esther

Vic B’Stard’s week in review: game patches, Skyrim, Weta Cave, Tintin and Assassin’s Creed Revelations

Vic B'Stard
I like Skyrim...a lot!

Game patches are, generally speaking, a good thing. Being human, we all make mistakes. At least when a mistake is made in a bit of game code, developers have the opportunity to fix things.

At the moment I’m patching Battlefield 3 on the very same laptop that I’m writing this text. I’ve already patched the game on my desktop. I say patched, but we are not talking about a couple of megabytes here. The patch for EA’s shooter weighs in at around 4GB. In little old NZ where nobody actually has any money to spare and internet data is closely monitored (as well as charged for at ridiculous rates), EA’s 4GB patch will eat into a considerable amount of the average Kiwi’s meager internet data limit.

Lucky me then, as most of my business is carried out via the intertubes, I have a larger that usual data limit giving me the luxury of downloading the same astronomical patch twice. But even I, in an attempt to limit my internet bill, tried to lower my internet data cap last month; only to raise it back up this month. Continue reading Vic B’Stard’s week in review: game patches, Skyrim, Weta Cave, Tintin and Assassin’s Creed Revelations

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Explorer Edition unboxing

Uncharted 3
Game of the Year?

It wouldn’t be far from the truth to say that I brought my PlayStation 3 just so that I could play Nathan Drake’s first adventure, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.

Despite being a day one PS2 owner, I’d held off buying a PlayStation 3 as a one-man protest against the way Sony treats the PAL territories (releasing their console late, removing the PS2 hardware emulation and charging us more for the pleasure). Also, I had an Xbox 360 and access to all the games that I wanted to play.

Except Uncharted. Continue reading Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Explorer Edition unboxing

Battlefield 3: PC Review

Battlefield 3
Modern Warfare

I’ve been playing the Battlefield series since Battlefield 1942. BF:1942 was the game that really got me into multiplayer gaming. Unlike the Quakes and Unreal Tourneys, you could actually get to the top of the score table without firing a shot thanks to the use of a bit of stealth in conquest mode. This extra bit of depth, along with all those lovely vehicles to play with, served to elevate the series above id and Epic’s multiplayer offerings.

Battlefield 2 took things further, with Battlefield developer, DICE, further refining the gameplay (and increasing the accuracy of the weapons) into a modern combat experience that was, at the time, without peer. Even though I’m sci-fi nut, Battlefield 2042 with its futuristic setting took things a bit too far, if you ask me. I just didn’t get on with it. Continue reading Battlefield 3: PC Review

Retrospective: Alan Wake Xbox 360 Review

Alan Wake

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

Retrospective: Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Xbox 360 review

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood cvoer
Ezio and the gang

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.

As always, enjoy. Continue reading Retrospective: Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Xbox 360 review

Retrospective: Assassin’s Creed 2 Review Xbox 360

Assassin's Creed
Renaissance man

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.

Check out my review from the pages of Game Console, below. Continue reading Retrospective: Assassin’s Creed 2 Review Xbox 360

Retrospective: Lips: Number One Hits Xbox 360 review

Lips: Number One Hits
Game of the year...not.

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).

Continue reading Retrospective: Lips: Number One Hits Xbox 360 review