Below you'll find blog posts on the site that were made by people this account has listed as friends. You'll also see replies that your friends may have made to posts from people who you don't currently count as friends. As many as 20 posts and replies will display, assuming enough of those individuals have posted in their blogs.
Horror games -- good horror games -- go out of their way to make yu feel like you're a/ always being watched and b/ there is always something just behind you. It's supposed to make you feel uneasy at all times. Silent Hill: The Room knows that, but does not know how to employ a subtle touch. So:
Good luck, man. Every now and then, something comes along that takes priority over reviewing video games online, and I suppose this just about registers as such.
I always (as in, both times thus far) enjoy reading about your expliots at Gamejam. Long may it continue!
I'm playing through Longest Journey myself right now.
Astonishia Story (January 1st) [PSP]
So, it was Xmas again and my sister was heavily pregnant with her first child. This meant she could not travel very far and, in our immediate family, she lived the furthest away. Being the selfish child, she demanded we all go and spend Xmas with her, condemning me to three nights on the world's most uncomfortable couch. I didn't sleep much, so instead, I played the PSP a lot, which had been left sadly ignored throughout the majority of the previous year. Despite having access to Ys, I spent my time playing Astonishia Story instead, for reasons I still do not fully grasp.
So, there you have it. I had a cold, energy-draining holiday, and you got a review for a game you've never heard of from it.
Red Dead Redemption (January 8th) 
I got R in the Alphas. Remember when we used to have tourneys? Good times, those. So, yeah, we had one and I won. With this review. That, according to Will that week in the RotW, didn't even make the top 3. Take that, you kooky Canadian!
It really was a ramble review. I'll never be a refined writer; my reviews are basically rambling on a word document then trying to make sense of the mess of worlds that stick at the end, but this really came out so much better than I expected. I never wanted Redemption to end, yet I knew it had to at some point, so I procrastinated as much as I could and still didn't complete every side quest or challenge. It gives me an excuse to revisit Marston's world now and then. And shoot people who probably don't really deserve it.
101-in-1 Sports Party Games (January 11th) [Wii]
Because, sometimes, you can have to much of a mediocre thing.
The start of this year was just about the end of getting review codes through the post for me, and this would have been a depressing end. Around the end of last year, I got a few 101 game collections, the majority of which were by no means awful, but hardly stand out. What they did do right was make a lot of the games insane enough for you play through just to see what they might come up with next. This collection just had a lot of broken sports stuff thrown in, most of which barely worked.
Medal of Honor (January 14th) [PS3]
So, at the end of 2010, I was approached by a gaming site of sorts who wanted to commission me to write a few things for them. I told them I would listen, and sold out a little. I hear it's the in thing to do. Anyway, I was asked to write something on Medal of Honor, which I'd previously done, so figured it wouldn't be that hard. I had a draft done by the end of the day, but they asked me to hold off because they had other things they wanted on the front page that day. I didn't care, so held off. No response a week later, so I gave them a nudge and was told that, that close to Xmas, they weren't bothered about getting new stuff on the page as traffic was culled. I shrugged and waited for them to response. New Year rolled by, and I nudged them again, were I was sent a message telling me I had taken too long to get the review to them, and that further commissions would need to be completed in a much more timely fashion. I didn't bother replying, and HG got a free review. Everyone's a winner.
Xenon 2 (January 23rd) [GEN]
Not even going to pretend to be humble about this; I love this review, and it'll probably end up being the best review I've written that no one will ever really read. I wrote it primarily at the end of 2010 for that alpha-marathon I remember caring about once, then deciding to save in for the next year when it was clear I had won. Joe destroyed me in the 2011 race, but I wasn't to know that then!
I'm glad -- happy, even -- that after this I never need to go anywhere near Xenon 2 again. Some things are best left to nostalgia.
ZPK2X (January 24th) [XBLI]
EmP: Remember at the start of the year, I said you should buy that live game with the kitten AK47 and zombie hoards?
EmP: Then mocked you for liking Unreal more than Quake III?
DoI: That's been going on for years
EmP: Never gets old.
EmP: I made a review intro from the corresponding nagging, anyway.
EmP: I'd forgotten about it until now.
EmP: Ever get around to picking it up?
DoI: I never did.
EmP: Almost exactly a year later, and I still might get the chance to mow you down with a kitten-shooting automatic rifle.
EmP: Isn't that, really, what a Christmas miracle is?
