Wednesday, April 4, 2012

5 Reasons Why the Mass Effect Series Sucked All-Along

Yesterday we read Ethan’s article on his opinion on the Mass Effect ending. I also commented at the bottom so you might wanna read my take on the ending as well. Mike also reviewed the game. Ethan and Mike both proclaim themselves to be fans of the series, but I have always found the series a disappointment. Yes, I agree that ending sucked, but I think also did the beginning and the middle. The ending was the logical conclusion of it all. I will here present to you 5 reasons that Mass Effect is ultimately a hyped up series which never deserved the praise it got. And I will also prove that how by these facts, the ending really belonged to the whole series.

You can read the full article here

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Top 10 Silent Hill Monsters

I'm a huge fan of Silent Hill series, one of the best series of all times. I've always wanted to dedicate a list to the franchise, but what would be the appropriate topics? A great topic would be a top 10 list on Silent Hill monsters, as they are a vital element of the series, and they are very cool as well.

The monsters in the Silent Hill series are very disturbing, they are innovative, they look unfamiliar and they are symbolic. They weren't designed in vain, they represent the mental state of the protagonist, his/her personal demons. They are integral to the subtext of the game in general. Therefore, they are deeper and more interesting than most monsters in survival games. Although all of them deserve to be on a list; this is the top 10 greatest of them.

The Top 10 Ways To Incite Horror In Gamers

Have you ever wondered how horror works in video games? What tools do the developers use to scare the s***out of you? What elements make you experience so memorable? Here are the ten great devices that horror games use in order to scare the gamers. The devices are ordered from the least subtle and sophisticated to the most.

If one day you wanted to make a horror video game, use all these ten methods, and you game will be scary as hell.

The Top 10 Great Games You Might Not Have Heard About (But I'm Sure You've Heard About Them A LOT)

This is the nature of arts: some great works don't sell well, or go unnoticed at their own time. They are underrated. However, later, they are discovered by the critics and art-lovers and they reach the status they deserve. They are no more underrated.

The same can be said about video games. Surely there are underrated video games. Surely there are great games few people have played. It's really fun to be a fan of these games. They seem like your personal treasure. While few people appreciate them, you're so wise that you are a fan and this makes you a better gamer than them.

Sometimes this pleasure is so strong that you fail to notice these games are no more underrated. You insists on listing them in "great games you haven't heard about" while everybody has heard about them. These ten games were once obscure/underrated, now they're not. Try to live with that.

The Top 10 Games Of 2010, As Chosen By Top 10 List Writers

We have a lovely community which spends its time discussing past and future top 10s. I was looking at DDJ's list series; "Best Games of All Times According to [...]", and they got me thinking: isn't it lovely that we can write top 10s together as well? Isn't it good that we can collaborate?

This simple thought evolved into an idea for a list. Let's write a top 10 with 10 different writers. Each writer writes 1 entry. For what subject? Ah, the best game of 2010. I opened a topic and asked my friends to join me in writing this list. We had only one condition: you had to be a top 10 writer, meaning, you must have contributed a top 10 in the past. So we got together. Each of us chose a game and wrote an entry about it.

So the list before you is an opinion list with 10 writers talking about their favorite game of 2010. The list is ordered alphabetically, based on the name of the author. So the order is not value based.

Now, let's read on.

The Top 10 Auteur Game Creators

An auteur artist is one that we recognize by name and style. They make works of art distinguishable from other artists, in being personal and unique. You know something is created by them by looking at their style. Their work is their own, and everyone else in the process is there to follow their vision. Their touch makes the game different. Also, the works their create are bought by dedicated fans solely because it's theirs.

Andrew Sarris, the legendary American film critic came up with of the auteur theory of criticism. He distinguished the director as the main artistic force behind the movie, with a specific style and outlook. Great directors like Hitchcock, Fellini, Antonioni, and Tarantino, among others, are auteur directors.

The video game industry is not devoid of such artists. Here are ten of them.

