Soundshapes

 

The hardest question to wrestle with in Soundshapes is how much the experience of a game can derive pleasure when the actual playing is so simplistic as to become almost invisible. Because in truth the reason to play this title is not because it has amazing gameplay, in many ways that particular aspect is the weakest point, but for the sonic experience and journey it provides to the player through each level. Is this in itself enough to make it a worthwhile purchase, does it do enough to massage the simplistic mechanics into something more?

continue reading

Motorstorm RC Review

With the launch of a new system comes the opportunity to re-examine franchises that are showing signs of fatigue. Motorstorm debuted at the launch of Vitas bigger, home based brother and since then has had three further iterations and a PSP release, a set of circumstances that has seen its stock decrease under the weight of familiarity. Perhaps sensing this the latest version has taken a bold, and successful, step into re-crafting  its appeal for a format where short, sharp bursts are what is required while managing to provide another recognisable name for the launch of Sonys new handheld.

continue reading

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.

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

Uncharted 3 Review

The term “video game” is comprised of an active and passive discipline merged together to create a unified whole. For the most part, the emphasis has been on the game aspect and the interactivity that it can bring to the entertainment spectrum. Recently, the various attempts to insert cinematic disciplines have led to more titles seeking to provide a viewpoint that is as much framed in terms of an interactive film as a gameplay experience. Arguably, the Uncharted series is at the forefront of these recent phenomena in its attempts to place the player in situations that are as much akin to blockbuster films as they are to the standard platforming constraints of running, jumping and climbing.

This review mainly concentrates on the single player storyline and the experience felt through playing that. Multiplayer and co-operative modes exist and build upon the foundations previously laid down. If you’re reading this and are a fan of those, feel free to add a further mark onto the score below. 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

Video Game Workout

Out of the box, you receive 6 AAA batteries, 1 USB receiver, 3 motion sensors (1 leg, 2 arms), 2 handles, and a giant elastic resistance band.  The first thing to do is tie the resistance band to the handles.  This requires some clever use of knotting, similar to inflatable balloons.  You then need to test the knot as the tension applied when the band is stretched will cause a loose knot to fail.

You then need to fit the batteries, 2 to each motion sensor, and fit the sensors on to your upper thigh (I found the higher the better) of your right leg, and the arm sensors on the forearm, just before the elbow.  The left arm sensor also has the pulse sensor attached, so this needs to sit in direct contact with the skin.  There are instructional videos, but a bit of trial and error still needs to be applied.

Loading the disc you are then able to set up an avatar.  Take the time to find something that you are happy with, as you will be staring at this avatar A LOT.  You can also enter profile information including height and weight.  This is helpful for the sensors to detect when you are moving about.

There are two main program modes: the 30-day “Kick Start Your Heart” program, and the 90-day workout.  Either selection will give you a chart and suggest four workouts per week.  I went for the 90-day program to really push myself.  The software then asks you to select easy, medium, or hard for your level of intensity.  Since I don’t consider myself unfit, just out of optimal shape, I chose hard. continue reading

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.

continue reading