DoI: Now that I think about it, it does sound pretty magical
Cthulhu Saves the World (January 28th) [XBLI]
Much like Zeboyd's last Indie game, the dev shot me a message through HG mail to offer me a review copy. Unlike last time, I'd not already purchased the game and wasn't already most of the way through the title. But! Much like Breath of Death, the game rocked.
Stuff like this is what kept me glued to the indie service through the end of 2010 and the start of 2011.
The Ball (February 6th) [PC]
The Ball turned up on my doorstep one day, much like a lost child nobody wanted and were looking to pass on. I am a charitable soul, so I took it in, played it through my PC (which struggled, alarmingly) and decided the kindest thing to do would be to then review it. I did. And that's how I saved February.
Still don't know why I bolded I remember twice.
Mass Effect 2 (February 28th) 
Here's an odd statement. I put off and put off playing Mass Effect 2 because I know that as soon as I started, I'd play nothing but, and I didn't want to run out of game time so quickly. Hell, even now I have DLC missions I've not played because the thought of having no new Mass Effect to be able to play right now distresses me.
ME2 lived up to this ruinous self hype by being almost effortlessly better than the first game, which I still openly adore. I went into the review know I'd made a bit of a hash out of the review of ME1 by bouncing all over the world in an attempt to prove its vastness, so reined this review right back in. I'd learnt a few things when I took some risks with Red Dead that paid off, so reemployed them here. I'm more than happy with the result.
Thunder Force II (March 15th) [GEN]
Man, I wish we could have carried stuff like this on. THE PLAN was to release a new Thunder Force review each day, and it's something we more or less managed to pull off. Flanked by site titans like OVERDRIVE (est 1845), MASTERS (obligatory Canadian) LEROUX (Missing, presumed drunk) and DarkEternal (Second best writer with Ādark in his name) we went back to the obscure beginnings, ran riot through the 16bit era and came out the other side with JP-only imports. It was awesome; even if Jason's messing around with the coding then changed the colour scheme of the page and endured me to hours of further HTML coding, and his efforts now have sunk them into oblivion along with anything else I put in score box summery. But there is a bitter rant for another time.
Along the way to our great success there was betrayal, desertion and hissy fits aplenty, but we all looked forward to doing it all again a month later. Sadly, the disastrous Ā'Arnie' week, featuring games made off the back of California's former head of state, never came into fruition, and my grand plan of a theme week each month ended with this one glorious shot. I don't care; it rocked.
(Also, just in case it was in doubt, this won the RotW, and is, as such, THE BEST Thunder Force review on the site.)
Epic Dungeon (March 31st) [XBLI]
I like to think of myself of a bit of a pioneer. It's one of those things that helps me feed my mammoth ego, but covering the Indie scene really did give me a lot of satisfaction; especially so when I knew people were buying games they would have otherwise never hard of based at least somewhat on what I'd reported. In this case, Joe beat me to the review of this game, but only because I'd gotten him into XBLI in the first place! You have a lot to thank me for, Joseph, and I've yet to see a gift basket.
Hydrophobia (April 14th) 
Sometimes brilliant, sometimes dodgy, it's still such a crazy improvement on the game that first hit XBLA a year or so before, they might as well rename it. The recent update dropped the price of the game by half, fixed more or less every major complaint leveled against it, and left a decent survival horror-like game where your biggest fear is the environment.
Nevertheless, this review was a huge headache for me. I'd been writing pretty well up to this point and it was this review where it all started falling apart. I had horrendous writer's block and, as I always have done in the past, decided the best thing was to power through it. This led to several finished drafts but they were, to be blunt, absolute shit. Hell, this one isn't great; Bloomer rightly pointed out that it has a confusing voice where it jumps back and forth between the old and the new, but, by that point, I simply had to wash my hands of the thing and try to move on.
Beyond Good & Evil HD (April 23rd) 
Despite the fact that this a cheaty rewrite of an older review and I still use large chunks of that review in this one, I really struggled to get this one out. It was probably the beginning of the end of my regular output because I got all kinds of frustrated that I couldn't finish the bloody thing so locked myself away in a corner until all three (I think three?) of the drafts were done. It was about then I decided I wasn't enjoying it anymore. I wrote out of obligation.
There's a little slice of drama out the way. I then won a RotW. Yay!
Alan Wake (April 26th) 
I'm a bit of a survival horror junkie -- have you noticed? As such, I was psyched throughout the entirety of Alan WakeĀes production. Then I purchased the game later than everyone else, because that's just how I roll.