Notice: Neither the Gamefaqs nor Gamespot host photos of game creators that are usable in the lists. Therefore, I present you with the most random and irrelevant pic from one of their games. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

REVIEW: Heavy Rain

"Serioulsy, would you go that far? That's a moral question."

I've got to admit- when you finally beat Heavy Rain and look back at it, knowing the identity of the Origami Killer and the real motives behind what people do, (don't worry, I won't spoil them for you), actually when you start to sort things out in your head- you'll find many faults with Heavy Rain, and not small ones. The most important flaw of the Heavy Rain is related to what is also undoubtedly its strongest merit: the story. There are many major plot holes. For example, clues leading to the identity of the killer are obvious, and it's really unacceptable that the police couldn't find the killer for such a long time. The killer is playing a too dangerous game and it's really strange that he hasn't been caught long before the events of the game. Furthermore, there are some important clues that the families of the victims leave to Scott Shelby, the private eye of the game, and the game doesn't even address the question “Why they didn't give these clues to the police?” There might be some convincing answers to these logical errors, but what is important, they're not given in the game. Maybe the second important flaw of Heavy Rain is the fact that it's not really replayable; the first time that you beat the game the goose is killed and the golden eggs are laid down. Thirdly, the first time that you play the game you have the illusion that the plot of the game really changes because of your actions; but actually the game moves on a linear line and your actions really make a change very late in the game; maybe from the “Fish Tank” level onwards.

REVIEW: Silent Hill: Homecoming

"Welcome Home Silent Hill"

Homecoming is definitely a fitting name for the latest installment of Silent Hill series. Not only its story is about the homecoming of Alex Shepherd, it's a homecoming in which he faces he returns to his true self, therefore it's also a homecoming to one's true self. In addition to these, it's also a homecoming of the whole series. After five years passing from 2003, the year Silent Hill 3 was published, veterans of the game can be glad to play another true Silent Hill.

REVIEW: Fallout: The Last Remnant

"A Faulty Strategy Results in a Mediocre RPG"

It's been quite some time since the Japanese RPG creators are trying to reach to Western audience. The Last Remnant is the game which is supposed to open the doors of the western world to Square Enix, and this is evident in all the facts concerning the game: first of all the release dates were the same in all parts of the world; the gameplay is juiced, and the engine used is Unreal Engine 3. The goal was, let's make both the Easterners and Westerners like this game.

Well, when was the last time that some people tried to please certain audience and they failed? Every other time.


"A Fun Time with a Robert Rodriguez Style Game"

Every once in a while a new game comes out which feels truly innovative and at the same time it reminds one of older games. This is a successful game. There are many genres that are not popular today as they were before, and they're made less, and mostly are played by retro-gamers. Beat ‘em up is such a genre. This genre was quite popular back in the old days, and there were many great games in the genre, including Streets of Rage 2, Final Fight and Golden Axe. But they lost their popularity later. They fell from dominance and other game genres took their place. There has been attempts to revive this genre, mostly unsuccessful, for example Beat Down: Vengeance or they met with moderate success, as in the latest Final Fight installment.

REVIEW: Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse - Episode 1: The Penal Zone

"An Improvment in Its Genre"

This review is solely about the first episode as I have not played the other episodes.

Well, there's a lot of talk about the "golden age of adventure game" era, in ancient history. I've been a great fan of point-and-click adventure genre my whole life. It's true that once the best games in the market were point-and-click adventures. What distinguished these games were artistic integrity, great story lines, and fantastic gameplay. And the star company of that era was Lucas Arts, with great game coming after great games, which are still now playable, certainly games which will always be remembered in this industry's history. Maniac Mansion and its sequel, Monkey Island series, Afterlife, Full Throttle, Sam & Max Hit the Road and finally Grim Fandango are some of these great games. Of course Lucas Arts was not the only star company of this genre, the other star company was Revolution Software which also created many masterpieces of this genre: Lure of the Temptress, Beneath a Steel Sky and Broken Sword series. This age was full of deep and great games, and, to quote Full Throttle, gave us a dream that will never die.


