Recent Articles In Gaming » Page 3
April 11, 2009 by SplitPeaSoup on Nature Versus Ethical
 Elemental looks a lot like an old game called Magic, which rocked. But obviously, this is much more advanced.
March 13, 2009 by Artysim on my so-called liberal thoughts
-Warning- This article is just about as nerdy as it gets. If you are offended by or allergic to nerds, please turn back now. The last little while I've been completely nocturnal... projects in which work can only be done in the wee hours of the morning when most folks are sleeping. This has had an unforeseen consequence- I've been playing a lot more games than normal. As anyone who's ever had to work during off-times knows (midnight to 8 am for examp...
March 11, 2009 by SplitPeaSoup on Nature Versus Ethical
There are a lot of games out there, and lets be honest, most of them really suck. So what exactly is it, to you, that makes a game a great experience?   To me, teamwork makes a game fun. I love the feeling afterwards that I shared the experience with other people successfully.  
March 10, 2009 by CharlesCS on Chatterbox Charles
Did I just rhyme that title? Wow. Anyways, as some of you may already know (and those who don't) Call of Duty WAW has a built in zombie mode that can only be accessed 1 of 2 ways; either by completing the single player on Veterans difficulty or to enter a code thru the console. You can also enjoy zombie mode if a friend has already unlocked it and invites you to try the co-oped mode of the game. Before Call of Duty WAW, I had played the zombie mode created for Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare wh...
March 9, 2009 by Phil Conrad on ed-209
They actually made a remake of a Epyx game for the DS, I had never played.  Actually, I had never even heard of it, which is pretty rare for me.  It's called Impossible Mission, and it lives up to the name.  Apparently this came out in 2007, but I somehow completely missed it.  There's a nifty premise to the game but there's one whole aspect I don't understand at all. You're a super-spy and you have to save the world from some evil guy's missile strike.  To do this, y...
February 18, 2009 by mittens on Rawr

What is most astonishing about F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin is not its poster-child of horror: that Gothic-looking nine-year-old child look is about as familiar to anyone who has seen any of Hollywood's reinterpretations of certain Japanese Horror flicks. Nor is it astonishing that F.E.A.R. 2 fails, like so many sequels recently, to convey any narrative points of significance. Nor is it astonishing that the prominently-advertised mech segments feel as out-of-place as any player of the original F.E.A.R. would have imagined them to feel. No, what is astonishing about F.E.A.R. 2 is how little of what made F.E.A.R. such an engaging and refreshing first-person shooter is present.

One of the commonly-echoed complaints about the original F.E.A.R. was the "bland" or "repetitive" level design that filled the game's superb single-player campaign. As heavy into the supernatural as the game's narrative got, the gameplay always remained grounded in, more or less, a commonly-understood vision of reality. As such, a large chunk of the game took place in abandoned or decrepit buildings, office buildings, warehouses, garages, corporate atriums, and other such staples of modern life in any large city. Other than the decrepit buildings, though, the environments in F.E.A.R. were all highly representative of everyone's commonly-understood idea of an office, a warehouse, a garage, and so on. The prime example of this are the office levels which make up a decent portion of F.E.A.R.'s campaign: there are a number of cubicles and office floors which are in clean, tidy order when a player enters them. Some of the cubicle phones have messages on them for the former occupant of the cube and, through these, a portion of the game's narrative is told.

What made these areas interesting is not that their surface appeal is intriguing, they're offices after all. These environments are intriguing due to how these offices were put to use when enemies came flooding in though doors, windows, and ceilings. Suddenly cubicles became cover. Glass was shattering from every window or glass panel, sparks were flying from broken computers and monitors, and giant holes filled the walls (example). It was an arena of chaos that was once an everyday environment.

February 16, 2009 by Island Dog on ID's place to speak
It’s been a while since I last asked this, so I thought it was a good time to see what games people are either still playing, or if they have moved onto something new. On the PC, I squeezed in a few hours with the Sins of a Solar Empire: Entrenchment beta.  I really had to limit myself, because I could have easily spent the whole weekend playing this, which is a good thing, but Saturday was Valentine’s Day and that could have led to future problems playing games. On Friday, I hopp...
February 16, 2009 by mittens on Rawr

Flower is a rare video game. For one thing, it has flowers. For another, no one dies. It's a game where the player controls the wind that guides a lonesome flower petal (and its eventual flock of follower petals) through a game world in need of nothing more than some attention, love, and nourishment.

Flower is also a game that is difficult to explain.

In the most simplistic sense, Flower is about guiding a stream of petals from one checkpoint to another where each "checkpoint" is a flower in the landscape. Once the player's petal stream touches a flower, the checkpoint is considered "met" and a petal from that flower flies into the air and joins your petal posse. When all, or enough, of the flowers in a given area have been touched, a scripted sequence is set off and urges the player the progress onward. A new player's actions may feel fairly simplistic or minute, but this is a feeling that will dissipate quickly. As the player fills more and more of these area-by-area conditions, the landscape begins to come alive: dead grass is reborn, new plants spring forth from the ground, trees regain their color and lush leaves, and so on. As a player progresses through the world of Flower and the areas that its made up of, the game is also attaching a sense of gravitas and emotion to its most fundamental game mechanic: touching a flower.

