RAGE Retrospective

 

Perceptions are difficult things to shake off. For software developers especially the chances of being pigeonholed into a particular genre occur as soon as their first game is published, leading to continuous speculation and expectation of a specific type of title to be released. iD software have suffered from this more than most, the history of the studio being so heavily steeped in shooters that any deviation from this creates suspicion instead of curiosity. For the studio RAGE was going to be a toe dip into the waters of experimentation, an attempt to fuse what they knew best with open world exploration and crafting mechanics in order to broaden the template of pointing and trigger pulling.

The premise takes place in a version of the future where, not for the first time, a huge apocalyptic event has wiped out whole chunks of humanity. Those that remain fight against mutants and the elements to survive, all the while being watched over by a force simply known as the authority of which little is known and even less is explained. The dialect of violence and currency of favours pushes the narrative forward, taking it ever closer to a resolution that is both brief and ultimately underwhelming. It is the journey to that however that provides the most interesting, and conflicted, responses about RAGE.

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Saints Row the Third Review

Thanks to a well known Internet podcast, the only phrase that really mattered this past holiday season was one concerning developer Volition’s remaining big franchise: you really should play Saints Row the Third. While living in the shadow of Rockstar’s premier series, Saints Row has been carving itself a different path where the improbable and the impossible crash together with an explosive force, realising that its best bet for the games to be more successful, and arguably more fun, is to embrace a silliness that its compatriots are simply too scared to attempt. continue reading

A Year of Surprises and Disappointments

Over the last few months, I haven’t had a lot of money to pick up most of the popular releases and even less time to play the ones I have been able to grab. With my lack of variety and experience this year, I don’t really feel qualified to join the typical game of the year discussions. So I thought, rather than writing another article on how great Skyrim is, I’d talk about a couple of quality games that surprised me this year, and a couple not-so-quality ones that were pretty disappointing. continue reading

The Many Lists of 2011

First things first.

It’s my fault that our 2011 lists are so late getting out. I asked GamerDork’s wonderful writing staff back in December to start thinking of “Game of the Year” lists, or explorations, or whatever they felt like doing to commemorate the year, so that I could have a whole bunch of stuff to start off the new year with a bang.

Then my computer exploded. Well, sort of. Anyway, the end result, excuses aside, is that a lot of great stuff has been waiting patiently in the background to be seen, and that’s what will be featured on GamerDork this week. Before I launch into other folks’ experiences, I just wanted to be up front about why they’re a little late.

Also, I wanted to get my own list out first. Editorial privilege, you know. continue reading

Belated Review: Driver: San Francisco

[I wrote this the week it came out. I then had something of a gaming midlife crisis (again) and didn’t submit it. Consider it a review for a game you were waiting to drop to £19.99 for]

I used to wonder what it would take for me to become a ‘professional’ games journalist. I hate my job but know a lot about games so, y’know, writing for a living could be fun, right? I mean, you get to play games all day and write about them! What could go wrong?! And even if you got a game that was utter fucking gash, you could lay into it because hating on shit is also fun! It’s a win-win!

But what happens when you get games that are, for want of any better description, only ‘OK’? Forcing yourself through an abortion of a title is kind of fun, just so you can put the boot in, but what about those thousands of titles that fail to elicit ANY kind of response above a shrug and “…s’alright”? This is the problem I have with Driver:San Francisco. continue reading

ReDork: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim review

 

Chapter III

My Skyrim Collector’s Edition Story & Review

 

Ever been swiftly walking through a big area of crowded people that seem to despise the ground you walk on? Glaring intentionally (but “innocuously”) at the giant flashing sign that floats just above your head, pointing down at you, screaming “SCUM!” or “DORK WITH NO LIFE!” for some reason or another? Yeah, that was me on Friday as I was lugging my gigantic box of Skyrim through a busy shopping centre. I was slanted on one side, as I carried the heavy beast of a box through the masses of general public who judged me so harshly. Only a little slanted though, to show I’m at least semi-strong. So, was straining my shoulder and risking tomatoes and cabbage thrown at me, not to mention the price, worth it for some extra content with my copy of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? continue reading

Review: War of the Worlds

I really wanted to like War of the Worlds. As something of a classic sci-fi junkie, the concept was right up my alley, and everything I’d seen of it looked gorgeous. Plus, Patrick Stewart! Clearly, this should have been a recipe for success.

Sadly, it wasn’t. There are so many good things about this game that could have added up to something wonderful: the stunning backdrops and overall visual style, the classic, disturbing story filled with terror and paranoia, the wonderful narration….but all of these things simply fall victim to a poor choice of genre. Simply put, this shouldn’t have been a platformer.

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Review: Batman: Arkham City

 

Sequels to good games are chancy. Licensed games are even chancier. If you do the math, it seems like a sequel to a licensed game should be a bad idea right out of the gate. Thankfully, Batman: Arkham City bucks these notions and ends up delivering an experience that’s every bit as good — if not better — than its 2009 predecessor, Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Without being too spoilery (and there are likely to be some spoilers herein, but I’ll keep them after the break), the plot of Arkham City is thus: one year after the events of Arkham Asylum, Quincy Sharp (former head warden) has become mayor, and has used his influence to have a new prison system instated; a huge chunk of Gotham is walled off and used as a space to contain criminals, under the supervision of resident wacko Hugo Strange. Sounds like a great idea, right? I don’t know why more cities don’t subscribe to this model.

As Bruce Wayne, you are thrown into Arkham City for having the gall to publicly oppose Sharp and his policies; as Batman, you must then use your new position to expose the sinister plans of Sharp and Strange, all while running a seemingly endless string of errands and favors for a full roster of familiar Batman faces along the way — when you aren’t trying to punch said faces in, of course.

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Forza 4 Review

Do you like driving games? Do you like them a lot? I mean proper full on, assists off, screaming around a circuit hitting each apex accurately simply to shave off a few thousandths of a second from the best lap time?

Then why the hell are you reading this? Go and buy Forza 4 already!

Okay, now the remaining most of you need some convincing. Maybe simulation racing is a genre that you have wanted to get into but never knew how, maybe the idea of a simulation racer scares the bejesus out of you, or maybe it just sounds duller than an afternoon of UK Gold. Well, it is not; in fact it is almost perfect.

That is not to say that if you have some hatred for all things simulation, this title will suddenly show you the light. While it does have many facets to try and soften the change of sensibilities involved in adhering to proper racing etiquette, as well as a handling model that does not incur power slides at the tap of a brake, it will still require effort on the part of the player. If that is not you then do not buy this game. continue reading

[Blog] And then what happened?

Imagine you are at your wedding.  Bells are ringing, family members are filled with joy, and the weather is absolutely perfect.  Now just as you slip the ring on your partner’s finger and say those fateful words, someone in the back row audibly farts.  Not enough to ruin the moment, and no one pays it any mind, but you heard it all the same.  This is the mistake Gears of War 3 makes continually throughout its campaign.  As you progress, you are met with some truly touching moments that are spoiled by their bookends.  If you have not played through the campaign, do so before reading this as spoilers abound in the following sections. continue reading