"A deep tragedy with a great gameplay, but few faults"

In Mafia II a young adult male with pumping hormones can find everything he's after- guns, suits, gangsters, nice cars, and a collection of playboy magazines. Fortunately, people with deeper concerns don't go away empty handed either; for there is also a deep story, great characterization, and a melancholic sense of tragedy in the game as well.

REVIEW: Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days

"Cheated again, by the same girl"

I remember when the first installment was coming out, I was eagerly waiting for it. The promise of a dark story with two well developed character and a co-up based gameplay was really tempting. When the game came out I bought it but was later greatly disappointed. The game was nothing I was looking for. It's like really looking forward to date a girl, but when you actually go out with her, she turns out to be a mess. Now the girl is back at your door, claiming that she has changed, and this time she's going to be different. You look at the expectations, and agree to date again. What will come out of it this time?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

REVIEW: Fallout: New Vegas

"Video Gaming at Its Best"

Score: 10/10

Fallout: New Vegas is the first sequel to Fallout 3. Fallout 3 was a game with two spiritual predecessors: the original Fallout series; from which this game inherited the apocalyptic, gloomy atmosphere, and some philosophical, moral themes, and in a smaller amount gameplay. The other spiritual predecessor was Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which drastically changed the gameplay of the original titles and added multiple dimensions to the already complex universe of Fallout. It was not only the gameplay which was “Oblivionesque”, the whole mood of the game had shifted. Even the traders in the game used the catch sentences of Oblivion. The game was ultimately a huge success- widely known as the game of the year in many circles, and praised by most of the critics and gamers. Only one circle disliked the game: the hard-core fans of the original titles, who thought this game had damaged the integrity of their favorite series. I need to establish, before venturing on to the rest of the article, that although I am a fan of the original titles, I found Fallout 3 an improvement of those great games, and I view it as a separate, autonomous entity, with a history of its own. This review is not the place to discuss the reason, but this is a premise that the writer holds. In this aspect; Fallout: New Vegas is at the same time the fourth game of Fallout series and the second game of a nameless franchise- a franchise with two games; related to other games but independent as well.

Friday, July 1, 2011

REVIEW: Dragon Age: Origins

Bottom Line: The Diamond of BioWare Games
Score: 10/10

I've been a fan of BioWare for a long time. This company has developed some of the best Western RPGs out there. Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Mass Effect are all great games. However, their undying masterpiece and their greatest game is undoubtedly Dragon Age: Origins. The game is a D&D Forgotten Realms Campaign, set in the fictional universe of Ferelden. So, what makes this game so great?

REVIEW: Dead Space 2

Bottom Line: No More a Dark Horse
Score: 8/10

When Dead Space was first announced, no one expected a great game. No long previews were written and the game appeared on a few most anticipated lists. But when the game came out it blew many away. The innovative gameplay, scary atmosphere, deep story, they all pointed to a new masterpiece. The game was a great and enduring work of art. So, the second game attracted a lot of attention before it came out. Now everyone waited for this game and wanted a real thrill. Did the second game rise to the same expectations?

Top 10 List : The Top 10 Wildly Misinterpreted Games

Well, yes, everything can have more than one legitimate interpretation. People can argue on the fact that whether these games are liberal or conservative, religious or atheistic, and a particular character is good or bad. That depends on you. And of course, you should support your interpretation.

Sometimes, these comments are so unrelated to the game, that we have no option but to call them plain wrong. These interpretations defy what can be seen in the game itself.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

REVIEW: Civilization V

Bottom Line: Still as Great as Ever

Score: 10/10

There's always a dual risk in making an innovative sequel for a well established franchise which has been going on for years which departs from the well-known established conventions of the franchise. If you innovate too much you will estrange your core fanbase- which is bad and will harm you, and if you keep creating the old games, you won't reach a new audience, and the repetition will make the games wearisome. When Civilization V was announced and the new features were introduced a lot of people were worried that this might signal a bad turning point in the series. Fortunately, these concerns were wrong. The franchise has managed to keep balance and reconcile innovation, the need for a new audience, and loyalty to the spirit of the series.

