With the recent release of Valve and Hidden Path’s latest update of the excellent Counter Strike series; Counter Strike: Global Offensive, I thought it might be interesting to revisit each major installment in the series and recount my memories of them. In small ways I think they made lasting impressions on my outlook of gaming. I’ll say right off the bat that I never played any of the beta releases or even 1.0 for that matter and my experience with Condition Zero (CS:CZ from here on) was an hour of watching my friend play it so I won’t bother touching on these editions and instead I’ll focus on 1.6, CS: Source, and end on a review of Global Offensive. Continue Reading
I’m not the most avid player of horror games it has to be said. You can put this down partly to a lack of interest in horror/survival horror as a genre, partly to a lack of interest in specific games and franchises that occupy said genres, namely resident evil, dead space etc…and also because I am a bit of a pussy. That said, recently I’d been hearing a lot about a small indie game (seem to have been playing a lot of them lately, see my Bastion review) making it’s rounds on the ‘funny reactions to scary stuff’ type videos on Youtube called Slender.
As I write these words I’m listening to the soundtrack of last year’s isometric hack ‘n slash indie hit Bastion. A superb game in many areas, musical score being just one of them but I mention right off the bat because I happened to be listening to it and then thought ‘I can’t believe I haven’t written a review of this yet’ and promptly whipped out the keyboard and set to it. The game came out last year courtesy of SuperGiant games. It was one of those lucky few indie games that managed to get the attention of a big name publisher, in this case Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment who jumped in and published the game, in doing so, giving it a lot of marketing clout along the way which is one of the reasons Bastion sold well. It’s a sad reality that although there are indie games which go all the way by themselves and manage to achieve critical and commercial success, a great many go unnoticed because they didn’t have the budget to spend on marketing and no one ends up hearing about it. This is indeed a great shame for some games, thankfully Bastion wasn’t one of them. It managed to get widespread attention on both XBLA and on PC. It actually came out recently as part of that wonderful entrepreneurial enterprise ‘the humble bundle’ as part of its 5th installment so I picked it up for about £7, an absolute bargain and on linux no less (I always try to buy games from the humble bundle on linux if possible, good to encourage developers to make games for open source operating systems). That said, playing the game on Ubuntu 11.10 I did run into a bug early on which many others have where moving the mouse causes the game to crash…a fairly important one I think you’ll agree. Thankfully there’s a very easy fix for it here so don’t let it dissuade you. Anyway on to the review. Continue Reading
21:34: Sit down with a full glass of Vimto. Stick Minecraft on. I was building a railway line to make getting water a lot easier. I’ll finish that and then get to bed.
22:18: Still sat down with a half full glass of Vimto. Now I’ve completed the water transport system, I may as well finish the sugar cane farm I was working on.
23:42: Finish the dregs of the glass of Vimto. Oh crap. I used the last of my wood making that hoe. Better collect some more. And plant more seeds. And harvest some wheat for the pigs. Need more pigs.
00:58: Thirsty for Vimto. Pretty tired but I want to get some more iron ore so I’m prepared next time I play. Need more wood to smelt it. Need a storage box to keep the iron ingots in. Can’t you make books in Minecraft? I’ll look into that. That’s a fine looking bookshelf I’ve made. They improve enchantment tables? How do you make one of them?
Aaaahh! It’s two in the morning and all I have to show for it is a shit load of square-faced pigs! Continue Reading
Ahhh Okami…poster child of the inventive, ambitious ‘underdog-that-never-gets-the-commercial-recognition-it-deserves’ school of game design. Originally developed for the PS2 by Capcom’s now famously defunct (but brilliant) ‘Clover Studio,’ Okami was one of the gems of the PS2’s vast library, right up there with Metal Gear Solid 3, Killzone, the Team ICO games, and God of War. Okami is often the subject of articles that focus on critically aclaimed games that ended up flopping when it came to sales. In fact Okami couldn’t be a better representative of this phenomenon; it released to near universal acclaim with a meta score of 90 on metacritic and yet it only managed to shift a combined total (Wii and PS2 versions) of under 600,00 units worldwide. Of course those who played the game don’t give a shit about all that, we know that it was a damn fine game and worthy of more than a hand full of revisits and what with the recent announcement of a HD remake coming to the PS3, what better time than to review this classic?
I had an odd sense of anticipation for Max Payne 3 shortly before it’s release early last month. I haven’t played a Max Payne title for almost 10 years, revisiting the first game way back in 2002 and I confess I never actually bothered with the 2nd one in the first place. I had a good deal of fun with the first game and remembered it for its dark and sinister plot line and its extremely cathartic, action oriented gameplay. This was back when 3D games were generally less structured, when developers couldn’t necessarily put the resources into games that they do nowadays and make them a rigid experience, totally tunnelled and making sure you experience the game the way they want you to. Back in those days you could still do things that the devs just hadn’t thought of, it was fun to explore and this combined with the riveting bullet time gun play made for a fun experience. That having said I didn’t exactly hold a candle for the series and although interested, I wasn’t all that bothered when the 3rd installment was announced. It was only after seeing some press material on it about 2 weeks before its release that I thought ‘you know what, I could really go for diving through windows killing 25 people at once as a fat bald middle-aged guy.’
This write up may feel about a week or so late but I assure it’s a deliberate decision. I’ve always felt that games show summaries should always be done a week, maybe even two or three after the event has finished. People are very quick to commit their thoughts to paper (or to hard disk nowadays I suppose) lest they lose them amidst the hustle and bustle of the show itself, but there in lies in the problem. The hype inevitably colours the journalist’s opinions, better to leave it a week or two and let things settle down so we can have a nice calm, considered reflection on E3 2012. So without further ado…OMG!!! SNY AN NINTENDOO SUCKKED! UBISOFT PWWNED ALL LOLLLL!!! Continue Reading