Backlog 2015 #2: Batman: Arkham Origins: Blackgate: Deluxe Edition

Blackgate cover

I like to imagine that’s Batman looking at the people responsible for this nonsense.

I want to make this brief so I don’t waste too much more of my time on this game, but if you’re reading this I’m wasting your time with a messy article. Blame Batman. The most enjoyable moment I had was it enabling me to sincerely type B:AO:B:DE in a text to a friend. I was excited about this Metroidvania game due to a long time love of the Metroid series. Metroid + Batman; sign me up. But it’s a bad cover band. Continue reading

Backlog 2015 #1: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

CoverI’ve had a massive backlog of Gen 7 games since pretty much halfway through Gen 7. I’ve tried to get through them a few times and started a separate blog to try to track it. All of these attempts have failed. Now I’m trying again. This time, I have all of my Gen 7 consoles with me in London, but my PS4 (with my Great Love Battlefield) is back in Belfast and I’m not bringing it over until this backlog is cleared; I actually want to play these games. Last year I think I only managed Bayonetta (which I loved to a criminal degree) and FarCry 3 (which I despised; it was like listening to a 14yo lecture you about the nature of humanity after they’d seen Apocalypse Now for the first time). The first game of 2015 was Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

General Impressions

I really liked this game. Reductively, the game’s USP is its control scheme. You spend the entire game controlling the two eponymous brothers (or sons, I guess), one with each analogue stick, with the only action button being a context-sensitive “Interact” mapped to the corresponding shoulder. It works incredibly well, particularly keeping the interaction pared down to one button, allowing the player to focus on the meat of the puzzles rather than execution.. The older brother’s movement is mapped to the left stick, where movement is usually mapped in video games at large. The younger brother’s is mapped to the right stick and I tended to lose track of him. I think the designers were aware of this and used it to make the big brother seem more solid and leader-like. Brothers is fundamentally a puzzle-platformer where each new section has you manipulating the unique control scheme in an interesting way. The game is almost completely linear (not a bad thing) and I enjoyed all of my time with it. I was never bored; the game introduces many unique events that keep the gameplay fresh but they’re all based around the central idea of having two characters so I never found them token. Much of the platforming reminded me of Sands of Time; always a good thing. The game is paced such that the relaxed puzzle sections are infrequently punctuated by more thrilling, pressured sections and it’s judged perfectly to give those sections a welcome sense of tension. Continue reading

Anarchy Reigns (The Achievements note that the title makes no sense)

Manarchy-reigns-15437-1920x1200y friends and I bought Anarchy Reigns cheap recently for something different to play multiplayer. It’s certainly different. We haven’t really played much of it yet and all I do is complain about how much damage I’m taking when I play it (#maturity). It’s enjoyably baffling, obviously bonkers but pretty frustrating. In an attempt to get to grips with the controls and systems better I played through the campaign. Here’s what I thought.

Anarchy Reigns is a sequel/prequel/interquel to MadWorld on the Wii (I have it waiting to play so I haven’t looked up the connection) so for a lot of the story I couldn’t tell if I was missing information because I hadn’t played MadWorld or because it wasn’t given to me. But it’s a Platinum Games game (<3) so honestly it could be either. The storyline is some balls about two different characters that are trying to catch up to a third character for reasons that are never fully explained and with fantastically unearned high-emotion scenes. The whole tone of the campaign is like a 12yo who’s still young enough to play with action figures but whose older brother has shown him Robocop and Die Hard. And, as with so many Platinum Games, I can’t tell if they realise this or not. Continue reading

How, right before saving humanity throughout the galaxy from certain annihilation, Shepard revealed himself to be a liar and a coward.

Commander Shepard is, objectively, a hero.  But he’s also a man.  A man who likes women (in my playthrough, anyway).   He spent his entire first adventure pining after Tali, the feisty but naïve Quarian girl, only to be seduced by Liara’s disarming bashfulness.  But the charming commander had all along been hiding a selfish, uncompassionate self that would only manifest itself years later.

*Mass Effect 2 spoilers* Continue reading

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

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

Shadow Complex Impressions

Shadow Complex

This art seems to be eliciting Soviet Russia. You would think that might be a major theme…

Shadow Complex is a game from Chair Entertainment using the Epic Unreal Engine in the style of a classic Metroid game with full 3D graphics but planar gameplay.  You go spelunking with some girl you met in a club then become a supersoldier and save the world.  Or some bollocks.

***SPOILERS…of a sort.  I would argue that it’s difficult to “spoil” a story this fucking incoherent, since none of the “reveals” have any weight when your only reaction to ANY development is “Wha?”*** Continue reading