Tag: Video Games

Mass Effect: Andromeda – First Impressions

Bioware’s controversial Mass Effect sequel released a few months ago. They got a serious – and possibly well-deserved – slating from critics and gamers alike for releasing an “unfinished” game, full of bugs and animation problems. I actually cancelled my pre-order as a result of the media sh*t-storm, which is something that I never thought I would do with a Bioware game!

But now, four months on, someone got me the game as a present and have finally decided to give it a chance. So, now they’ve had time to actually finish the game properly, is it any good?

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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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