Suskie and Marc (and most of the interested world) played this before me and gave very different accounts of their experiences. Through Suskie's excellent review, he made the game sound fantastic, and through Marc's constant bitching over AIM (which I've missed the most in my time offline) he made it sound like a one-trick pony. I guess I thought they were both right as I took the middle ground.
The second game is reportedly underway. I'm hoping they can build upon Wake strengths and perhaps dial down the trees.
Ravan Squad (May 2nd) [PC]
This was a bit of a cheat. When I wrote for the original Raven Squad game for this very site, I also worte for another one which has since closed its doors. I reclaimed my earlier works, lest they fall into the pist of Oblivion, and posted them back up here. Or, at least, I did for this one. I had the others on a USB key along with a handful of drafts and recently found out it had died. It also had most of the Year in review on it, so I've had to write this entire list again from scratch with a much fuzzier memory. On the bright side, it means you, one of the three people to read in this far, have to put up with 33% less pretentious bullshit.
Shining Force II (May 10th) [GEN]
It's taken me years to actually review this game, despite the fact I must have beaten it a good half dozen times while I've been writing reviews, and countless times before that. Shining Force II is my go to game. I have it on a USB key on my keyring so if I'm ever stuck somewhere, and thereĀfs a PC nearby, I always have something to do. This review came off the back of such a game; work was dead, so I spent more time playing Gen roms then doing what I was being paid for.
I actually have a very small list of games I want to review before I throw this crazy reviewing gig in, and, now this one's down, it's now almost exhausted.
B-Team (May 30th) [DS]
Not everything has some story behind it. Sometimes I just play a game on a whim then review it. This was one. Rubbish, rubbish game thought it was.
Akane the Kunoichi (July 17th) [XBLI]
We got a message asking us to review this Indie game because one of us used to be pretty hot on reviewing the Indie scene (it was me before I got lazy!) and so I did. I had heard of Akane's dev team before as I had downloaded the trial of their previous XBLI game, Ace Gals Tennis, and it was rubbish. I expected the worst on this account, but found an extremely worthwhile title included instead.
I should delve back into the Indie scene again should I discover the free time ever again.
NeptuneĀfs Pride (July 26th) [PC]
Spared the label of Āthe longest review I've ever written by the absolute monster that is Oblivion, Pride is still a huge rambling wall of words that doesn't ever really delve into the obligatory trappings like how the game works or what the controls do. It's a condensed gaming diary, I suppose, that talks about my favourite subject. Me.
But, still, I love this review. It's easily the one I spent the most time on during last year, not just because it's huge but because I spent a lot of time editing it. It used to be a lot bigger, believe it or not, but I scaled it down to what it is now over several rewrites, and I wasn't going to publish the damn thing until I was ready. Hell, it was sitting in storage while I wrote B-Team and Akane.
Pride still weighs on my mind and you can expect something else to come from the game sometime in 2012. ItĀfs a fascinating concept, and I'm simply not done playing around with it and bragging about my results.
(P.S: Second RotW in a row. Watch the record break)
Dead Space (July 28th) 
AKA: The review were Gary forgot who directed his favourite film.
Yeah, that was a gaffe, made better by a quick edit but forever immortalised by a bit of forum banter now stuck to the bottom of the review for eternity. No one to blame but me.
But, yeah, the review. Came out okay, didn't it? I'll assume you said yes, voiceless reader. Thanks, dude.
Trapped Dead (July 31st) [PC]
I'd like to say it seemed like someone out there in Dev land still loved me when a copy of Trapped Dead showed up on my doorstep, giving me a perfect chance to be momentarily excited. A strategy game set in and around an undead apocalypse? X-Com with zombies?
Except, no. Trapped Dead is an ambitious RTS that plods on like the stereotypical foes that dot the game. One laden with bugs and errors that the games more likely to crash that have you get your brains munched on. Patches were released, but only in German, which made keeping to a review deadline pretty hard going. My German is a little rusty. Or non existent. One of the two.
On reflected, 4/10 seems a little high. Oh well.
L.A. Noire (August 13th) [PS3]
Good old L.A. Noire. Like the slightly retarded friend you keep around out of pity, Noire could have (and kinda has) got by on just how obvious it was that an impossible amount of hours were ploughed into the game. The fantastic graphics, the highly professional voice acting and the stellar period-perfect soundtracks all failed the mask the fact that all they had been stapled to was a very pretty game constantly telling you to press X to win.
