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Enslaved: The trouble with Tripitaka

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Screenshot

During the "Females on Female Characters" panel at PAX East 2011, Susan Arendt argued briefly in support of Tripitaka (Trip), a character from Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. This appreciation seemed bizarre to me, so the moment stuck in my mind. Enslaved was a gorgeous game with phenomenal voice acting, decently expressive gameplay, and very bad writing, of which I thought Trip was a prime example.

Roundup: Week of August 19, 2011

From Dust Screenshot

Really, who didn't see this coming? Ubisoft has a richly-deserved reputation for hating on the PC, and From Dust's DRM and terrible port can hardly be a surprise in light of the company's past actions. Ubisoft's upcoming Driver: San Francisco will probably also have this asinine DRM—Ubisoft claims it will not, but a similar claim was made for From Dust.

Roundup: Week of August 12, 2011

Rage Screenshot

My understanding is that Rage will still be playable from disc, albeit with a notable performance hit. It's a little silly to be outraged by this (no pun intended), despite Microsoft's ludicrous price-gouging on hard drives. The existence of the hard drives always made this sort of requirement a temptation, and PlayStation 3 owners have already "enjoyed" mandatory installs for some games.

Shadows of the Damned: The road course

Shadows of the Damned Screenshot

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.

Brief thoughts from July

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS Screenshot

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.

Final Fantasy XIII: A series of tubes

Final Fantasy XIII Screenshot

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.

Final Fantasy XIII: The best part

Final Fantasy XIII Screenshot

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.

Where Red Faction: Armageddon failed

Red Faction: Armageddon Screenshot

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.

L.A. Noire: The hollow man

L.A. Noire Screenshot

Who is Cole Phelps?

What Blackwater should do

Blackwater (Kinect) Screenshot

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.

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