Rise of the Tomb Raider – Press A to Rise

This game starts off in the most disorienting way possible, with a dramatic climbing sequence in the snowy mountains full of quick-time button prompts. Press A. Press X. Twirl the stick and mash Y. It’s a great way to not learn how this game plays at all. It’s not too hard, just confusing. You’ll be holding up on the analog stick most of the time, watching Lara jump perfectly across gaps and grab her wall of choice. You are left guessing which direction Lara is going to jump as the camera swings wildly on its own. Just press A and hope for the best. Press X to grab the wall. Oh, okay. I did that I guess? Oh no, I fell. Wait, I’m meant to fall. Really got me there, game. The whole scene is just overly stressful despite barely any button inputs happening at all. It gave me a horrible first impression as the game felt very phony and I hadn’t even played a Tomb Raider game before and didn’t know any backstory to this game. I was ready to delete the game after this and move on.

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Catching Up – Xbox One in 2018

We’re approaching the end of 2018 and I’ve just got myself a brand new Xbox One S, five years into the lifespan of Xbox One. It’s a new world for me as I’ve been playing nothing but Nintendo stuff for the last few years, having a great time it must be said. I never had a PS4 either so this is my first time dipping into the 2013 “next-gen” console family, which is now this-gen, or half-gen to the Pro and X which will be last-gen again next year. Phew. Whatever you want to call it, I have a lot of gaming to catch up on and I thought this was a unique perspective worth a little writeup. I was lucky enough to get my XB1S bundled with Red Dead Redemption 2 and Forza Horizon 4, two very expensive new release games. The whole bundle was $100-200 AU cheaper than a Switch or PS4 by themselves, which is ridiculous. Xbox is priced very well and has huge support in Australia, and I was in a good spot to take advantage of it. It just felt like the right time with Nintendo’s Switch holiday lineup mainly focused on two games I’m not that interested in. I got home with my new Xbox and it felt like Christmas again. The old, fun, child-like Christmas, not the new HD remake “Adult Christmas” which is full of disappointing social engagements. This was going to be fun on my own terms.

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Project Highrise – A Vertical Empire

Project Highrise, by Somasim Games is an unabashed homage to Yutaka “Yoot” Saito’s 1994 hit SimTower. The two games share the same premise and aesthetic, with Project Highrise’s art style firmly planted in the early 1990s. It’s a game where you’re tasked with constructing and managing a building, leasing out space to offices, shops, hotels, restaurants and apartments, with the revenue going into services for the tenants and further construction. It’s a sandbox management sim and I think it’s a really good one, but there’s a lot to talk about and the comparisons to SimTower have to be made. Continue reading “Project Highrise – A Vertical Empire”

Xbox Adrift: Can Microsoft save the Xbox One? Should they?

An Xbox One X floats across a stormy sea.

Xbox One has the smallest presence in the gaming industry that the brand has ever had. It’s plain to see that while SS Microsoft sprouts wings and sails towards the clouds, Xbox is a raft floating hopelessly adrift in a choppy sea of home consoles. Microsoft are an astonishingly successful company who have been more than happy to abandon unsuccessful side ventures. Yet despite Xbox costing the company billions and forcing them to obscure the financial performance of the division every annual report, they remain committed to the brand. With the battle for the living room over and lost, it’s time for Microsoft to let go of consoles and reposition itself in the gaming industry. Continue reading “Xbox Adrift: Can Microsoft save the Xbox One? Should they?”

Don Bradman Cricket 14 is everything I dreamed a cricket game could be

Despite being one of the most popular sports in the world, cricket has rarely been reproduced in anything resembling a fun video game. The last good cricket games I played were the Beam Software developed Super International Cricket (SNES) and its followups on PC. Since sport sims embraced the third dimension cricket games have floundered, with only Codemasters and EA sporadically contracting third string development teams to churn out buggy, unplayable affairs. This is a shame because the first time I played an N64, fresh off my experience with Super International Cricket, I imagined a three dimensional cricket game with a dynamic camera and footwork based shot selection. After almost twenty years, Big Ant Studios have realised my dream.

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Depressing Realities Surrounding Next-Gen Gaming

Oh hey, guess what folks? The ‘true’ next-generation game systems arrived last month, but unlike most people who are absolutely convinced these are the best systems EVAH, I’m going to put out some more depressing realities that we could face. After all, didn’t you all like my last one?

No? Well shit.

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Depressing Realities Surrounding Developer Closures

Around late 2011, Pietriots member Deguello did a written piece on people wanting Nintendo to go third party and why such a thing would do more harm than good. Even today, it still speaks volumes because lately everyone is pinning Nintendo as doomed because the WiiU isn’t selling X amount of units. The same thing happened with 3DS. While I can easily point out the issue (IE Third Parties making excuses…again, people not being early adopters), developers and their publishers seem to be under this boggling mind-set that Nintendo is not worth it and the Next-Gen systems Xbox One and PS4 will be better suited for them. Continue reading “Depressing Realities Surrounding Developer Closures”