Final Fantasy Type-0 Impressions (Fan Translation)

Final_Fantasy_Type-0

So the time has finally come and the fine folks at Sky’s RomHacking Nest have finally released their fan translation of the probably last great PSP game, Final Fantasy Type-0.  I say probably because The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Second Chapter (such a long title!) is yet to arrive with an English localization. Anyway, being a Final Fantasy fan, I’ve always kept an eye out for any potential Western release, only to be massively disappointed by Square Enix. By all accounts, they already have done the localization work but for some reason decided not to do a release. Not even a digital one on PSN! Anyway, I’ve been playing this game now for a few days, am around 7 hours in so far and wanted to simply give some thoughts. (more…)

Animal Farm Review

Animal FarmAnimal Farm by George Orwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The following review has rough spoilers

I remember my high school teacher recommending Animal Farm as a sophisticated read, something that was thought-provoking and yet relatively short. It took me more than ten years to heed his advice, but I’m sure that I got more out of it now than I would have as a teenager.

Animal Farm is a novel written by George Orwell, best known for 1984 (this one I actually DID read as a teenager), and widely interpreted as an allegory for the Russian revolution as well as a critique on the Soviet Union. (more…)

The Wind Rises Review

the_wind_rises1_0

Something a bit unusual for this blog so far, I want to write a bit about the work of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, specifically with a focus on his most recent (and presumably last) feature length film. There will be spoilers, so be warned.

The Wind Rises is an anime film based on the man who engineered the building of the Japanese Zero Fighter airplane, used to wage destruction on Japan’s enemies in World War 2. It’s the story of Jiro Horikoshi, a young man with the dream of designing beautiful airplanes. It’s worth pointing out that several creative liberties were taken by Miyazaki on the source material. Jiro’s relationship with Naoko for example is purely fictional. (more…)

Ken Levine winds down Irrational to play narrative LEGOs plus a comment on cynical twitter reaction

Ken Levine announcement

So the big news today is that Ken Levine of BioShock and System Shock fame has decided to “wind down” the Irrational games studio. All but 15 members will be laid off. Bad news? Yes. It’s always bad when people lose their jobs, and surely this could have been handled better. Levine could maybe have handed leadership for Irrational to someone else and left himself, taking those 15 people with him. Surely there must have been someone with vision and ability to lead Irrational in his stead?

At least he’s promising to help those laid off to find employment as best he can. But this isn’t about that aspect of the announcement. (more…)

What’s the value of QTE’s?

God of War Quick Time Event

It’s been one of the most hated features of video games this last generation, yet there are no signs that they’ll go extinct in this new one. Quick time events, or QTE’s for short. Yesterday as I was playing episode 1 of the second season of The Walking Dead (it’s excellent so far, btw), I felt compelled to get into the subject more deeply. Why are QTE’s so unpopular, why are they still in our games, and what are the redeeming qualities? (more…)

Gone Home Review

Gone Home

One of the most consistent trends you see in modern games is the element of environment storytelling. It’s something that games are especially fit for, even if it’s not technically unique to games. I’ve seen it in System Shock 2, Bioshock, Fallout 3 and many other games and it’s usually a very economic and elegant way of creating atmosphere and immersion. It works especially well in first person games because you get a better and closer view of your surroundings. It’s a relatively recent way of story telling too, because there’s a certain level of visual fidelity needed to create an intricately designed space with objects and lighting etc. (more…)

Broken Age Impressions

Broken Age

So the moment has come. Tim Schafer (and his talented team) has finally – FINALLY – created and released a proper 2D point-and-click adventure again. If you ignore the 2D and point-and-click part, this is the first game of its ilk that he made since Grim Fandango, which is, as you might have seen, my favorite adventure game(more…)