How long is too long?

After pouring 100 hours into the incredible CRPG beast Divinity: Original Sin 2, I regret not being able to finish the game. I was in love with the characters, and though the story was atypical fantasy fare it was incredibly well told and my handcrafted path through the narrative had lead me down 95 hours of challenging, deep RPGing. But 100 hours later and the excellent characters, great storytelling, deep punishing systems becomes an overwhelming weight on my shoulders. Perhaps ending at the 100 hour mark would have been a perfect length. I’d have left the game feeling incredibly satisfied. But getting that awful fatigue and not being able to push through to the end felt like a lot of time had just circled the drain. I was running on empty. Original Sin 2 is an absolutely fantastic game that reinvigorates the classic CRPG formula – a genre which had been dormant for many years. It’s sheer breadth and depth belied a game of fantastic variety and complexity, where everything you did felt important – where your own input felt important. You were at the heart of the story. As it stands, Original Sin 2 is easily one of my faveourite games of the year.

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Divinity: Original Sin 2

Divinity: Original Sin 2 updates the classic CRPG formula properly. Unlike Pillars of Eternity which seemed like much more of a homage to a by-gone era, Larians latest entry into their long-running CRPG series uses classic CRPG tropes as a base and builds on it with new, fresh ideas. Character-based roleplaying is brought out of the rose-tinted memories of the 90’s and into the here and now with some great new modern twists on the formula. Divinity: Original Sin 2 distances itself from Obsidians recent crowdfunded efforts by making them look like nothing more than derivative in comparison, and that’s quite a feat considering how polished and intricately detailed the worlds of games like Tyranny and Pillars of Eternity are.

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Pewdiepie is a symptom of the internet’s Pandora’s box: social media

For as long as I can remember, over the course of fifteen years of online gaming one thing has been certain – encountering gamers online has always involved having to wear your thick skin and endure a potential barrage of misery. I can remember as far back as Counter-Strike 1.6 where it wasn’t uncommon to hear racial epithets screamed at the top of someone’s lungs, or to see a degree of abuse that in the real world would be borderline abusive and violent. For better or for worse, the internet is a Pandora’s box for the digital age. In bringing us closer together it’s also given us a glimpse into the psyche of humanity, and sometimes what we see is too ugly to bare.

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No Mans Sky – worth playing?

Looking back to the release of No Mans Sky last year, it’s hard not to think of Hello Games’ much talked about space exploration epic as anything other than a burning wreckage on the side of the road. in reality it’s a story we should be more familiar with – A meteoric rise in interest, insane levels of hype and some slight dishonesty on the part of Hello Games means that it was almost destined to fail and if you’ve been around the block for a while in games media you’ve probably seen this story before. Daikatana, Spore and many others were victims of the exact same fate that No Mans Sky suffered. So when the game finally landed on the alien planet of gamer culture its landing gears cracked and fell off in orbit and sent the burning hull of Hello Games screaming down to earth with a bang. People were angry. Angry about the skeletal, bare bones experience of the game, frustrated that it promised the world and didn’t deliver, and bitterly disappointed with Sean Murray of Hello Games specifically for not being honest. And while the game was certainly disappointing, the whirlwind of criticism surrounding Hello Games last year reached a fever pitch that was difficult to watch. Anyone in tune with the zillions of Reddit threads on the topic at the time was either joining in the with their own flaming torches and pitchforks or couldn’t bear to look at the carnage.

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Bus Stop Games: Downwell

Bus Stop Games is a new feature that explores and picks apart mobile games avaliable in either hand-held or mobile format and assesses how much fun they are on London’s most well known public transport system – the bus. Today, we’re looking at Downwell for the PS Vita.

There’s often a bit of a trade-off between simplicity and depth in games. traditional knowledge would suggest that the simpler the mechanics, the less depth a game has. It’s hard to give something meant for quick, rapid-fire bursts of fun anything more than a surface level thrill. Right? Well… not necessarily. Continue reading “Bus Stop Games: Downwell”

Nioh Six Months On

Nioh is looking like it might be one of my favourite games of the year. Miraculous, actually, because 2017 is the year I hung up my love for soulslikes permanently. As a formula, the Souls games don’t really lend themselves too well to imitation, primarily because much of the draw of the seminal dark fantasy game is in its unknowable mystery. The world was a beautiful, lost enigma, one that you could never hope to fathom. But thanks to the internet and a multitude of fan communities, the secrets of the games are, by now, quite common knowledge amongst souls enthusiasts like myself. The lore of the world, the layout of Lordran, the stats and the multitude of character builds, the tragic stories of the games hopeless inhabitants have been extensively detailed in a multitude of wiki’s, youtube videos and, of course, Continue reading “Nioh Six Months On”

Fire Pro Wrestling World – Early Access Preview

Outside of the annual 2K WWE games, we don’t get a lot of great wrestling games anymore. As with the decline in interest in Professional Wrestling in general, the promise of great wrestling games doesn’t really exist anymore. And while the 2K efforts are certainly admirable in their breadth, it’s their depth and awkward presentation that leaves a lot to be desired. It’s easy to recreate an arcade representation of a match, but not easy to match the organic sense of melodrama you see in the squared circle. So how does Fire Pro Wrestling World stack up?

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The War Epilogue: Metal Gear Hunter

The War Epilogue is a series focussing on the Metal Gear Solid Series, from 1, through to 4, in release date order. I’ll analyze where the series used to be, all the way up to where it went, and the themes that lay behind the games. Metal Gear Solid, much like it’s creator, is a larger than life series with layers of complexities that flood the veins of gaming culture, even to this day. With the controversial final entry The Phantom Pain firmly lodged in my mind, I will journal my experiences with these groundbreaking, genre-defining titles having never played a single one. This time, I’m looking at Peace Walker.

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