Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings [One sword for monsters, one for reviews]

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is an uncompromising beast. You'd be forgiven for expecting the prologue, split into several playable flashbacks, to involve Geralt carrying out the traditionally patronising tutorial quests – fetch my belt, comb my mother's hair, drink my tears – to gently but tediously break you into the game.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011


I needed a gaming holiday. It's not that the world of RPGs has been unkind to me of late, exactly. My long-dormant PSP was recently coaxed from its lair with both Tactics Ogre and Persona 3: Portable confidently arriving on the scene, resplendent in their seductive packaging and brandishing statistical, turn-based treats. Dragon Age II, whilst not the defining moment in my ongoing romance with BioWare, proved that even on a bad day they could still string together a compelling 40 hour experience.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Dragon Age 2 (Fast 2 Furious)

The elephant in the room. For any new MMORPG, it's World of Warcraft. for Nick Clegg, it's David Cameron, and for a zoo it's presumably an actual elephant in a room. In the case of 2009's Dragon Age: Origins, the elephant took on the unmistakable form of the widely respected Baldur's Gate II, with comparisons between the games launched at either end of the decade being inevitable. Whilst Origins was always doomed to come off worse in that particular face-off, it never the less made for an extremely compelling example of deep, tactical RPGs of the epic variety being viable in today's instant gratification market.

Monday, 7 March 2011

See You All In Heaven

A few short weeks ago, I embarked on a soul-saving mission of redemption by choosing to embrace the positive side of gaming and its many, varied fruits. I'll be the first to admit that I didn't exactly establish a place of worship by producing a list that featured, of all things, the act of shopping. But as I said, it's important I don't get carried away - lest things like this go unnoticed and are eventually considered acceptable.

Consequently, my latest batch of hot, fresh positivity from the fan-assisted ovens of joy is specifically focussed on games and the players thereof as a force for good in the world today – something to consider next time you're naked, covered in cheese and 150 hours deep into the next title in the Elder Scrolls series.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Tested 'Positive' for Fun

For a supposed games enthusiast, I'm often accused of being disproportionately negative towards the hobby, beating it like the disobedient but ultimately faithful and attractive wife it is. Negativity is very easy to do on the internet, the constant stream of information from developers and publishers meaning we can criticize a feature or an idea before it's even made it into the game. If I was a developer, I'd be shitting myself, with hordes of forum posts and article comments clawing at the windows and doors trying to get in, whilst I had to prepare what is essentially a delicious meal for hundreds of thousands of people that won't make them shit themselves. With this is mind, I decided it would be a good idea to keep reminding myself why I put up with this rubbish. I'll start off with a couple; there's no need to go crazy.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Walking Dead

AMC's latest series The Walking Dead opens with lead protagonist deputy sheriff Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) shooting an undead pre-teen girl point-blank in the head. In many ways, this act of cold necessity adequately sets the tone for this six-episode adaptation of the popular, ongoing graphic novel of the same title. Breaking the trend of zombie outbreaks only infecting the big screen, three-time Academy Award-nominee Frank Darapont brings us this story of a group of American survivors thrown together amidst a nightmarish modern day apocalypse, facing a world with no television, no internet, and no government.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Frozen Winter Shit - A look back at SSX

As the weather grows even colder and more bleak than a BioWare sex scene, winter is well and truly upon us. The dense, sweaty musk that constitutes the bulk of the atmosphere in local game shops becomes almost as much of a respite from the bitter snowy conditions as it is a repellent to the senses; wayward mothers and clusters of grandparents blocking up the aisles whilst becoming infinitely puzzled over whether or not the Wii could actually fit inside one of the tiny point of sale display boxes on the shelves.