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5:16 PM on 09.10.2012

A pre-emptive strike on modern combat systems

For years, medical professionals have touted the mantra of 'prevention is often the best cure'. It is with this somewhat clumsy setup that i move to take aim at something which is quickly becoming a trope of modern third person games and their combat systems. Before the gloves figuratively come off, feel free to grab your mouthguards and protective gear - ready? FIGHT!

Since the release (and subsequent critical acclaim) of Batman: Arkham Asylum, i can't help but notice the increasing frequency of the application of the two button attack/counter combat mechanics which it employed. Before throwing the first jab, i will clarify that the combat mechanics both felt good and were appropriate systems to employ in both Arkham Asylum and it's sequel, Arkham City. However, what does trouble me is that since the release of these games we are beginning to seemingly see developers treat these combat mechanics as some kind of all purpose 'gold standard' for third person action games. Just to take recent history, both the recent Spiderman title and Sleeping Dogs feature combat mechanics which are invariably referred to as 'Arkham Asylum-esque' in any review - and, if readers will indulge me in a little crystal ball gazing, i wouldn't be surprised to find a similar state of affairs when more details come to light about the upcoming Deadpool game, among many potential others.

I do not wish to put forward that such mechanics cannot be utilised to great effect - what i do hope is that both game developers and their audience will give some measured thought as to whether implementing this kind of system will serve titles x, y or z in the best possible way. On the positive side, these mechanics can often lend themselves to visually impressive scuffles by virtue of largely doing away with specialised player inputs in a battle situation. On the less glamourous side, it often leads to the gameplay mechanics feeling more akin to a rhythm game, or possibly even analogous to a QTE, especially after the player has been repeating the same kind of patterns over the course of a game. To take the recent example of Sleeping Dogs - a game which i personally loved - it was particularly apparent to me in the second half of the game that i was essentially switching my brain off in any hand to hand combat scenario, and was just going through the motions of timed simple button presses in order to advance...i had simply long ceased to be engaged in the moment to moment gameplay via mega repetition to such a point that beating everyone down had become little more than a conditioned reflex. If the other aspects of this game did not keep me interested in the ways they did, i simply would have given up on it midway through - this should be something of a warning sign.

Whilst the above point is largely inevitable to some degree with any kind of combat mechanics over any 10+ hour title, i worry that this perceived shift in combat mechanics will lead to a glut of very same-y feeling games to be released in the coming year. Third person titles praised in large part for their combat mechanics such as Ninja Gaiden, God of War and Bayonetta also do suffer from some degree of repetition over the course of the game - however, the player has access to a much more varied set of mechanics and options from moment to moment combat, and as such the player's brain continues to be engaged in each battle more actively than i feel the basic attack/counter setup can provide. Not to suggest that these titles should be treated as some kind of absolute ideal - without a doubt, as time goes on and gameplay mechanics are overhauled and refined, these too will begin to look a little simplistic in the broader scheme of things.

Essentially, if i am going to be sitting through hours of many similar scenarios over the course of a game and at some point therein i am no longer challenged nor engaged by what makes up a large portion of the gameplay, it should be a sign that perhaps there is a better system to be implemented. Obviously, it is awfully optimistic to think that we will see a game in the near future where players do not encounter any significant degree of combat repetition - however, given the sales and critical acclaim awarded to Arkham Asylum, Arkham City and Sleeping Dogs in a relatively short space of time, one cannot help but assume that gamers will be waiting for their moment to hit Y in order to counter attack for a while still.   read

5:55 PM on 08.29.2012

Rewind Ep.3 - Killer7

Just like a perfectly crafted and thrown boomerang, we are back for another installment of Stephen Pastic's Rewind - the target this week being Killer7. Released in 2005 for the Gamecube and Playstation 2, Killer7 was the first major title for Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture. Captivating and dividing the opinion of the gaming press even prior to release, Killer7 to this day is very much a 'love it or hate it' game.

The first thing which immediately jumps out with this title is it's striking visual presentation. Utilising a heavily stylised variant of the cel-shading visuals seen in titles such as XIII and Legend of Zelda Wind Waker, Killer7 is instantly recognisable. As the game was approaching release time, many were enamoured with it's graphical style even though many pre release trailers did little to suggest what players could expect in terms of gameplay. Once players got their hands on the finished product, it was immediately clear that Killer7 was very much a unique beast, for better or worse. Story wise, the game's set up involved a struggle between Harman Smith (an elderly wheelchair bound assassin), and Kun Lan - who controls bizarro suicide bombers by virtue of his possession of the "God Hand". Stepping into the shoes of Harman, players have access to his multiple personalities, all of which are somewhat left of center field assassins themselves - but, rather than simply switching in game personae, each personality also has it's own physical body and special abilities. If that sounds wacky at the outset, you should know that by Killer7's conclusion the higher functioning portions of your brain will have been well and truly punched into submission.

The most obvious comparison to make in terms of gameplay is that of an 'on rails' shooter. Players can only move forwards or turn 180 degrees on the spot, and will move into a first person view upon holding the aim button. Maniacal giggles alert the player to the prescence of any Heaven Smile (those bizarro suicide bombers i mentioned earlier) in the vicinity - which for some reason, it is necessary to first hit a button to scan for enemies (thus making them visible) before taking aim at their relevant weak points. At risk of being misleading, the game also features 'puzzles' which often must utilise a specific persona's abilities, albeit the game pretty much explicitly tells the player what is needed to advance...even the former US president would be unlikely to run into much trouble here.

At this point, if you have not yet played Killer7 you are probably thinking that this sounds freaking horrible...and you would be right. The moment to moment gameplay often feels poorly designed and something you will have to grit your teeth through, even for a fan of the game. No, that wasn't a typo - despite the fact that what i have described is certainly not something i expect people to welcome with open arms, Killer7 is a rare example of a game's plot and presentation overriding the mountain of crap the player is forced to endure.

