Tag Archives: Video Game Reviews

Graphics Aren’t Everything – Far Cry 2 Review

(First published on Gamepad Magazine, January 4th 2011)

FAR CRY 2 (2008) – UBISOFT

Flaming bullets not included in sale
Flaming bullets not included in sale

When Far Cry 2 was announced, there was a lot of positive hype for it. The original Far Cry had been well received, and when Ubisoft confirmed that the sequel would be set in over 50km-worth of African sandbox gameplay, anticipation rose.  My word it looked beautiful!  Ubisoft promised us highly realistic environments along with some new touches, such as fire propagation over large areas of terrains. So, did it do the trick? Continue reading Graphics Aren’t Everything – Far Cry 2 Review

Wanna Play Blitzball? – Final Fantasy 10 Review

(First published on Gamepad Magazine On New Years Eve, 2010)

FINAL FANTASY 10 (2002) – SQUARESOFT

Surprisingly for a Final Fantasy game, the boxart doesn't give much away this time
Surprisingly for a Final Fantasy game, the boxart doesn’t give much away this time

When the PS2 was launched in the early dawn of the millennium, it gave game developers a chance to expand existing series that was already on the Playstation. Squaresoft had released Final Fantasy 9 to great acclaim in 2001, and is was expected that it would take some time for the great series to move to its new home on the PS2. In fact, Squaresoft surprised everyone by releasing the new instalment, Final Fantasy 10, only one year later. So did it meet everyone’s high expectations? Continue reading Wanna Play Blitzball? – Final Fantasy 10 Review

Let’s Do The Time Warp – Chrono Trigger Review

(First published on Gamepad Magazine, December 22nd 2010)

CHRONO TRIGGER (1995) – SQUARESOFT

Crono, Frog and Marle do battle - courtesy of Akira Toriyama
Crono, Frog and Marle do battle – courtesy of Akira Toriyama

Every now and again, a game will appear in the industry that can turn a genre on its head. In 1995, the RPG genre was stunned by the arrival of Chrono Trigger, a game born from a Squaresoft ‘super team’, including the creators of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, Hironobu Sakaguchi and Yuji Horii, the creator of DragonBall, Akira Toriyama, and the man behind the music of Final Fantasy, Nobuo Uematsu. Put simply, the results were spectacular. Continue reading Let’s Do The Time Warp – Chrono Trigger Review

Have You Ever Seen A Man Suplex A Train? – Final Fantasy 6 Review

(First published on Gamepad Magazine, 13th December 2010)

FINAL FANTASY 6 (1994) – SQUARESOFT

Behind the striking artwork lies a masterpiece
Behind the striking artwork lies a masterpiece

One of my greatest regrets as a gamer is that I did not start gaming early enough to experience the delights of the SNES/Mega Drive era. As a result, I’ve been forced ever since to listen to debates about Mario vs. Sonic and the like without ever having any input. Luckily, one of my friends has a SNES still working perfectly, and as a result I have managed to get some gametime on this classic console. It just so happens that Final Fantasy 6 was one of the games I have managed to play.

If you read my review on Final Fantasy 7, then you will know that I am a massive fan of the series. Final Fantasy 6 (or 3 as it was known in America) was the last 16-bit entry into the series, and I think Squaresoft wanted to produce a game that pushed the system to its limits. In doing so, they created a masterpiece. Continue reading Have You Ever Seen A Man Suplex A Train? – Final Fantasy 6 Review

‘I Wanna Be The Very Best, Like No-One Ever Was…’ – Pokemon Red/Blue Review

(First published on Gamepad Magazine, December 3rd 2010)

POKEMON RED/BLUE (1999) – GAME FREAK

Poster boy Charizard remains my favorite monster to this day
Poster boy Charizard remains my favorite monster to this day

