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F.E.A.R… what’s in a name? September 9, 2008

Posted by Mike in Console, Games, News, PC.
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Genero-game-titles are one of the most exciting features of the current console generation. Call of Medal of Underground Honour In Arms: Frontlines… where will it end? What will be the drabbest name come the End of Days (which is tomorrow, incidentally, if you believe the Hadron Collider conspiracy theorists)?

Monolith ponied up with the clear winner in this particular wall of shame a few months back: Project Origin. The amusing thing about this is that the name was actually chosen as the winner in an online competition to title up the heart-stoppingly exciting unofficial F.E.A.R. sequel. Yes, the imagination of the general public was to blame! It could have been called something brilliant, like “Alma-Getting-Outta-Here”, or my personal favourite, “N.O.L.I.C.E.N.C.E.”

Instead, the painfully average Project Origin was chosen (rather suspiciously, there are lingering rumours that a better name actually won in the polls but corporate shenanigans played a part in the final result) and instantly made any gamers who heard the title fall asleep for a hundred years. As a result, Paul McKenna is currently in therapy with feelings of profound inadequacy.

Thankfully, sanity has prevailed. Monolith today announced that the F.E.A.R. name has been bought from Vivendi’s home of Activision/Blizzard, bringing to an end one of the more bizarre licensing issues of modern times. (As you may recall, upon splitting with Vivendi, Monolith kept the concepts and the world from the original game, while Vivendi got to keep the name.) Give a cookie to the clever fellow who decided to splash the cash. What this development means for the proposed separate Vivendi-developed F.E.A.R. 2 is, at present, uncertain.

The promising Monolith shooter is now entitled F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin and will be released in February 2009 for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. The new moniker is hardly perfect, but at least the game itself now stands a chance of being scarier than its name.

Company of Heroes – A Belated Review August 21, 2008

Posted by Jevan Moss in Games, gaming, PC, Reviews.
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The summer drought is always a good time to catch up with underplayed games, and as usual I seem to have built up an embarrassingly large back-catalogue. Thanks to our extended hiatus though, it’s the perfect excuse to review some of the games we missed, starting with the rather excellent Company of Heroes. (more…)

All New Sam & Max! November 13, 2007

Posted by Jevan Moss in Games, News, PC.
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Somewhat lost in the melange, season 2 of Telltale’s Sam & Max episodes launched yesterday. I’m currently a fair way into the first installment, Ice Station Santa, which is proving as entertaining as ever. Within minutes I was facing off with a giant, cheesy pop-song quoting robot, before driving off to the North Pole to investigate an unusually murderous Santa Claus. Excellent.

Some critics took issue with the length and relative simplicity of most of the first series, but personally I think a lot of people really missed the point. Each episode lasted only a few hours, and its puzzles were rarely tough enough to keep most people stuck for long. In short, they actually worked as episodes, each with a self-contained plot building up season-long arc. It was by far the best attempt at episodic gaming I’ve seen, and it looks like season 2 could easily repeat its success.

Oh yes, there’s a demo too. It can be downloaded from Telltale’s blog, while everything else can be found on their Sam & Max page.

If all that wasn’t good enough, you can now download an entire episode from the first season for the princely sum of £0.00, with the help of Steam. It’s my personal favourite as well, so thanks, Telltale.

Thelltale.

Timeshift – More time manipulation for fun, but no profit November 4, 2007

Posted by Jevan Moss in Articles, Console, Games, PC.
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Two more levels in, and I’ve gone from fighting in the street, through close quarters indoor combat and an ill-advised turret sequence, to a vehicular assisted trip across a snowy mountain range. Sabre certainly know how to vary their environments!

It’s still proving to be as entertaining as ever, but so far it’s never really managed to raise itself above the games that inspired it. Those mountains are no Highway 17, that’s for sure! The bar has simply been raised too high in recent weeks for Timeshift to stand out any more, which is a real shame really. Had it been released just a couple of months ago, it would have probably sold quite well. Heck, it could even have spawned a sequel, and it would have deserved it. At this point in time however, its time manipulation gimmick is just too little too late.

It is fun though, so keep an eye on those bargain bins.

Battleships Forever – Warning Forever Tactics November 2, 2007

Posted by Rob in Games, PC.
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Today I’ve been playing Battleships Forever. It’s a space-based RTS by Sean Chan and although it’s still in its beta phase, it’s very good indeed.

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Timeshift – It’s about time! November 2, 2007

Posted by Jevan Moss in Articles, Console, Games, PC.
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Well, after a convoluted development cycle in which the game was literally scrapped and rebuilt half-way through, in response to mediocre previews, Timeshift is finally here. Unfortunately, Vivendi could well have ruined everything by releasing the game smack bang in the middle of Halo 3, The Orange Box, Call Of Duty 4 and Crysis! You have to laugh really.

Crazy marketing decisions aside though, that extra year in development has clearly worked wonders. I’m about an hour into the campaign, and well, it’s bloody good fun!

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Love Letters: Championship Manager 01/02 October 31, 2007

Posted by Rob in Articles, Games, PC.
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Every Autumn, a new Football Manager game is released, and every Autumn said game is proclaimed to be the most complete football management game ever made. This is true, but I can’t be the only person who sometime yearns for the pure simplicity of pre-Eidos/Sports Interactive split Championship Manager.

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