dirigiblebill Comments

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  • BioShock's fascinating but inescapable failure

  • dirigiblebill 17/09/2016

    Thanks for the comments all. I won't reply to them all individually or at great length, but a point I think several of you are perhaps missing is that I'm not merely branding the game a failure for being linear.

    "Bioshock's failure" isn't just that it fails to allow meaningful choice within a closed system - as some have noted, you could argue the same of many or most games - but that it consciously and explicitly performs that failure. It fails deliberately, in other words, in order to make a statement about itself and its peers. In that regard it's actually a bit of a triumph, albeit a deflating one, and I hope the paragraphs on the execution of the twist demonstrate this. The problem is that neither its successors nor other games in the genre have come up with convincing responses to the internal contradictions it poses.

    I feel the headline (which is more or less the same one I pitched) could have made this clearer, so sorry about that. It sounds like I'm just bashing the game, when what I really wanted to do was analyse how it bashes itself, so to speak :)

    PS. Oh, and as ever with more theoretically-minded analyses of this sort, it is perfectly fine to enjoy the game without dwelling on these things. I trust you all to know your own minds on the subject.
    Reply +1
  • Deus Ex Mankind Divided review

  • dirigiblebill 23/08/2016


    "We're so distracted by old demons and petty superficial differences that we're simply not addressing planetary issues that will end future generations."

    I don't think it has to be an either/or thing. We have the ability to do both - address the impending destruction of our habitat, and tackle the prejudices that lead to inequality and oppression. Indeed, you can argue that the two problems are inextricably intertwined - that the same economic and social structures which ensure some groups prosper at the expense of others are also responsible for our present ecological plight. But that's perhaps a topic for another thread.
    Reply +2
  • dirigiblebill 23/08/2016

    @marcustenghult They could have done it better by, for instance, fashioning some kind of proper storyline around BLM/ALM, or at least a dialogue exchange, rather than drop-kicking a really awkward reference into the game and refusing to build on it. Of course, talking about BLM directly and explicitly would have broken the fourth wall, but if you're going to bring up the topic in such an obvious way, you need to actually follow through and elaborate on the ramifications. Because that's the socially responsible thing to do, given the depth of feeling around BLM, and because the result is a smarter, more engaging story.

    As regards your own personal feelings about BLM's supposed "negative influence" - I don't agree at all, you probably won't be surprised to hear. In BLM I see a group of frustrated but largely non-violent people campaigning against institutional oppression. Happy to discuss that with you further, preferably by PM to avoid hijacking the thread, though I can't promise to reply immediately - I need to get back to work!

    PS - last thought on the second para of your previous comment. Again, I feel like you're reacting to something I haven't said. I'm not trying to claim that the game takes sides on the aug/anti-aug thing, that it subjects one of those groups to unfair scrutiny, only that it talks about this particular conflict rather than any of the other, older social tensions that would surely play a part in the story/world-building.
    Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 23/08/2016

    @marcustenghult You misunderstand me, dude - I'm not saying the game is anti-aug, I'm saying bias against augmented people is the focus of its discussion, to the point that it declines to discuss other kinds of prejudice. And BLM/ALM is in the game, not just the marketing - you'll find it on magazine covers and billboards. Fair enough that the project has been in dev for years and the references may have been added before the violence of 2015/2016, but BLM has always been a charged political movement, and to riff on it so casually smacks, again, of laziness and topicality for topicality's sake. If developers are going to incorporate this kind of thing, the onus is on them to do so intelligently. The frustrating thing is that they almost get there, in places - the chat with the doctor when you first arrive in Golem, for example. Reply +1
  • dirigiblebill 23/08/2016

