Callum

A long time fan of all things nerd related, i've spent most of my life either going through video games or watching the best of the worst of science fiction and fantasy films. Video game wise I’ve been playing various things since the time of the N64 and have gone through everything from Daikatana to Dwarf Fortress since then. I'm also a fan of all things Warhammer and Hellboy.

Oct 192014
 

Alien_Isolation_Cover

Of all the horror games released this year Alien: Isolation was always going to be the big one. Even before getting into the obvious hype behind the trailers, even before getting into the competition with Evil Within, Alien: Isolation was going to be fighting an uphill battle. Aliens: Colonial Marines had been an unmitigated disaster, with promotional material outright lying about its quality and enthusiastic fans had been outraged about what they had been given. Worse still, Prometheus had faced an extremely divisive reception and it had been the better part of an age since we had last seen a truly great Aliens game. The franchise quite frankly needed a shot in the arm, and with The Creative Assembly being best known for their RTS titles (not all of which underwent the best QA testing, as shown by Rome: Total War II) , the hype behind this title was extremely tempered. Thankfully, Alien: Isolation is everything fans were promised.
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Sep 292014
 

Video_Game_Achievement

Since their introduction, achievements have frequently come under fire from fans and video game critics alike. Even now, over a generation on since they were first brought into the industry as accounts were popularised and online community aspects were pushed, the backlash against them remains ever strong.
The very idea of them seems to be scorned by a lot of major figures, especially John Bain and members of Polaris, with the very idea of them often being ridiculed. Many are argued to be unnecessary, to be a pointless addition which ultimately adds nothing to the experience and something which the industry never needed before now. However, I personally believe that this is not entirely true. While achievements have been mishandled certainly, there is a definite reason for them to exist and benefit developers of all titles.
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Sep 282014
 

FinalFantasy2

It goes without saying that Final Fantasy is one of the biggest and most successful series on the market. Even after being repeatedly marred by the development team’s obsession over Final Fantasy XIII and a disastrous initial release of XIV, as a whole the franchise stands strong. While certainly having a fair number of dumb storytelling moments, you’ll find plenty of fans willing to defend just about any title in the series and put forwards genuinely good reasons why one in particular is a personal favourite.

Some enjoy how X dealt with the idea of religion, others enjoyed the more straight forwards adventuring tale of XII and how it tackled the subject of loyalty, and VII needs no explanation. This said, one in particular seems to have been constantly overlooked despite offering some surprisingly effective storytelling methods which hold up today: Final Fantasy II.
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Sep 152014
 

Hostile_Waters_Video_Game

Before we truly get into the meat of this article there’s something which needs to be commented upon: Someone on the development team was obviously a fanboy of British sci-fi. It’s either that or they had one of the best casting teams ever attached to a project.

If you were to go into this, just booting up the game without looking up any new information, you might be a little surprised to hear Tom Barker’s booming voice serving as the narrator. A little surprising to say the least, but this was from the early 2000s, and Baker had worked on a few video games in that time. Of course, then you see Warren Ellis’ name being credited as the head writer, and in the following scene hear Paul Darrow and Glynis Barber discussing a new threat they face.

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Sep 042014
 

Diablo_3_ultimate_evil

Of all the missteps ever made by Blizzard Entertainment, from balance problems in Starcraft to World of Warcraft’s increasingly convoluted lore, few failings stand out more than Diablo III. Released with the hype train pulling out all the stops to ensure a smash hit, sales for the title soured despite a decidedly mixed reception within its community. Some loved it for its core concepts, others hated it for the DRM policies and story, but now Blizzard seems to have fully devoted itself to answering the criticisms of its fans. At least on a mechanical level anyway.

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Aug 262014
 

Fallen_London_Browser_Game

Current opinion among many critics of gaming that story should never come before gameplay when it comes to this medium. Emphasis should always focus upon how the player can directly affect a story play straight into video game’s greatest advantage over television and film: It’s interactivity. Here however we may have one of the rare releases which defies that rule, yet dies it well enough for it not to harm the title.

As a whole, Fallen London is an extremely strange kind of game to try and pin into any genre. Its gameplay is minimal, coming down to choices or statistics, progression can be limited at times and on occasions you can find yourself farming quests for basic loot and experience. Yet despite that it manages to remain thoroughly engaging the entire way through, offering you the chance to carve out your own story and backs it up with darkly humourous writing, great choices and a fantastical world.
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Jul 272014
 

E-sports_Starcraft

One of the biggest problems which video games face outside gaming communities is the adamant refusal to see them as a legitimate media. We’ve seen this many times before, between being scapegoated for killings to being openly mocked by critics of other “legitimate” forms of media. Now it’s happened again, this time with the BBC putting a negative spin on Twitch.tv and e-sports. The video covering the subject lasts only three-and-a-half minutes and does contain a few relevant points of information, but on the whole it does a very bad job at truly informing the public about what the scene is like. Or, for that matter, even doing so in an unbiased manner.

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Jul 152014
 

Glitchspace_Video_Game

Serving more as a proof of concept at this time than anything else, Glitchspace proves to be a uniquely intriguing combination of elements. Puzzle games are far from rare in this day and age, fewer still which feature the protagonist carrying a gun-like item in a stark white environment thanks to Portal, but then you start to see just what makes it stand out so much. Combining together first person platforming with mathematical equations and logic tasks, it sounds on the surface like a fairly generic release. Then you get into exactly how it handles these elements. Rather than a single game, the entirety of Glitchspace plays out as if it were two separate titles, one hidden inside the other, and occasionally intersecting at specific points.
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