Review – Mass Effect

I am an RPG player. It is worth mentioning this up front as something relevant to the review which is to follow. I enjoy the genre of RPG’s enough to call it my favorite. Now, I say this because I realize that not everyone is like me. One of my best friends confessed to me recently that while he used to be an ardent RPG player in his younger days (when his life generally consisted of boredom and peer hatred in high school instead of daily responsibilities and peer hatred at work) now he simply has no time for serious gaming commitments that last for more than a few hours. Well, apparently, despite having a full and satisfying life, not much has changed for me. Somehow, I am still able to get into, enjoy and complete plot heavy games. →  Read the rest

Hidden costs of next gen gaming or how HD killed the video star

So, here is what happened: I got an Xbox 360 as a gift for Christmas. I had requested it as a gift because I knew that to purchase it on my own would mean a few months of saving; something I’m not good at. I’ve got student loans to pay and blow to snort; there’s just no room for savings in my life. I appreciated the gift and received it with the grace of Ernest Borgnine; but, in the back of my head I braced myself for the added expense of having to buy at least one new game a month. (I don’t rent; renting is un-American; I like to own my media.) Now, if Christmas came every month, or if I lived below the Mason-Dixon line, (which comes to the same thing) I’d be set. →  Read the rest

Review – Assassins Creed

From everything I have read online, it seems that gamers everywhere are split into two camps when it comes to Assassin’s Creed: those who love the game and those who find it painfully repetitious. After beating the game over the course of four days, I found myself graduating from one group to the other. For the first third of the game I was frustrated, annoyed, angry, and bored. (Incidentally, three is an important number in the structure of Assassin’s Creed. There are three cities in the game, each with three sections and three assassination targets – one per section. In order to complete an assassination the player needs to collect three out of six available pieces of information about the target. So, judging the game in thirds seems to be a logical way to go)

And yet, despite all of the initial boredom and general dislike of the game, my final verdict is that I like Assassin’s Creed. →  Read the rest

The most pleasant surprise at this E3

This year’s E3 had a number of surprises, some cool some lame. The games that weren’t there were somewhat surprising so I’ve listed the ones I care about.

Capcom had already used their scariest ideas, so this time they have you fighting zombies in broad daylight.

Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 4 was really great, but controlling it still wasn’t perfectly easy. If Resident Evil 5 can maintain 4’s quality and sharpen controls then it’d be gold in a PS3 case. RE5 not showing up at this year’s E3 was a bummer not just because we all want to see more of it, but because we need to know exactly what systems it’ll be on. I need to know if I should start saving pennies for a PS3 (that’s 60,000 pennies). →  Read the rest

Review – Jade Empire

Jade Empire
Developed by Bioware
Published by Microsoft
Released 4.12.05

Blue crap coming out of the hands is a serious medical condition.

Bioware is one of my favorite companies because I bow to the altar of Baldur’s Gate. I played both games in that series and both expansion packs. When I read the third installment was canceled I nearly wept. Knights of the Old Republic is a great game but I’m not really into Star Wars, Neverwinter Nights was good but there wasn’t enough focus on having a sweet party of adventurers. There will never be another Baldur’s Gate and I have to accept it (by mentioning it in every other article I write). First, an immediate comparison: Jade Empire is not as good as Baldur’s Gate. Ok, now I feel better and can begin the review. →  Read the rest

Bad Design 1

This column looks at design flaws in popular games. Nearly all of the examples of poor design are from games that are either good or great, so don’t assume we are picking on these games solely because they suck and it’s fun to make fun of crap. Perhaps it is the games’ quality that makes identifying one specific design flaw so easy. The flaws are also not unique the only these games; hopefully each specific game we examine will hold a flaw that is common in many other games, some sort of universal design flaw. This will ultimately make the column much more valuable than if it were just a place to piss on a game for a specific and unique quirk.

Tell me, how is it I know English?

That being said, welcome to the first installment of this potentially never ending series. →  Read the rest