Xbox 360

Review: Fez - Plus minus

How could you not be immediately impressed with a game developed by 2 people? The time spent, money invested and sacrifices made in order to complete a video game, prove the difficulty in developing a successful one.

I often wonder about the indie development process and the reasoning for the implementation of certain mechanics, or the inclusion of a specific level. But once I stop thinking about the process, the size of the development team no longer matters - I am equally critical for each game. After playing through Fez twice already, the end game, the secrets accessible through the New Game + option, will only leave those who willingly invest their patience and time ultimately satisfied.

Review: The Walking Dead: Episode 1 & 2 - Tough decisions

When people first spoke of Telltale's The Walking Dead, I immediately dismissed it and whatever ties I thought it had with the television show. Telltale's latest adventure game is an episodic guided narrative surrounding the idea of a zombie outbreak, which seems like the worst combination that any developer can build a game around. The AMC series is carried by a lot of action and flesh eating zombies, but the game is carried by the ethical and moral situations that require your best judgement to make multiple, increasingly difficult decisions. An emphasis on cinematics has led to many ignorantly dismissing it as another "interactive movie" as it lacks the level grinding, loot collection and combo chaining that a more traditional game has. Aside from a few annoying bugs and limited variety of traditional video game mechanics, Telltale's The Walking Dead Episode 1 and 2, provide some of the most engaging survival stories in video game form. 

Review: Alan Wake's American Nightmare - Less frights, more fights

Remedy spent years developing Alan Wake; more than twice the length of the common development cycle of 2 years. Unfortunately however, their hard work was only recognized by few, selling poorly despite receiving praise from the media and the few who had played it. The price of this story focused horror game dropped quickly and significantly, allowing players to find a copy for a third of the full retail price. With the eventual release of the PC version, Remedy would finally find some success, reporting their satisfaction with the game's sales over the last few years. With no official reports of a sequel, Alan Wake's American Nightmare is a welcoming but brief departure from the main story of the series, made downloadable for players who yearn to see more Alan Wake.

Review: Mass Effect 3 - Something greater

This is the game Mass Effect fans have been waiting for. All of the time spent reading the codex and following Commander Shepard's story of the battle against the Reapers, comes to a close. What makes this trilogy different from others is the personal involvement each player has; the moral decisions they have made and the ramifications that follow. We carry over our story and character from game to game, to see how events correlate and if the decisions we have made led to the desired results. But for a new player, they don't have that connection and won't quite understand why Mass Effect 3 is such a big deal to fans. If you are part of that group that has no desire to play Mass Effect at all, there is nothing that the third instalment in the franchise will provide to change your mind.

Review: Batman: Arkham City - Gliding through the night

 

The problem with making a game so amazing the first time, is following up that game with an even better sequel. Room for improvement is small, forcing the developers to dig deep into their creative wells, to introduce new concepts or ideas to impress the players.

No one expected Batman: Arkham Asylum to be as well executed as it was; dismissing its existence was the common attitude towards it. Rocksteady delivered an experience so contrary to what we believed, pushing Batman to the forefront of quality video games in 2009. With our expectations now set high and our attention drawn in, it would be impossible for Batman: Arkham City to duplicate such a lofty achievement. Batman: Arkham City won’t wow its players like its predecessor, but the fluid melee combat and wide cast of stellar characters that populate Arkham City, are enough reasons to slip on the bat suit once more.

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