Killer7's story somehow manages to be simultaneously functionally retarded, yet pants stiffeningly inspired. Unfortunately, you will simply have to take my word for it as i do not feel i could accurately summarise it whilst keeping the word count under seven figures. The cast of characters throughout are nothing short of utter lunatics, and are all 'voiced' in a similar way to the N64 Banjo Kazooie games, with fractured elements of speech being thrown together in an auditory mish-mash. Even prior to getting a handle on what the hell is actually going on, there are many moments which are so bizarre that will keep you trudging through the sub mediocre gameplay just to see what the hell will happen next. This, coupled with the game's striking visual signature is what keeps me coming back periodically to do it all over again. I said at the outset that Killer7 is very much a 'love it or hate it' game...if you want further evidence of this, simply have a look at reviews for the game - i would wager that you will find very few average review scores attached to it, with most being split between heavy recommendations and mega 'avoid at all costs'. For those who would like to see something very different from the norm, Killer7 may well be worth looking in to, but i take zero responsibility for disappointment.   read

11:34 AM on 08.23.2012

Rewind Ep.2 - Still Life

Welcome back, nostalgia fiends! This week on "Stephen Pastic's Rewind", we go against conventional wisdom and take a look back at something of a niche title, as opposed to something bound to garner far more hits - i.e. Metal Gear Solid (keep your pants's coming). Released in 2005, Microids' Still Life is essentially a "point and click" adventure game centering around the pursuit of a serial killer.

First off, as a PC "point and click" title that was ported to the original Xbox, Still Life is certainly not a title one would be compelled to return to via gameplay alone. From a simple yet mega clunky inventory system, to a run button that does sweet bugger all in speeding up player movement, Still Life is something of a hard sell in convincing those unfamiliar with the game to give it a crack.

The basic thrust of the game involves players alternating between FBI agent Victoria McPherson (who is investigating a series of grisly murders in modern day Chicago), and flashback chapters as Victoria's grandfather Gustav - who is looking into a series of crimes with eerie similarities in 1920's Prague. As with most games of this genre, player progression is mainly gated by solving the frequent puzzles which rear their head - some of which can be anus clenchingly frustrating.

Whilst i enjoyed (possibly not the right word here, given the context) the overarching story, what keeps me coming back to this lesser known title is just how gloriously messed up certain segments of the game are - the centerpiece being a chapter as Gustav McPherson where he witnesses something in a state of utter powerlessness that would send even the most strong willed person well and truly loco. Furthermore, this event serves to give some pretty well thought out context as to how Gustav and Victoria's grandmother came together, given how his part of the story plays out.

On Victoria's side of things, a man wearing an ornate expressionless mask complete with a black cape and top hat serves as the primary antagonist. Right from the beginning of the game, Victoria is called to a crime scene to examine the perpetrators handiwork - it was from this early point that Still Life managed to get it's hooks into me. Collecting evidence at this first crime scene had an almost suffocating sense of atmosphere as you move through the abandoned building, trying to piece together the sequence of events that left an unfortunate woman mutilated in a bathtub.

As something of a psychology nerd, this opening sequence left me with the impression that the developers had a much more acute understanding of serial murder than most games dealing with the subject. As Victoria's fellow agent Claire reconstructs the preceding events after gathering the required evidence, i couldn't help but notice that Microids had gone above and beyond the typical level of research into subject matter such as this. Whilst this level of attention to detail wasn't quite maintained throughout, it was certainly an effective opener in getting my attention.

Progression through the story slowly reveals a set of uncomfortable connections between events in both time periods, and also with some recent additions to Victoria's boyfriend's art gallery. Whilst there are more than a few hokey, ridiculous occurences throughout, i challenge anyone interested in the subject matter not to be sucked in by the game's narrative twists and turns. I also have to stress that some of the locales throughout manage to tickle my brain in a way that few other titles have been able to outside of Silent Hill 2 - while not always being overtly messed up, some places (such as the upper class brothel) manage to be artistically beautiful, yet have a really uncomfortable atmosphere to them - despite the fact that any kind of action only occurs in non interactive cutscenes.

Finally, whilst the cliffhanger ending is something of a modern gaming trope, i feel that Still Life's ending may be one of the most effective, yet frustratingly cheap conclusions i have ever borne witness to (at least until it's god awful resolution in Still Life 2). In short, if you are one of the few people who can both handle mediocre gameplay for the purpose of a gripping story and also have an interest in the darker side of human mentality - suss it out.   read

4:54 PM on 08.09.2012

Rewind Ep. 1 - Super Metroid

Welcome ladies and jellybeans to the first episode of "Stephen Pastic's Rewind" - a brand new series looking at titles from the past which i routinely return to. Kicking things off with a megaton sized bang for episode 1 is Super Metroid for the SNES. Released in 1994, it has since gone on to be featured on various 'best games of all time' lists, as well as being a massively influential title on the speed running community. So what is it about this game that compels players like me to regularly return to this classic?

Firstly, the game still looks great - while other SNES titles were starting to dick around with the whole 3D thing (i.e. Starfox), Super Metroid stuck to the 2D format of its 8-bit heritage and was beautifully animated to boot. At the time, i had not played either of the prior Metroid titles but yet was immediately drawn into the fictional world of the planet Zebes, with all of its varied and themed environments. From underground jungles, to what could be construed as a 16-bit version of hell itself, nobody could accuse Nintendo's R&D1 team of phoning this one in. Character sprites moved with remarkable fluidity, visual effects were impressive for their time, and most importantly the game's boss characters all looked legitimately intimidating.

Another part of Super Metroid that has stuck with me over the years is its crushing sense of atmosphere and isolation. Certain segments of the game have an almost palpable sense of foreboding dread that i don't recall seeing prior. For a SNES era 2D sidescrolling game to imbue the player with a heavy sense of apprehension was no mean feat - for it's time, one could almost call Super Metroid a psuedo horror game. The fantastic atmosphere, character design and animation is only helped by what may be one of the most popular game soundtracks of all time. Running the gamut from upbeat (Upper Brinstar) to orchestral (Lower Norfair) to downright creepy (Item Rooms, Tourian), the different aural backgrounds on show were nothing short of stellar - especially considering the technology constraints on the audio of SNES titles. Without a shadow of a lie, i was so enamoured by the soundtrack that i actually used to let the game run idle in various areas while recording the music onto cassette tape - and even to this day, i hear shades of Super Metroid in my own recorded tunes.

Super Metroid also managed to deftly tell a story without any words or dialogue, save for the couple of paragraphs of text at the very beginning. At the game's climax, i am sure many of us who have completed this gem clearly recall feeling something as the baby Metroid is annihilated in front of Samus' eyes. As the music then swells into a very heroic sounding theme, i would bet that most of us yelled something to the effect of "game on, bitch!" before rocking Mother Brain's head in the Chris Brown/Rhianna style. Whilst many games have come and gone since with much more gravitas, at least in my experience, Super Metroid was my inital exposure to the potential idea of videogames as a legitimate storytelling medium.

