We’ve been in the “HD era” for a while now — so long, in fact, that titles from the early days of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 probably count as being “retro”.
An all-time classic from this early period — a dark time when developers apparently didn’t know what VSync was — was Capcom’s Dead Rising, an ambitious quasi-open world affair that saw you battering your way through hordes of zombies in an attempt to solve the mysterious outbreak in a sleepy Colorado town. There are better ways to play this today, but I’ll always have a soft spot for the original Xbox 360 version — particularly with how cheaply you can acquire a copy today.
Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
The longer I run this site, the more it becomes clear that immediate, embargoed, day-one reviews of video games haven’t been doing a lot of titles justice for a very long time now — right back to the PlayStation 2 era at the very least, and probably beyond.
The trouble is, thanks to the Metacritic-fuelled world we live in, if a game scores poorly in those initial reviews, in most cases it is doomed to languish in obscurity, even if there are interesting things to say about it. There are occasional outliers — the wonderful Nier is probably the best example — but for every game that manages to claw its way out of the darkness to get some degree of recognition, there are myriad others destined to be forgotten.
Which brings us to Quantum Theory, a third-person shooter developed by the people behind the Project Zero series. Almost universally panned by Western reviewers on its original release in 2010, this is not a game that anyone looks back on particularly fondly — or at all, in most cases. But I thought it sounded interesting. And you know what? It is. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Quantum Theory: Tower Toppler
What might it look like if the creative minds behind the masterful Project Zero series of ghost-hunting survival horror games made a third-person shooter?
A lot like Quantum Theory, as it happens! Released in 2010 as the work of Project Zero creator Makoto Shibata and Koei Tecmo’s Team Tachyon development department, Quantum Theory was not well received by press or public alike. Checking it out ten years later, though, it turns out there’s a lot of interesting — and visually arresting — stuff to explore in this game.
So let’s do that in the video below! Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more when you’re done.
Final Fantasy XIII wasn’t a bad game. Neither was Final Fantasy XIII-2. And neither is the conclusion to the Final Fantasy XIII saga, Lightning Returns. Don’t just take my word for it, though; plenty of critics agree.
In one of the last issues of the sadly defunct GamePro magazine, my former colleague AJ Glasser gave FFXIII four stars out of five. 1up.com gave the game an A- rating. Eurogamer gave it 8/10. And, despite a couple of outliers, the overall consensus at the time of release was that Final Fantasy XIII was a good game — not a perfect one, by any means — but a good one. The same was true for Final Fantasy XIII-2, which scored slightly lower on average, and while I’ll admit Lightning Returns reviews were somewhat more mixed — not everyone enjoyed the game’s peculiar mechanics and structure — there were still a lot of comments about how interesting it was, despite its flaws.
Which is why it’s so baffling that I find a lot of the online discourse surrounding this particular part of Final Fantasy’s history so overwhelmingly negative.
Continue reading From the Archives: It’s Time to Admit Final Fantasy XIII Wasn’t Actually That Bad
The dearly departed Bizarre Creations were best known for their racing games — Metropolis Street Racer on Dreamcast, the Project Gotham series on Xbox platforms and the wonderful game that would, sadly, turn out to be their death-knell: Blur.
But throughout the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 era, they actually fiddled around with quite a few different styles of game. They made a James Bond game, for one — you better believe that will show up at some point in the near future — as well as the delightful “techno-classical” rhythm game Boom Boom Rocket.
Today we’re taking a look at The Club, a Sega-published game that combines gritty third-person shooter action with arcadey scoring and racing mechanics; a modern-day (well, late 2000s) Outtrigger, in many ways. Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
Despite not really being old enough to truly understand and appreciate it when it was “current”, I was a big fan of Rainbird’s Carrier Command from 1988.
With those fond memories, I was delighted to see Arma developers Bohemia Interactive take another crack at the idea in 2012 — though I never actually got around to trying it for myself back then for one reason or another.
Time to rectify that, with the assistance of my cat Patti! Check out my strategic incompetence in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
Remember Battleship? ‘Course you do. It’s the game parents use to teach kids about grid references, and a game that, despite being regarded as an all-time classic, has all the tactical depth of playing “Guess What Number I’m Thinking Of”.
Do you remember the 2012 movie, though? It had Rihanna in it. Also aliens. And there was a video game adaptation for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, developed by Double Helix and published by Activision. Both were pretty roundly panned by critics at the time of original release for being seemingly stupid ideas that had very little to do with the source material they were supposedly based on.
With the seventh generation of video game consoles rapidly entering “retro” territory, you can now pick up unpopular, poorly received, critically maligned titles like Battleship for less than a fiver. And you know how much I love a good unpopular, poorly received, critically maligned title, particularly when you can divorce it from its original context and enjoy it on its own terms. So let’s take a closer look at Battleship.
Continue reading Battleship: B4 U H8
I latched on to the Test Drive series pretty early in my life, because it allowed child-Pete the opportunity to pretend that he was driving a real car. This is something that child-Pete was very excited about.
The series has experimented with a variety of different structures and formats over the years, but it finally became what child-Pete (and adult-Pete) always wanted it to be with the advent of 2006’s Test Drive Unlimited, released for PlayStation 2, Xbox 360 and PSP.
Check out the Xbox 360 version in action in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
I love a good racing game. And, while the definition of “good racing game” may vary from person to person, in my case that means “ridiculous, physically improbable and probably fatal things happening in realistic-looking environments”.
I have no interest in an accurate simulation of what it’s like to drive a Rover Metro around Donington Park circa 1987, but present me with the opportunity to fling myself off the side of a quarry on a motorbike going over 200 miles per hour while I admire the ruins of ancient Greece passing majestically by beneath me, and I am 100% there.
As you may have surmised, nail’d falls very comfortably and firmly into this latter category.
Continue reading nail’d: Look Out Below
We made it, everyone! After 60 weekly(ish) episodes, we finally made it all the way through Warriors Orochi from start to finish.
The funny thing is that there’s still actually a bunch more of this game I could continue to play if I wanted to, and I might just do that off-camera. There are harder difficulties to challenge, hidden items to discover, weapons to collect and even more characters to unlock.
But for now, this particular “season” of Warriors Wednesday is over. Next week, we’ll be kicking off a look at something a little different: Warriors All-Stars, which brings together characters from a variety of different Koei Tecmo games to save a fantasy world from destruction. Please look forward to it.
And if you’ve watched any or all of this series… a sincere thank you! I hope you enjoyed it. But our job here is far from over!
Glutton for punishment? Watch the whole thing here and admire my gradual progression of confidence in both making videos and editing them!