Reviews & Commentary

Overview for Video games

Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009)

There is a truism in video game fandom and criticism that games based on movie and comic book licenses tend to be bad. Some a little bit bad and some mind-bogglingly bad (ET and Superman 64 being the classic examples). Trying to disprove this theory, Rocksteady teamed up with Batman: The Animated Series (among others) writer Paul Dini to create Batman: Arkham Asylum. According to Guinness, who certified Arkham Asylum “the most critically acclaimed super hero game ever”, they succeeded.


Written by Kalle on Monday March 29, 2010
Permalink - Category: Video games - Tags: 2000s, comic-book

Mass Effect 2 (2010)

Shortly after defeating rogue spectre Saren, his Reaper master Sovereign, and their Geth army, our hero, Commander Shepard, is killed in an attack by the mysterious Collectors. This being science fiction, even death won’t keep Shepard down, and she (or he) is brought back by the pseudo-terrorist human-first group Cerberus (whom you might remember from Mass Effect, where they were involved in all manner of disreputable business). With her old crew having moved on and with a brand-new Normandy, Shepard must now gather a new team (but with a couple of familiar faces) to join her on a suicide mission through the uncharted Omega 4 relay to stop the Collectors and their masters — the Reapers.


Written by Kalle on Friday March 5, 2010
Permalink - Category: Video games - Tags: 2000s, sf

Skate 2 (2009)

The first Skate, released in 2007, was a revelation — it turned the skateboarding game on its head, reinvigorating a genre that seemed doomed to consist of nothing more than increasingly tired Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater sequels. The analogue controls of Skate were fluid and intuitive and, combined with the open game-world, helped propel the game to the top of both sales charts and critics’ year-end lists.

Here, then, is its sequel. And, let’s get it out of the way early: it is a good game. But it’s also basically the same game. There are new features, of course, which range from the good — footplants — to the atrocious — walking. This latter surprised me, since you’d think Black Box would have learned from THPS‘s continually poor off-the-board controls that an engine designed for skating will never be good at walking.


Written by Kalle on Friday October 23, 2009
Permalink - Category: Video games - Tag: 2000s

The Secret of Monkey Island (2009)

It’s hard to believe now, when they’re known mostly for rushing out one half-finished Star Wars game after another (for one Christmas season after another), but in the late eighties and early nineties, LucasArts were, along with Sierra On-Line, the première adventure game company in the business. For a period of some fifteen years, beginning with Maniac Mansion, they released some of the best-regarded point-and-click adventures of the era. In 1990, at the peak of their powers, they released The Secret of Monkey Island. For a generation of gamers, Monkey Island‘s combination of fourth-wall-breaking comedy and clever puzzles became the standard against which all later adventure games were measured.


Written by Kalle on Monday August 10, 2009
Permalink - Category: Video games - Tag: 2000s