I would be remiss to omit mentioning just how brilliantly designed the game was - whilst there is a (for want of a better term) "proper" way to complete the game, by utilising many various techniques (many of which are somewhat hidden in the plain sight of players), it is possible to complete the game by skipping over significant portions of the ordinary sequence of events. To hammer this point home, there are several techniques available to players (some right from the beginning) that most people who finished the game may not even be aware exist - if the title screen is left to run idle for some time, the gameplay demo will give clues as to how these advanced moves are performed. Given Super Metroid's design, it is no mystery as to how this title has become a stalwart of the speedrunning community - with a ludicrous amount of options for 'sequence breaks' built in to the game, players are continually striving to find the optimal path for the fastest completion time.

If you have not yet played this title and have enjoyed either Shadow Complex or Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, you really owe it to yourself to check it out. Whilst it is older than the great games it inspired, Super Metroid still stands head and shoulders above it's direct competition.   read

3:03 AM on 05.02.2012

Re-thinking the 'Quick-Time Event'

Over the last few years, quick time events (QTE's) have become one of the most prolific tropes in modern gameplay. Allowing developers to show off their cinematic flair without having to implement ordinary gameplay to account for the awesomesauce on-screen action, QTE's as a whole have been something of a polarising element among gamers. For the uninformed, a QTE is basically a (often visually impressive) cutscene with very limited interactivity - essentially prompting the player to press a certain button or buttons within a short time frame to avoid an in-game fail state. Given how ubiquitous the QTE has become in modern game development, i feel that rather than throwing the concept out the window entirely (as many gamers would suggest), perhaps we should simply re-think it's form and implementation.

In considering the viewpoint of QTE haters, it isn't all that hard to understand their aversion to such a gameplay mechanic. Like them or not, i think that its a fair comparison to draw in saying that getting through a QTE is akin to simply pressing the "next chapter" button on a DVD remote. Either the player succeeds and continues with the game, or the player fails and ends up having to re-do various lengths of gameplay to get back to the same point they started the QTE from. Furthermore, QTE's often assign seemingly arbitrary controller inputs to succeed - for example, if the onscreen character dodges to the right (if inputted correctly), the onscreen prompt will frequently be asking the player to press a button which is not associated with that action in regular gameplay. On top of this, QTE's have a recurring habit of showing the player either a center screen button prompt or even a picture of a controller pop up at the relevant time - whilst this serves to illustrate to the player what is required to pass the little 'reflex test', it often tends to put a metaphorical bullet in the face of the player's immersion at that point in time. To take Uncharted 1 as an example, shaking the controller to get an enemy of Nathan Drake's back may be very well and good, but when the developer combines that with a big onscreen PS3 controller the player is suddenly actively reminded that they are playing a videogame - completely ripping the player out of the game experience.

Whilst i may be speaking the obvious here, (even though i am yet to see this idea implemented, or even discussed) i believe i have a solution which at least goes part of the way to solving many of the inherent QTE problems. Firstly, the game needs to communicate to the player from the outset when a QTE is active without an onscreen button/controller prompt. Whether this be an audio or visual cue, a shift into slow motion during a scene or any combination thereof, a game could establish this and communicate it to the player in the tutorial stages. From this point, all that would be required is to inform the player of some limited options within such a situation - say, you can either move the control stick to attempt a dodge maneuver, hit the jump button to leap away/towards, hit attack to attempt a mega head whack or perhaps hold block to attempt to deflect a potential incoming attack. With this in mind, developers could do away with the onscreen prompts and the arbitrary button presses while still keeping the player directly engaged throughout a QTE without actively ripping them outside of the 'normal' gameplay commands. Developers could then take into account all of the potential inputs allowed for such a situation, and craft something that resembles the standard gameplay scenario far more than that to which we have become accustomed to.

A slight alteration to the formula, i know - but i feel that if QTE's could be implemented in a method such as this, then perhaps it would go some way to bridging the gap between the often mega disconnected segments of gameplay we currently accept as standard. It may not please everyone, but i assume most gamers would be in favour of gameplay systems which are a little more consistent with respect to the QTE - if developers wish to show something mindblowing, i think it would be wise to move in a direction that is congruent with the player feeling as though they are controlling the action as opposed to simply inputting a glorified code to witness the remainder of the scene.

-S.Pastic   read

9:01 PM on 04.19.2012

Stephen Pastic's Museum of Gaming Stereotypes

Ah stereotypes - from subpar drivers of asian descent to the elusive sober irishman of legend, stereotypes have the power to make us laugh, rage and sometimes look into things way too much. It should come as little surprise that these cultural perceptions have managed to filter their way through to the gaming world - from our favourite protagonists to our most despised villains, nobody is safe from being portrayed in a manner which will send even the most lightweight member of the PC police into a seizure. With this in mind, i hereby declare the museum of gaming stereotypes open to the public! Children of teenage mothers enter free - simply present your Centrelink papers to witness a slice of digital history!

*Managers warning : by entering this attraction, you hereby acknowledge you fully understand the concept of satire. Management accepts no responsibility for patrons who take the exhibit literally and take it upon themselves to leave comments which suggest that management is somehow culturally insensitive. Patrons who do not abide by these terms and conditions will be presented with 20 Douche Tokens upon their exit - Douche Tokens can be redeemed in the court of public opinion.

EXHIBIT A : The Cole Train

Kicking things off with a massive "WOO BABY!" is Augustus Cole from the Gears Of War series. Both loved and loathed by fans of the series, the "Cole Train" has personality in spades. Albeit, it seems that personality seems to be lifted directly from a pop culture snapshot of urban America. Energetic, confident and very loud would be the terms one would use to describe the former thrashball player if they were conciously trying to choose their words very carefully. It would be fair to say that Augustus would not be one's first choice of backup in a situation which requires any sense of restraint. Phrases such as "bitch ass queen", "bring it on, sucka!" and "this is my kinda shit!" are his stock in trade, and Epic even took this a step further by having Augustus rap over the end credits with at least two of the aforementioned lines featured in the infamous closing jam. For my money, the Cole Train is one of the more endearing, likeable characters in the Gears universe - but one still can't help but get the impression Epic were just one bucket of fried chicken away from a public relations nightmare. WOO!

