Game Design & Dev
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.
By Peter Skerritt on April 23, 2011 - 5:44pm.
I was excited for Mortal Kombat. The demo played pretty well, albeit a little on the slow side. The special editions of the game looked pretty neat. It felt like a throwback rather than an attempt to keep expanding in the direction that the games took during the last console generation. It seemed like a day-one purchase for me, if only to support the revival of a fighting game that used to share the spotlight with Street Fighter some 15 years ago.
By Peter Skerritt on April 18, 2011 - 5:52pm.
L.A. Noire is one of the most anticipated games of 2011. The premise is unique, as gathering evidence and solving cases are going to be at least as important as any other features of gameplay. The motion capture looks amazing. The voice acting sounds fantastic. There's a lot to be excited about when the game finally emerges next month. Unfortunately, L.A. Noire is also set up to be one of the most segmented game releases in recent memory.
By Peter Skerritt on April 9, 2011 - 11:39pm.
I came out pretty strong on Twitter recently, decrying the loss of instruction manuals as publishers such as Ubisoft and EA Sports have made moves to abolish print manuals in exchange for digital manuals that can be found as extra content on the game disc. While publishers are reasoning that eliminating such manuals is better for the environment, it seems evident to me that there are more significant factors at work here.
By Dale Weir on February 28, 2011 - 9:24pm.
Was Kinect just the tip of the iceberg? I sure hope so. Microsoft Research's Applied Sciences group looks to be creating some truly impressive solutions to interacting with displays without the need of a traditional input device like a mouse or pointer.
By Sparky Clarkson on February 13, 2011 - 1:02pm.
It seems like most of the people who wrote reviews of 999 thought very highly of it. I'm not sure why that was; I found the game to be a fairly tedious exercise in the repetition of insufficiently interesting puzzles. 999 creates this problem for itself because of its structure. The enforced replays that are central to 999's design and fiction ask for more from the puzzles and dialogue than they are able to contribute as art or entertainment.
By Sparky Clarkson on February 12, 2011 - 2:48pm.
A few days after the Christmas snowfall in Alabama, while we waited for the lasagna to finish cooking, we popped a copy of Disney Epic Mickey into the Wii and I played a bit of it. I got past the first, easy battle and entered the hallway, where a cutscene began. My mother, who mostly plays Snood, wanted to know why Mickey wasn't speaking. "He's always talked," she noted, and for almost anyone alive that's true. Mickey started talking in 1929, just a year after his famous appearance in the sound-synched Steamboat Willie. Sound has been a famous part of Mickey's history, so it's alienating, especially to non-gamers, to run into an essentially silent version of the Mouse in Epic Mickey.
By Richard Naik on January 14, 2011 - 9:30am.
I liked Red Dead Redemption. I want to throw that out there first, since a lot of what I'm about to say will probably make it seem as if I didn't like it. This is the first game in the Rockstar open-world family that I've been motivated to finish, mainly because of both the engrossing recreation of the (admittedly fictional) Old West and the character of John Marston.
By Richard Naik on January 11, 2011 - 4:25pm.
Kingdom Hearts II is a really messed up game. It's got awful pacing, the grievous re-usage of almost all the content from the first game, and a narrative so incomprehensible it makes the Star Wars prequels look logical. Still, I'll be damned if I've ever seen a better JRPG combat system. It's like my good friend Tim Spaeth's irrational love of Too Human's combat, except mine is totally rational and sensible. The one area where Kingdom Hearts II really succeeded for me was with it's bosses, which I've mentioned before. It's got all shapes and sizes of boss, and it does them all extremely well.
By Richard Naik on December 21, 2010 - 11:51am.
Due to a slight tug of nostalgia that the recently released Sonic the Hedgehog 4 was unable to satisfy, I went back and played through all of the games that comprised Sonic's glory days. You know how it feels when you watch 10-year-old highlight reels of some sports team you care about? How you're reminded of how good they used to be? It was kind of like that. Between Sonic 1-3/Knuckles and Sonic CD I truly felt like they held up after all this time.
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