Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Alan Wake Review

Video games are often compared to movies and TV shows, but never before has that comparison been so apt. After a prolonged development schedule, a major redesign and years of doubt about whether it would actually be released, developer Remedy's action thriller Alan Wake is finally here. Its episodic narrative blurs the line between games and television in all the right ways, with the end result being an experience that makes me wonder why games like this weren't being made years ago.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Just Cause 2 Review

Open world games have been getting steadily more immersive as technology improves, but these games are often forced to make certain trade offs to attain their high level of player freedom. Tossing someone into an enormous sandbox and giving them little direction about where to go or what to do can cause just as much frustration as it would to heavily restrict and direct their experience. There's a balance that needs to be struck when creating games of this type. The newly released Just Cause 2 comes close to hitting the sweet spot, but a handful of rough patches keep the title from completely nailing its mark.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Review

The Battlefield series was among the first to take the cramped environments of early first person shooters and expand them out to large, dynamic war zones. Multiple soldier classes, vehicles with positions that can be crewed by human players and sprawling maps are some of the series' major hallmarks. Recent iterations have added destructible environments and single player elements to the mix. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 continues the "bigger and better" ideology, polishing core mechanics that fans of the series love while layering on new ideas that bring the series up to date.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Zombie Driver Review

Zombie games seem to be popping up in all sorts of unexpected places lately. First person shooters featuring the shambling undead are an obvious example, but everything from tower defense games to overhead twin stick shooters seem to be jumping on the bandwagon. Adding to the pile is Zombie Driver, a game that combines 2D driving elements with every zombie cliche you can think of.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Darkest of Days Review

First-person shooters are easily amongst the most popular titles on any platform, but it's a genre that's running out of new ideas. Gamers have fought everything from aliens to zombies on battlefields ranging from Mars to World War II, meaning that being new and innovative is increasingly difficult for developers. Adding new twists to an existing idea is a popular route for development studios when dealing with this problem, and Darkest of Days attempts to do just that by putting players into the role of a Civil War soldier who travels through several different time periods to prevent history from being altered. Despite the odd-sounding premise, my interest was piqued. It was all downhill from there, though.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Batman: Arkham Asylum Review

The name "Batman" strikes just as much fear into the hearts of gamers as it does the villains of Gotham City. The Dark Knight's foes cower in fear of justice, but I'm cringing because of the never-ending stream of downright terrible games that have been abusing the Batman license since as far back as the original NES. The legacy is so bad that I'd considered it almost a foregone conclusion that Batman: Arkham Asylum would be nothing more than the next heap of garbage to add to the pile.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Solar Review

Fall has been full of big name game developers and franchises, with a ton of major releases across every platform. Many unique and interesting independently developed games have come out in recent months as well, but my attention has been so fixated on the mainstream titles that I've had to go back to make sure I wasn't missing out on anything. The Indie Games section of Xbox Live almost always has something worth checking out, and that's where I found Solar.

Read the rest here.