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.

Clear the backlog. Appease the guilt.

Beside you there might be a towering pile of both physical and digital games still unplayed. This pile, at least mine does, stares at me and laughs at my weakness for a great Steam Deal. It then laughs even harder around September when school begins. With the Fall to Spring season long bombardment of great titles approaching, the pile of games known as Mr. Backlog, rubs its plastic belly and cackles at the opportunity to gather more recruits for its plan to devour my morale.

Mr. Backlog kills my excitement for the newest and highly anticipated games - even those I know I will thoroughly enjoy. I miss days of actually having nothing to play. And I don't mean games you don't feel like playing, I mean nothing at all. I miss anticipating the release of a new game, or even to a lesser extent, just being excited to buy one.

Review: 3DS XL - Size matters

Handheld gaming has always been a problem for me as I could never successfully find a comfortable position to play in. To use such small devices naturally means that you will either have to hold it up to your face, or require you to hunch over to get a decent view of the screen. Whenever I played my Nintendo DS, I often shifted positions from sitting in a chair, lying on my back, side or stomach. The PSP, although I don't own one, provided a larger viewing area for playing, but I was not interested in games that replicated a console experience. Nintendo's evolution of their glasses free 3D handheld, the 3DS XL, is a device that is perfect for supplementing larger experiences on consoles or PC, all the while proving to be comfortable to play. As long as there is a legitimate reason for why you want to own the 3DS XL, the growing software library and excellent hardware design will counteract any shortcomings or gimmicks that are quickly apparent.

Fan Expo Canada 2012: The Wii U gamepad and ZombiU

Even though Fan Expo Canada is not a convention I enjoy going to, it being the only one in Toronto that comes close to resembling a dedicated video game convention, makes me grudgingly attend each year. Tens of thousands of people attend this comic, sci-fi, anime and gaming convention, and since video games were later added to this originally comic book gathering, there is always a lack of game demo stations suitable for the number of attendees. The convention itself, especially if there's only one area you actually follow, is very limited with things that you can actually do. Once 4 day pass purchasers realize that they have exhausted all available activities associated with their hobbies, they line-up to play Halo 4, ZombiU and whatever game that can occupy their time. Not to sound like a whiner, but this in turn, makes people who go strictly for the games, wait longer in the already lengthy lines.

Wii U Gamepad

With general convention complaints aside, what I really wanted to talk about was the Wii U and Ubisofts survival horror game, ZombiU. That sentence has a lot of "U"s in it which makes it sound weird, but I can't help Nintendo's annoying branding. Wait one more U, U Play. I was hoping ZombiU, awkwardly spelt without the E, would be one of the games that would change my pessimistic perspective of the Nintendo Wii U.  With lackluster first party titles at launch, it was a weird thought knowing that I could possibly buy a Nintendo console to play Ubisoft games. Having confidence that Rayman Legends will be a game I will undoubtedly enjoy is comforting, but after my brief session with ZombiU and its controller, comfortable is not what I am.

Now Playing: Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Smarten up

I have learned to parse the fluffed up public relations descriptions of unreleased games, to find the truth about what exactly is the core of an experience. So when a developer describes their game as one that allows for both stealth and head-on approaches, I immediately sound the horn. Games with stealth components usually become the primary focus of an experience, and this is further supported by the level design. A building complex with many doors, air vents, scaffolding, sewer grates, unreachable ledges and keypad security, are objects not at all related to the success of running and gunning. The way a game was intended to be played is told through its level design, and based off of the numerous objects previously listed, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a stealth game, a good one too.  

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