World Rebuilding: A Close Look at Bastion

Like most fantasy, Bastion draws attention to the art of world-building: the landscapes and societies that emerged from the mind of the developer, were given life by the artists, and are now displayed on our monitors. Cast as an enigmatic protagonist known only as The Kid, I explore the ruins of the great city of Caelondia, now…

The Problem with Game Reviews

Michael Abbott over at Brainy Gamer recently posted an analysis of Metacritic scores for AAA games. Surveying 58 big-budget games released in the last two years, he found that they roughly recieved all the same score. They ranged from 79 to 97, but the average standard deviation from the mean (87.3) was only four and…

Don’t Show Me Gameplay

A few hours I after I wrote the last entry, the second live-action promotional trailer for Deus Ex: Human Revolution was released. DX:HR has taken a well-deserved ribbing for its hyper-aggressive marketing, including what may be the record for most trailer footage. As noted earlier, I’ve avoided these later gameplay trailers. The live action trailers…

Too Much Information

About a week ago, Tom Auxier over at Nightmare Mode posted an excellent article about “mechanical spoilers,” in which he argues that the massive amount of pre-release press for AAA titles robs any surprise or mystery from the initial play experience; there may be unknown plot twists, but every design feature has already been publicized….

Dead Space: The Fall of the Space Sim

Author’s Note: I originally wrote this for a job application, and think enough time has passed that I can post it here. This is very much an academic analysis; a more personal entry on my love affair with space sims is forthcoming. Gaming pundits declare genres “dead” with alarming frequency. They are, inevitably, wrong. The…

Close Look: Fallout: New Vegas: Extra Colon Edition

Author’s Note: Since I’m writing about a pretty prominent game here, I’m going to assume some knowledge of the game and the series on your part; there’s no point regurgitating reviews at this point. As always, use Wikipedia if you need a quick catch-up, or better yet, play the original Fallout. There are few things…

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and the New Expansion

I’ve spent 3 days doing little but playing Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, last year’s follow-up to Assassin’s Creed II. The game is absolutely brimming with content: a myriad of quests, collectables and achievements to drive the player to the next icon on their map. In the last few years the RPG has become ubiquitous, not in…