Tag Archive: game


Game of the Decade: #3

Uncharted 2

Naughty Dog’s blockbuster sequel came somewhat out of left field for me.  Not that I wasn’t aware of it, it just wasn’t on my radar as something I was interested in at all.  After playing through (or at least trying to) Drake’s Fortune, I was unimpressed. I thought the gameplay was stale and repetitive, and the set-up was typical “Dude Raider” affair. Luckily, I gave Among Thieves a shot and I was blown away. The graphics are vibrant, the environments are lush, and the facial animation is some of the best to date. The buzz word that gets thrown around all too often when talking about Uncharted 2, is setpiece, and I’m throwing it around aswell. It’s loaded with them, and they altogether form a great action experience.

One thing the Uncharted team gets so so right when creating the series is the way they motion capture and voice record. Everything is captured with all actors on set together, which creates a real chemistry between the characters that is fluid and unrivaled in the industry. The voice acting itself is phenomenal, there’s a reason Nolan North is featured in what seems like virtually every other game nowadays, and it’s because he’s the best. He’s great at what he does; Nathan Drake is entirely his creation and a big part of why the game is so enjoyable.

Mark Wahlberg is no Nolan North.

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The aforementioned Wahlberg cast as Drake in the hollywood adaptation

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Game of the Decade: #4

BioShock

One of the more recent entries to this countdown, 2k Boston’s 2007 hit BioShock sent shock waves through the industry and set a new standard for horror games. It stands as one of the few games I can honestly recommend to anyone, gamer or not. If I were to introduce someone to the medium, I would sit them down in front of a TV, put a controller in their hand, boot up BioShock, offer no other guidance, and leave them alone for an hour. I guarantee when I walk back in the room they’ll have experienced a completely unexpected emotional response.

The game follows plane crash survivor Jack, who discovers the underwater city of ‘Rapture’ in his attempt to reach safety. The game sucks you into the narrative from the get go, and you won’t want to stop until you’ve uncovered all of Raptures dark secrets. What ensues on your welcome is one of the most engaging experiences you’ll find in any game, and quite possibly the best intro sequence to date.

Look Mr. Bubbles, it's an angel...

You’re greeted by the city’s creator, Andrew Ryan, whom explains his Ayn Rand-esque motives for creating a city under the sea. The story that unfolds on your journey through Rapture is compelling and unpredictable. It admittedly peaks quite early, with a less than satisfying ending, but its peak is as high as it gets.

The combat for the most part is standard FPS fare with a few new twists. Early on, Jack is introduced to Rapture’s most unique feature, gene-splicing. You’re given access to an assortment of tonics that can grant you a wide array of plasmid powers. These plasmids can be used in conjunction with your traditional weaponry to strategically take out masses of enemies. Firing a lightning bolt into a water flooded room of enemies, or freezing an adversary and smashing them into bits with a melee attack are just 2 examples of what your plasmids can do. This spin on the genre keeps the action fresh long enough to not hamper the storytelling.

The setting and atmosphere of Rapture is what truly makes BioShock standout as an instant classic. From its spliced-out maniacal populous, to its now iconic Big Daddy, Rapture is a gloriously horrifying stage for its fantastic act. It’s one of those games I wish I could just erase all memory of so I can experience it for the first time again.

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Latest on the ‘BioShock’ movie

Game of the Decade: #10

Shadow Hearts: Covenant

Rarely does a game come as far out of left field as Covenant did, much less a JRPG.  Hitting right in the middle of the smorgasbord of PS2 RPGs, it was able to elevate itself from the pack and nab a number of awards, accolades and universal critical acclaim. Being the sequel to such an underwhelming PS2 debut Shadow Hearts, Covenant takes the series in a new direction and adds a great deal of polish.

No RPG in recent memory has come out with such a mature over-arching plot and interesting characters. It takes place in a real, gritty and dark WWI-era Europe. The themes touched on and explored are much more than the typical RPG fare, and avoids common clichés. The battle system builds upon the turn-based, judgement ring system of the first. The new combo system adds needed depth and the monster fusion system is there in full effect. Battles are smooth, challenging, and well-done.

Greatest JRPG protagonist ever?

More than anything else, the thing that stands out is the perfect length. Maybe more of a result of the rollercoaster plot, but it won’t leave you wanting more, and you won’t grow tired of it 10 hours before the finale. There are a handful of key plot points that make you think “Shit, it’s over?” only to have you pick right up off from there.  Almost as if each segment in between these points could have been expanded into a full game itself.

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