    @marcustenghult I can sympathise with the argument that aug/non-aug is a no-strings-attached way of examining prejudice, but the problem is that Deus Ex takes place in a future version of our world, not some utterly dissociated alternate reality - it inherits our social and racial conflicts (Prague, for example, has a ripe old history of ethnic tension and oppression). It simply isn't very convincing, or for that matter constructive, that the plot and writing choose to ignore all that in favour of anti-augmented bias. And trotting out thinly-veiled nods to Black Lives Matter just smacks of clumsy opportunism. Don't get me wrong, I think they've done some interesting things with the binary in places, but it's a very flawed effort. Reply +1
  • dirigiblebill 19/08/2016

    @AboutHalfaStevas Hah! You, sir, sound like this one crazy dude I used to know. I trust your Ubisoft-chuffing days are behind you. Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 19/08/2016

    @Das_Ginge Ah, my bad then. The new one is built into your arm. Reply +1
  • Putting the magic back into magic in fantasy games

  • dirigiblebill 14/08/2016

    @pomi I adore the Farseer books (well, the six or so that I've read, anyway) and yeah, her treatment of magic as a sort of function of social class/court politics is brilliant. Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 13/08/2016

    Hey up, just a quick thank you for all the extended comments - always great to find people digging into the topic. Cheers for giving me some books/games to follow up on, too. My fantasy fiction knowledge is probably a bit dated - I just don't have the time for lore-stuffed tomes these days.

    Something else I didn't cover in the piece, but wanted to: Dragon's Dogma's magic is terrific. Draws on everything they've learned about making every little action feel good from SF and Monster Hunter.
    Reply +4
  • Fru review

  • dirigiblebill 13/07/2016

    @Samael_Blackwing "Does the game detect that you're the one holding the pad? Or can you totally cheat by having a second player control the girl while you do a contortion act on-screen?"

    You can! I mentioned this in a caption somewhere, I think.
    Reply +2
  • dirigiblebill 13/07/2016

    @Dingbot_Frog_13 Heh. I wouldn't say it's worth buying a Kinect for, but it's certainly worth a try if you own one already. Reply +3
  • How to fix the shooter campaign? Dig in

  • dirigiblebill 08/07/2016

    @elchongo Yeah, I was thinking more of linear, cutscene and chapter-driven fare. Open world is a whole other kettle of fish. Reply +1
  • dirigiblebill 08/07/2016

    @VotesForCows Thank you! I wrote this after a mostly sleepless night, so good to hear it makes some kind of sense. Reply +4
  • Trials of the Blood Dragon review

  • dirigiblebill 21/06/2016

    @Mar27w Haha, I stand corrected. That movie is too crazy to be bad. Reply +1
  • dirigiblebill 21/06/2016

    @northy666 I'm aware of the difference! I use both but not interchangeably. Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 21/06/2016

    @Vordred There are '90s references in there, yes, but the overarching action movie stylings are pure 80s - mix of Predator, Aliens and the Rambo series. Reply 0
  • All hail Wario

  • dirigiblebill 19/06/2016

    @Rodimus-Prime But I could have had both! :( Reply +1
  • Far Cry Primal review

  • dirigiblebill 23/02/2016

    @Silverflash Hey up! Story doesn't limit exploration, but you'll need to recruit certain characters to bag certain weapons and ability trees. And yes, you can ride mammoths, bears and sabretooths. Glad the review was entertaining. Reply +1
  • Unravel review

  • dirigiblebill 09/02/2016

    Also - there's loads of praise in the review, guys! I'm not sure calling it "beautiful", "restful", "touching", etc really translates to "sh***** all over it" ;) Reply +3
  • dirigiblebill 09/02/2016


    I haven't had the chance to play the Xbox One version, I'm afraid. Glad you found the review useful.


    The "emotional blackmail" line is quite throwaway, I agree, but then it isn't supposed to be a major component of the review. To elaborate a bit, the problem for me is that bookending the game in such an emotive way feels like asking the reviewer for a pass, because the work is just so gosh-darned personal and heartfelt. I don't doubt that huge effort and passion went into its creation but at the end of the day, it's not my role to hand out marks for effort or passion in themselves. And it's absolutely a criticism I'd level at other games, yes.
    Reply +2
  • Gone Home console review

  • dirigiblebill 18/01/2016

    @SnoppleMonster "Also, speaking as a gay man who was 16 in 1993 I think this is a brilliant story, your criticism at the end speaks of a false notion that every story must be incredibly true to life."

