I'm a comic book artist/comedian/musician who has achieved a fair amount of recognition - and notoriety - with my online review show: The Rageaholic. My favorite video game of all time is Thief II: The Metal Age. You should play it.
I have a confession to make, Eidos Montréal.
I doubted you.
Oh, sure, the pedigree of many of the people who were working on Deus Ex - lots of Ubisoft castaways who had worked on Assassin's Creed and Rainbow Six - was certainly impressive. I didn't doubt your game design credentials. But let's be real, here: This is a sequel to Deus Ex! Not only was it Game of the Year in 2000, it's since become one of the most influential FPS/RPG hybrids of all time. In my mind, only Thief: The Dark Project and System Shock 2 can toot their figurative horn quite as loudly.
It's the video game equivalent of trying to film a sequel to Citizen Kane.
But you pulled it off. Not perfectly, but in candor, the original was far from perfect. You even managed to improve things from the first two games! Even as optimistic as I am about the series (Yes, I'm one of the five people on the planet who thinks Invisible War was a worthy sequel) I legitimately felt you had an impossible task ahead of you. Even Ion Storm couldn't match the appeal of the original when they released the second game in 2003.
It's a poorly-kept secret that Dragon Age 2 has drawn more than its fair share of detractors since launching earlier this month. The community has been justifiably angry since at least fall of last year when the first combat gameplay was revealed and held more than a passing resemblance to medieval Power Rangers. (Don't you dare steal my idea, Haim Saban!) Destructoid released a review earlier this week leveling some very valid complaints at the game while simultaneously tempering this negative view with a general sense that Dragon Age 2 isn't a bad game... it's just not as good as Origins. And with review scores in the 7-8/10 range all around, it's tempting to fall into the trap of simply accepting this verdict as gospel.
I disagree. Dragon Age 2 is a legitimately bad game. Measured against Origins. Measured against itself. Measured against Root Beer Tapper. It's simply not a good or engaging video game in any context.
So, with an obligatory warning that this video is rife with nasty language and opinions (that's what reviews are for, after all) I present my video review of Dragon Age II:
I understand the views presented in the previous video aren't unbiased. Reviews, by their nature, are biased. Jim Sterling did a brilliantly-executed piece parodying just this irrational expectation concerning his negative review of Final Fantasy XIII. Opinions aren't politically correct, and - not to ascribe this attribute to the video - but neither is truth.
It's a question I'm asked with staggering frequency:
"What is you favorite video game of all-time?"
I've buried some rather high-profile targets, so it's understandable that people want something to put my taste in perspective. I'm not a gaming snob at all, I assure you. For example, I enjoyed Halo: Reach, and said as much in my video review. I'm not somehow 'above' popular video games, but I dislike being condescended to by some pimply-faced game designer who likely got his degree in communications or some shit before haplessly stumbling into his position due to a personal contact. This is why I tend to prefer the stealth genre. Even the most commercial examples of it are based around the idea of outwitting and outflanking your opponents in a method decidedly more strategic than simply calling in a Call of Duty-style nuclear strike.
Stealth, as a genre, is largely deceased at the moment. A function of the rapidly-descending levels of originality in gaming as a whole, I suspect. Aside from the odd Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell sequel, (and really, who considers Conviction an actual stealth game?) you're unlikely to sneak your way through the newest multi-million-dollar gaming blockbuster. Which is a bit of a misstep, frankly. The innate appeal of subterfuge isn't exclusive to the 'PC Master Race'. It's an easily-relatable concept. One which is embodied in a vastly underrated PC title from 2000: (and my favorite video game of all time) Thief II: The Metal Age.
What follows is my video review.
As a bit of an aside, if you're looking to take a journey into the world of Thief, and you're running it on a modern machine, you'll likely have a degree of difficulty getting it to run. These games are notorious for having issues on Vista and Windows 7. Never fear, however! The outstandingly dedicated Thief community has created a patch called DDFix for all games that use the Dark Engine. (Thief 1, Gold, 2, and System Shock 2) By extracting this patch into your game folder, it should run like a dream (and even support higher resolutions than the original game was supposed to be capable of).
To preface the video review I made earlier this week, allow me to first state that I'm a big-time fighting game fan. Marvel vs. Capcom isn't one of my favorites, (a bit too much spam for my taste) but I can still sit down, turn my brain off, and have a good bit of fun with the first two Marvel / Capcom outings.
This review is not meant to troll - despite its admittedly pugnacious title - it's my honest opinions of a game that I feel is a quantifiable disappointment. So, without further delay, my video review of MVC3:
These issues aren't even the main concern: The new X Factor system compounds the already amateurish proceedings by, yet again, rewarding players that play poorly with devastating maneuvers. And the counter-argument is often made, "Yes, but the X Factor is only really useful when you have your meter charged up all the way!" Okay... so the more a player gets the ever-loving crap kicked out of them... the higher the reward? How does this in any way argue for the presence of the preposterously-broken X Factor system? It goes back to the point I make in the video about the Ultra Combo system from Street Fighter 4.
If Capcom had made Super Combos significantly more powerful than Ultras, I would have no problem with them at all. But, as the name readily suggests, the Ultra is the 'ultimate'. It can turn the tide of battle. The only problem is that you earn said Ultra Combos by playing poorly. The same principal is at play with the X Factor.
It's a shame that Capcom is such an insular, self-absorbed company that this game made it to release as-is, despite a vocal backlash against the X Factor. Perhaps that's why so many Capcom games have drawn my ire over the years. More than any other developer/publisher I can name... Capcom is the one who sees the dissent, acknowledges that it's there... and then tells their fans to shut up and buy the game anyways.
...and the fans do it! Like lemmings to the cliff, they head to their local retailer and drop 60 bucks for this embodiment of unyielding mediocrity. I've said my piece.
Horror gaming is a strange, deformed beast. Simultaneously praised, bemoaned, reviled and idolized. In short: It is the United States of the video game industry. It's for this reason that myriad emotions course through my cerebral cortex as I eagerly toss a fresh 'survival horror' title into my console and grasp the controller. On the one hand... visions of Silent Hill 1 through 4's omnipresent majesty reassures me that the genre is capable of peerless greatness. On the other...