Gotta catch ‘em all. This one simple idea for a game would end up spawning one of the biggest and most powerful franchises in the world, and that is of course Pokemon. When I was a child growing up, for nearly three years straight the only thing going on in the school playground would be Pokemon: trading the cards, discussing the cartoon, and of course playing the game. The first generation, Red And Blue (Green in Japan) are the games that started the ball rolling, and in time came to define Nintendo’s Game Boy. And for good reason, because they were (and still are) fantastic. Continue reading ‘I Wanna Be The Very Best, Like No-One Ever Was…’ – Pokemon Red/Blue Review

Why Bobcats And Games Do Not Mix – Bubsy 3D Review

(First published on Gamepad Magazine, November 26th 2010)

BUBSY 3D (1996) – EIDETIC

Look at that smug face...you just want to punch it
Look at that smug face…you just want to punch it

Picture the scene: its Christmas in 1996, and I have just unpackaged the biggest present under the tree, which just so happens to be a Sony Playstation. Alongside it are two games; Crash Bandicoot and Bubsy 3D. I choose to play Crash first, seeing as I knew more about it due to the high advertisement at the time, and have a great time. Then I put Bubsy 3D in and expect a similarly excellent experience…

Never have I been so wrong about anything in my life.

I will say this now to get it out of the way: Bubsy 3D is by far, the worst game I have ever owned, and one of the worst games ever produced. To call it terrible would be giving it praise, it is just so flawed on so many levels its obscene. Continue reading Why Bobcats And Games Do Not Mix – Bubsy 3D Review

The Alternative To The Ocarina – Final Fantasy 7 Review

(First published on Gamepad Magazine, November 18th 2010)

FINAL FANTASY 7 (1997) – SQUARESOFT

Spoilers - meteors may or may not turn up in the story at some point
Spoilers – meteors may or may not turn up in the story at some point

I bet that a few of you have looked at the game in question for this review and thought “Oh for gods sake, another FF7 review???”. Indeed this is the case. I will make it clear at this point; I am a massive Final Fantasy fan, and 7 is without doubt one of my favourites. Oddly enough, it was the first RPG I ever played (having previously avoided them for no apparent reason), and I credit it with launching my love of RPG’s. Hopefully the review below will convey why this is the case. Continue reading The Alternative To The Ocarina – Final Fantasy 7 Review

‘It Was Acceptable In The 80’s…’ – GTA Vice City Review

(First published on Gamepad Magazine, 9th November 2010)

GRAND THEFT AUTO: VICE CITY (2002) – ROCKSTAR

I hope you like your neon lights...
I hope you like your neon lights…

There can be no denying that when GTA3 was released on the PS2, it represented a new major advancement in the gaming industry: the realisation of a sandbox game where you could go anywhere and do virtually anything. The ability to move around a massive area such as Liberty City and do as you please left a tremendous impact on gamers, who naturally demanded more. It would be Rockstar who upped the ante even further with Vice City a few years later. The GTA series is always held in high acclaim, and Vice City is easily one of the finest installments. By taking the revolutionary gameplay created in GTA3 and putting it into an 80’s storyline, Rockstar created an absolute genius game. Continue reading ‘It Was Acceptable In The 80’s…’ – GTA Vice City Review

‘I Come From A Land Down Under’ – Crash Bandicoot Review

(First published on Gamepad Magazine, 7th November 2010)

CRASH BANDICOOT (1996) – NAUGHTY DOG STUDIOS

Ah, how the memories come flooding back
Ah, how the memories come flooding back

I should make it aware at this point that Crash Bandicoot was the first video game I ever played. Therefore it seems only fitting that 13 years later, the adventures of the spinning orange marsupial forms the basis of my first review.

Crash Bandicoot was released at a strange time for platformers. The king of the hill at the time was undoubtedly Super Mario 64 on the N64 which had revolutionised platforming in 3D, and Crash was Sony’s attempt to at least emulate the success of the Italian plumber’s adventures. It was also unique because the only competition it had on its own console was Bubsy 3D, meaning that it was almost guaranteed sales.

Cue the mayhem… Continue reading ‘I Come From A Land Down Under’ – Crash Bandicoot Review