EXHIBIT B : Any female in a Team Ninja game

Whilst not exactly a stereotype, strictly speaking, Team Ninja's consistent rendering of the female form is one that no doubt sends even Hollywood plastic surgeons into fits of laughter. Impractical skimpy outfits rivalled only by Ivy from Soul Calibur? Check. Suspiciously close to underage? Check. Breasts of such size and jiggle that would make a porn star uncomfortable? Check. Sixaxis controlled jiggle physics on Rachel in Ninja Gaiden Sigma? Okay, you're just taking the piss now. Try as i might to ignore it, one cannot help but wonder about any police records which may or may not exist for the members of the company. In the words of one Chris Hansen, "why don't you take a seat over there, Team Ninja?"


For a long while, Mario's italian heritage evaded stereotype territory - he just happened to be an italian plumber bashing bricks and collecting coins. Then came the "Super Mario Brothers Super Show". As someone who religiously watched this staple of afternoon programming in my younger days, i don't think i can recall a single episode that went by without a mention of pasta of some sort. This development alone wasn't too bad, but Mario's experience with stereotyping was about to suffer a
hammerblow with the release of Super Mario 64 years later. Who among us does not equate Mario's vocal signature with the infamous title screen proclamation of "it'sa me, Marioooo!"? As if the moustache and unneccesary backstory about being a plumber from Brooklyn wasn't enough, Nintendo stopped just shy of implementing a game mechanic to whistle at any nearby "hot chicks" to gain a powerup. To be honest, im stunned that Nintendo did not try to get Mario a centre stage role in 2K's Mafia 2. I can see it already - Mario takes up a vendetta against Bowser for disrespecting him on the day of his daughter's wedding by scratching his car. Shame on you, Shigeru!

EXHIBIT D : Any antagonist of Soviet background

Over the last few years, it seems game developers have a newfound fascination on the Cold War era "Red Menace". Pretty much any first person shooter released nowadays will feature at least one main villain who will use the term "motherland" at some point. Despite the fact that the Cold War ended in 1991, it seems Russians have become the new Nazi's of the gaming world - however, there is at least one potential industry that may stand to benefit from this recent deluge of vilification of all things from the Eastern Bloc. As i understand it, in-game advertising is now a multi million dollar industry in and of itself, and this presents quite a lucrative window of opportunity for any vodka companies who wish to take the ball and run with it. You may not be able to stop western developers painting the former USSR as a convenient modern digital punching bag, but you can blast the words "Absolut Stereotype" into the retinas of gamers the world over - talk about brand awareness!

EXHIBIT E : JRPG protagonists

Guess the game genre! Androgynous male protagonist sporting an implausible hairstyle. Tends to be the quiet and brooding type who often carries a torch for his childhood friend, but can never bring himself to say so. Immediate family more often than not deceased. Whilst not a stereotype directly attributable to a particular cultural background, JRPG protagonists have become a stereotype unto themselves. Square Enix (to take a specific notable example) tends to put forward the same consistent portrayal of their main characters so frequently it almost borders on self parody. "Nobody understands me"...."leave me be"....."i don't want to talk about it" - it is actually more shocking to me that we have not yet seen a JRPG whose score is wholly composed by My Chemical Romance. Think bad "dark teenage poetry" and you have a potential career in character writing and design. Please send your resume (and a collection of your 'deep' musings on existentialism) to Square Enix at : Shinjuku Bunka Quint Bldg. 3-22-7 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku,Tokyo 151-8544, Japan.

EXHIBIT F : Garcia Hotspur

Shadows of the Damned may as well have come bundled with a free sombrero and pinata given how demon hunter Garcia Hotspur is presented. I can almost smell the Tijuana breeze whenever Mr. Hotspur makes one of his numerous references to either "pendejos", "cojones" or "meh-hi-co" between all of the thinly veiled penis jokes which make up the remainder of the game. Not that Suda 51 and co. were content to leave things there - without even slightly bending the truth here, the player can regenerate lost health by...wait for it...drinking tequila. While Shadows manages to remain pretty tongue-in-cheek about it all, there is still a whiff of the slightly uncomfortable here. Rumour has it that at the eleventh hour Grasshopper decided to cut the bonus stage where the player must successfully sneak across the US border and land a job as a janitor. Wise move there, guys.

Well, ladies and gentlemen - this concludes the first wing of the museum. Feel free to visit the kiosk for some genuine food from around the globe, all served with a variety of amusing accents and mannerisms. Please leave any comments or suggestions in the box below, and we hope you have enjoyed this portion of the tour. Be sure to return here in 15 minutes, as the exhibition moves on to the next wing : "People who do not understand lighthearted commentary". See you all shortly!   read

9:55 PM on 11.29.2011

How to start a flame war on a gaming site

We gamers are an opinionated bunch. Games old and new are routinely compared to titles even remotely similar - and in certain cases, compared to games with zero in common save for their interactivity. As online gaming media has become more and more prolific, ordinary people such as you and i have been given the opportunity to voice our opinions in blogs, forums and the general hype and/or hate machine surrounding our titles of choice. Inevitably, some of us will feel very much attached (or alternatively disappointed) with certain releases, and it seems many of us have little hesistation in putting our vociferious viewpoints forth. Enter the flame war.

Games journalists and ordinary "normies" are often accused of fishing for heated reactions to their opinions, based on how congruent their posts are with the mindset of the person reading on the other end. Depending on whom you ask, "flaming" (or trolling) is often either ludicrously frustrating, or hilariously entertaining. In an inspired effort to gauge the sense of humour readers have, Stephen Pastic presents this easy "how to" guide to starting a flame war on a gaming website. FLAME ON!

Swear ridiculous allegiance to a large company
Sony vs Nintendo vs Microsoft is a basic beginners move here. You should always be looking to pretend that your own livelihood and sense of self depends on a large, faceless multinational development/publishing company, despite the fact that they know nothing of you personally. You alone should know that your lone uninformed voice is far more powerful than an entire company's PR department in winning the hearts and minds of fellow gamers. The antiquated notion that opinions are as varied as people themselves should have zero bearing on your wonderfully phrased analyses and insight into why Nintendo is killing gaming, for example.

