Posts Tagged ‘pc gamer


Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay

riddick and abbott

Vin Diesel’s inimitable growl introduces you to Riddick.

“The dark,” he rasps, “is where I shine.”

It’s the voice of a man who’s about to kill his way out of the highest security prison in the Galaxy.

Butcher Bay is a concrete monster that descends kilometres below the planet’s surface, a high security centre built to hold the toughest convicts alive. Nobody has ever escaped before, but the folk who built the prison evidently didn’t anticipate containing the likes of their latest inmate.

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Holiday Snaps from Mirror’s Edge

MirrorsEdge Purple skyline

I tried in vain to capture the sense of momentum, the speed, the exhileration of freerunning across the gorgeous cityscapes of Mirror’s Edge.  Ultimately, though, still images don’t really do the job. It’s something you’ll have to play the game to experience. Surprisingly, in a game where you’re encouraged to keep moving all the time, standing still and looking around the world is incredibly rewarding. Vistas like the one above are simply everywhere in Mirror’s Edge. Often they go almost unnoticed as you desperately try to gain enough speed to make the next death defying leap, but after a couple of playthroughs I began to savour the environments and came up with a few of my favourites.

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Staying Neutral in Kotor

KOTOR shark choice

I’m almost always evil in games. The kind of outrageous and over-the-top portrayals of evil we often see in games makes it an entertaining prospect, so I was looking forward to being especially evil in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic which, remarkably, I’ve somehow managed to never play, probably because I tried to play it on an Xbox where it had horrendous framerate issues and controls that made me feel like a clumsy oaf.

I have encountered some difficulty, though, in my committment to the Dark Side.  The trouble is there’s no Chaotic Evil option in the Star Wars universe. You’re with the Republic, or you’re with the Sith. KOTOR’s moral choices are hilariously bipolar. There’s no intermediate path built into the game. Take the example in the screenshot above. The choices are presented thusly: 1. Evil, 2. Good, 3. Evilest. I ended up going with option 1 more out of impatience than anything, as option 2 required me to solve a basic puzzle and option 1 invovled pressing a button. Impatience, it seems, is the first step on the path to the Dark Side. The rest of the path was not so easy to tread however, not because I felt any particular amount of shame about harming local wildlife, destroying a planet’s ecology, its economy and political standing in the Universe. That came easily to me. I had more difficulty with the Institutions of evil.

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Titan Quest


Sometimes all I want to do is click on things and level up.

It’s hard to say why exactly the slow progress of battering things and becoming gradually stronger is so compelling. It’s hard to know what evolutionary impulse it’s really appealing to. Perhaps it’s just the sense of victory that comes from each experience point earned. Instead of delivering the ‘you’ve won!’ screen at the end of the game it gives it to you in small and addictive amounts throughout the experience.

I’ve been pouring my hours into Titan Quest recently, which, like it’s spiritual predecessor Diablo, embodies the joy of levelling up in a skeletal distilled form. It’s completely transparent that you’re just clicking  on millions of enemies until they fall over and you hear the ‘level up!’ dong. Somehow, knowing this doesn’t stop it from being immenseley entertaining and terribly, terribly addictive.

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Release Schedule Roundup


It’s good to see the major games splurged generously across the release schedule this year, with plenty of gems lurking in the early months of 2010. For whatever reason, perhaps fleeing from the monstrous shadow of Modern Warfare 2, perhaps out of common sense, games are being released fairly evenly over the coming months. For this year at least I won’t be wondering which lucky 2 or 3 titles will win my cash, I’ll be able to spread expense and time evenly, meaning I’ll even be able to play some of what would normally be considered underdogs.

Lurking in that category we have Obsidian’s Alpha Protocol. It’s not big on the visual bangs and whistles, but promises a sturdy RPG experience, and you get to be a spy. It’s a great set up with a lot of promise. If the voice acting and character interaction are up to scratch then I’ll probably forgive lacklustre combat, but so far the warmongering is looking pretty good. Hopefully it’ll scratch my exp-earning itch until Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2 come out.

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The Second 3D Revolution

The mid nineties saw a siesmic shift from sprites to polygonal models. This changed gaming forever.

Initially it was a rough transition, the 3D models were so basic that they completely lacked character and sprites persisted, strange hybrids existed for a while where 2D sprites would fight in 3D environments (Wolfenstein, Doom and Duke Nukem). Before long, though, the benefits of 3D level design and imrpvoing technology brought the third dimension into every home. We had Half Life. We had Deus Ex. System SHock 2. Times were good.

I was, ooh, about 12 when 3D levels began to emerge. As an avid gamer used to Mario and Metroid it was obvious that things would never be the same again.

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Demo Roundup – Batman: Arkham Asylum

batman 1

This third person bat-em-up from Rocksteady sees you play the Dark Knight himself as you try and thwart the Joker, who has gone and taken over the most reknowned madhouse in all of fiction: Arkham Asylum. I played the demo.

It only lasts fifteen minutes, but this is the closest I’ve ever come in a game to actually feeling like Batman.

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