Risen is an old-school role playing game that does very little to make itself appealing to the more “casual” gamer. In terms of overall characteristics, Risen is similar to games like Oblivion- but whereas Oblivion tries to make it easy to progress and overcome your mistakes, Risen makes no such allowances. Interestingly enough, although I generally like “easier” games, I’m actually really enjoying Risen… on the PC. From what I’ve seen and heard, the XBox version should be avoided. Continue reading Risen: Spiritual successor to Gothic 3→
I have been a subscriber to PC Gamer magazine for six or seven years now. I have enjoyed the magazine: its humour, the generally well thought out reviews of computer games, and most especially the regular columns by people like Andy Mahood and Desslock (Stefan Janicki). I could rely on these industry observers to give me something enjoyable to read whenever the games being reviewed failed to interest me… which was more often than not. Each of these writers focused on genres: RPGs, Simulations, First Person Shooters, and so on: I could get reasonably intelligent snapshots of entire industry segments from these folks.
In the April issue of PC Gamer, the new “Editor in Chief”, Gary Steinman, announced the end of the “back of the magazine” columnists. In a failed attempt to be humorous, Mr. Steinman described those who enjoyed these sections as expressing some sort of defect, reading the “wrong” parts of the magazine instead of the stuff he deems “interesting”. Any marginally competent editor would have actually surveyed some readers to see what they actually, oh, I don’t know, enjoyed about the magazine? That might have been wise, but Mr. Steinman didn’t do this.
I have to assume that Gary Steinman isn’t totally incompetent, and that there was really some other reason for the butchery. My best guess would be that the change was made because Mr. Steinman has been assigned the role of “hatchet man”, sent in to brutally hack off the limbs from PC Gamer and reduce costs. The whole thing will now be rubber-stamp written by largely personality-free drones from the British division of Future Media, the company that owns the publication. This will undoubtedly reduce costs. I know these kinds of things happen and, although I wish the new hatchetman…er, editor, could have been more honest, I don’t wish ill upon those who remain.
The problem I have here is that the magazine is now basically a hollow shell. It is nothing more than a bunch of miscellaneous reviews that I could get online for free without having to wade through dozens of pages of stuff I don’t care about. Months ago they actually started reprinting content from the GamesRadar.com website: yes, a print magazine reprinting web content. It would be different, I suppose, if the reprinted content was actually *good*: but instead it is insipidly written “top 10/top x” lists, barely worth reading on a website and a total waste in a print magazine. And let’s not forget the massive “cell phone games” reprints from their sister publications they keep bombarding me with: if I wanted coverage of cell phone games, I’d go buy a cell phone game magazine. With no genre focus areas and no regular personality columnists there really isn’t much left for me to pay for.
I have no plans now to renew when my subscription runs out. I wish Norm, Andy, Desslock, and the other regular columnists who got canned the best of luck. As for PC Gamer and the new editor in chief… I’m sure you just had a job to do, and did what you were told. Good luck pretending it was an improvement.
Fallout 3 is the third chapter to the Fallout series of games, brought to life by Bethesda rather than the original developers Black Isle/Interplay which went bankrupt before they could release their version of this episode. Bethesda started over from scratch, using the same underlying engine as was used in Oblivion, the most recent episode of the Elder Scroll series.
It is important to note that I have never played any of the previous games in the Fallout series. Set in a post-apocalyptic world with a rather unique blend of idealized American 1950’s “better dead then red” culture and high-technology/cyberpunk, Fallout’s strengths have always been providing players with a massive “sandbox” game world combined with a somewhat twisted sense of dark humour.
The fans of the original episodes have been rather critical of Fallout 3- it is, after all, a quite different game. I have played the game without any preconceptions, and can personally say that it is an exceptionally enjoyable and deep experience. It may not be the same game as the older entries in the series, but it stands on its own as a worthy adventure in its own right.
Game developers for the personal computer are becoming scarce. More and more developers are changing their focus to develop console games- games for the XBox 360, PS3, Wii, and so on. Many of the games that make it to the PC are low-quality “ports” of games that were first release months or years earlier on the console.
It was a great relief on a lot of levels to play BioShock after my rant about checkpoint saves the other day. In addition to being an XBox 360 game (also available on the PC) with unlimited saves, it is probably one of the best computer games I’ve played in a long while.
BioShock has it all: a fantastic and original story, brilliantly realized game mechanics, and stunning use of visuals and audio. The story is set during the post WWII era: your passenger plane plane crashes and you, the only apparent survivor, discover the entrance to a secret oasis…or what might have once been one. Rapture, an entire underwater city founded by a wealthy man with a passing resemblance to Howard Hughes, was founded on principles of moral and scientific freedom. Unfortunately, it seems as if something has gone terribly wrong…
Lionhead games released a game called “Fable” (note: site uses Flash plugin) a few years ago. I dismissed it because a few folks who liked “goofy/cartoonish” style games thought it was a great thing.
I picked up a discounted XBox version of Fable over the weekend. Not XBox 360, but XBox- it runs under emulation mode in my XBox 360, though. This means that the graphics aren’t great. But after playing the game for (according to it’s in-game stats) a bit over 7 hours, I can say I truly regret not trying it sooner.