Show superiority via comparison
One tried and tested rule of a professional flame-baiter is that nothing proves your point better than comparing your title of choice to one that doesnt resonate with you as strongly. While there are some "informed" people who will use such comparisons to highlight differing features of similar titles, they are clearly just being subjective. You alone are the objective voice who knows the truth of the matter, and also clearly understand the definition of the word "objectively". Just think how many people will buy the wrong title (under the misguided idea that they prefer another game) if you did not take the time to show how Battlefield 3 is objectively better compared to Modern Warfare 3, to take a recent examplar.

Never back down
Occasionally, even the most hardy flamers will encounter one of these "rational" people responding to their well thought out arguments. Many weaker trollers can often be brought around to a compromise on views via a viewpoint which seems well reasoned and well researched - do not be fooled by this ruse! Even if all seems lost, and you believe you are just coming across like an opinionated asshole, a true flamer never loses sight of the fact that they are right and everyone else is wrong. If you can overcome reason, nobody can convince you that some people believe Haze to be a somewhat disappointing title - Fight the good fight!

Know the appropriate response
Here we move into the advanced steps for all you budding apprentice trolls. When you are presented with a counterpoint to your brilliantly lucid prose, you should always be aware of the correct way to respond. Even the most experienced among us can be swayed into believing someone else simply has a different opinion to our own. In the words of Tiger Woods, f*ck that! A true flamer will never utter something to the effect of "well, i personally disagree but i see your point". While there are many ways to counter such an idea, calling someone's mother into question with regard to her sexuality, physical size, or child rearing skills is always a good starting point. Calling someone a "f*ggot" or "retard" as often as possible is the gold standard here - and always remember that such inflammatory remarks can never be repeated too often. Be creative!

Key phrases
There are certain words and phrases which will immediately silence any naysayers with regard to your praise and/or critique. Whilst not a definitive list, gems such as "fanboy", "n00b", "Micro$oft" and the aforementioned understanding of the defintion of "objective" will prove to be invaluable tools to a flaming enthusiast, and are at no risk of painting you as an uninformed d*ckhead. Always remember that your superior knowledge of the intricacies of the english language which you clearly demonstrate time and time again will put you in the position of superiority.

These are just a few of the basic points to consider as someone who totally knows what they are on about. Your opinion and yours alone is the only one which can save the games industry from the deluge of revered titles which actually suck hardcore ass. The road to becoming proficient at inciting the useless exchange of heated opinions is not an easy one to tread, but if you believe in yourself and abandon the outdated ideas of rationality, you too can enter the upper echelons of digital douchebaggery! Fan the flames, my friends!

S.Pastic   read

9:26 PM on 11.21.2011

The Twelve Step Program (Gamer's Edition)

The Twelve Step Program (Gamer's Edition)

Like many of you, i believe i have a problem and now realise that i need help. My actions have caused me to neglect my obligations, created periods of financial strain, and left me with a sense of powerlessness with regard to my situation. My name is Stephen Pastic, and i am a compulsive "day one purchaser". Despite my stack of hitherto neglected games residing in my home, i am compelled to purchase many new releases as soon as they become available, and in doing so, digging my frustrated completionist's hole even deeper. I have given no regard to the fact that many of these titles are generally available for half the cost if i could only wait a couple of months, and thought little of my responsibility to the unfinished games residing with me that depend upon yours truly for completion. Forgive me, fellow gamers - i know not what i do.

In an effort to remedy this mea culpa, i intend to make a positive difference. Taking a cue from those fine "Jesus enthusiasts" at Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), i have drafted the world's first twelve step program for sufferers of "Day One Purchaser" (DOP) syndrome. For all whom this resonates with, Stephen Pastic simply wants you to know that you are not alone...and that he is totally not being turbo-douchey in referring to himself in the third person. Let the healing begin, my friends!

The Twelve Steps for the DOP Afflicted

1. We admitted we were powerless over day one purchases - that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves ("butt-hair parting" discounted prices two months from release) could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God - or failing that, Bobby Kotick as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, and our gaming collections.

5. Admitted to either God, to ourselves, and to another human being - preferably Shigeru Miyamoto - the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have either God or David Jaffe remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him (AKA Hideo Kojima) to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, games we had neglected, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others - or where it would collide with experiencing a fully awesomesauce title before spoilers happen.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it, even if we had previously assumed the game to be digital excrement.

11. Sought through prayer, meditation and headshots to improve our conscious contact with God, and our Kill/Death ratios as we understood them, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other DOP sufferers, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

To any fellow DOP afflicted persons who have had the courage to read this far : Congratulations! You have taken the first step to conquering the element of your life which has caused you so much unneccessary pain. I want you all to know that there are people who care, even if those people are not the ones who put you up for adoption 22 years ago. Seize the day, my friends! Your new life in gaming begins now!

S.Pastic   read

10:26 PM on 10.22.2011

The worst sex offenders in gaming

Attention citizens! Coinciding with a marked jump in the incidence of digital deviance in recent years, reports have been made of suspicious characters lurking among game collections worldwide. For your safety, we have compiled a list of some of the most threatening suspects currently at large. If you happen to spot one of these individuals, call your local police immediately - under no circumstances should you attempt to apprehend any of the following sex offenders - most (if not all) are armed, dangerous and several sandwiches short of a picnic.

Name/Known aliases : Pyramid Head AKA Gary
Seen in the vicinity of : Silent Hill 2
Distinguishing features : Large red triangular helmet, huge bugger off knife (often seen being dragged behind)

Primarily operating out of the small town of Silent Hill, Pyramid Head is alleged to have viciously raped several of the local creatures, as well as having killed others whilst in pursuit of one James Sunderland. Witnesses to these events have described sudden appearances of the suspect, usually followed by either extreme murderous violence, forced intercourse, or in some cases, both. Reports show that the offender usually moves very slowly - as such, a hasty retreat is heavily recommended in the event of an encounter. Perpetrator also seems to favour potential victims bearing a heavy conscience, or persons whose names rhyme with "Blames Wunderland".

