A brief scan of Wikipedia has just revealed that the Legend of Zelda series is two years older than I am – and I’m not sure whether that makes me feel young or old. A slightly more involved bit of research reveals that there have been sixteen Zelda games to date (released in English at least), across ten different Nintendo platforms – and that just makes me feel tired.
There are certainly enough Zelda games now that the series can stand to be analysed all by itself, as its own little corner of the video gaming landscape. And so much of the series has been drilled down to a near-perfect formula over those twenty-seven years that I’m led to wonder; just what, now, is the truest example of a Zelda game? What is the perfect Zelda? Continue reading
With the third part of Scott Lynch’s excellent Gentleman Bastard sequence, The Republic of Thieves, recently hitting bookshelves and therefore my Kindle, I decided to rekindle (ha) my hazy memory of the series by working my way through the first two novels again.
I’m glad I did – it’s cemented the series as one of my favourite modern fantasy ventures, and Lynch as one of the best fantasy authors currently writing. If you’ve not yet been introduced to the world of Locke Lamora and friends, now’s a great time to start.
Come for great twisting plots of intrigue and larceny, and stay for the cast of charming characters and the solid vein of wit that runs throughout. Lamora never becomes bogged down in its excellently-realised fantasy setting, doesn’t get carried away with its own lore, instead using its world a framework for its gleefully bent cast to carry out their ever-more-outlandish schemes in scintillating style.
As much a crime thriller as a traditional fantasy novel, Lamora is excellently paced, keeping the reader constantly on their toes and throwing them for a loop more than once with some seriously affecting plot twists. Pick it up if you’ve even a passing interest in fantasy or thievery, and check out more of the excellent things Lynch is working on here.
Perhaps I’ve just been lucky in that my exposure to the free-to-play business model has so far been limited – or at least limited to examples that are so easy to ignore that I can’t really take issue (no, Robot Unicorn Attack 2, I won’t be paying you any money to listen to anything but that one default track, thanks.)
But now I’ve started playing Plant vs. Zombies 2, and I find myself conflicted. It’s not that PvZ2 has a particularly obnoxious business model – it’s actually pretty respectful of my desire not to spend a load of money on digital crap, and it offers a ton of content for zero cost.
Nope, don’t want ‘em.
And that’s my issue, really. PvZ2 is a great game – a game I’d happily have paid money for. What I’m not going to pay money for is the purchase of a digital squash guy and a bunch of in-game currency. So now I feel bad, because the guys at PopCap deserve to have my money, and they’re not going to get any. Continue reading
It’s that time of year again – the month when several billion dollars worth of videogames arrive on store shelves all within a couple of weeks of each other, forcing gamers to pick one or two favoured series or else face hundreds of pounds of expense and hundreds more hours to play every winter blockbuster.
The Big Videogame rush has always struck me as pretty stupid – yes, I get that you all want to be the number one game for Christmas, but when you’re Assassin’s Creed or Call of Duty you could sell several trillion copies any time of year and not have to worry about all the other billion-dollar franchises chewing into your sales.
But no, November is the time of the gold-plated AAA, capital-V Videogame. And this year I find myself exhausted with it. I’m holding a protest. I’m not buying any of them. Continue reading
Time to bring out the fireworks, folks, and it’s nothing to do with Guy Fawkes. No, there’s something far more important to celebrate; I just finished the story in a Grand Theft Auto game for the first time ever.
There are many reasons why while I enjoyed many of the previous GTA games I never actually finished one of them. They were too long, too hard, or just not interesting enough. Perhaps I’m too picky. Perhaps it takes a budget of $25 million to make me stick something through to the end. Never let it be said that my attention can be bought cheap.
Regardless, due to a heady mix of smart gameplay and design improvements and a whole truckload of development dollars, Rockstar have succeeded in creating a game I was willing to see through to its 50-hour conclusion. And I am left with a split opinion about a game that is in some respects incredible, and in others kind of lacking.
I’m going to discuss story, because it’s about the only thing I feel even remotely qualified to discuss in a multi-billion dollar videogame franchise, and it’s also the thing in GTA V that most obviously doesn’t work. From this point on there will be spoilers for the entire story of GTA V, so if you haven’t finished the game, don’t read on. Continue reading