South Park: The Fractured But Whole Shouldn’t be an RPG

The response to South Park: The Fractured But Whole has been conflicted.  Critics say the predecessor was funnier, while fans accuse the critics of failing to understand the show’s comedy. Continue reading

Advertisements

Hellblade or: How I Learned to Keep Worrying and Appreciate Horror

As in life, many people go head first into video games cocksure and confident of their actions, be it with calculated puzzle solving skills or swift reactions and perfect aim.  I am not one of these people.

Save for Tetris – I am okay at Tetris – I doubt every action, question every decision and tentatively hover over every trigger.  I’m a gaming mess.  A gibbering, bumbling, anxious mess.

And this is why I hate Hellblade, or at least hate playing Hellblade.  Continue reading

Vegan Gaming: Where the Goats Are

Vegans are haunted by one particularly annoying hypothetical situation: ‘But what would you eat if you were stranded on a desert island?’  I stopped entertaining this question about a month into being a vegetarian.  It’s a cop-out question from people who either can’t or won’t discuss the moral implications of the meat and dairy industry.  I now often respond with the equally evasive retort: ‘How many people could actually hunt a damn animal with self-made tools as opposed to foraging?’

But I entertained a similar situation while playing Where the Goats Are by Memory of God, a game about farming goats and chickens in the face of the apocalypse. Continue reading

Podcast: Scratching the Itch

 

 

This Thursday, if all goes to plan, the first episode of Scratching the Itch will be available for your eager ears.

Every two weeks, Luke Kear, Gareth Monk and a lovely guest will delve into a free or cheap indie game – you know, those games that just about scratch the proverbial itch.  Feel free to play the games we play so you can completely disagree with our opinions!

In the first episode, we’ll be joined by the delightful Jessica Thomas to talk about Robert Yang’s The Tearoom.

See you then!

Prey is Gay (and that’s bloody fantastic)

By using a little common sense and a lot of strong writing, Prey absolutely hits the nail on the head in its representation of gay characters.  The folks over at Arkane Studios are proving to be one of the most capable storytellers in the business with genuinely inventive twists.  Even the mimics, Prey’s lowest level enemies, defy their skittish facehugger-like appearance with the ability to mimic any object in the vicinity.  As collecting objects is essential, this makes every interaction unsettling.

It’s not that Prey is particularly inventive or even subtle in representing its gay characters but it avoids dimwittedly making a fuss about it.  Sexual orientation isn’t of particular importance to the central sci-fi narrative, so it is appropriately not overplayed.  That said, Prey is far from coy about its gay characters.  They are simply present.  Frankly, it’s the finest approach to the woefully unrepresented and misrepresented issue of sexual orientation. Continue reading

Horizon Zero Dawn: What’s that on the Horizon? Wait, what’s that in the foreground?

Horizon Zero Dawn is a very beautiful game.  Whether you’re walking through a lush valley, hunting in a desert or scaling a snowy mountain peak, it never fails to impress with abundant detail.  But, it’s also disorienting and forgettable.  It epitomises the problems I have with more recent open-world games.  Not only is there usually too much to do but there’s too much to take in. Continue reading

The Last Guardian – Cantankerous Cats and Catastrophic Cameras

From the onset, it’s obvious The Last Guardian is a specifically designed experience.  Fumito Ueda and Team Ico are known for their deliberately sparse and evocative worlds but a failure to pay attention to the flawed gameplay undermines such meticulous craft in The Last Guardian, creating a serene world that is equally horrific, beautiful and unnecessarily frustrating.

Continue reading