I have to admit, I'm a huge fan of misdirection. I love it when a game (or a book or even a movie) starts off in one direction, lures you in, and while you're confident that you have a fair understanding of its motives, it rattles your cage. It leaves you in a state of contemplation. It's not as simple or as mundane as a lazy plot-twist, but rather the art of hiding deeper philosophical questions behind a façade of simplicity. Spec Ops: The Line hid a deeper message under the guise of “a military shooter,” and in similar fashion Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies takes on the legal profession.
I'm going to apologise in advance if this preview reads like “a scented letter of adoration penned by a lovestruck schoolgirl”, but I can hardly contain myself. There's just something magical about Media Molecule's latest creation. In case you need a subtle nudge to the grey matter, Media Molecule is the creative force behind Little Big Planet - arguably one of the finest titles to ever grace the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.
It's been twenty years since I first encountered Sonic the Hedgehog, his buddy Tails and the vile villain Dr Robotnik (currently operating under the alias, Dr Eggman). It's hard not to judge SEGA's latest iteration of Sonic via a healthy dose of nostalgia and two decades worth of platform gaming experience. But, nostalgia made me more sympathetic towards the speeding blue hedgehog's latest adventure.
Games have taught me a wealth of useful titbits over the years: Zombies are suckers for head-shots, bikini Mithril armour can fend off arrows, battle axes, magic missiles and fireballs and princesses are never imprisoned in the castle you're laying siege to. But the most recent addition left me intrigued.
Over the course of the last year or so, I've played my share of Augmented Reality (AR) games, and while I've always maintained that the technology behind the AR technology is impressive, the games just haven't tickled my fancy. I've come to accept that AR games exist merely to dazzle your non-gaming friends and family, or simply to act as glorified tech demos - a promissory note of sorts. That WAS until I played Sony Japan Studio's Open Me!
There's no easy way to say this, but Spark Unlimited's Lost Planet 3 is like that little train that couldn't. It's always frustrating to review a title like this, because contrary to popular belief, as a gamer and a fan, I actually want games to succeed. I want to be entertained by them. I was literally rooting for Lost Planet 3 to finish strong, and prove the critics wrong. However, at the end, I felt deflated and frustrated. I could only pollute my mind with annoying thoughts of “what if”, “why” and “where can I buy a banana tie?”.
Not so long ago, I had the strangest thought: what if the 17th century English poet, William Congreve was around today? Would his famously paraphrased quote “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned” be re-tweeted and re-blogged as “Hell has no fury, like a gamer scorned”?
There's an unwritten rule when reviewing anything. It's the ol' “never compare apples with oranges” yarn. You've probably heard it a few times. There are even some commentators that are so adamant, that even the slightest transgression, results in eternal excommunication. I'm exaggerating – of course - but sometimes on those rare occasions when it's nearly impossible to find a coherent opening paragraph, you just have to slide the dunce cap onto your noggin, and plough into it, at full-speed on the“full-retard” setting.
I'm not one to believe that a single piece of software can save ailing hardware, but Kenji Inafune's latest work has been instrumental in revitalising the Vita in the land of the Rising Sun. It's true that Japanese and Western tastes are not always in sync, and sometimes there's probably a lot of eye-rolling from both sides of the artificial cultural divide.
If you've ever visited friends or family in Cape Town, there are probably a whole list of things the locals will try to get you to do. From cage diving, to hiking up Skeleton Gorge to even spending a lazy afternoon in Kirstenbosch Gardens. Now, if your friends (or foes) are true Capetonians, they'll insist you buy a gatsby and with a full belly, make your way to Green Point for some “Putt Putt” (mini Golf).
I always get this sinking feeling when I discover a new developer has taken over the reins of a beloved franchise. In my mind, developer Sucker Punch and Sly Cooper (and the antics of his merry band of thieves) were synonymous. Up until a few years ago, I was still hoping that the lads at Sucker Punch would craft another Sly Cooper game. But for all intends and purposes, it's become clear that they had moved on; Infamous is where their bread is buttered now.
Don't you just hate it when a reviewer launches off on a monologue about how a certain title is the reason why a specific platform was created, or why this one solitary game makes a plastic contraption a necessity? I don't know about you, but who are they kidding, right? Silly reviewers sitting in front of their silly electronic typewriters, stroking their moustaches.
There I was, sweat pouring off my forehead. Every laboured breath burning through my lungs, but regardless of the pain in my calves, a toothy grin appeared on my face. As I crawled towards the couch, I gasped, “Most...awesome... workout...ever”. But then, I caught a glimpse of my cellphone's LCD screen. My eyes instantly widened, and with a few choice expletives thrown in, I screamed “What the *%#$...that was only 5 minutes? %$#% @#$”.
I never really told you guys how I broke my collarbone. Rest assured it is a tale that's somehow relevant to the topic at hand. Way back, before the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) had their now obligatory “Don't try this at home” inserts, I threw caution at the wind and attempted a moonsault into my school's pool. It didn't go as planned and it landed me a trip to the hospital.
Every once in a while a review copy finds its way to my humble abode. Most of you probably don't know but I generally have a number of self-imposed guidelines. For one thing, whatever game I'm reviewing must be finished. Every review must be case-specific (that just means that if I do end up comparing titles and features, it has to be: apples with apples, and pears with pears). Thirdly, and most importantly, I never read other reviews, prior to - or while writing a review. It's a simple set of rules, that I hope, manages to keep my own writing as honest as possible. Right or wrong, agree or disagree, you're getting a review that is as honest and objective as possible - bar my usual idiosyncrasies and biases.