Tag: Gaming

In Defence of Next-Gen Graphics

Quite a lot of people are attacking the next-gen gaming consoles because ‘the only tangible improvements that they will make to games is to the graphics’. I have said before that the launch of these new consoles is badly timed and I do not own either because I don’t feel it is a justified expense, but I also think that people are being a bit harsh about how little improvements in graphics (and processing power) will matter…

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown & Enemy Within

Last year saw the release of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a sequel to a popular gaming franchise from the creators of Civilisation. I didn’t expect to become a fan of this game, but (as with Civilisation) I ended up getting sucked in. This month sees the release of the game’s expansion: Enemy Within, so I thought now was a good time to take a closer look at this game…

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Video Games as a Storytelling Medium

I wanted to take a break from my usual ranting to talk about something quite close to my heart. As part of the argument that games are (or at least can be) art, I’d like to look at something that I find particularly interesting: storytelling. In particular, I want to try and explain why video games have the potential to be the greatest storytelling medium of them all…

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Rewarding Bad Behaviour

I like achievements. Achievements are a good way to add some challenge, variety and replayability to a game, as well as to make the player feel rewarded, encourage them to improve their skills and give them a sense of progress. So why do some games give you achievements for playing them badly?

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Fix your Audio Settings!

This is a rant about something that has been getting on my nerves a lot recently; the fact that that developers (and not just indies, but big ‘triple-A’ studios too) seem to be happy to release a game without seemingly any effort going into the game’s sound design and/or without proper audio settings. Good sound design can tell you a lot about the game world and improve immersion for the player, but not everyone gets this right.

The thing that really bothers me is that it is not only easy to avoid the problem in the first place, but that its simple to provide an adequate solution and yet many studios fail to do so.

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Valve vs. The Next Generation

This week saw Valve (the developers behind games like the Half-life series and the Steam network) announce their new set of technologies that aim to bring the Steam gaming experience into the living room. Whether their intention was to simply expand their empire or to throw the gauntlet into the “Next Generation” of the console war, for me they’ve pretty much already won against the PS4 and the Xbox One. All without any fancy launch events and without announcing any new games or pointless motion-control gimmicks! Here’s why…

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Review: Guild Wars 2

Blizzard’s MMO giant World of Warcraft is now 8 years old and it is finally starting to lose its players, yet it is still the most successful online game out there. A few contenders have come along, but whether they were not as well-made or well-written or just lacked whatever it is that makes WoW great, none of them has been able to take WoW’s crown.

But finally, we may have a contender; a game that I firmly believe certainly should be able to replace WoW at the top; Guild Wars 2. This game has been out for a year now, so I thought I’d take a look at what makes this a potential WoW killer. (more…)

Worms Retrospective

I used to really enjoy playing the Worms games when I was younger, but I feel that the franchise has become somewhat stale in recent years. Last year they brought out a new instalment: Worms Revolution, that finally tried out some new ideas, but it didn’t quite manage to renew my enthusiasm. I thought I would look back the series and see what it was that I liked and didn’t like, and perhaps suggest where there series could go from here…

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Mass Effect Retrospective

The games of Mass Effect Trilogy have become some of my favourite games of all time, but (apart from my discussion about the Mass Effect 3 Ending) I haven’t actually reviewed any of them so far. So this week I thought I would take a quick look these games and discuss what made great, as well as some of the issues that have plagued the series.

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MICRO-transactions – The clue is in the title, people!

As I’ve already discussed, I am quite happy with the Free-to-Play game concept – where you can create an account, download and play a game for free, but you can buy extra stuff via in-game purchases. The best free-to-play games give unrestricted access to all features, with the upgrades being mostly cosmetic or for convenience. But this week I want to look, not at the concept itself, but at how developers should be handling these so-called micro-transactions and how much they should be charging for these extra services.  (more…)

Do we really want or need a new console generation?

This week marks E3 2013, one of the year’s biggest gaming conferences, which included more information about what we can expect to see from the industry in the next year-or-so. With all of this going on, I thought I would sound off about some of these announcements and ask quite an important question: do we really want or need a new console generation?

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Mass Effect 3: The Ending & Extended Cut

The Mass Effect Trilogy recently came to an end with, you guessed it, Mass Effect 3. It should be pointed out that it is one of my favourite game series of all time and that the final game was suitably epic and brilliant… but then there was the ending. Now, I’m going to try and avoid the same raging that most of the fans have been doing and offer a more constructive opinion. The free ‘Extended Cut’ DLC is now out and has improved the ending, but I would like to look at what exactly it was that was wrong with it in the first place.

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