The Eternal War: A Look at the Repeating Console Cycle

Sega Logo

I’ve been reading Console Wars, a new book by Blake J. Harris that chronicles the rise of Sega during the 90’s. It’s a delightful book, full of endlessly fascinating details, such as how Target’s lenient return policy allowed customers to return years-old NES’s in order to get credit towards a SNES. Needless to say, this didn’t sit well with Nintendo and it led to Target pulling Nintendo products from the stores for a time. I lived through this era and reading the behind the scenes drama that went on has been very enjoyable. My nostalgia bones are all tingling right now. Continue reading The Eternal War: A Look at the Repeating Console Cycle

Review: Batman: Arkham Origins

Batman Arkham Origins

When Warner Bros announced the next game in the acclaimed Arkham franchise would be a preequel, the reaction was mixed. When they announced that Rocksteady would not be returning for the prequel, instead handing the reins to Warner Bros Games Montreal, the reaction was negative. It felt like a cash-grab, a stop-gap while Rocksteady worked on whatever would follow the brilliant Arkham City. Was this reaction premature or right on the money? Read on to find out. Continue reading Review: Batman: Arkham Origins

Killzone Shadow Fall and the First Rage Quit of 2014

killzone shadow fall free fall section

I was enjoying Killzone Shadow Fall in spurts. Sometimes, I would tolerate its mundane tasks and other times, I would actually lose myself in the gameplay for a bit. I wasn’t having a bad time, per se, but I wasn’t exactly overjoyed every time I booted the game up. But with only 9 missions, I figured I could manage my way through. The graphics were really quite nice, actually, with blue as the new brown, a refreshing change from last-gen.

So I trudged my way through, having already lost the narrative, something about a Cold War and experiments and weapons and using my drone companion to hack a lot of consoles. But then the free fall sequence slammed into me, halting my progress entirely. So I tried it again, thinking that it was my unfamiliarity with the controls that were hindering me. After all, it was a free fall through a city of collapsing skyscrapers and buildings, so this was clearly a big set-piece in the game, one that the developers wanted gamers to see. So I tried again. Continue reading Killzone Shadow Fall and the First Rage Quit of 2014

Review: Beyond: Two Souls

Beyond Jody

Is it a game? Is it interactive fiction? These are the questions that inevitably surround a David Cage release. It happened with Heavy Rain and again with Beyond: Two Souls. It’s clearly a game, but is it fun and worth your time? That’s the question and the purpose of this review.

Continue reading Review: Beyond: Two Souls

Random Encounters IV

Beyond Jodie

1. The outrage over the VGX, while some understandable in parts, is also overblown in others. Look, it’s Spike TV; you really shouldn’t expect something elegant for video game awards. But that doesn’t mean you should sit there and be insulted or talked down to. My suggestion is let Geoff Keighly host by himself. He is capable and serious enough to do it. Also, three hours is way too long. Have the awards, have the world premieres and trim it to an hour and half, maybe two. Cut some of that crap. A new character for Donkey Kong? Cut it. Pewdiepie? Cut it. Be smart. Know your audience.

2. It’s a good thing that that the Xbox One and PS4 are selling like hotcakes. Despite what some articles would have you believe, there is no clear winner and there won’t be for several years and even then, who cares? Pick your console and enjoy it. Don’t let anyone ruin your fun and don’t ruin anyone else’s.

3. That said, I love my PS4 and I have zero interest in the Xbox One. It sounds like it is exactly what some people want and bless them all. But it doesn’t really speak to me and as I have less and less time to play games, I need to start being more rigid in what I can play. Money isn’t the issue, but time is and I need to prioritize the kinds of experiences I want.

4. I hate to be That Guy, but now that I have a next-gen console, I am really looking forward to seeing next-gen sequels to beloved franchises. Imagine what the next Fallout or Elder Scrolls or Mass Effect will look like. Imagine what they will be able to do with the new power at their disposal. Even God of War, a franchise I am tired of, could be given new life with the power of PS4. Same with Halo on the Xbox One. It’s all potential right now, but the mind reels at what we could have in our hands in the coming years.

5. I really enjoyed streaming Final Fantasy VII with Eddy back when that was happening, but I’ve never really streamed anything myself until getting a PS4. And wow. The ease of it and the experience of people watching along, commenting and cheering you on is pretty incredible. Make no mistake: streaming is the killer app for the PS4. I know the Xbox One will have it eventually sometime in 2014, but for those people who say it is not a big deal, you clearly have not tried it on the PS4.

6. Recently started Beyond: Two Souls and while I am only 2 hours into the game, I am really impressed. The story, told in a non-linear fashion, has kept me interested more than I expected and the jumping around the timeline is a smart way to keep the player doing different things, thus preventing the gameplay from becoming stale. The QTE’s have also been streamlined in a smart, elegant way. Look forward to playing more.

These are the things on my mind these days. What about you? Anything you want to get off your chests? The doctor is in.

Pixel Count: Most Anticipated November Release

It’s time for the next generation of video game consoles to arrive! As we say good-bye to October and hello to November, it’s time to check out the latest releases, both current-gen and next-gen, that are hitting stores this month. Personally, I didn’t buy anything in October except Pokemon because I was too busy with GTA V. But now, with the new consoles coming, I am ready for more. And November has plenty to keep us all satiated. Hit the poll below and meet me after the jump for analysis:

Most Anticipated November Release

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Continue reading Pixel Count: Most Anticipated November Release

Top Six: Franchises of the Current Generation

Current Gen

Even though this current generation of video game consoles isn’t wrapping up for at least another year, the new generation looms over the horizon. And thus, this warrants a look back at our recent past to honor the best of new franchises we were introduced to this gen. The list is based mainly on what franchises I found to be most compelling over the years. These opinions belong solely to me, but please feel free to list your own in the comments!

First, the games that didn’t make the cut. There are some awesome games here, but they just didn’t move me enough to make the list. All of them are still fantastic, though.

Honorable Mentions: Assassin’s Creed, Demon/Dark Souls, Gears of War, Saint’s Row, LittleBigPlanet, Borderlands Continue reading Top Six: Franchises of the Current Generation