Jan 19, 2013

DMC: Devil May Cry Review

     The Devil May Cry series has always been one that I've had an odd relationship with. I've played/own each game, have beaten 1 & 2, and have fantasized about being Dante once or twice (admit it, you know you have too), and while I've always liked the games and had great fun with them, I wouldn't really call myself a fan. To me the entire series is a collection of well executed action games that provide a great amount of surface-level entertainment, but very little depth beyond that. And yes, before anybody jumps down my throat, I'm aware that the whole point of Devil May Cry is to be a cheesy action hack n' slash, and that the complexity is found in mastering the combat system, not in its aesthetics or narrative. The point I'm trying to make is that the series is about fun and testing your skills: everything else, narrative include, is secondary. Hardcore DMC fans may disagree with me, but I bring this point up because I get the feeling that these same individuals will be criticizing DMC: Devil May Cry for the exact same reasons they defend the previous four games; I can't say for certain, just a hunch.

Jan 15, 2013

Top Ten Games of 2012

     Happy New Year! Okay, I know it's been 2013 for two weeks now and ideally I should have had this list out sooner, but screw it, I had other stuff to do (like get this website up and running). Anyway, 2012 has come and gone, and with it memories of the various games that graced us with their presence throughout the year. 2012 was an interesting year for video games, it...well...okay, I'm just going to come out and say it: 2012 was a terrible year for video games. There, it's out there and now we can get over it. Don't get me wrong there were a few truly great games released this year: games that really expanded our medium into territory once thought impossible. Overall though, there was a lot of crap and a lot of problematic and, frankly, broken games being released that unfortunately highlighted many of the things wrong with the video game industry. This list isn't about those games though. This list is about the truly exceptional, wonderful, and beautiful gems that reminded you of why video games are special.

     Thankfully, most of these games have already received a lot of praise (and awards) from people far more important to our medium than I, but still it never hurts to throw your own thoughts into a discussion, and that's what this post aims to do. Please note that I have only included games that I have actually played, and furthermore have played a great deal of. I'm sure I missed a few games this year that would probably be great candidates for this list (Far Cry 3 and Slender come to mind). Also, this turned out to be a fairly long post so a bathroom break, some coffee (or beer) and a snack is recommended. I've blabbed on long enough, so without further ado here's My Top Ten Games of 2012.

Fez Banner
      From the moment Fez was first announced it seemed it was destined to be the latest indie darlin'. Fez is a wonderful mash-up of old school platforming/pixel graphics, complete originality and dedication from its developer; Fez manages to be both fresh and familiar. In the game you play as Gomez, a cute little pixelized something-or-other who lives in a two dimensional world where learning to platform is akin to learning to walk. One day Gomez witnesses something miraculous: a golden, three dimensional object called the Hexahedron. Gomez then finds (or is given) a magical fez hat that allows him to rotate his world and traverse sides of it he never knew existed. Once Gomez has this power he begins to rotate the world around him, changing perspectives in an instant. 

Jan 12, 2013

"The Free Bundle" Makes My Indie Heart Explode

     It's pretty obvious that I like indie games. There's just something about the idea of a small group of people, or even a single person, pouring their heart and soul into a project that makes it all the more special. Indie games have been getting more and more time in the sun as each year passes and the meaning of the term "Indie Game" has changed quite drastically as of late; but that's beside the point.

     Indie developers have always had the problem of getting the word out about their game, which is a shame because many of these games are true gems that bring a lot to our medium. However, it's becoming increasingly easy for indie devs to get some much needed exposure and give their labor of love a chance to make a splash in the world. Services like Steam and Xbox Live Arcade each have sections devoted to indie games and low budget works. Add to this the rising popularity of The Humble Indie Bundle's pay-what-you-want model (as well as numerous imitators), and it's easy to see why indie gaming has skyrocketed in popularity. Now a new website has appeared that aims to make it even easier (and cheaper) than ever to not only get new indie games, but also discover ones you didn't even know existed.

Jan 9, 2013

Noah's Weekly Journal Entry 1

     Since I'm just starting out in the vast world of video game journalism, I thought it might be nice set aside some time each week to reflect on the things I have accomplished in the past few days, as well as briefly discuss my plans for the near future. I'll probably also touch on little things that go on in my day to day life or my overall current thought process. I can also see this as a way for my readers (when I actually have some) to get to know me better. Mostly though I'm doing this for myself as a way to track my progress as a game critic/reviewer and also to organize my thoughts about what I've done and what I'll do next. Anyway...

Picture unrelated. I've just been watching a lot of "Adventure Time" and thought this was cute.

     The way I look at it is that this week is the first week of Bucket Hat Aficionado. I've held the domain name for almost 2.5 years now, and have been working on the current website on and off for the past 3 months. As of this point in time I'd say the website is 90% complete. The major things are in place that were necessary to take care of before I started writing. Little things like object locations and stylistic choices still need some work, but overall the site is looking good!

Jan 8, 2013

Pokémon X and Y Versions Announced

     Wow, I didn't see this coming. Well, I did, but not quite so soon after the release of Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. The big thing here, aside from a sixth generation of Pokémon, is this will be the first time the main series of games has moved to the third dimension. When I first read this I instantly had flashbacks of how slow the combat was in the Pokémon Stadium games, and how awful Pokémon Colosseum was. Thankfully my fears were quickly doused when I watched the announcement trailer. Yep, Pokémon X and Y look absolutely gorgeous. I'm still on the fence about the combat, but from what I can tell it has managed to maintain the quickness of the other main games. The announcement trailer is below:


The Difference Between Critique and Review in Relation to Video Games

     This is something that has been on my mind as of late: It seems like few people actually understand the difference between "Critique" and "Review" and end up believing the two are synonymous and interchangeable. While it's certainly true that critique and review are similar, their differences and purposes are actually pretty significant; this is especially true in the world of video games. There are plenty of people out there who do game reviews and are called critics, when the truth of the matter is that very few of them are doing any sort of critical analysis that is at the heart of what being a critic is. This isn't to say that these individuals are doing something wrong; most of the time they are very competent at reviewing a game. However, few people actually break a game down and analyze it piece by piece and consider why the developers made the design choices they did.

Reviews let you know what is present


    The purpose of a review is to let you know what you are getting before you make a purchase. In the world of video games you can usually expect the the reviewer to talk about any or all of the following:
  • Synopsis of the plot (if any)
  • Graphics/Aesthetics
  • Music
  • Development History
  • Glitches/issues
  • Multiplayer (if any)
  • Length of game
  • Their opinion of quality
  • Similarities/differences to another game