Name/Known aliases : "Doctor drill" (name unknown)
Seen in the vicinity of : Heavy Rain
Distinguishing features : Balding white hair, seen carrying a drill

Residents of Heavy Rain, be on your guard - persons who offer invitation inside their domicile should be treated with caution. Described by witness Madison Page - this man is of average height, favours white shirts reminiscent of a medical professional, and may offer potential victims a beverage drugged with a powerful sedative. Tethered to a workbench upon waking, Ms Page described her assailant moving toward her pubic region with a large drill, and was only able to make an escape following an interruption of the suspect's activities from an unaware third party. According to the witness statement, people should also take note of middle aged men fitting the above description who speak with a ludicrously over-the-top theatrically creepy vocal intonation. Additionally, individuals harbouring decomposing male corpses in their basement should be considered highly suspicious.

Name/Known aliases : Alma Wade AKA the scary little kid
Seen in the vicinity of : F.E.A.R. 2
Distinguishing features : Long black hair obscuring a blank facial expression, appears/disappears suddenly

Authorities warn people in the vicinity of F.E.A.R. 2 that a habitual stalker/telepathic female rapist is at large. In a victim statement, Mr Michael Becket describes being persistently stalked by what appears to be a young female. Initially rejecting the advances of the suspect, Mr Becket alleges the approaches made became increasingly frequent and violent, culminating in his non-consensual impregnation of the offender. Witnesses are urged to call police at the first indication of the perpetrator's prescence. Things to look for include the apparent mirage of a swing in the middle of a clearing, as well as the entire space time continuum seemingly going "tits up".

Name/Known aliases : Goichi Suda AKA Suda51
Seen in the vicinity of : Killer7, No More Heroes, Shadows of the Damned
Distinguishing features : Japanese male, clinically insane (diagnosis to be confirmed)

Dwellers in the locales listed above, be on the lookout for a game designer who has habitually molested the brains of many with his products. Associated with the "Grasshopper Manufacture" street gang, Suda51 often employs methods such as psychopathy, nonsensical humour and utter disdain for traditional game design to isolate and abuse his chosen victims. Thinking 'outside the box' and the desire to try new things are patterns of behaviour to avoid in order to minimise one's likelihood of victimisation. Authorities advise that keeping a copy of any "triple-a" mainstream title on hand at all times is remarkably effective at keeping this predator at a safe distance.

Name/Known aliases : Michael Jackson AKA the King of Pop
Seen in the vicinity of : Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
Distinguishing features : "Rubber-like" face, fond of walking backwards, likes children...a lot

This guy is DANGEROUS. Downright BAD, in fact. HISTORY shows us this guy is completely OFF THE WALL. He has been spotted in both BLACK OR WHITE, and his favourite film genre is reported to be THRILLER. Recent victim BILLIE JEAN was forced to watch the offender BEAT IT - when asked to stop, Mr Jackson allegedly responded with "it's just THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL". Known to be quite the SMOOTH CRIMINAL, this offender has also abused a STRANGER IN MOSCOW, although given his mental state, would be hard pressed to REMEMBER THE TIME himself.

-S. Pastic   read

11:55 PM on 10.20.2011

So, you want to be a games writer?

*An aspiring gaming writer's look at what like minded individuals should consider while in the process of developing their craft - equal parts self aggrandising, pretentious and (hopefully) somewhat interesting, Stephen Pastic pretends to know what he is talking about.

Gaming culture has come a long way in the last couple of decades. Once viewed as the exclusive domain of socially maladjusted nerds, we now find ourselves at a point in time where certain big release titles are putting more traditional media such as films to shame in terms of gross income. Gaming as a whole has become firmly ingrained into modern pop culture to such a degree that many of our grandparents are even familiar with "that Nintendo Wii thing", and brands such as Call of Duty are modern commercial behemoths. As the gaming audience has grown exponentially in both numbers and breadth, more and more gaming enthusiasts have transcended the idea of seeing their pastime as simply an entertainment product, and have begun turning a more critical and analytical eye towards the industry. For some time now, the gaming press has been moving increasingly away from print media, and towards their online counterparts - this shift has opened the doors for many otherwise "professionally unqualified" individuals to have their voice heard in arenas such as gaming blogs and forums, which for some people has in turn led to turning their pastime into a job.

So, what are the kind of things you should have a grasp on in attempting to emulate this route into games journalism?

First and foremost - read, read, read!
A good working knowledge of the english language is essentially a writer's toolbox, if you will excuse the uninspired simile. A firm hold on syntax, grammar and appropriate punctuation are a base necessity in attempting to convey your ideas and opinions to another reader in print. Good writing is something which becomes more apparent, and easier to replicate the more you are subjecting yourself to examples of other people's work. Much like a bodybuilder's muscles get stronger via working out, a writer's skill improves with exercise.

Know your material
Whilst it would be unrealistic for anyone to absorb absolutely everything within the gaming industry, one should ideally aim to subject themselves to as much as possible. Different people will obviously have varying levels of knowledge of particular aspects of gaming culture, but it certainly pays to have a familiarity with as much as is plausible. From current news and releases to the economics of the industry - the more you know, the more you have to draw from.

Original content is king
Even though there is definitely a place for the "dry news" such as official press releases and so forth, with the multitude of digital outlets for this information, restricting yourself to only writing about the same things as everybody else will make it exponentially more difficult for you to stand out among the millions blogging or tweeting about the same thing. Ideally, one should always be on the lookout for ideas to write about as they occur to you. Granted, it is very difficult to come up with a completely original angle that has never been explored before, but at least you will be showing that you are capable of demonstrating your ability to synthesise your own ideas and opinions on your chosen topic.

Develop your own "voice"
Somewhat related to the original content angle, the vast majority of discussion within the gaming community will be based on ideas which have been voiced many times before. With this in mind, don't be afraid to inject some personality into your writing - unless you happen to have stumbled on a completely new idea, you need to give potential readers some incentive to listen to your opinion or voice - as opposed to any other outlet they could get the same information from. From the more serious, analytical kind of articles to a ridiculous humour piece, there is room for you to try it all. Be creative and consider exploring different ways of getting an idea or opinion across.

Tap your greatest resource
We gaming enthusiasts are lucky in the sense that (in many ways) our greatest resource is our fellow gamers. Get involved in discussions, exchange ideas and keep an ear open to what is happening. Few people know gaming better than gamers ourselves - you never know where the next ball-smashingly brilliant idea will come from!

