Sparky Clarkson's blog
By Sparky Clarkson on August 12, 2011 - 6:40pm.
I must begin with a disclaimer that I didn't like Shadows of the Damned very much, and I'm not sure if I'll bother finishing it (this coming from a man who didn't even give up on Flower, Sun, and Rain). The gameplay is standard, if unusually finicky, third-person shooting that borrows a stun mechanic from Alan Wake, the art direction is not particularly interesting, and the humor is something I'm about 20 years too old to appreciate.
By Sparky Clarkson on August 5, 2011 - 5:16pm.
It had to be done, given the below-expectations sales numbers and widespread hyperventilation over them. The DS also had a slow start, in terms of both sales and software, but that was before mobile phones were the most widespread handheld platform. As such, a price cut may not be enough to save the 3DS.
By Sparky Clarkson on July 30, 2011 - 1:21pm.
The worst reason to hate Final Fantasy XIII is because of its linearity. Non-linearity doesn't necessarily improve a game, and following a constrained path doesn't necessarily make it worse. All Final Fantasy games, including the most highly praised ones, have been essentially linear in both story and world design.
By Sparky Clarkson on July 25, 2011 - 3:04pm.
Despite respectable review scores and reasonably good sales, Final Fantasy XIII is widely derided, for many good reasons and a few bad ones. Defenders of the game often point to the battle system as the game's saving grace. I found myself sharing the sentiment when I played through the game recently.
By Sparky Clarkson on July 17, 2011 - 9:05am.
I initially had a hard time writing my review of Red Faction: Armageddon. I almost fell into the same trap that caught me in my review of No More Heroes 2, another game that essentially abandoned an existing open-world concept, of reviewing the predecessor rather than the sequel. This was an enticing prospect, because I liked Red Faction: Guerilla a great deal, and I did not like Armageddon one little bit.
By Sparky Clarkson on June 12, 2011 - 12:20pm.
The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo has ended but produced a deluge of coverage and critique as journalists and bloggers debated the merits of this hotly-anticipated sequel and that oddly-named, overpriced new platform. All the games got some coverage, but many sank beneath the tide of information. The announcement by Backbreaker publisher 505 Games' upcoming "FPX" Blackwater seems to be one such.
By Sparky Clarkson on May 24, 2011 - 4:55pm.
Crysis 2 is an excellent game and worth playing if you have ever enjoyed first-person shooters at all. On many levels, however, I thought the game couldn't really decide what it wanted to be about. Is it a game about making sound tactical choices in an operation against a superior force, or is it a (bad) story about squid attacking New York City with a bio-weapon?
By Sparky Clarkson on May 5, 2011 - 8:45pm.
While I still have it fresh in my mind I want to put down my thoughts about the single-player campaign in Portal 2. I haven't played any of the co-op, primarily because of the mysterious, ongoing problem with the PSN. However, I completed the solo campaign, and while I agree with many of the criticisms Michael Barnes made in his review at No High Scores, I greatly enjoyed Portal 2. I don't think it's a 10/10 masterpiece, but it is a very good game.
By Sparky Clarkson on April 24, 2011 - 9:13am.
The most difficult part of reviewing a game is reviewing the difficulty. A few games—Super Meat Boy, I Wanna be the Guy—can uncontroversially be called hard, but the essential question is actually whether they are too hard. Since that level of difficulty depends not only on the individual player's skills and experience, but also on his values, it can be difficult to state what goes over the line. It is even harder to accurately say whether a game is too easy, primarily because most reviewers are skilled and experienced gamers, many of them drawn to the hobby during its early days when challenge was practically all a game could offer in terms of fun.
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