Warp Review: I wanna be in you

Somehow I managed to wrangle my way into reviewing each of the XBLA House Party games, and here is my first review from the pile, the regularly charming stealth-action puzzler, Warp.

Warp Screenshot

If you’re going to name your game after its central mechanic, it had better be a damned good one. Happily, Warp’s teleporting system is strong enough to make this action-puzzler worthwhile despite the occasional frustrations it heaps on the player.

The premise is straightforward enough: you assume the role of a captured alien as he tries to escape the underground lair of diabolical scientists, capitalizing on his powers to warp himself into objects both inanimate and fleshy.

Go read the whole thing on Toronto Thumbs!

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Old Reviews are all the RAGE

It took a few months, but I finally got around to playing through id’s latest shooter and collecting my thoughts over on Good Game Media.

If you’d like to read about my (mostly positive) thoughts on Rage, be sure to check out the review, and chime in with your own opinions while you’re there! This was a title that divided critical opinion, so I’m very interested in hearing about what you plebeians think.

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Report: Ladies Making Videogames

Dames Making Games Jamuary Logo

Last week, on Good Game Media, I posted a piece on the Dames Making Games JAMuary event. If you’re interested in some local-videogame journalism, give it a read – it’s about a worthy cause, and how it plugs into the thriving indie-developer community in Toronto.

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Editorial: Leveraging Kinect to Ensnare New Gamers

Last week, I published an editorial at Toronto Thumbs detailing how Microsoft should be leveraging the Kinect’s features to train and ‘create’ hardcore (read: spend-happy) gamers, which seems to have been warmly received.

So please, check it out, leave a comment, etc. etc.

This piece was read and shared on twitter by Matt Boch of Harmonix, who was recently profiled in Kill Screen. It’s hugely gratifying to consider that the subject of an outlet I’d like to write for has pointed people towards my musings, let alone the fact that he’s the desiger of the Dance Central games – arguably the best use of the Kinect to hit the market.

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Comparing MW3 with BF3

As part of my plan to take the videogame-journalism world by storm, I’ve come up with another stunningly original idea: taking two things that are somewhat similar, and comparing them!

If you’d like to read my take on the different approaches to storytelling in the most recent Call of  Duty and Battlefield games, check out my piece over at Good Game Media: Does Battlefield 3’s Campaign Go Beyond The Call?

What the article makes up for in creativity, it makes up for in sweet header-graphics!

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This is your brain on Minecraft

Just received this in my Facebook inbox:

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8-Bit Memories – GGM

Good news everyone! I’ve joined the good folks at Good Game Media, where I’ll be serving up all manner of quality editorials, and hopefully some reviews and reporting in the not too distant future.

Go check out my first piece, 8-bit Memories – a rumination on enduring game memories, with some curmudgeonly commentary about why today’s games might not resonate the same way. Please feel free to leave comments critiquing the author for taking off his rose-tinted spectacles halfway through the piece, thus undermining the very point of its existence.

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What is Microsoft trying to say?

Around the launch of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, ads were running all over the web – which is fairly typical for the latest release from a major franchise.

One that caught my eye was on IGN, which highlighted the remastered graphics, inviting users to move a slider to peer into the past of how the scene once looked.

Everything’s been given a lick of paint alright, but one wonders about how swapping a black character with a white one is somehow indicative of ‘progress’.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Campaign Review

The Modern Warfare 3 campaign aims to outdo the spectacle of its bombastic predecessors and deliver an exhilarating experience from start to finish. In pursuit of this goal, the stakes are higher (world-war!), and the set-pieces more elaborate. Somewhere along the way however, the developers decided that tightly-crafted scripting was more important than player agency, and they never looked back. While some will undoubtedly find this approach exhilarating, most of the time I found it exasperating.

Modern Warfare 3 Sceenshot Continue reading

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Out, Damn’d Spot!

Call of Duty’s Contribution to Terrible Game Mechanics

Call of Duty has contributed an awful lot to the First Person Shooter genre, particularly where multiplayer is concerned. Any FPS taking itself seriously now gives players a chance to level up, unlock weapons, customise their playercard, and reward the player when they rack up a few consecutive kills – features implemented or popularized by the Call of Duty series.

Now that these features are being ripped-off wholesale by other titles, it seems that they’re also taking another, less hyped feature that has been around since 2003’s Call of Duty. The ‘damage-inflicted’ indicator. Continue reading

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