Feb 262015

If you have heard anything about The Order: 1886 it is probably that the game is short. A person willing to stare dry-eyed at the screen and mechanically mow down the dozens of enemies thrown at em can apparently finish in five hours or so. With rather frequent breaks for food, playing with a cat, and occasional snark-tweets, I managed the feat in about eight. This is not important data in my view; it didn’t take me that much longer to blow through Wolfenstein: The New Order and several other games I have loved. Admittedly, I’m in the lucky position [Read more…]

Aug 182014

Status: Completed Most Intriguing Idea: Showing off every single input the Vita possesses Best Design Decision: The “mystery” puzzles, though they could have been harder Worst Design Decision: Showing off every single input the Vita possesses Summary: Well, Golden Abyss is bad, and I’m glad Nick Burgener wrote this detailed post about its many shortcomings so I didn’t have to.  My single point of departure with his opinion would be on the combat, which I thought was also total garbage, albeit in a completely different direction. Drake’s foes are ridiculous bullet sponges in this game in ways that barely make [Read more…]

Nov 302011

The right way to play Uncharted 3 is with the difficulty set to “very easy”. I say that even though I typically play games at “normal” difficulty, because I assume that the developers calibrated this to the experience they desired the average player to have. I only go up or down in difficulty for replay, and I rarely find that this change improves the experience. In the case of Uncharted 3 and some of its stylistic relatives, however, the situation is different. The goal of positioning the player as the hero of an action-style movie is at odds with making [Read more…]

Nov 052010
Cinematic Action Games: A Brief Critical Assessment

Many of the games I named in my previous post about the cinematic action genre have been criticized for their lack of value. Because these games are short and linear, and rarely have life-extending multiplayer modes, the validity of charging full price for them has been questioned. Simplistic gameplay and action-movie inspired plots have led some critics to call these games shallow. Yet, several games that belong in this genre — Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and Sands of Time — are regularly trotted out as examples of the best that the medium can achieve. To categorize cinematic action games [Read more…]