    That isn't quite what I'm arguing - my point is that Gone Home itself works too well as realist fiction for the ending to feel plausible, and I have friends and peers who've expressed misgivings about this based on personal experience. That said, I'm sorry if those concluding remarks sound overbearing. It's all about what you bring to it, for sure.
    Reply +2
  • dirigiblebill 18/01/2016

    @Sunjammer "Orgy of evidence" is a great phrase. Might have to steal it. Reply +2
  • Eurogamer says farewell to Dan Whitehead

  • dirigiblebill 18/12/2015

    Pleasure reading your stuff, Dan! Reply +6
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is a world at war with itself

  • dirigiblebill 05/12/2015

    @CR I'm sorry to hear you think I'm being inane! And I agree that a self-consciously broken story & world aren't a good thing in themselves - I'm not trying to make the claim here that Treyarch's attempt at self-critique is a complete success, and as I write at some length in the piece, in more mundane terms the campaign is incredibly flawed (the MP, predictably, is what saves the game on the whole). But I find this far more engaging than I do the more literal-minded, flag-waving plots you get in some of the other Duties. It takes a certain amount of wit to turn a revelation of creative inertia into a playable environment. Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 03/12/2015

    @CR For my money, Blops 3 is self-conscious and conflicted in a way no other COD really is. The previous entries lampoon themselves at intervals, but none do it this consistently and with such an overpowering sense of futility. It's hard to go into more detail without giving things away, but suffice to say that the nature of your antagonist is instrumental. Have you played it through? Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 03/12/2015

    @dogmanstaruk Oh come on, dude. This is a game that references Nietzsche, transhumanism and the prospect of artificial intelligence. To insist that it's just the usual popcorn fluff is to do it, and the developer, a disservice. My analysis is entirely appropriate to the subject matter. Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 03/12/2015

    @CR There's a difference between mere cinematic excess and the kind of fragmented nihilism you get in Black Ops 3. Reply 0
  • Xbox 360 at 10: The brilliance of the 360's dashboard

  • dirigiblebill 23/11/2015

    "You could even point to Xbox 360's Kinect (though it probably won't pick you up for a few seconds)."

    Reply -4
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 review

  • dirigiblebill 10/11/2015

    @smelly Hey up, reviewer here. Just to note that there is in fact a separate article on the campaign (follow the link in the second paragraph). Reply 0
  • OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood review

  • dirigiblebill 03/03/2015

    I think it's a disgrace that Oli didn't review this. It was right there for the taking, guys. Reply +70
  • Moving targets: the scattergun politics of Far Cry 4

  • dirigiblebill 02/12/2014

    Hey everybody - author here. Thanks for the thoughts, here are a couple more from me. First off, this isn't an "attack" - it's criticism, and criticism mixed with praise at that. I'm sure Ubisoft Montreal can take it :)

    As I wrote, I think the game is masterful in many respects, and I certainly don't begrudge anybody's wanting to ignore the political side of it and tear around blowing things up, but the political side of it IS there, and to exclude it from analysis is to do the work a disservice. If the idea were to make a game that's "purely about fun", they wouldn't have included a mission set in a prison camp or invoked the idea of persecution according to belief.
    Reply +19
  • X-Wing Retrospective

  • dirigiblebill 01/07/2012

    @D_arkTrooper You beauty. Thanks for those links. Reply +1
  • Realm of the Mad God Review

  • dirigiblebill 02/04/2012

    EG/Stanton - you might also want to consider the hectic brilliance that is Transformice. http://www.transformice.com/ Reply 0
  • When Is a Game Not a Game?

