Feature Tag

Posted by Geoffrey Tim - 15 May 2014

I am terrible at Mario Kart. Though I’ve played them all, starting with the series introduction on the SNES, I never really seem to get any better at it. I’ve tried, mind you. I play the game regularly with my family, and regularly I get beaten by my boastful children. In all these years, my skills have essentially remained static, barely changing at all. The same could be reasonably argued for Mario Kart itself.

Posted by Zoe Hawkins - 05 Mar 2014

When I first heard about WildStar, I was really rather skeptical. It seemed like a bad Borderlands rip off made into an MMO. The classes sounded similar, the aesthetic looked vaguely similar, and I was not in the mood for a game the seemed to be trying too hard. Well, I got beta access and decided to give the game a whirl. I've got to say, if I wore a hat I'd be eating it now - this game is nothing like I expected.

Posted by Zoe Hawkins - 24 Feb 2014

Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 were very different. They featured differing combat styles, gameplay mechanics and even changes to open world approaches. Lightning Returns, the final installment in the trilogy, carries on the tradition of changing everything. Unfortunately, these changes are not improvements.

Posted by Zoe Hawkins - 14 Feb 2014

When Matt Stone and Trey Parker set out to make a South Park RPG, their main guideline was that it had to look and feel like the TV show. It wasn't enough to encounter familiar characters; players had to feel as though they were navigating that world itself. The Stick of Truth is fully successful in that regard.

Players take on the role of "the new kid", a 9-year-old boy who has just moved to South Park and has a mysterious past. When designing your character, there are a ton of options. These will change your interactions with other players - everything from your skin tone to class choice is fodder for hilarious jokes from Cartman. On one preview play through, we played with a spray tan, ginger hair and a cow t-shirt, prompting Cartman to ask if we were Kyle's mom; when I played with black skin, a huge afro and hipster clothes, the game even changed the parents' style to match.

There are four classes to choose from: Fighter, Mage, Thief and Jew. As you might expect, each gets unique traits and abilities. The first time I saw Stars of David fly out of a damaged enemy due to a special attack from the Jew class I nearly wet myself laughing.

 

While combat is turn-based, it's not just a matter of "press A to win". Players can select actions from a range of options in their attack wheel. Actions will need to vary based on enemy stances, armour or skills. Additionally, when attacked, players have the opportunity to block - if all attacks are successfully blocked, the player can counter attack. Combat is very fast and certain abilities have the possibility of harming the player as much as the enemy - what would else you expect when Butters tries to play with hammers?

In fact, the combat in the game is very difficult and expects a high degree of strategy from the player. Sure, you can successfully take on more difficult enemies early on in the game, but you will need to use your healing items, special attacks and abilities in just the right way. Combat adds a deeper level to the game, taking it beyond an opportunity to explore South Park in an interactive adventure - it is truly an impressive RPG.

Despite being 2D like the TV show, the game offers a huge open world the explore. Sure, I was only able to explore the town of South Park, but there was more than enough to see. As long as you stay on the side walks or use pedestrian crossings, you can go anywhere in the town. In this way, the game feels like a fully open-world game, without breaking from the 2D background design. Each house can be entered and explored, as can all the shops. Upon checking out the one business, I was treated to Chef singing "Simultaneous Loving" in the background while looting the items available. In the next store, "Taco Flavoured Kisses" was on the radio as I spoke to different characters and found a side quest.

Within each area, there is some degree of platforming as you move up ladders and across obstacles. You can use your environment to your advantage in combat, taking out enemies with a variety of objects rather than needing to fight your way through each and every one. This small amount of puzzle solving varies the gameplay and will appeal to those who prefer to out think their opponents rather than relying purely on brute strength.

The Stick of Truth has a pseudo-Facebook system that allows you to make friends with tons of characters in South Park. This brought back memories of Suikoden as I tried to collect all the characters as friends. Some people require you to complete extra missions, or have a certain number of friends before they will interact with you. Checking your friend-feed can give advice on quests, or just offer hilarious commentary as you go. Friends can also provide you with side quests or random funny dialogue. In this way, interacting with every person you come across becomes interesting, enjoyable and rewarding.

The aesthetic design is fully in line with the TV show and franchise. The character models are like those in the show, and even the walking animations are the same. Beat up an enemy and they'll whimper as they limp off screen. Each enemy is unique and even has funny and relevant names. Despite the fairly simple design that South Park is known for, nothing feels repetitive or meaningless.

Truly, the core of the game is laughter. Whether it's from discovering weird South Park themed Easter eggs, or the hilarious character interactions, or even the hilarious in-joke side missions, the whole experience makes the game feel like the series has come to life. My hour with the game was far too brief - there was so much to explore and discover. I honestly can't wait to play the full game.

Posted by Zoe Hawkins - 10 Feb 2014

It was a mission playing The Elder Scrolls Online Beta this weekend for a variety of reasons. In the end, I managed to log a bunch of hours with my awesome Red Guard character, but is this the next big thing or will the hype train pass us by on this one?

Posted by Lazygamer Staff - 23 Dec 2013

The time has finally come - the top ten games of this generation. We are expecting your bile and vitriol; not everyone will agree with us, but it's important to remember that this list was based on what made us all happy to be gamers this generation. Not based on sales, scores, fancy metrics or algorithms, we fought it out to make this list, and we hope it just goes to show how many fantastic games we had in this generation.

Posted by Zoe Hawkins - 05 Dec 2013

Tetrobot and Co. is a delightful puzzler from Swing Swing Submarine. It is well put together with crisp visuals and a fantastic soundtrack. This not-so-little puzzler may have you scratching your head at times, as its challenging and rewarding levels keep you engaged for hours.

Posted by Zoe Hawkins - 29 Nov 2013

For anyone who has played the Desktop Dungeons Alpha, you may think that you know what the game is all about. Sure, it's still a rogue-like dungeon crawler, and some of the enemies and bosses are the same, but that's where the similarities end. In simple terms, you play as a level one adventurer in each dungeon wherein you use skills and leveling up to defeat the high-level big bad, but that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the game.

Posted by Zoe Hawkins - 18 Nov 2013

For their final expansion to Sims 3, your Sims family is transported to the future. Much like The Jetsons, this futuristic world is filled with bots, awesome technology, and the same human emotions we are familiar with. Without any need to race off at 88 mph, your Sims can time travel and even cause paradoxes.

Posted by Zoe Hawkins - 08 Nov 2013

Any fan of puzzle games is probably already familiar with the Professor Layton series of games for Nintendo's handheld units. They are quirky and mind-bending. The Azran Legacy is the latest instalment in the franchise and the final game of the current trilogy.

Posted by Zoe Hawkins - 04 Nov 2013

As the latest iteration in the franchise, Assassin's Creed IV had quite a tall order ahead of it. It had to be bigger and better than previous games, and make up for the problems in Assassin's Creed III. Burdened with comparisons to previous games, as well as other sandbox giant GTA V, there was a lot of pressure for Assassin’s Creed IV to be something amazing. For the most part, it delivered.