Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

The Dig (1995)

Most SCUMM era adventure games start off with a high concept, a general idea of what the setting and story is going to be, and then work from there. The specifics of the jokes, puzzles and narrative details are often unrelated to one another. The mechanics of the puzzles and the layout of the various areas often have to do with gameplay while the story is told around those gameplay elements. The brilliance of The Dig is that the world informs the approach to the gameplay, creating a fantastic synthesis of gameplay and story. (more…)

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Tomb Raider: Anniversary (2007)

Games, at their worst, misinterpret player intent and turn it into an undesirable in-game action. While sometimes this can be rooted in the design philosophy of the game, more often than not, it’s the result of a lack of control, communication and clarity on the part of the designers of the game. It’s this issue which taints the majority of the experience of Tomb Raider: Anniversary. (more…)

Grand Theft Auto III (2001)

Grand Theft Auto III is a brilliant metaphor for American consumerism, coupling esthetics and gameplay to create a critique of capitalism. The open world freedom and undeniably fictionalized American location reinforces a powerful statement about how the American dream can go so wrong. However, as well as it works on an ideological level, the underlying mechanic do not always allow for the seamless flow between ideology and play. (more…)

Star Wars: Dark Forces (1995)

When Star Wars: Dark Forces was released, it was compared to Doom. Retroactively, this is a bizarre comparison as little unifies the two games beyond the fact both involve shooting thing and have cardkey systems. Doom is a game built upon motion while Dark Forces takes a much different approach, focusing on constantly presenting new obstacles to the player in each level. (more…)

Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)

For the first few hours of Grand Theft Auto IV ,I found myself behaving abnormally in a games: I acted as if the world of Liberty City was real. Fresh of the boats, I took control of Niko Bellic, a European immigrant who came to live in America with his brother, Roman. As I drove him home from the docks, I did my best to follow the rules of the road, stopping at red lights, waiting for pedestrians to cross and watching out for oncoming traffic. (more…)

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge (1991)

After tasting the succulence that is The Secret of Monkey Island, savoring of its sweet adventure gaming goodness and sighing with a great sense of satisfaction upon completion, the turn comes. Like the late night after a fantastic Mexican dinner, a great disturbance in the force; There is another: Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge or, as I like to call it, revenge of the beef fajitas, refried beans and fried rice. (more…)

The Witcher (2007)

A brief lull in the climactic battle of The Witcher proved the most memorable moment in the entire game. As I stood amid the corpses of my fresh kills I spotted a dead female elf lying in the dirt. I’ve killed her, I thought. She was not one of my assailants, I didn’t actually cut her down, but after making it to this point I finally began to understand the repercussions of my actions throughout the game, the choices I had made that led to this moment. And for that brief moment I felt something wholly unique in my video game career: deep regret. (more…)