  • dirigiblebill 11/03/2012

    Much as I enjoyed this, there's a certain element of having your cake and eating it. "The 'is it a game' argument stops us having more interesting ones," you say. But isn't your article essentially an exercise in re-definition, one that makes room for the less-accepted possibilities of Dear Esther, LSD and co? Doesn't that demonstrate that debates over what constitutes a game are, in fact, worth having? Reply +1
  • MotorStorm RC Review

  • dirigiblebill 27/02/2012

    The result looks and plays a lot like the classic Micro Machines
    Reply +15
  • Deep Insecurity

  • dirigiblebill 11/01/2011

    "No it isn't, because it's illogical and it does nothing to explain why ease of piracy - which would logically REDUCE legitimate sales per machine - in fact coincides with the opposite effect."

    Just to chip in here - a high software attach ratio could be positioned as a cause of increasing piracy because software attach ratios are, to a degree, registers of demand, and I think it's fair to assume that pirates, whether they want to earn a living from their "trade" or not, will follow demand.
    Reply -1
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops

  • dirigiblebill 02/12/2010

    Great piece of writing - and masterfully tuned to Eurogamer sensibilities too (i.e. DANCE, YOU POP CULTURE ALLUSIONS, DANCE!)

    Reply 0
  • ScamVille

  • dirigiblebill 30/11/2009

    Good summary of the issues by Rob, good (and challenging) comments from industry insiders (or people who appear to be so). Thanks everybody. Reply 0
  • Monster Hunter Tri

  • dirigiblebill 28/10/2009

    So which will you be playing more, Keza - this or Demon Souls? I loved MHF2, glad to see they've finally got round to doing a proper online component. Reply +1
  • PSPgone

  • dirigiblebill 03/10/2009

    Good article, particularly this point: "...a solid concept that was tugged in every direction by competing needs and ideas within Sony."

    The lack of a touch screen is irksome. Together with the sliding form factor, this would have put clear light between PSPgo and the iPod Touch/iPhone - slide it open for "trad" D-pad and face button gaming, slide it closed for short-burn Mini experiences, music and internet browsing.

    PS. I wonder how much credibility there is to the idea that a costly, feature-crippled PSPgo is the price we pay for the PS3 Slim and PS3 price-drops?
    Reply 0
  • Nintendo games dominating in 2009

  • dirigiblebill 06/07/2009

    A more accurate headline would be "Nintendo games dominating UK in 2009". Reply +6
  • Prototype

  • dirigiblebill 12/06/2009

    I should know better than to comment, but you, Mr Fapula, are an irrational twat of the very, very highest order. Congratulations.

    Do you want a medal? How about a punch in the face?
    Reply 0
  • Tecmo unveils Undead Knights for PSP

  • dirigiblebill 08/06/2009

    "unveils"? We've known about this for a while.

    Reply 0
  • inFamous

  • dirigiblebill 22/05/2009

    What I love about his last post (other than the fact that he seems to think bolding something is a good substitute for, you know, proving it) is that Zedux actually stopped to explain what "STFU" stands for. Now that's considerate forum behaviour, kids. Reply +1
  • dirigiblebill 21/05/2009

    This review is terrible because it has reminded me that the internet is full of delusional, barely literate walking scrotal sacks.

    To anybody bitching about the score - please kindly take a big step back, unzip your flies and fuck your own face.
    Reply +1
  • dirigiblebill 21/05/2009

    "I POSIT that I cannot CONFIRM or DENY EG score until I ACTUALLY played the game and FORMED my own JUDGEMENT."

    Reply 0
  • Demon's Souls

  • dirigiblebill 24/04/2009


    As I'll never own a PS3 I'll just have to wait for the 360 port.
    Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 23/04/2009

    MisterCraig - I suspect she was being figurative :p Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 23/04/2009

    Jesus H Christ. I had no idea this game existed and now I want it so much I'm considering selling a kidney.

    Superb, well-structured and detailed review, Keza - you should show us some love at Kikizo one of these days ;)
    Reply +1
  • Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume

  • dirigiblebill 23/04/2009

    An interesting but by the sounds of it not entirely advisable reversal of the series' long-running soul-collection mechanic. Reply 0