The Weight of Expectations… and Souls

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Expectations are a dangerous thing, especially in videogames, just ask the likes of Bungie or Valve. Bungie struggled to maintain the high standard set for themselves with Halo: Combat Evolved – the game that launched the original Xbox – famously revealing how after a year into development of Halo 2 they had to scrap their entire graphics engine as well as large sections of the game. As for Valve, after having released Half-Life 2 in November 2004 to universal acclaim, we’re yet to hear any official news on the inevitable Half-Life 3, almost ten years on.

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Camelot: A Model of Modernity

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I have been writing a lot recently about the many creative and technical successes that Sega had throughout the tenure of their last two home consoles, and this-coupled with the recent discussion of the Mass Effect series-brought me towards the interesting, yet only recently celebrated option, of importing a save file into a game in order to impart some level of influence upon the overall story arc. I cannot state for certain when this was first implemented, or by whom, but as far as I am concerned, the first instance of its successful implementation occurred way back in 1998 in a criminally underrated, yet seminal RPG for the Sega Saturn. This feature, that was the impetus for my train of thought, is one of the key components that initially made Mass Effect such a wonderful concept, and the recipient of substantial critical acclaim. Spurred on by this, I naturally wanted to revisit this landmark RPG title, so that I might see how well it stands up today.

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A Mass Effect Prequel Would Be a Big Mistake

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I love Mass Effect. When the original was first unveiled way back in 2005, it was one the game that had me most excited about the (then) next-generation of gaming. Having been a fan of BioWare previously, and in particular their genre-defining Knights of the Old Republic, I couldn’t wait to see what they could do with their own Star Wars. Three games later, I wasn’t disappointed. While there are some that disliked (and still dislike) the trilogy’s ending, for me, the Mass Effect series is the pinnacle of gaming in its short span thus far. I prefer to think of them as slices of one whole, perfect package, and now I want more. But I don’t want more of the same – I want something radical, fresh and new from this universe. And what I definitely don’t want, is a prequel.

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The Next Generation: Six Months On

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So, the dust has settled. After a generation that felt like it went on forever and a year long buildup to the arrival of our shiny new machines; we have finally got those (not so) little black boxes under our televisions. The last half a year has gone by in a flash; and both the Xbox One and Playstation 4 have had ample time to get comfortable in our living rooms.

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Morality in Videogames

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With videogame storytelling getting more and more sophisticated, how are the developers of today tackling the thorny issue of morality and freedom of choice? David Rodoy consults his moral compass and heads off in search of answers…

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Bungie Parts Company With Composer, Marty O’Donnell

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Marty O’Donnell, composer of one the most iconic themes in the history of video games, has been fired by Bungie without cause, it was announced via Twitter. In a short statement on their website, Bungie have confirmed their parting but have stated that they will remain “friends”. This, however, seems a tad unlikely, but it does present Microsoft with a rather unique opportunity…

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State Of Play: Give Shemnue the HD Treatment

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There’s a name that will get many a gamer staring wistfully into the middle-distance, daring to dream of another entry in the series. That game is Shenmue. While rumours of a third entry into the franchise are constantly bandied about the internet, James Paton thinks the time is right for the original pair to get the HD remake treatment they deserve… Continue reading

Feature: What Do We Want From Games?

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Have you ever sat on the sofa, office chair or throne staring into the screen of your television or monitor as no games spin in your PC or Console tray, quietly waiting for a perfect reality and your dream game to appear? Let us step into this zany, creative world where a Utopian games developer has stepped forward to conform to your every need. What do we want from games? Rory Mullan investigates… Continue reading

E3: What To Expect For PC

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We continue our look at next week’s E3 conference by taking a look at the PC market. It’s an exciting and vibrant time for PC gamers, and while some might be worried that the PS4 and Xbox One might steal some of their thunder, there are plenty of games and developments ahead… Continue reading