...and finally
Always take the time to thoroughly proof-read what you have written - do as i say, not as i do! wpugshi39r!   read

4:20 AM on 10.19.2011

Multiplayer - check the use-by date

The current console generation has ushered in many things we gamers take for granted nowadays. From downloadable content to high definition graphics, a lot of what is now common was either something of a rarity or widely non-existent a few short years ago. However, one of the biggest "back of the box" bullet points now ubiquitous amongst console gamers is online multiplayer modes. No longer hamstrung by the need for additional controllers (and people to use them), the modern console gaming landscape is awash with variations on gametypes such as co-operative and versus play over the internet. Within a few short years, we have now reached the point where some titles are now primarily sold off the back of their multiplayer component (think Call of Duty or Halo).

As someone who had never delved into the world of PC gaming, this console generation has been my introduction into the online gaming world. I was initially floored by the ability to kick the living shit out of someone in Texas at Dead or Alive 4 (hey, my standards were quite low at the time), while talking an amount of smack via headset that would make a heroin dealer blush. As time went on, i developed a fascination with certain multiplayer games, and spent many an hour griefing some much better "proper" players at games such as Gears of War (wow - they really hate compulsive chainsawers, don't they?). While my focus has somewhat shifted back toward the more single player focused titles of late, something has recently been bothering me about the bigger picture of multiplayer gaming.

Several months back, i bought Assassin's Creed : Brotherhood for PS3. Upon giving the multiplayer portion a spin, i exclaimed something to the effect of "man, this game is the freaking tits!". Several weeks passed before i returned to the game - and much to my surprise - could not start a game for love nor money...simply not enough people were actively playing that game mode while i searched in vain. Herein lies an issue which has become increasingly prevalent - if there is not a sufficient number of players in the majority of these games, that whole portion of the title essentially becomes useless. Whilst some definitely have a greater longevity that others (COD, Gears, Halo, etc.), others such as the aformentioned AC:Brotherhood and Uncharted 2 effectively come with a built in use-by date (or at least become noticeably much more difficult to get into) - and even the larger games will eventually at some point be completely useless in terms of their multiplayer components.

As time goes on, increasingly more resources are being put into online modes by developers in an effort to capture a slice of this demographic (and the associated sales). Given that these game modes are such a prevalent part of the industry, this state of affairs seems to be completely (if you will excuse the expression), retarded. Especially when some titles have been able to completely nullify this issue via very simple means. Killzone 3 and Gears of War 2 & 3 are just a few of those games who have been able to completely neuter this utter redundance of a significant portion of their content via the option to play against an AI or "bots", with all other multiplayer features intact. In these cases, even the lack of an internet connection will still allow all players to experience most of the entire breadth of content produced.

Putting aside the cynical idea of developers and/or publishers making this move deliberately in order to make a newer iteration more appealing, there really is no excuse for this. If what we are purchasing is essentially a commercial product, do not make access to a portion of that content contingent upon how many people are currently utilising it - especially when such an obvious alternative option exists.

S.Pastic   read

1:29 AM on 05.09.2011

Pastic Surgery - Games which have gone under the knife

Over the last few years of this console generation, we have been seeing a marked increase in the number of older games being re-made, re-modeled and re-mixed. As the development of new intellectual properties becomes riskier by the year (at least from a business perspective), many companies have at some point attempted to leverage an older, more familiar product towards gamers' wallets. Here, we take a look back at some of these titles to have gone under the developer's knife, as well as examining what worked and what came out looking like Nicole Kidman's face.

---NOTE : Only titles i have personally experienced both the original and its remake are up for consideration here. So before anyone tells me i forgot game x, y or indeed i didnt. Im sorry i just yelled. It's not your fault. Im glad we got that out in the open. Friends?

*Conker Live and Reloaded (Xbox)

Released in 2005 following Microsoft's aquisition of Rare Ltd., this re-made version of Conker's Bad Fur Day for the Nintendo 64 was largely unexpected. Released late in the N64's lifecycle, the original game did not garner the kind of sales figures often associated with re-make territory, despite its positive critical reception.

-What it did right-
Having recently played both versions, the visual difference is huge. Compared to the original title, Live and Reloaded simply looks amazing. While still essentially the same game, the Xbox version manages to look a lot less "blocky" than its 64 bit sibling, as well as featuring some pretty damn impressive textures, particularly on Conker's fur. In addition, there are occasional 'fourth wall' breaking segments of dialogue which directly reference minor differences to the original game - to those who are familiar with Bad Fur Day, there are a couple of surprise twists waiting to throw the player off momentarily. Lastly, there is the multiplayer component - as someone who didn't play much of it, my take on this mode is pretty limited. However, what is immediately apparent is that this portion of the game is entirely new, and takes little from the original's multiplayer mode. Featuring game types such as 'Deathmatch' and 'Capture the Flag', this class-based mutiplayer component was supposedly one of the most popular online titles for the original Xbox.

-Where the knife slipped-
For some reason, Live and Reloaded is much more heavily censored in terms of language than Bad Fur Day. Going against historical precedent, Nintendo's cartridge is by far the more expletive laced of the two. Whilst not a deal breaker, there is something that is lost in hearing an "anti-swear word bleep" while a vertically challenged Grim Reaper is ostensibly calling the player character a "twat". Furthermore, some of the words chosen for the new bleep-out treatment do seem a bit arbitrary compared to the more egregious ones, such as the dreaded "f-bomb". Also, whilst the new spin on multiplayer was obviously a welcome one (given its popularity), i couldn't help but get nostalgic for Bad Fur Day's modes - whilst i may be viewing this through retro goggles, i seem to recall personally enjoying the older one much more in this regard.

-Overall- (on a scale of Tara Reid's boob job to ten)
8 - a much better looking, somewhat less filthy sounding version of an oft forgotten classic title. Check those bargain bins!

*Metal Gear Solid : The Twin Snakes (Gamecube)
Coming out eight years after the original Metal Gear Solid, it should come as little surprise that The Twin Snakes is visually leagues ahead of the 1998 classic. Jointly developed by Konami and Silicon Knights (of "Eternal Darkness" and "Too Human" fame), this re-make also features new gameplay elements originally seen in MGS2 : Sons of Liberty, as well re-recorded voice overs from the (mostly) original cast.

