Editor's note: Catherine is released in Europe this week. Here we present our review of the North American release of the game, first published in July last year. To the best of our knowledge it's still accurate with respect to the European version.
From the archive: As Quantic Dream's Beyond releases, we look back at David Cage's miserablist marvel.
About 20 years ago, "closure" became a thing that we wanted after something bad happened. When someone dies, we are told that the grieving parties desire closure - that they want to take the death, put it in a box, and tape the edges shut on that sucker until it is good and sealed.
Ezio Auditore is old, and Assassin's Creed: Revelations doesn't try to hide this. In the third game of the Assassin's Creed 2 trilogy, Ezio is rendered with a pasty face and drooping eyelids. He has a stringy beard that makes his lips appear to pucker out like an overfed goldfish. It's the decay you'd expect for a beloved superstar on his last hurrah. This is Ezio's final appearance as a hero in the series, and appropriately, this game has the feeling of a farewell tour. Like a rock band past its prime, Assassin's Creed: Revelations is everything Assassin's Creed has ever been, and less.
Dark Souls is considered From Software's spiritual successor to Demon's Souls. And Demon's Souls was deemed the spiritual successor to the King's Field series, which made its debut in the mid-1990s on the PlayStation. We toss around this term "spiritual successor" a lot, mostly when we want to say "sequel" but it doesn't quite fit. A spiritual successor is more interesting, anyway. A sequel is a marketing strategy; a spirit can be profound.
The conventional wisdom is that everyone hates conventional wisdom. I saw a poll recently that asked the readers of a political blog, "Do you think the average voter is adequately informed?" Ninety-one per cent of respondents answered "no." Later in the survey came the question, "Do you think you yourself are adequately informed?" You already know the punchline: ninety-two per cent said "yes."
The Binding of Isaac takes liberties as it modernises the Bible story of the same name, but the gist remains: God is a total control freak.
Nicholson Electroplating is like an extra spleen that's been cloned from the stem cells of L.A. Noire and grafted onto its armpit. Sure, it's a mighty fine spleen and all, but if you're just gonna stick it on there, don't be surprised when it fails to come alive.
This is the blog post for the final day of the Eurogamer.net E3 podcasts. You'll find the previous three days available to listen to at the bottom of this piece.
Three pilgrims. Two convention halls. One unifying passion for gaming. And a sprinkling of rear touch. It's the third day of Eurogamer's E3 2011 podcast.
With Microsoft, Sony, and all the rest combining for a fairly humdrum day of pressers on Monday, it fell on Nintendo once again to "save" E3 - to give us some "buzz of the new," in the words of Reggie Fils-Aime.
E3 may not officially begin until tomorrow, but try telling that to Microsoft, Sony, EA, and Ubisoft. Actually, don't, because you can't get a word in edgewise with these guys. Between the four of them, they talked for about seven hours. But after all the press-conferencing and bloviating was over, we retreated to downtown L.A. and compared notes.
To build a gaming PC is to enter a dazzling realm of modern engineering, blazing fast processors and cutting-edge graphics. Why, just the process of selecting a hard drive offers hundreds of possible options, each one representing an opportunity to fine-tune your machine into peak performance. This is the guide for people who cannot be bothered with that crap.
There's this famous scene in the movie Patton. No, not the one where he stands in front of the American flag and talks about shooting the Hun in the belly. I'm talking about the scene where two tanks get stuck in mud during the Third Army's march across France, and General Patton hops out of his Jeep to direct traffic. The image switches to a close shot of Patton, and he's beaming. He revels in his conception of a great commander: one who's willing to put his own boots in the muck.
There's a difference between admiring a piece of art and loving it. Admiration is cerebral. You can evaluate a thing on its merits and talk yourself into admiring it. But love happens. It can be explained, sometimes, but not premeditated. Love creates movement in the soul; admiration stands there and smiles.
SpaceChem and Super Meat Boy. One is a game of atomic engineering, the other is about a skinless kid and his hot girlfriend. There's not too much common ground there, except on this essential level: they both nail the "Look what I made!" factor.
In this opinion piece, John Teti gives his views on the latest attempt to legislate the sale of videogames in the US - and explains why he thinks it's time for the industry to start walking the "games are art" walk.
Plenty of games promise to tell you a story, but Kirby's Epic Yarn is one of the few that literally does so. The game opens with an avuncular man narrating the tale of Kirby's descent into Patch World. There's no voice-acting cast. Instead, like story hour at the local library, the narrator just changes his voice as he reads the lines of each character: a bit squeakier for Kirby and a bit more serious for Kirby's new friend, Prince Fluff. It's a perfectly analogue intro to an analogue game.
Say this for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II: there is no pull-the-Star-Destroyer-out-of-the-sky moment. The original game got a bum rap because of that Sisyphean boss fight and other missteps like it, not to mention an abundance of small technical glitches. The sequel was supposed to learn from those mistakes. And it does, somewhat.
Suspension of disbelief is a beautiful thing in the hands of Level-5. The developers of Professor Layton and the Lost Future are asking players, for the third time, to buy into the ludicrous premise of the Layton story: an obsessive archaeology professor solves mysteries for the public, under the implicit contract that they repay him by feeding his hunger for bite-size brainteasers. Everyone obliges this deal. And by the way, there's time travel in this one, too. Because that always makes sense.
Editor's note: Reader beware! As a review of the second epilogue for a very narrative-led game, the following necessarily contains some spoilers for Alan Wake and previous episode The Signal. Proceed with caution.
The God of War series has popularised a vision of Greek mythology that could be best described as totally freaking epic. In Kratos' classical world, no beast that stands less than 10 stories tall can be considered a true challenge. Every story point is a heaven-rending clash of the titans: The loser falls to the ground in a thundering collapse that makes all 5.1 channels of your fancy speaker system explodes with sound, and the victor gets to preen in heroic cut-scenes. The stakes are always as high as they can be, at least until they're higher.
The remarkable thing about Mafia II is not that it's bad, but that it masks its awfulness so well. The game opens with striking visuals: the backdrop of Empire Bay (Mafia's stand-in for New York City) is packed with World War II-era details, and the characters are authentic-looking, with a veneer of humanity. The nicely curated oldies soundtrack promises to immerse us in the culture and spirit of the period. Mafia II has the production values that players interpret as signs of quality. What comes next is cognitive dissonance.
The two-faced mansion from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night endures in players' memories because it's the perfect venue for adventure. You never stop pushing into new realms, yet there always remains another locked door or an unreachable ledge - something more to discover. And, most famously, at the moment you think the journey is over, you learn it's not even close. Symphony of the Night is a romantic's idealisation of life: a cycle of mystery and discovery with no end in sight.
Alan Wake is best when it's ending. That's a compliment. The game hits an aesthetic high whenever one of its episodes draws to a close, with a stark title screen and a cut of music that's perfect for the moment. I savour those few seconds when the text ("End of Episode Five" or what have you) slinks on-screen in tendrils of smoke, and I love that the song makes everything you just played feel like a grand journey.
Limbo, the moody, monochromatic game that kicks off Xbox Live Arcade's Summer of Arcade this Wednesday, looks gorgeous. Any screenshot will tell you that, and playing the game drives it home. The developers, Playdead, execute their aesthetic - like a gloomy Eastern European animated short seen through misted glass - with beauty and consistency. The game's real success, however, is in refusing to be satisfied with looks alone.