Remember Me

Box Art

Nilin, the game’s protagonist.

I finished Remember Me a couple of weeks ago, but I started it in May. Part of the reason it took me so long is that the game didn’t pull me back in the early stages when I had Rocket League or Street Fighter available. It becomes more compulsive towards the end and ultimately I’m glad I finished it, but the game doesn’t make itself easy to like. It’s on the edge of excellence. Remember Me is a game that needs to be better at almost everything, few aspects worthy of praise without caveat. It’s an ambitious game full of great ideas and I admire much of what it accomplishes, but its execution is so lacking that it undermines itself constantly. Continue reading

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How Halo 4’s ending took me from the most excited I’ve ever been about a video game to the most betrayed I’ve ever felt

I imagine I’m not the only person who’s ever misheard a song lyric or misunderstood a quotation only to find its true meaning unsatisfying afterwards.  Like discovering that Jimi Hendrix is singing about coming up for air, having dreamt about being underwater, when he sings “’Scuse me while I kiss the sky”, rather than brazenly canoodling with another man, saying, “’Scuse me while I kiss this guy.”  There’s an entire website devoted to this phenomenon called kissthisguy.com.  The front page there is pretty goddamn ugly, though, so I’d advise against clicking it if you have functioning eyes.

That’s a silly example, but I had a much more hurtful experience when I reached the end of Halo 4’s campaign.  I found myself watching a bold, abstract, emotional and exciting finale, only to have this cruelly undone leaving just the emotional experience to persist.  In this case the truth was frustrating, robbing me of a future for the franchise I was genuinely excited about.  Let me explain.

It’s the last cutscene in the game, so you really shouldn’t need a spoiler warning, but there it is. Continue reading

The Shadow Price

I’ve been doing some tutoring for a finance student recently and I came across a new concept in Financial Science known as a “Shadow Price”.  It’s basically a way of working out whether the cost of improving something is worth it, based on how much additional profit you make from making the improvement. The Shadow Price is the most you should possibly pay to make the improvement. Mundane concept, wonderfully dramatic jargon. But it made me think that it should be the title of a bad pseudo-science fiction paperback. So I fired up photoshop and made this:

B-Video-Games: A New Frontier on a Lost Planet (Rant)

This is a long piece I wrote about my experiences playing the 4-player co-op campaign of Lost Planet 2.  As I hope the article conveys, it is a profoundly baffling experience, but in the most life-affirming way imaginable.

Video games are quickly establishing themselves as a profitable and, more importantly, artistic new medium.  They’ve held this high position in my mind from as early as I was aware of the concepts but I think it’s finally dawning on our society as a whole that video games are an important and exciting new art form.  The absurd amount of money that games like Modern Warfare 2 and Halo: Reach made on their opening weekends is proof that video games are more than children’s toys and when something is worth that much money, it’s an extremely bad idea to dismiss it on any level. Continue reading

Eye of the Beholder: How We View Animation (Essay)

This is one of the first longer-form pieces I did for the newsletter, which was a wholly inappropriate platform, but most of the editors were very kind and printed them anyway.  It was in response to a lot of people dismissing certain movies off-hand because they were cartoons.

I believe that 2008 saw animation finally receive the recognition it has deserved, probably from its inception, but certainly from within my lifetime. Any remotely serious television or cinema fan has appreciated the power and wonder of animation and placed it on level footing with traditional live action filming long ago, but I believe that last year finally saw this opinion break through to the general public.  Continue reading

Bionic Commando(2009) Rant

This is very much a stream-of-consciousness piece.  I had intended to balance it with another article talking about the things the game actually gets right, of which there are quite a few.  However, I never wrote that piece, so all that remains is this barrage of vitriol.

Don’t you want to be that guy?

I played through this game in December and I really wish I’d written about it then.  So intense was my vitriol that it would just spew forth to whoever I was talking to.  I wanted to tell people about it so much that I would take the time necessary to explain what the game was to them just so they could understand what it was I hated so much.  As it stands, my fervour has subsided, although hopefully I’ll get all worked up as I write and start hammering the keys in frustration.  I was faced with a choice between sitting down and doing this now or playing through the game again in order to give a fair (and hopefully more entertaining) account of the game.  I asked the advice of a friend and he quite plainly stated, “Colm, under no circumstances play through that game again.  Don’t do it to yourself.”  And he was right.  So here are my two month old thoughts on Bionic Commando.  They won’t be as intense, but they have had longer to fester. Continue reading

Resident Evil 5: Lost in Nightmares Review

We’ll just assume that Jill is having to contort herself in that way because of the space-time anomaly in the background.

This is the latest bit of DLC for Resident Evil 5.  It’s 400 MS points and contains what Capcom have said is about an hour of gameplay, so weigh up for yourself whether you think that’s value for money on the face of it.  The game is set just before a flashback when Chris and Jill confront Wesker at Spencer’s mansion and basically plots how they got from the front door to the room where the battle takes place.  It also contains Excella and Barry (Motherfucking) Burton as playable characters in Mercenary Mode.  I played through this last night with Pod, my cohort from On Deadly Blog, and we had a fucking great time. Continue reading