L.A. Noire is several steps too close to being an interactive movie and too far removed for comfort from being a video game. It doesn't so much as hold your hand, but lifts you up in a fireman's carry and dumps you face first into the solutions it wants you to find. Then, if you manage to mess that up anyway, it doesn't care. You win regardless. What a steaming pile of wasted potential.
The only noteworthy thing it did was allow me to write a review that won me a forth straight RotW victory thus granting me the highest streak record. Congrats, Team Bondi. Rockstar might now think you're a bunch of dicks, but you're alright by me. So long as you stop making shit games.
Fire Mustang (August 20th) [GEN]
In my attempts to win RotW #5, Fire Mustang threw me for a bit of a loop. Out of games to review, I needed something I could beat quick and decided to jump into the crazy world of 16bit scrollers, pick out a dud, and there tear the sucker to shreds. People seem to love that kind of thing around here -- a sad commentary in and of itself. I was then quite annoyed to find the game was actually pretty good, and that I enjoyed it enough to sink all the time I had to find a new game into playing it. I was stuck, then. A praise review it was. I'd not planned on that.
Someone else won RotW that time around. Suskie even came out of the shadows briefly to try and end my run early, and I salute him for it.
Tropico 4 (November 6th) 
Back in the hazy month of August, Jason and myself sat down to compile a large list of games we should try and get review copies from. It was a list of some size, and many e-mails were sent. One game arrived. This one. I was a little annoyed at first; I'd asked for the likes of Rage and Deus Ex, and I got bloody Tropico 4. Then the game very slowly took over my life. It's still the title I sink the most time into now. Hell. IĀfve not even beaten Deus Ex yet because I spent more time building a civilisation on tropical islands instead, then watching the bastard people turn on me because I feed them nothing but rotten bananas, or sold their homes to criminal immigrants.
I'm currently in the midst of ruining a former partner. I've bought his company from underneath him, and am trying to have one of my pretty islands host the Olympic games, just to bankrupt him a little bit more.
Get to tha choppa 2 (November 29th) [XBLI]
Man, IĀfm clever. Have you read this review? Go do so, it's not very long, and I think you'll agree IĀfm clever. Yes. Me.
I don't like it.
It's the music I hate. The same bloody vile music every year. And it's everywhere.
THIS JUST IN:
I.... I like this game.
It's pretty much perfect.
Posted: May 17, 2011 (10:01 AM)
I continue to envy any and all that got out while they could.
Ah you. Yes, I remember you.
You have much slacking to make up for.
(It's as close to a welcome back as I can manage)
Beyond Good & Evil HD
Really fly-through replay that I beat in two mammoth sitting. It's still brilliant
Had I reviewed the game back when I beat it years ago, Iíd have given it faint praise but ultimately labelled it a brilliant 10 hour game unfortunately stretched out into a trudging 30 hour chore. Iím really glad I didnít. Going back to NIER for the replays you need undertake to advance the plot gives you the chance to replay the game without the padding and just revel in the awesome world Cavia died crafting. I needed that big break in between flythrough because, while the replay changes a lot, it doesnít reinvent enough to justify back-to-back quests, but itís a fantastic revisit. I look forward to beating it this time around, letting it sit for a while as I beat other games, then tackling it again at a later date. As such, itís a game that really can claim to last you years.
It promised to be a heady mix of zombies and X-COM. ItísĀE yeah, itís not. Not even close. Itís a clumsy RTS with zombie apocalypse overtones. The undead hordes are zombie-ish, the supplies are scarce but the game it set as an RTS, and it feels rushed and unfinished. I shall put in more hours for now before I decide.
Started brilliantly, then failed to capitalise and instead decided to be the exact same game all the way through to the end, which featured an end of game boss fight on the same level of disappointment as Gears of War 2. I wish it was better than how it turned out
Things I have just bought:
If thereís ever been any doubt that Gary Oldman has the talent and the presence to carry projects single-handily, then Red Riding Hood is the film that puts an end to it.
Before he arrives, the film is mired in bad writing and bad performances that fails to seize the stunning artwork and presentation values Catherine Hardwickeís revamped childrenís classic realises. Being a straight male, Iíve not seen or had any interest in her previous work on the Twilight saga, but she proves here she has an eye for the cosmetics. Thereís sweeping fly-by shots of snow-covered mountains and purposefully unfocused snaps of falling flakes contrasting against powerful colours that effortlessly overpower the lacking cast.