Flower's other main game mechanic comes for the sense of flow that the game encourages a player to maintain. With only a handful of exceptions, it's always possible to stop going from new flower to new flower to unlock new areas and, instead, just fly around the landscape as it exists at any given moment. The ability to just guide a stream of flower petals through the air with no sense of purpose is a near-constant possibility in the game and that lends a great deal of validation to the atmosphere of the game. That said, Flower is at its best when a player can maintain a mildly fast and uninterrupted pace throughout an entire area and the chime that each flower emits when its touched is properly strung-together with the other flowers that make up a given "path" and the player is consistently experiencing rewards for completing the objectives in a given area. This emphasis on flow is especially true of the final three areas, where there is an actual feeling of urgency that motivates players.

The marvel of Flower, though, is its ability to convey emotion to players. Like no video game that I can think of before it, Flower revels in happiness and serenity. As players progress through the six areas in the game, the only possible result for any player that can allow themselves to submit into the game's atmosphere is a feeling of profound, rewarding warmth. The music, the art direction, and the controls all lend themselves to a playing experience where a player is able to minimize the gap between the player, the controller, and the game and buy into the concept that a player's direct actions are the reason these streams of flower petals are flying and sweeping through the gorgeous in-game landscapes.

Flower's developer, thatgamecompany, is doing some very unique work within the realm of video games and it will be interesting to see where they go from Flower. The company's last game, flOw (and the Flash release), is a game that also creates a very unique, strong atmosphere while allowing a player to define his/her own play style. While it bears very little gameplay similarities to Flower, flOw's minimalism and clarity of design are even more pronounced and well-defined in Flower.

When I finished all six of Flower's primary areas (and the exceptionally clever Credits segment), I went to Metacritic to see how the mainstream game reviewing sites handled their treatment of Flower. It was surprising to see how traditional the reviews for the game were; especially Eurogamer's piece which, of all things, criticized the ten dollar price tag of the game. Aside from my issues with the game's imprecise and flow-breaking sixaxis-based control scheme, I find it difficult to find much to gripe about with Flower; least of all its paltry entry fee for a game that lasted me about two-three hours and a game that I will no doubt look to play-through again when the memories of the game have faded a bit or I want to be reminded that games don't have to be about guns, death, and sex.

Flower is the rare kind of video game from which discussions of games as art, entertainment versus experience, and dollars per hour will blossom. Don't listen to that nonsense.

February 12, 2009 by bl00gername on bl00ger
      I consider myself a technology enthusiast. Witnessing trends in technologies both in the offline and online world converge and transform the personal computer into a multipurpose and powerful center of peoples' digital ventures is an amazing thing.  One of the most exciting areas for me being the fast, quickly changing nature of games in this often called "dying" medium, that the pc is regarded at.    It's interesting to see the different themes i...
February 12, 2009 by mentor07825 on All that is me
This is very funny, I think, as I just found this out a few hours ago on my own. As we all know, Brad Wardell, the CEO of Stardock and the very man that has brought us many great thinks in both the gaming and software world, left a tiny joke on possibly how big his ego is. Hard to believe, I know, but I just noticed something small and I don't know if anyone else has noticed this. As we know, Brad is known in the online community as Frogboy and, at times, Draginol. I was bored writing a Desig...
February 5, 2009 by GH33DA on gh33da
After playing a bit of the games that came out late this year. I was happy to see some new IPs score big. But, I was even more happy to see new ideas brought into main stream game design. Games like Katamari Damacy and Portal have kept the innovative spirit alive in the game industry. But, it's not often you see innovation make it into mainstream titles. Like the the new Prince of Persia's "no need to reload" system, or the platform controls of Mirror's Edge. It's games like these that made me r...
February 3, 2009 by mittens on Rawr

Mirror's Edge is a game that was heralded by a marketing campaign that wanted gamers to think of Mirror's Edge as a game that was innovative and, more than that, different. It had a heroine that was markedly different from another well-known leading lady. The scenery is comprised of a bright, pronounced color palette that was primarily composed of white and bright shades red, blue, green, and orange. And, more than those factors, the game was purportedly centered around the escapades of a leading lady whose primary talent was her ability to run fast and execute her Parkour-based maneuvers to navigate through an urban landscape. This marketing campaign, essentially, made Mirror's Edge the closest thing to an "art game" that mega-publisher/developer Electronic Arts is capable of releasing in this turbulent and confusing times within the economy and the games industry.

