Tag Archives: Video Games

Thursday Review: Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is a traditional western RPG, in so much as such a thing can be said to exist, that actually provides a satisfying experience through the lens of a substandard execution. It is set in the same universe as the television show, books, and later strategy game that have been so dramatically successful, and in this respect it provides a pretty good game, but it fails on the things that make it up.

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Thursday Review: Risk of Rain

Risk of Rain is one of the few modern “roguelike” games that fall outside the genre that I accept as having a firm foundation in traditional roguelikes, perhaps more faithful than other games. I could get into the Berlin Interpretation and look further, but the truth of the matter is that Risk of Rain follows the conventions well; it’s a difficult but rewarding game that pushes the player’s skills to the limit while testing them in various ways. Don’t let its hardcore nature push you away, though, it’s a game that’s rewarding in many ways. Continue reading

Game Design: Fun Complexity

One of the things that we’ve seen recently is a wave of games that I like to call “dumb fun”, games which cater to the lowest common denominator and sell widely, like Call of Duty and really just about anything EA makes, barring The Sims and its ilk. However, I think as game designers it’s important to consider that while simplified and streamlined explosion presentation devices are certainly a pathway to commercial success, it is possible to receive just as much enjoyment from a game that requires a little more thought. Continue reading

Thursday Review: Legends of Aethereus

Legends of Aethereus is an interesting game; I backed it on Kickstarter, despite my skepticism, in part out of interest and in part because my brother kept bothering me about it. And, to be honest, I really do enjoy it. It has a unique system, which comes with its benefits and pitfalls, but it’s a genuinely enjoyable game and I’ve spent a pretty hefty chunk of time with it. Continue reading

Thursday Review: Dishonored

I went into Dishonored with high expectations, and found them matched. However, I discovered quickly that while I truly enjoyed the game, it ran into some pretty major issues before too long in. Quite frankly, when I made it through the first three levels, I was thinking “This game reminds me a lot of Deus Ex, in a good way.” and by the time I got to the last my thoughts had been shifted to “Well, some of these textures do look like they’re from 2000″. Continue reading

Thursday Review: Tomb Raider (2013)

Tomb Raider is always one of those franchises I’ve avoided because of its perception; Lara Croft prior to recent developments had always been a video game sex symbol, but was handled in a way that I found somewhat offensive. She’d become an object of a brand rather than a living breathing character, and while she certainly wasn’t the worst example of how women are treated in video games, she wasn’t a character so much as an image. However, having heard good things about Lara’s new direction in character development, and the general gameplay of the series reboot, I picked it up and gave it a shot. Continue reading

Thursday Review: War of the Roses

War of the Roses is by no means a new game, but it’s one that I only finally got around to playing after getting it as a gift. It’s a multiplayer-only medieval combat game with a heavy focus on action and which takes place in the English civil war between the Lancastrian and Yorkist factions. It is, to a degree, historically accurate, though the fact that it’s an action-oriented video game means that it’s not exactly going to be winning any prizes for realism. Continue reading

Game Design: Avoiding Frustration

One of the biggest issues that I see with games’ inherent designs is that many of them are unintentionally annoying, and it really ruins the value of the game. Sometimes these games are trying for a Dark Souls type approach and just fail to pull off the work to make the consequences part of engaging gameplay, but sometimes there’s just poor design to blame. Continue reading

Sunday Extra: Why Video Game Narratives Fail

One of the greatest things that ticks me off as a gamer is when I’m playing a game and I can know where everything is going from the very beginning-there’s no element of surprise or suspense, and even if there is it’s only because characters act in unbelievable ways. Now, there’s a whole plethora of issues that cause this, everything from the fact that modern gameplay tends to not be as emergent as we claim it is to the fact that writers often can’t write video games or their stories do not get integrated into the game correctly. Continue reading

Thursday Review: Shadowrun Returns

Shadowrun Returns is one of the games that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, and I’ve got some mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it’s given me a dreadful amount of thrills, and on the other I’ve wanted to slam my head into the desk several times out of frustration. Part of this may come from my personal attachment to the franchise, which makes me a little more critical than I would otherwise be, but some of it is just the fact that at times the developers just seemed to forget what they were doing-they proved themselves capable of doing some pretty cool things, and then every once in a while a typo, glitch, or gameplay balance issue slipped in. Continue reading