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Stop Taking Games So Literally – Nathan Drake is not a Mass Murderer

I’m well past tired of hearing faux-intellectuals pontificating on the ethical and moral implications of action sequences depicted in games. Most often this is presented as a question of how we are supposed to like Nathan Drake when over the course of a game he will kill hundreds of people. “Sure, they were pirates or mercenaries with violent intent, but they were still human! And the scale of death must have some psychological impact on the player character, must it not?” But this kind of navel gazing is simply more proof of how young the industry is, and how the[…]

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Grand Sphere: Legend of the Dragon – F’ing Great F2P

For a long time I’ve had the bad habit of installing a ton of games on my phone and tablet but never actually playing them. I went through a phase where I downloaded a variety of the more popular titles like Puzzle and Dragons, Dungeon Link, Final Fantasy: Record Keeper and Terra Battle to sample. While I found something to like in a number of these games, none ever really hooked me. So there they languished, idly occupying space on my smartphone’s flash storage. Grand Sphere: Legend of the Dragon is a free to play mobile game from Silicon Studios,[…]

I’ll Miss You, Ryan Davis

I learned Ryan Davis had passed when I opened twitter Monday afternoon and followed a context free link to Dave Snider’s understated tribute site ThanksRyan.com. It only dawned on me slowly what I was looking at, and I swiftly began looking through my history only to discover nothing but further confirmation that he had died at the age of 24. Like a lot of people I took this news like a blow to the sternum. I never met the man, but the inevitable nature of Giant Bomb and the way Ryan, Jeff, Vinny, Brad, Patrick and Drew have opened their[…]

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PlayStation Streaming? On a Summer’s Day?

It’s amazing how a single, off hand comment in an E3 preview article can give birth to such a great deal of anticipation and speculation. I have to believe VG24/7 knew exactly what they were doing when they inserted a throwaway comment about Sony announcing a partnership with a major player in cloud gaming at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo like a bomb into a boilerplate preview. It wasn’t until the rumor was already burning up NeoGAF and other gaming forums that the kernel was published as a stand alone rumor. Despite having so little to go on, gamers across[…]

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FTL: Star Cruiser Whoosh!

FTL: Faster than Light is a self described spaceship roguelike-like. That second “like” isn’t there by accident. Rouglikes have traditionally been fantasy inspired turn-based RPGs, heavy on the stats and challenge, but light on art assets. Last year’s Dungeons of Dreadmore garnered a lot of success by wrapping that traditional dungeon crawling gameplay with charming and attractive sprite-based graphics, and a healthy sense of humor, especially regarding the genre’s famously punishing difficulty and enforced permadeath. The two man team behind FTL are straying from that formula in significant fashion. Most obviously, rather than playing a single adventurer in an (often[…]

Remember how amazing uncharted 3 sounded when the Villa was burning down around you? Bioware doesn't. Mass Effect has special silent flames.

The Soundless Sins of Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3 sounds like shit. I mean that literally. Having played the recently released demo on the PC, Xbox 360 AND PS3, nothing struck me with more force than how awful the sound design is. Sure, the animations were robotic and unnatural, the writing was hammy and cringe inducing, but it’s the shocking lack of effort devoted to creating a realistic, or cinematic sound-scape that sticks out like a throbbing, sore thumb. The biggest problem is what’s missing. I’m not about to complain about the voice work, music or specific sound effects. Those elements aren’t bad, they just sound[…]