Category Archives: Video Game Reviews

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A Good Bet Or A Ticket To Foldsville? – Poker Night At The Inventory Review

POKER NIGHT AT THE INVENTORY (2010) – TELLTALE GAMES

The Inventory was founded to house card games when prohibition came into force...allegedly
The Inventory was founded to house card games when prohibition came into force…allegedly

On first impression the game of Poker is an activity that is ill suited for the format of videogames – after all, the best part of Poker is the interaction with other players; bluffing, playing mindgames, wearing sunglasses indoors and acting visibly smug when you win a hand. Playing against generic computer controlled characters feels very cold in comparison; single player card games like the evergreen Solitaire can get away with it, but without other humans to pit your wits against, quite frankly Poker isn’t much fun.

Poker Night At The Inventory is TellTale Games’ attempt to remedy the problem somewhat. Continue reading A Good Bet Or A Ticket To Foldsville? – Poker Night At The Inventory Review

‘If I’m Not Back Within A Month, Send Kaepora Gaebora’ – The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time Review

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: OCARINA OF TIME (NINTENDO EAD) – 1998

The special golden cartridges remain a treasured item for many fans
The special golden cartridges remain a treasured item for many fans

Wherever Ocarina Of Time (OOT) is mentioned, the words that follow usually comprise of any combination of the following words and phrases:  ‘wonderful’… ‘timeless’…‘masterpiece’. The first 3D Zelda experience has racked up so many plaudits and awards over the years that it has become hard to keep count – nearly eight million copies were sold worldwide, and at release it earned over fifteen perfect review scores from various gaming publications (resulting in a sensational average of 99 out of 100 over on Metacritic). Since then, critics and gamers alike have regularly hailed Shigeru Miyamoto’s classic as ‘the greatest game ever made’, a benchmark which has rarely been touched.

Time to play devil’s advocate: I reckon Ocarina Of Time is actually somewhat quite overrated, and people have become a tad blind to some of its obvious faults. Continue reading ‘If I’m Not Back Within A Month, Send Kaepora Gaebora’ – The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time Review

The Last Attempt At The ‘Biggest GTA Ever’ – Grand Theft Auto IV Review

GRAND THEFT AUTO IV (2008) – ROCKSTAR NORTH

Apparently, there are over 25 million copies of this game to be found around the world - it was a sales phenomenon
Apparently, there are over 25 million copies of this game to be found around the world – it was a sales phenomenon

With Grand Theft Auto V coming out in just mere days, now is the ideal time to offer a quick retrospective look at the last big budget game hailed to be the greatest thing since sliced bread; the well hyped fourth main installment into the series released five years ago. Around the time of its launch, you couldn’t move for the sheer amount of praise that was heaped upon GTA IV by the gaming press – anything less than 10 out of 10 seemed to be sacrilege. I remember thinking at the time after playing IV that these scores were perhaps overrating the experience a bit, and time has done little to change my opinion. While GTA IV remains to this day a stunning feat of technical ability, it lacks that special something that made Vice City and San Andreas the must-have games of their day. Continue reading The Last Attempt At The ‘Biggest GTA Ever’ – Grand Theft Auto IV Review

“The Greatest Visualization Tool Since The Lava Lamp” – AudioSurf Review

AUDIOSURF (2008) – DYLAN FITTERER

The highway goes on and on...until the song ends at least
The highway goes on and on…until the song ends at least

If you’ve ever found yourself staring at the visualisation on Windows Media Player while a song is playing in the background and thought to yourself ‘this would make a really cool game’, then AudioSurf is right up your street. This beautifully simple title, available via Steam, subverts the usual routine of rhythm games by not offering you a soundtrack to play along with – instead, you supply the music. Continue reading “The Greatest Visualization Tool Since The Lava Lamp” – AudioSurf Review

Top Dog Or Hounded By Mistakes? – Sleeping Dogs Review

SLEEPING DOGS (2012) – UNITED FRONT STUDIOS

Took me a while to realize the whole split personality thing on the boxart: left for the Triads, right for the cops
Took me a while to realize the whole split personality thing on the boxart: left for the Triads, right for the cops

If I had to make a relatively useless comparison, Sleeping Dogs is like one of those fancy cocktails you find hidden on the menu at a bar: it has all the delicious ingredients and initially it has quite a kick, but pretty soon you are left wishing you had ordered something with a bit more substance and volume – like a large pint of (insert favourite drink here). It has the potential to become much more than the picked up remains of a True Crime game, but in the end is unable to quite fulfill its high ambitions. Continue reading Top Dog Or Hounded By Mistakes? – Sleeping Dogs Review

