Archive for the ‘Work’ category

Work: Mass Effect

July 26, 2008

My review of the PC version of Mass Effect is published in the latest PC PowerPlay. (Just a little late, I know.) I loved it on Xbox 360 last year, considering it 3rd behind Portal and BioShock on my personal “Best of 2007” list, and the PC version compares favourably thanks to some neat interface tweaks.

As usual, here’s an excerpt:

“Charting Bioware’s approach to RPG design results in something of a linear progression. While each new Bioware new title demonstrates an almost unwavering commitment to dramatic story-telling, expansive game worlds and player choice through dialogue and character advancement, equally there’s a clear determination to showcase combat in an increasingly immediate and immersive fashion. Mass Effect quite clearly continues this evolution.”

For me, Mass Effect is BioWare’s best game. Respect is probably the word I’d use to describe my feelings towards their previous titles. I always felt Baldur’s Gate, Knight of the Old Republic, etc were impressive games, but I could never find myself loving them in the same way I fell for their Black Isle and Obsidian contemporaries. Freed from the shackles of someone else’s IP, BioWare has taken the opportunity to shine. Mass Effect is seriously good.

Work: Independence Play

July 26, 2008

Forgive the awful pun, please.

I’ve fallen in love with indie games this year. Much of my life has been spent playing PC games – from Colossal Cave at my Dad’s office on weekends to the daily Quake 3 sessions when I worked at Next Media a few years ago. But when I left the editor’s chair of PC PowerPlay in 2005, I took something of a break from the PC and console gaming stepped in. Of course, I’d always played console games too, but for the first time they were now dominating my gaming hours.

My discovery of the “indie scene” has changed that this year. Today I’m more likely to fire up Audiosurf or Aquaria than switch on my Xbox 360. So I decided to write about the new wave of independent developers for PC PowerPlay. It’s in the new issue (on sale now!) and after the jump is a sample where I speak with Audiosurf creator Dylan Fitterer:


Work: Fallout 3

July 26, 2008

Two articles I wrote from a trip to Bethesda a couple of months back have just recently appeared in print. One is the cover story of the current issue of the Australian Official Xbox Magazine, the other is a short preview in PC PowerPlay.

I’ll quote a couple of extracts below in the hope of encouraging you to pick up both magazines.

From OXM:

“Conversation is presented akin to RPGs like Knights of the Old Republic. You choose from several lines, with the dialogue branching as you choose certain options. Sometimes your skills will influence these options: you may see [Speech] appear next to one option, meaning your Speech skill was high enough to enable you to persuade or charm or threaten convincingly. If you’re a male character, you may have chosen the Lady Killer perk (a perk is like a feat in D&D, an extra ability you can select when you reach a certain level) that allows you to sweet talk the ladies – as well as deal more damage to female enemies. The end result is that there’s a pleasingly wide variety of ways to interact, depending on how you’ve crafted your character stats.”

From PCPP:

“Fallout 3 reminds me of a lot of games I like. Perhaps as a result of my penchant for rolling stealth characters in every RPG, I got a distinct Thief vibe when skulking in the shadows, monitoring enemy movements from a position of (relative) safety before lunging for the knockout blow – usually a sniper shot to the head (attacks when undetected give you a critical strike and deal triple damage).”

And shortly I’ll finally get around to posting the unpublished remainder of the interview I conducted with Emil Pagliarulo (some of which appears in OXM). Fingers crossed!

Work: The Bourne Conspiracy and Alone in the Dark

June 30, 2008

Two reviews of mine have been published in print this week. I played The Bourne Conspiracy for the Official PlayStation Magazine and Alone in the Dark for the Official Xbox Magazine. (Go buy them now! The magazines, that is, not necessarily the games.) After the jump is an excerpt from each review along with some additional commentary.