Jan 172012
The War That Wasn't

Skyrim is a huge and uneven game, and I will be discussing many of its high points. In the spirit of getting the bad news out first, however, I want to discuss the game’s secondary quest, concerning the civil war between the Imperial Legion and the Stormcloaks led by Jarl Ulfric of Windhelm. There is much to admire in the way this quest is set up, but as a world element and gameplay series it falls short in several respects. Primarily, although the quest successfully conveys the social importance of the conflict and the philosophical differences between the sides, it [Read more…]

Star Fox Adventures

 Open World Adventure Games, Short Take  Comments Off on Star Fox Adventures
Mar 172010

Final Status: Complete. Put this on your box: It’s Star Fox without anything that you liked about Star Fox! Most intriguing idea: Translating a sci-fi dogfighting character to a magical adventure setting. (It says intriguing there, folks, not good.) Best design decision: The surprisingly smooth inventory/command system. Worst design decision: The first-person targeting reticle’s aggressive recentering behavior. Summary: In a way, I think the worst design decision in this game might actually be associating the Star Fox gang with this story and setting. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with a magical adventure set on a planet populated by cute dinosaurs, and [Read more…]

Marking time on the Phantom Hourglass

 Gameplay Notes, Open World Adventure Games  Comments Off on Marking time on the Phantom Hourglass
Jan 312008
Marking time on the Phantom Hourglass

Last night, as Hillary accepted the zero delegates she won from Florida, I finished the latest entry in the Legend of Zelda series, Phantom Hourglass. I found it to be a fun, lightweight romp. Phantom Hourglass is a sequel to the Gamecube game Wind Waker. It inherits cel-shaded rendering, a general character aesthetic, and an oceanic setting from its predecessor, while the terraced look of the islands (once you are on them) is more closely related to Zelda games from the SNES days (see left). Motion and combat are touch-driven, as are all of the tools—boomerang and bombchu routes are [Read more…]