Lo And Behold, A Zombie Game I Care About – Telltale Game’s The Walking Dead Review

THE WALKING DEAD (2012) – TELLTALE GAMES

No Internet for downloads? Not a problem - Telltale released a retail version with all five episodes on one disc
No internet for downloads? Not a problem – Telltale released a retail version with all five episodes on one disc

Point-and-click adventures have never really been my forte in gaming. Aside from a short demo of Broken Sword 2, I can’t say that I have come across too many of them over the years; which I think says a far bit about the tough times the genre has had since its heyday in the early 1990s. It seems now though that the genre is having something of a renaissance through the efforts of Telltale Games, and in particular their game which picked up several Game Of The Year accolades in 2012 – The Walking Dead. Continue reading Lo And Behold, A Zombie Game I Care About – Telltale Game’s The Walking Dead Review

The Game For Stephen King – Alan Wake Review

ALAN WAKE (2010) – REMEDY SOFTWARE

When an episodic game feels like it could be good TV, you are generally onto a winner
When an episodic game feels like it could be good TV, you are generally onto a winner

The announcement of Quantum Break, the latest project from Max Payne creators Remedy, was intriguing for the reaction it created – a day later, creative director Sam Lake appeared in a video and apologised that the team was not working on a sequel to its last game, Alan Wake (which received critical acclaim but did not sell enough on the Xbox 360 to encourage a sequel). The side effect of this was that Alan Wake was offered as part of a weekly Humble Bundle; it was through these means that I recently played through the game for myself to see what I missed out on three years ago. Continue reading The Game For Stephen King – Alan Wake Review

“Going Underground, Where The Soviets Play And The Mutants Start To Pound” – Metro 2033 Review

METRO 2033 (2010) – 4A GAMES

In their final days before bankruptcy, THQ were giving away free codes for this game
In their final days before bankruptcy, THQ were giving away free codes for this game

First person shooters are ten to a penny these days, so in order to standout each one has to have its own little quirks: Battlefield has destructible environments, Halo has space combat and Call Of Duty has dogs – you get the picture. Metro 2033 took a different approach and crafted an FPS around a book, written by Dmitry Glukhovsky in 2005. The result is a shooter with more atmosphere and a deeper involvement in plot than most other titles on the market, albeit one crippled by its gameplay mechanics. Continue reading “Going Underground, Where The Soviets Play And The Mutants Start To Pound” – Metro 2033 Review

Better Than Brawl? Nope, Getting There Though – Playstation All Stars Battle Royale Review

PLAYSTATION ALL STARS BATTLE ROYALE (2012) – SUPERBOT ENTERTAINMENT

Limited Edition covers for specific characters were also available. My mate has Drake on the box
Limited Edition covers for specific characters were also available. My mate has Drake taking front stage on the box

Ever since its inception as an idea, PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale (PSABR) has had a troubled life. As soon as it was placed under the public spotlight, it was shrugged off as an inferior Super Smash Bros. clone. As the roster was slowly unveiled, Sony fans (including myself I must admit) criticised the inclusion or exclusion of certain characters – no Snake, Lara, Crash or Spyro, but two versions of Cole from InFAMOUS and a cat mascot from Japan? When it came to release, reviews were no better than average. A lack of advertising or exposure in general meant it limped into the UK charts at 37th place. And then eventually, SuperBot and Sony parted ways and thus nixed the chance of any significant future DLC. A few months on, the world has largely forgotten that the game exists.

And this is a great shame; because despite the many flaws that the game has, for me it is one of the most fun multiplayer experiences of recent times. Continue reading Better Than Brawl? Nope, Getting There Though – Playstation All Stars Battle Royale Review

A “Beary” Good Fighting Game – Persona 4: Arena Review

PERSONA 4: ARENA (2012/13) – ATLUS & ARC SYSTEM WORKS

Yu and Labrys square off while General Teddie watches on
Yu and Labrys square off while General Teddie watches on

When the announcement was first made that there was going to be a fighting game based on the universes of Persona 3 and 4, I was eager with anticipation. And then we got news of a delay…no problem, I could wait a bit longer. And then America got it with region locking so no one could import it – and the buzz for the game kind of fizzled out. After almost 9 months since its original release, Persona 4: Arena has finally come out in Europe. Has it been worth the very long wait? Continue reading A “Beary” Good Fighting Game – Persona 4: Arena Review