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Friday, Sep 24, 2010
Dead Rising understands an important fact about zombies that most other zombie games forget, deny, or ignore. Zombies make boring bad guys.

I only beat Dead Rising: Case Zero on my third attempt. In Case Zero, Chuck Green and his zombie-bitten daughter, Katey, get stranded in a small town overrun by the undead. In 12 hours, the military will arrive to wipe them all out, and in that time, Chuck must get Katey a dose of Zombrex to stop her from turning zombie and build a motorcycle to escape the small town.


Zombies play a big role in Dead Rising, but they’re not your main antagonist, which is a good thing because by themselves zombies are boring. They’re slow, stupid, and easy to kill. They may be disgusting, but they’re not particularly scary unless they’re in a horde. The two most popular zombie games, Resident Evil and Left 4 Dead, use zombies as a starting point for horror.


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Friday, Sep 17, 2010
Clash of the Titans: The Video Game follows the original script of the movie, not the reworked script that found its way into theaters.

The recent remake of Clash of the Titans was not a very good movie. The game was fine as far as movie tie-ins go, but as I reviewed it, I noticed several changes in the story that seemed odd. Now, I’ve played enough movie tie-in games to know that the story is often changed to allow for more action. For example, in the game Perseus had to fight a giant flying serpent as he crossed the River Styx, and there was no such fight in the movie. This change makes sense because the game must have more combat sequences to keep a player interested. A change that didn’t make sense was when Apollo gave Perseus the Ferryman’s Coin to cross the River Styx, whereas in the movie it was Zeus. This change resulted in no more action, so why is it different?


Then I read an article by Devin Faraci that went into detail about how much the movie changed through editing and reshoots (“BY ZEUS! THE VERSION OF CLASH OF THE TITANS YOU DIDN’T SEE”, Chud.com, 04 September 2010). To my surprise, the original story had more in common with the game than with the final movie.


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Friday, Sep 10, 2010
'Final Fantasy XIII' feels like a slow paced game because it takes its time developing its characters instead of its plot.

Final Fantasy XIII is a slow burn. It takes about four hours for the story to really get going, and then it stalls. At hour three the cast is branded as l’Cie and must run from the government. By hour 24 they’re still running. I didn’t notice this lack of plot progression as I was playing, only when I went back to the game after setting it aside for a month. Only then did I realize how little the plot had changed over all those hours, and I think the reason I didn’t notice that pause in plot is because during that time the characters were being developed instead.


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Friday, Sep 3, 2010
For a brief sequence, Final Fantasy XIII uses its battle system as a means of character development, not just tactical fun

Combat in Final Fantasy XIII is pretty simplistic. Characters get many of the same abilities so there’s not a lot to differentiate them in terms of mechanics. Every class (or rather, Paradigm) learns the same moves in the same order, and the “auto battle” option during combat ensures that I never have to think too much about what I’m doing. Despite this focus on simplicity, after about 20 hours I encountered a sequence where characterization and these combat mechanics came together in a way rarely seen in games, let alone any RPG.


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Friday, Aug 27, 2010
The documentary-like visual style gives the camera, and therefore the player, a physical presence in the world.

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is a pretty typical third-person shooter. You take cover behind various objects, some of which can be destroyed, and you shoot a lot of people. The gameplay presents nothing new, but this is still a game worth playing because of its unique visual style. Everything looks like it’s being shot from a handheld digital camera, and all the little flourishes that stem from this stylistic choice enhance the experience, making it something special.


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