Top 10 List : The Top 10 Great Games That Didn't Make It To The Second Round Of Game Of The Decade

We all have enjoyed the Game of the Decade so far- an interesting competition with a lot of great games and excitement, challenges, betting, and hope. We're all wishing our favorite games to win, and we're all eager to see which game will achieve the great honor. But as Fallout series would tell you: "War. War never changes."

An unchangeable part of war are its casualties. There are many great games and of course, all but one have to go. Among them some are really great, and we regret the fact that they didn't make it to the second round, especially when we feel they could even deserve the greatest title.

Sometimes the reason is bad luck, they were paired with far superior and/or more popular games. Sometimes the democracy would fail and a greater game would lose the round. But we're not here to judge the reasons.

We're simply here to honor these games. They have lost the competition, but they haven't lost our heart, our respect.

This top 10 list is a final tribute to ten masterpieces which we won't see later in the game.

REVIEW: Call of Duty: Black Ops

Bottom Line: They Will Make It So Long They Can Milk It 

Score: 4/10

Now, now. For the first time in my life, I watched the report of a release of a game not on a game channel, but on BBC World. This is serious. This shows how big this series are now. And the report shows interesting scenes: people sleeping in the line, and that the game has broken every existing record upon its release. There were many celebrities in the line. The reporter asked them how much of a gamer they are. The answer? Not much. So let us ask ourselves: how many people in that long line are actually there for a video game? How many of them are serious gamers? Why are they there?

Because Call of Duty is no more a game series. It's a fad. It's a goldmine. And we should not look at it as a serious video game, if we do that, we will be disappointed. They will now only make it to earn money. And they will not bother with being creative. You cannot blame them; for Call of Duty is no more about integrity, but about business. When we can crap on two DVDs and millions are going to buy it, why should we worry about the quality of our crap? We won't eat vegetables and fruits to crap good quality crap. We eat everything and will get an explosive diarrhea, because it's our crap that they're paying for.

Top 10 List : The Top 10 Cool Religions In Video Games

Religion is, most definitely, an important part of our lives, whether we belong to one or not. Everyday one religious event finds its way to the news, and everywhere we go, we see the signs of religion. Jesus ans Mohammad are both called the most influential people in the history. Many of our holidays, great events, and customs are religious, whether they're rooted in present day religions or in the ancient ones we've mostly forgotten about. Even our names mostly come from religion, Celtic religions, the Bible, or the Qur'an.

So video games, certainly, will deal with religion too. In some games we know the faith of the hero, in some games a fictitious religion is dominant, and in some, we deal with religion at length. Some of these religions are good religions, some are evil cults that are practiced by the villains.

However, they all have one thing in common, they're cool. This Top 10 list talks about the coolest among them.

REVIEW: BioShock 2

Bottom Line: A game that should have come out in 2007.
Score: 7/10

Midway through the game, when you are learning to use your camera, which comes in handy in researching your enemies and upgrading your skills, your guide through the game, Augustus Sinclair, gives you this advice:

“Using that camera's a bit like telling a joke. Each time you tell it the same way it gets a little more stale, so you gotta change it up to keep it fresh.”

That's a very good advice. I believe game creators could use that advice as well, because making a game is like a joke as well, and if you tell it the same way for the second time, it won't feel as great as the first time, and you sure gotta change it to keep it fresh. Unfortunately, the developers of Bioshock 2 didn't heed their own advice. The gameplay is directly a copy of the first game. No, adding a multiplayer section doesn't justify using the single player gameplay of an older game. This is the fatal error of Bioshock 2. A game that could've easily been a masterpiece, but it's now only a very good game.