It's when Mirror's Edge is encouraging a player to run as fast and as smoothly as possible that the game delivers on the hopes that the game's marketing created. When things "work" in Mirror's Edge, they work. The mixture of intensity, fear, and adrenaline that the game manages to create in a player when, in one of the beginning stages, the player must flee from a small band of "blues" (policemen in blue uniforms!) by performing the classical leap of faith from a building to a nearby helicopter is one of my favorite gaming moments of 2008. There were nearby enemies that forced a sense of panic in the player but the designers at DICE managed to contain the danger that the policemen presented to the player perfectly; these enemies made the escape intense, forced the player to focus on running with the flow of the level, and the scene ended just as the game designers anticipated.

At no point in the aforementioned scenario did I, as a player of the game, feel that I was pushed into a corner by the policemen and had to fight my way out. The policemen served their intended purpose of coercing a player to progress at a somewhat specific pace (fast or faster) through the rest of the level and nothing more. DICE's inability to use these "enemies" as a means of pace enforcement throughout much of Mirror's Edge is, in fact, the game's biggest failing. Instead of making a player's trek through a level feel fun and intense the way a Hollywood chase scene would, these enemies constantly limit the options a player has. Sometimes they force a player to run through a certain portion of a level without having any time to properly explore or enjoy the obstacles and scenery. Other times these enemies make a player's run-through end abruptly at an unexpected and undesirable time. More often than not, though, the enemies in Mirror's Edge make a player feel like he/she has to fight his or her way through an encounter. And there is nothing more defeating to the integrity of Mirror's Edge's core design then a player feeling that he was pushed into a corner by the enemy AI and had no choice but to unrealistically annihilate a squad of heavily armed policemen.

Mirror's Edge's own instability is its eventual downfall. Sometimes it wants to make players engage in awkward gunplay. Sometimes it wants to make the level geometry into an uncomfortable Parkour puzzle. But, sometimes, Mirror's Edge gets into a groove when it's this absolutely superb mix of a platformer, racer, and first-person exploration game. DICE was able to implement the controls, the movement, and the general "feel" of being a particularly talented and nimble gymnast who was running, jumping, and sliding her way through a series of "real life" obstacles: the roofs of industrial buildings, construction scaffolding, city plazas, and so on. The real thrill that Mirror's Edge provides is when it exposes players to these sorts of urban obstacle courses and tasks him/her with making it through one of these courses quick, smooth, and in one piece. The amount of trial and error can be frustrating in these cases, but the reward for a smooth execution is unmatched by any other moment in the game. It's like trying to get one lap of a track in a racing game perfect over and over and, finally, getting through an entire lap without a single screw-up. And it's this feeling that Mirror's Edge's combat encounters and puzzle-Parkour don't manage to capitalize on.

I'd be remiss if I failed to mention how excruciatingly poor every aspect of the Mirror's Edge narrative is. Take note players: when you stumble into a story event in an office where you see your sister just keep in mind that you're going to wish the in-game cut scenes persisted. As it is, that's the one of only two in-game cinematics that players will ever see. Mirror's Edge chooses to convey the entirety of the story through communication units (which aren't bad; just poorly written and voice-acted) but what's worse are the 2D animations that tell the game's narrative in between levels. These cinematics are of a shockingly low quality not only in their scripts but in the absolutely awful animation style that created them. The characters lack any sense of depth, proportion, or even the human-like quality they possess when players see their in-game counterparts. The idea that the script which makes up Mirror's Edge made it into a AAA game production is altogether unsurprising but the fact that these 2D animations made it in is amazing.

Mirror's Edge is a sad game. There are a handful nuggets of superb gameplay that litter what is an altogether mediocre single-player gaming experience. I'm not even a fan of platformer games -- save for the occasional excellent title like Super Mario Galaxy -- but Mirror's Edge's early gameplay segments were an utter joy to engage in. If DICE can manage to recapture what made those early levels of the game so captivating then an eventual sequel should have a lot to offer. As it stands now Mirror's Edge is a game to get to see a very unique take on pacing and platforming, just try not to stray too far from the time trial mode.

Then again, the time trial mode requires playing the full game in order to unlock all of the courses. That's just cruel.

February 2, 2009 by jamreal on jamreal
I'm sure most people do know about burnout series by now, well its the first time its coming on Windows Pc i've been tracking since it was announce for PC,now that it is downloading i cant wait to looks to have some nice graphics...i was just wondering wether anyone was planning on buying it?leave a comment
January 24, 2009 by SuperScott597 on SHLAP
As an avid gamer and aspiring game designer, I am pleased to announce that I am officially going to get a BA and MA in Video Game Production and Design within the next 4 years. I am so excited it's completely ridiculous. Now I just need to get going on my math class... Happy gaming and welcome to my blog! -Scott
January 19, 2009 by Island Dog on ID's place to speak
The NPD group has published the top 20 best selling games of 2008, and Sins of a Solar Empire is on that list at number 14!  It should be noted also that this list does not count downloadable copies, which Sins also did an incredible amount of. “Mention must also be made of Sins of a Solar Empire, the best selling strategy game in 2008 in retail stores and number 14 on 2008's list. Considering that the title reportedly sold well in downloadable copies in addition to its retail sale...