Thatís unfair to lead actress Amanda Seyfried who seems determined to make the best of a bad situation and pulls out a believable performance while everyone else around her phones it in. She does her best as the shared love interest of both wealthy Henry (Max Irons) and desolate woodcutter Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) who simply seem disinterested in their roles. While Seyfried struggles to carry them through the trite love triangle, they do little more than grunt indifferently and try their best to look as pretty as they can. Perhaps they canít be blamed: despite their vastly different backgrounds, each character seems to be a near carbon copy of the other and why Seyfriedís character would show any interest in either remains the filmís biggest mystery. When theyíre not both being different shades of moody and unapproachable, theyíre sprouting uninspired lines like "If you love her, you'll let her go" slightly rephrased and repeated ad nauseam as they try to lackadaisically outmanoeuvre each other.
Then, thankfully, Oldman appears stage left as the grizzled wolf-hunting holyman and tries his level best to pull off a coup; to try and give audiences a watchable film. Suddenly, thereís a sense of urgency, and he even manages to illicit a few laughs from a previously humourless, self-absorbed movie. Focus is shifted away from half-hearted performances, Seyfried puts on a red cape in a tenuous attempt to link the film with the story, and Red Riding Hood threatens to turn into a worthwhile experience.
Then fails. When the wolf steps into the spotlight, any sense of danger is exhumed. Off-screen, itís a mysterious collection of rage and murder, leaving nothing but bestial destruction in its wake. On screenÖ. itís a disappointing CGI mishap containing all the apprehension of an aging cocker spaniel. Not even Oldman can save that -- though, bless him, he tries.
As such, Red Riding Hood is a film that starts off poor and despite a slight reprieve around the half way mark, concludes on a further low. Iím sure millions were ploughed into the filming, the locations and the special effects, but it remains a project filled with plenty off huff and puff, but without the ability to blow anything away.
Venetica: Opened up all of Venice, which is huge, and just sailed off to the African nation. Which is tiny. Really starting to dig the game as it pulls into the final stretch. It actually does levelling combat well; even though you're always upgrading your stats and picking up better arnour and weapons, the main reason you're able to beat tougher fights are because you have to get better at the game.
Then I found that wasn't true at all. I'd just forgotten to manually spend my upgrade points after each level up.
Alan Wake: I'm having to take a break from Wake before I become so sick of trees that I attack them in everyday life.
Red Dead Redmeption -- Undead Nightmare: Reallyt well done. Zombies xcan only be dropped with perfect headshots making the bullet-time like Dead Eye a life saver. Undead Nightmare is brilliant; it has survivalk horror down perfect by making you scrounge and bveg for bullets then makes you feel for evey shot you miss. It's touching, horrifing and still makes time to poke fun at the genre it apes so succesfully.
Kane & Lynch 2: Right at the back end of this game now and I'm really digging it. Ran trhough in hard moide right off the bat which may have something to do with it, but the co-oping transforms the game, too. It's a really depressing, brutal game, using cheap hand-cam POV's, purposfully bad focus and lens flares for kicks and giggles
Venetica: Delving deeper in, I was stuck for a fair while because youíre told to meet someone at midnight in a specific place, but this condition doesnít save on your quest log. Fine if you go and do so immediately; not so fine if you park the game for a couple of weeks and forget. I stumbled upon it by luck while hunting out rogue headquarters at night. Iím probably around the half way mark as Iím two of the obligatory band of evil bosses down.
Alan Wake: Right near endgame and wandering if Iím ever going to get out of these bloody woods. For a game that took five years too make, it sure doesnít want to make any other backdrops. Still enjoying my time, but itís starting to wane a little now. Loved the fight against the possessed bulldozer; spent all my time tricking it into running over Taken lumberjacks then giggling like a schoolgirl.
I really hope the last two chapters deviate. We shall see.
Dead Space 2: Done little more than die a few times in the opening gambit Rn through an army of Necromorphs without the use of your hands? You bastards, EA!
Frogs vs. Stalks: All finished up. Bloody tricky last few stages that verge on genius. canít give too much credit as the levels are randomly generated.
Kane & Lynch 2: Been on the backburner for a long arse time now. Started it again on a co-op and am having a blast so far. Dialled t right up to hard and am enjoying it much more than I did with solo on normal. Guns are crazy inaccurate, though.
The time is nearly upon us. Look to the skies in fear.
Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying.
People seemed to miss this. So, for your viewing plesure, a youtube link that's not an awful metal music video.