ABZÛ Review – Depth and Simplicity

Developer: Giant Squid Studios
Plaforms: PC (reviewed), PS4
Date of play: 3/08/12
Play time: 98 minutes

ABZÛ is a game I didn’t really know about until a couple of months ago. But Austin Wintory tweeted about it and I follow him so I figured it must be good, if only for the music. Wintory composed the soundtrack for Journey, which is still my favourite game of all time. And that’s good, because ABZÛ is very similar to Journey. It maintains the design choices of Journey: minimal user-interface, minimalist storytelling and a focus on music and visuals (specifically architecture) to tell a narrative. At the same time, however, ABZÛ managed to carve out its own identity with a heartwarming story with a strong moral, a beautiful aesthetic and immersive (pun) gameplay. Continue reading “ABZÛ Review – Depth and Simplicity”

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Industry Talk – Video Games, Their Constant Evolution, Their Critique and What Separates Them from Other Media

YouTuber Nerd Cubed received an e-mail from Australian indie developer ODD Games last week that just… astounds me with its sheer stupidity, but also made me realise that some people just plain don’t understand how video game reviews work (or at least pretend not to), and made me want to clear up what separates video games from other art forms.

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Why exactly did it take ODD Games a year to send that email?

Continue reading “Industry Talk – Video Games, Their Constant Evolution, Their Critique and What Separates Them from Other Media”

Impressions – Doom Closed Beta

This is a new thing I’ll be doing where I give quick thoughts on a beta or demo or the like. They’re not going to be as thorough as my reviews, they’re just done quick and dirty like.

Last weekend, I found that I somehow ended up being able to play the Doom Closed Beta. I don’t recall ever signing up for it, but hey, it was playable so why not? I liked what I saw of the single player stuff from E3, so I figured I might as well try the multiplayer.

Continue reading “Impressions – Doom Closed Beta”

Unravel Review – Pulling at the Heartstrings

Developer: Coldwood Interactive
Platforms: PC (reviewed), Xbox One, PS4
Date of play: 9/02/16 – 10/02/16
Play time: 5 hours

Unravel is more known by this point for how adorable its E3 presenter is than the game itself. From his shaking hands, to his stuttering, to the fact that he brought along a doll he made on a camping trip with his family, the game seemed to represent the opposite of everything embodiment of corporate evil that is EA. But all that cuteness aside, how does the game hold up? Pretty well, it turns out. Unravel is a touching game that, while a little rough in level design, makes up for it with a touching story, gorgeous environments and a beautiful soundtrack. Continue reading “Unravel Review – Pulling at the Heartstrings”

Rise of the Tomb Raider Review – Not So Much ‘Rising’ As Cautiously Moving Up a Step

Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Platforms: PC (reviewed), Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4 (not yet released)
Date of play: 29/01/16 – 8/02/16
Play time: 16 hours

As a franchise, Tomb Raider faded from most gamers’ memories in the last console generation. Sure, games released on those consoles, but nobody really cared. And then the 2013 reboot happened and brought Lara Croft back to the forefront of gaming. While controversial for a number of reasons, such as an increased focus on combat over platforming and a grittier story, I liked it. It was pretty, it was fun, it was engaging, and had high production values. Basically Uncharted for those of us who don’t play UnchartedRise of the Tomb Raider is more of the same. While it’s not an outright sophomore slump, I don’t get the feeling Crystal Dynamics are giving it their all after they aced their first year. Continue reading “Rise of the Tomb Raider Review – Not So Much ‘Rising’ As Cautiously Moving Up a Step”

Life Is Strange, Episode 1 Review – Like, Totes Great Beginning, like OMG!

Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment
Platforms: PC (reviewed), Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Finished? Yes
Date of play: 9/12/15
Play time: 3 hours

A year ago, I wrote a piece about why I hated Life Is Strange. Well, since then, I got into PC gaming, and it was on sale, so I got the entire season. And I’ve since played through the entire first episode, and it’s better than I gave it credit for. Yes, the first half-hour or so is kinda unbearable, but once you get into the swing of things and get nostalgic for teen dramas, it’s a great story, with some slight hiccups in the game area. Continue reading “Life Is Strange, Episode 1 Review – Like, Totes Great Beginning, like OMG!”