-What it did right-
For the most part, everything. Visually, The Twin Snakes makes the original look like Sarah Jessica Parker in comparison...yes, i do mean that insultingly. Whilst impressive at the time, looking at Solid Snake's head in all its heavily pixelated glory does not hold a candle to actually looking like something resembling a face. Whilst this alone would have translated into a 'must buy' for fans of the series, the developers went even further in adding features from MGS2 such as first person shooting, the ability to move bodies around and the ability to hang off ledges. The re-done voice acting also has some slight differences - Snake in particular sounds noticeably less gruff in the original, whereas in the newer game he sounds much closer to the voice many of us have become accustomed to. For the most part though, any other differences in vocal work are much more subtle, and aside from some isolated examples, one would be hard pressed to notice any jarring changes.

-Where the knife slipped-
The one glaring fumble on the developers part are the (admittedly few) added cutscenes. While this may on the surface sound like a good thing, it quickly turns sour when it seems every single one was inspired by "The Matrix" in a major way. From Snake firing at a helicopter after jumping off a missile in mid-flight, to a newfound fixation on slow motion backflips, it becomes much harder to maintain the suspension of disbelief already demanded of the game when one of these scenes suddenly pops up. Absent too are the "VR training missions" from the original - not necessary by any means, but it would have been nice to have them included regardless. Finally, there is one instance of the new gameplay additions making one boss fight laughably easy - Revolver Ocelot is an absolute joke this time around owing to the first person aiming.

-Overall- (on a scale of Michael Jackson's nose to ten)
9 - when a remake causes its original classic to become mostly obsolete, there really is little to complain about. Good luck finding a copy in Australia anymore, though...

*Ninja Gaiden Sigma (PS3)
Much like various incarnations of certain Resident Evil titles, this game has been re-released and re-made several times. Starting life as a 2004 Xbox title, Ninja Gaiden was then re-released with some new features as Ninja Gaiden Black in 2005, and then again after some further tweaking on the Playstation 3 as Ninja Gaiden Sigma in 2007.

-What it did right-
Aside from the improved visual quality one would expect in the jump from the Xbox to the PS3, Sigma adds a sizeable amount of content, especially in comparison to the games first incarnation. Featuring several new chapters as a new playable character, an easier difficulty setting (for what was admittedly a pretty difficult game), and new weapons, Team Ninja at least went above the token graphical upgrade.

-Where the knife slipped-
Somewhat more difficult to quantify than most remakes, as some minor features seen in Ninja Gaiden Black were conspicuously absent from Sigma - most notably the unlockable original NES game, as well as the combo meter. Besides this, gamer opinion does seem to be somewhat divided between the superiority of Black vs Sigma on various minute details, most of which will not be noticed by the vast majority of players.

-Overall- (on a scale of Donald Trump's hairpiece to ten)
7 - in my opinion, the definitive version of a great action game - just a shame that some additional features were cut. Not quite a huge graphical leap either, given the relatively short space of time between each iteration.

*Perfect Dark Zero (XBLA)
The "spiritual sequel" to Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64, Perfect Dark was released to critical acclaim in 2000. One of the most popular titles for the system, it featured one of the most robust local multiplayer modes seen on consoles at the time. Re-released on XBLA in 2010, the updated version featured updated textures and online functionality, as well as new control options.

-What it did right-
Adding Xbox Live functionality to an already impressive list of multiplayer modes and options was an obvious tweak to be made, but a very welcome one at that. No longer hamstrung by the need for 3 additional controllers (and the required people on the couch to use them), Perfect Dark Arcade allows players to re-live the game with the modern conveniences of voice chat and Xbox Live. A slight graphical overhaul doesn't exactly bring the game up to current visual standards, but still helps to make the game much less dated. Perfect Dark Arcade also somewhat updates the original's control scheme allowing for dual stick functionality.

-Where the knife slipped-
Not much to complain about in comparison to the original game - with no modes missing and all original content included, Perfect Dark Arcade is the same game, only with an updated look and some new features.

-Overall- (on a scale of Heidi Montag's entire body to ten)
9 - An updated version of an old classic with all content intact. Whilst the game (much like it's older brother Goldeneye) does not really hold up brilliantly to modern standards - enemies still react to being shot with the infamous "late 90's Rare game interpretative dance routine", for example - at a price point of approximately $10, its difficult to be ultra critical of this package.

*Resident Evil (Gamecube)
A title which has must surely be in the running for "most frequently re-released game" on various platforms, Capcom's 1996 PSX survival horror was updated for the Gamecube in 2002. Featuring a massive visual upgrade, new environments, a particularly powerful new enemy and new audio, Resident Evil for the Gamecube is one of the most substantial re-makes of a game in the last decade.

-What went right-
An awful lot, simply. To say that Resident Evil on the Gamecube looks WAY better than the original is like saying that Forrest Gump is an alright movie in comparison to the works of Pauly Shore. By far one of (if not the most) visually stunning titles available for Nintendo's little cuboid system, it is actually physically painful on one's eyes to play the original game afterwards. The addition of a nemesis-esque enemy in the form of Lisa Trevor is also a highpoint of the re-make. Being an enemy one is unable to go toe to toe with for the most part makes for some particularly tense sequences, as the player frantically attempts to wrestle with the controller to make a quick getaway. For conoisseurs of the series, there are also some new subtle elements of narrative spliced in amongst the existing plot. The addition of new game modes and endings serves as the metaphorical cherry on top of the "way games should be remade" cake (clusmy simile count = 1).

-Where the knife slipped-
To be honest, nothing comes to mind outside of issues endemic to the original, such as a clunky feel to the controls - which some may argue is an inherent component of the survival horror experience. Whilst i may be forgetting some niggles here and there, the fact that i struggle to come up with a viable criticism highlights what a quality product this is.

-Overall- (on a scale of my own genitals to ten)
10 - A fine example of how re-makes should ideally be handled. With lots of new and updated content, all features intact, and a nice visual upgrade, it is little wonder why this title is among the most sought after for Gamecube owners.

Given the current state of the industry, it wouldn't be unwise to assume we will see many more of this kind of reworking of older titles in the coming years. It can only be hoped that developers will take heed of what has and has not worked for the re-makes currently in circulation. Remakes should ideally be seen as not only an opportunity to "tart up" their older titles visually, but also to fix some of the more obvious issues with the original product. Only time will tell if we can relive some more of our favourite titles with sigificant improvements, or if we are to be subjected to high definition versions of the existing flaws.

What are some other examples of re-makes which exemplify either end of this spectrum? What did i miss? Have you seen my wallet?

S.Pastic   read

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