Game Review

Simon’s Best Games and Movies of 2016

Posted by Simon on December 30, 2016
Editorial, Film Review, Game Review / Comments Off on Simon’s Best Games and Movies of 2016

Hello.

2016 has been conspicuous by our absence. It almost seems strange that, in a year where everything went wrong, with so many adored artists and creators being whisked off to the afterlife, the events of the last twelve months have barely been registered on Awesome Friday.

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Review: SUPERHOT (Xbox One, PC)

Posted by Simon on May 13, 2016
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Lukewarm.

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Review: Absolute Drift (PC, Mac)

Posted by Simon on August 14, 2015
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I can’t stop playing Absolute Drift, and in order to properly explain why, I have to tell you a little story.

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Review: Galak-Z (PS4)

Posted by Simon on August 10, 2015
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Spelunky has a lot to answer for. Ever since it single-handedly championed procedurally-generated levels back in its enhanced 2012 version, many other games have been lining up to try and emulate its perfect blend of slow progression and brutal punishments. 17-Bit’s Galak-Z is the latest to follow this trend, openly shifting from its initial open-world design in favour of a chaotic and frustration-filled set of tough challenges. And it so nearly gets it right.

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Destiny: Bang, Zoom, Eventually To The Moon

Posted by Simon on September 14, 2014
Game Review / 1 Comment

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Bungie’s Destiny is the biggest game of the year so far and apparently the highest-selling day one digital console release ever, but how does the actual game hold up against the massive expectations?

Well, if you’re a fan of Halo‘s tight gunplay, then you’ll be in heaven. However, if you’re expecting the kind of intense single-player narrative from Bungie’s days with Master Chief, then it may leave you wanting. But this is one of Destiny‘s main tricks; wide, open and full of excitement, it invites you to find your own stories.

And what stories they can be.

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Review: Desert Golfing (iOS, Android)

Posted by Simon on September 12, 2014
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22.

23.

Life is one long sand bunker.

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Review: Crimsonland (PS Vita, also available on PS4 and PC)

Posted by Simon on August 25, 2014
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Crimsonland banner

As I got into bed last night I slipped my hand under the covers and something buzzed against it. I instinctively yanked my arm away while something black and striped and angry crawled out from underneath the duvet and headbutted the light in determined repetition. I wish I could say that my response was calm and measured, but it was more like Free Willy jumping out of the aquarium with a high-pitched yelp to match. It was dealt with.

Now, imagine that scenario but you’re in the middle of a swarm of hundreds of these bastards and all you have is an machine gun. Or replace the bugs with zombies, or lizard men, or tiny red demons, or mechanical spiders that split into more spiders, and more spiders, and more spiders, when you destroy them. Welcome to Crimsonland, where Borderlands meets Earth Defense Force in a bloodied frenzy.

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Review: Nidhogg (PC)

Posted by Simon on January 24, 2014
Game Review / 3 Comments

Nidhogg

If games are dancing, then Nidhogg is the Argentinian Tango. Grace and blood, attacks and parries, personal space being fiercely invaded time and time again. Swift moves sometimes sliding into long-held pauses with heartbeat percussion as underscore. The name for developer Messhof’s newly-released fencing-come-LSD-trip comes from a huge dragon featured in Norse mythology, whose primary interest was the chewing of both life-trees and on the bodies of the unfit for eternity.

And once this game has you, there couldn’t be a more apt title.

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Simon’s Best Games And Movies Of The Year

Posted by Simon on December 31, 2013
Editorial, Film Review, Game Review / 1 Comment

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It’s time to interrupt the endless barrage of Christmas calories

that I seem intent on shoving down my throat as quickly as possible

seriously, it’s like Gluttony Man in Se7en

but I don’t have my body tied down,

my arms are wilfully ladling anything alcoholic or sweet or tasty into my mouth

like it’s going out of fashion

to round up what I think have been my personal favourite games and movies of 2013.

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Great Moments Of The Generation: Vanquish’s Opening Hour Staples Jaw To Floor

Posted by Simon on December 11, 2013
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Shinji Mikami is a man involved in redefinitions. He created the modern horror genre with Resident Evil. He defined third-person stylish action with Devil May Cry. He followed these by redefining action games with Resident Evil 4 and made the funniest, most hardcore brawler ever in the sublime God Hand.

Then he took a look at one of the staples of Western game design – the third person cover shooter, popularised by Gears Of War – and casually made a game that bests all of them. That game, Vanquish, isn’t just a standout moment of the generation, but is also one of my all-time favourite games. And it’s really down to jawache.

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Great Moments Of The Generation: Leaps Of Faith In Mirror’s Edge

Posted by Simon on December 10, 2013
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I had to go full circle with Mirror’s Edge. It took two returns and three purchases to finally become friends with DICE’s parkour adventure. First, there was love at the sight of the first trailer; blue skies and scrubbed white buildings as a playground for first-person running. Next, obsession with the demo, learning the quirks and characteristics to try and get the best time. But, then came the full game.

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Great Moments Of The Generation: The Trials Of Trials HD

Posted by Simon on December 06, 2013
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Redlynx’s Trials HD burst onto the Xbox 360 in 2009, a shiny update of Trials 2 that had been a PC favourite for a long time. The transition to console brought a few things to the table – a more playful attitude, perfect controls, and hundreds of Back buttons becoming suddenly spotlessly clean as impatient thumbs hammered them repeatedly.

For not only is Trials HD tense, brutal and gratifying, it’s also king of the just-one-more-go.

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Great Moments Of The Generation: Uncharted 2’s Jeep-Hopping

Posted by Simon on December 05, 2013
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The extra power of the PS3 and Xbox 360 generation heralded an important development in gaming: the dreams of matching the cinematic narrative style so prevalent in Hollywood could finally be realised. In hindsight, this strictly linear approach had arguably more failures than successes – for every Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare there was a HAZE, every Heavy Rain matched by a Turning Point. It was clear that pure power wasn’t enough – it had to be utilised not only by expert coders, but also by writers and directors who understood the need  for deep, compelling characters in an exciting story.

And the absolute peak of this new wave was Naughty Dog’s expertly constructed Uncharted 2.

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Great Moments Of The Generation: Tomb Raider’s “I’M COMING FOR ALL OF YOU”

Posted by Simon on December 04, 2013
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Tomb Raider! How did that even happen? A burnt out franchise starring a bygone star of  a gaming age where breasts (and size thereof) were equal to guns (and size thereof). The next in a long line of adventure games that were quickly paling under the harsh cinematic light of Uncharted. The ubiquitous reboot of a beloved icon that was going to be darker and grittier. Yaaaaaaawn. Time to roll over and stay down, Lara.

But developer Crystal Dynamics had a twin-prong plan; make Lara real, and tell a bloody good story. Continue reading…

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Great Moments Of The Generation: Almost Getting Fired Because Of Geometry Wars Waves

Posted by Simon on December 03, 2013
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GWW2How important is employment? From very early on in our childhood, we’re funnelled down the process of refining some skills and repressing others to prepare for our mythical lifetime job. Nothing holds a higher priority than forcing children into shapes that might one day yield the all-important salary, an approach that is seemingly justified by the existence of endless bills as adulthood takes hold.

So, after years of education and hardship and crappy interim jobs selling your soul a chunk at a time in the form of car insurance policies, it must take something pretty special to tempt you into actually risking your hold on a stable, career-based job.

Unfortunately, Geometry Wars Waves is exactly that kind of special.

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