Monday, 8 February 2010

Quick update

The last few months have been pretty busy, between work, being messed around by my uni and writing I've completely lost track of the blog, I hope to change that slowly so here's a quick update.
After a bit of a break the CitizenGame squad are back, check out the latest episode of the podcast here and why not give my review of Bayonetta a read here.

I've had a few article ideas swirling around in my head for a while now and intend on getting them written soon, so check back regularly to see what madness I've been thinking about recently.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Citizen Game 2.0

The guys over at Citizen Game have been working hard on the relaunch of the site, Danny has moved to London (mere minutes away from me), and we're all working on the site very regularly, these are exciting times. Keep your eyes on Citizen Game for the imminent launch.
See you soon Citizen!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

inFAMOUS, what have you done to me?

When I sat down a few weeks ago to plan which upcoming games I would be purchasing I decided that I really wanted to play both inFAMOUS and Prototype. Despite the similarities in genre and gameplay style each had a unique quirk that prevented me from disregarding it in favour of the other. The comic book art style and general superhero shtick of inFAMOUS appealed to the comic book fan in me, and the idea of a re-imagined Hulk: Ultimate Destruction with all the ‘next-gen’ trappings of a modern action game also piqued my interest.

Despite my intentions to buy and play both games I have only purchased and played inFAMOUS. Not because I don’t have the money or because I’m having trouble finding a copy, but because playing inFAMOUS has killed any desire I previously had to play Prototype, in fact I’ve gone from being extremely excited for Prototype to actively avoiding it.

This kind of emotion is unusual to me; it is a completely irrational response, an illogical dismissal of something despite having no contact or experience with it, it is the kind of characteristic pioneered and perfected by fanboys and I’d like to think that I’m not a crazed fanboy (does a fanboy know whether he or she is a fanboy?). I’ve been struggling to figure out what has caused this and after thinking long and hard I’ve come to a conclusion, fate, yes – fate!

My opinions of inFAMOUS are about as irrational as my opinions of Prototype, although I can recognise that the game has numerous flaws; the hawkeyed sharpshooting enemies, the repetitive mission types and numerous glitches to name a few, I have fallen completely and utterly in love with inFAMOUS. I’m infatuated the point that I’m am actively enjoying aspects of the game that I would cite as cliché and contrived if it were featured in any other game. Cole’s bald headed gruff voiced character design is extremely generic, but I’ll still argue he is much cooler than Alex Mercer despite feeling deep down that I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out they were identical twins split at birth as part of a social experiment. Other than Cole’s ability to command electricity in various forms his only other skill is his familiarity with the city and his skills in ‘Urban exploration’. To me it’s a beautiful method of effortlessly moving from point to point with the finesse of a calm breeze, but to everyone else it’s that Parkour crap that everyone seems to be able to do ever since Altair showed up, jumped from a shack to a windowsill and then walked along a beam and into some hay. Sure, I know it’s Parkour but I’ll still maintain that the gameplay and feel of Cole’s particular brand of Parkour is much better than Altair’s or Alex’s, -- like I said, completely irrational.

It seems Sucker Punch has created a game that clicks with me on every level, every aspect of the game ranging from the comic book visuals to the electricity infused combat, the simple but cool characters to the typical and slightly predictable anime/comic book style storyline appeals to me. It appeals to me on a level that even lets me appreciate and enjoy the aspects of the game that are so clearly generic and uninspired. It’s almost as if Sucker Punch had a detailed psych profile of me and then created a game perfectly suited for me, a game that I was predetermine to love.

After playing inFAMOUS and looking at Prototype all I can see is a game that seems to have been rushed, an uninspired and poorly updated rehash of an old title, created with the kitchen sink approach to development and wrapped in bland, unremarkable and unappealing visuals, and I say all this having never played the game.

Yeah I know, I know what I am...

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Resi 5 Review

Phew, after powering through Resident Evil in 2 play sessions I've written up a review. Click here to read it.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Review: Flower

Say what you will about the PSN service but when it comes to original online games there is no denying that its offerings represent some of the most engrossing titles that gaming has to offer. Since its launch it has become home to an assortment of unconventional but quirky titles such as PixelJunk Eden and Flow and has cultivated an environment where developers such as Q-Games and ThatGameCompany can realise their most ‘out their’ concepts and indulge their pretentious and esoteric artistic whims, in some cases, with the backing and encouragement of big name companies such as Sony.

Flower is the latest title from outside-the-box-gaming developers ‘ThatGameCompany’; it retains the same simple and approachable gameplay style previously featured in their first PSN contribution Flow. The player takes control of an ethereal breeze on a predestined mission of rejuvenation, following in the footsteps of Amaterasu of Okami fame and the Prince of Persia the resolute gust of air must soar through six gardens in an effort to reinvigorate them by carrying the petals of other flowers throughout the gardens and in passing injecting life back into the withering life-forms.

Although the objective and gameplay are very simple playing Flower initially can feel like a bit of a struggle, this is because the game is played using the Six-Axis motion control system, although it isn’t the most robust motion control system out there it is well suited to the game, once acclimated with the manoeuvring and acceleration based mechanics of movement controlling the stream of petals becomes second nature, you’ll soon find yourself flying through the gardens with ease.

Flowers greatest accomplishment is how well it sets the mood and atmosphere of each garden, the various facets of the game work symbiotically and meld together to create and maintain immersion, the painstakingly rendered grass and foliage is dripping with vivid colours, the lighting effects compliment the colourful art style by giving the environments the tranquil feel of an idyllic Eden and the music perfectly communicates and enhances the theme and mood of the gardens. Complimenting the music is a humble rhythm game element, each flower makes a sound and together they essentially act as a supplementary botanical orchestra contributing to the overall symphony.

Although it is possible to get a sense of how the game looks from screenshots, in order to truly experience the sense of euphoria the game creates you have to play it, especially since the screenshots aren’t indicative of all the different environments Flower has to offer.

Flower is a unique game, not only in terms of concept and gameplay but also because it is the kind of game where despite how many people write reviews or impressions on it you can never truly get a grasp of what it has to offer or the what the experience is like (way to invalidate everything said so far), it’s a game which everyone should play if only to form a personal opinion on it, in my case I can safely say that the three hours I spent playing Flower were three solid hours of breathtaking gaming.

Close your eyes, go to your happy place, imagine a soothing breeze, grass calmly swaying in the wind, air whistling as it passes through the thousands of delicate blades of grass – now open your eyes, and fly.