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The Review Revue

I've been asked on more than one occasion about how I approach the review writing process and what I like to see in reviews. I never have a firm answer, which is kind of unsettling to me since I frequently engage in discussions on the Twitter and such about what reviews should and should not be. There is no one answer to that question, but it does get me thinking about about the half-cocked ramblings I regularly try to pass off as game journalism.

The Engineer Update—Gotta Move That Gear Up


It has arrived. After two years, over 120 other updates, and about 145 hours honing my construction skills, The Engineer Update for Team Fortress 2 has come. The new toys are quite a bit different than what I expected, although I don't work at Valve, so what the hell do I know other than how to lodge a wrench into an unsuspecting spy's skull?

Interview with Ron McDowell, CTO of Magrathean Technologies

Interview  with Ron McDowell, CTO of Magrathean Technologies creators of Incognito

Recently I had the pleasure to review Incognito: Episode One, an intriguing title from developer Magrathean Technologies. The game, as the name so aptly implies, is the first in a series of Their CTO, Ron McDowell, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.

Why does game storytelling have such low standards?

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Screenshot

Storytelling is an art form in and of itself, just like painting or music. And of all the art forms that comprise video games, story is often at the low end on the totem of importance. This is perfectly acceptable to me-games are more often than not held up by mechanical and/or aesthetic components, leaving the story as icing on the cake. However, this does not mean that any game that even attempts to have a deep and/or dynamic story can automatically be heralded as storytelling mastery.

A gaggle of WTFs: Heavy Rain's story

Heavy Rain Screenshot

When I was writing my Heavy Rain review, there were a lot of specific things concerning the plot that I wanted to talk about, but couldn't due to the spoilerness. So those qualms are going to go here, safely hidden behind that big bold spoiler warning you see below. So, shall we?

(Warning: The rest of this post contains Heavy Rain spoilers)

Journeys with a terrible game: Star Wars Rebellion

Star Wars:  Rebellion Screenshot

The year was 1999. A plucky young lad fresh out of the 8th grade, I had just finished reading Timothy Zahn's fantastic Thrawn trilogy a year earlier, which began my immersion into the Star Wars expanded universe. There's a lot of good stuff to be found in said universe-the aforementioned Zahn books, the Rogue Squadron series, the Crimson Empire comics and so forth. So you can imagine my anticipation of The Phantom Menace, the long awaited beginning of the prequel trilogy.

The Boss of Bosses

Mega Man 2 Bosses

That guy with the earthquake move. The ice thing. The stupid jerkface that won't hold still. Whatever their form, bosses have been a part of gaming since the early days of Atari. Personally I've always been a sucker for boss battles-they can very heavily influence my opinion of a given game. However, based on many games I've spent time with recently, Tim's question from the most recent podcast (mentioned around the 39:00 mark) is a valid one-do they even make good boss battles anymore?

Interview with Jakub Dvorsky, lead designer of Machinarium

Interview with Jakub Dvorsky, lead designer of Machinarium

I recently had the pleasure of playing Machinarium, a fantastic adventure title from indie developer Amanita Design. Currently available on Steam and on their website, Machinarium has received accolades from many critics, myself included. Their CEO, Jakub Dvorsky, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about the game his company, and his team.

The War Update: And then there was one...

Team Fortress 2 Screenshot

So it comes to this. The engineer, my favorite Team Fortress 2 class, the one in which I saw a need for some additional items before the medic update even came out, the one that I have almost 130 hours of playtime with, will be the last to get an update. I'm not mad. Really....I'm not.

Dreamfallen: Why some platforms and genres just aren't made for each other

Dreamfall: The Longest Journey Screenshot

Recently I began playing Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, the sequel to the adventure classic The Longest Journey. My expectations were oh so high, after the original's blend of fantasy, sci-fi, and wonderful characterizations made it instantly climb onto my all-time favorites list. My reaction upon seeing about 45 minutes worth of Dreamfall was similar to one who may have just come home to see his dog ripping apart the giant K'Nex roller coaster/burger stand/space station he spent so much time building-who is this monster, and what did they do the my masterpiece?

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