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Best of 2014: Honourable Mentions

There were a lot of good games this year. I played a surprising amount of them, at least in comparison to previous years. Before I get into my personal favourite game of the year, I would like to take some time and talk about some of the other games that I enjoyed that didn’t make the top three. So in alphabetical order, here are the honourable mentions of 2014. Read the rest of this entry

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Here’s the First Look at Stealth Inc. 2 Gameplay

The first look at Stealth Inc 2 has sneaked onto the internet. During Nintendo UK’s Post-E3 event, Nintendo Life spoke with Curve Studios Design Director Jonathan Biddle while playing through 20 minutes of the upcoming stealth-game. This is the first gameplay we’ve seen of Stealth Inc 2 since the game was announced as a Wii U exclusive.

Full article available here.

Best of 2013: BioShock Infinite

It’s been incredibly difficult for me to narrow down the best game of this year. I’d imagined earlier this year that I would be talking about Watch Dogs today but since that game was delayed there’s only one game left this year that I can talk about. It’s a game that itself, was delayed multiple times and came out a full year after its originally planned release date. BioShock Infinite is more than just a great game, it’s a work of art both mechanically and visually. It oozes style and visual flair while depicting interesting characters in an even more fascinating setting. BioShock Infinite was the best game I played all year.

Welcome to the colourful slice of Americana known as Columbia.

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Best of 2013: The Last of Us

After much deliberation, I have determined that The Last of Us has the best introduction to any video game I’ve ever played. It depicts a small town in the southern United States being overrun by infected in beginnings of a zombie apocalypse. In a mere 15 minutes I experienced fear, panic and heartbreak in a sequence that perfectly sets the tone for what’s to come. I won’t spoil any more details, so let me add that this game is worth playing for the introduction alone.

The Last of Us, starring Not Nolan North and Not Ellen Paige

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2013 Year in Review

With this year coming to a close, it only feels natural to reflect on the past 365 days. It that time of year where everyone lists their top games and reflects on the year that was. In the last 12 months, records have been broken, franchises rebooted and the next-generation of gaming consoles “officially” arrived. Next week I’ll be presenting the best games of this past year but until then it feels appropriate to analyze the year 2013 in gaming.

I imagine the offices at Rockstar Games are overflowing with money right about now.

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Beyond Two Souls First Impressions

If there’s anything I can say about Beyond: Two Souls so far is that it’s been completely unpredictable in terms of quality. Quantic Dream’s supernatural thriller (which hit stores last Tuesday) centers around Jodie Holmes, played by Ellen Page, who is connected to a spiritual entity known only as Aiden. Beyond also stars Willem Dafoe as Nathan Hawkins, who acts as Jodie’s caretaker. The game’s story spans across 14 years and jumps around the timeline. In one chapter, Jodie is a small child in the next she’s a adult on the run from the police. The first few chapters indicated that this game had a fractured narrative and little momentum, however the following chapters have been quite powerful. It’s almost impossible to predict what the rest of the game will be like.

Ellen Page stars as Juno, I mean Jodie Holmes.

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Story versus Gameplay

A good story is one of the biggest marketing point of almost every video game, second only to pretty graphics. Consider how the majority of video game commercials advertise graphics and story while avoiding showing actual gameplay. There’s even a trend among First-Person-Shooters such as Halo and Call of Duty to use live-action trailers. Gameplay is by far the most important aspect of any game, yet it was seldom shown in the massive marketing campaigns of Mass Effect 3 and Grand Theft Auto IV. There’s a number of video games in which the story and the gameplay are at odds with each other. I previously argued that the trend of video games becoming linear and cinematic undermined the interactivity of the medium; this is still true however the disconnect between story and gameplay occurs across several genres, even open-world games. Read the rest of this entry

Hollywood’s Need for Speed

Hollywood just can’t stay away from the world of video games. Yesterday the first official trailer for Need for Speed hit the internet. The movie is an adaptation of EA’s racing franchise and stars Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul in the lead role. While a behind-the-scenes look was shown at this year’s E3, I don’t ever consider a movie official until a trailer has been released. Now that a Need for Speed movie is official, and set to release on March 14, 2014, it’s become the topic of debate among gamers.

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The Quiet Eroticism of MGS5

Hideo Kojima, the man behind Metal Gear Solid 5, has come under fire recently for admitting to making his characters “more erotic” for the new game. One of many new characters in the latest installment of the Metal Gear Solid saga is a sniper rifle toting, bikini-clad woman named Quiet. Kojima tweeted earlier this month that he wanted to make this character more erotic to encourage cosplay and increase figurine sales for the character. These remarks have kicked up controversy, many people citing this as an example of sexist game design. Kojima has since admitted that erotic “might have been the wrong word” however the damage has been done. However much of the criticism is misplayed. The eroticism of MGS5 is not an example of sexist game design; it may just be the opposite.

Quick, cover her up before FOX News sees her!

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The Ending to Assassin’s Creed 3

This post contains major spoilers for Assassin’s Creed 3.

Upon completing Assassin’s Creed 3 I had many questions, but the most notable one was what I said when the credits rolled. “What the hell just happened?” The very last moments of Assassin’s Creed 3 are among the most baffling and poorly executed moments I’ve ever witnessed from a video game. It fails in just about every possible way that an ending can fail. The only good thing I have to say about the ending is that it’s so sudden and detached from the narrative that it doesn’t spoil Connor’s story (the one in the American Revolution), which luckily makes up the bulk of the narrative. To be honest, it doesn’t feel appropriate to call this an ending so much as the game simply stops the story and abandons it completely.

You know an ending is bad when people are pissed off over the treatment of a character that no one cares about.

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