Might and Magic VI is a game composed entirely of fetch quests. You go on six fetch quests for the items required to unlock another four fetch quests which will, eventually, allow you access to a fetch quest. I’d love to see the planning room for this project:
“Okay, Steve, we need you to go and get an old lady’s groceries. Then, with the money she gives you, catch a bus to the home of a guy who delivers The Yellow Pages for a living. If you bring him a newspaper he will let you look through a spare copy for a freelance programmer. When you get to his house…”
And then, after procuring the wine, flowers, French Chef and Barry White CD needed to make the programmer’s girlfriend forgive him for forgetting to feed her goldfish, Steve sat down and wrote the game plot.
If I had to pick one sentence to describe Total Overdose, it would be ‘Oh, honey, no.’
You can tell that the devs really loved this game, but they did so in the manner of a newborn seal; all huge eyes and floppy incompetence. The music is lovingly chosen (if occasionally a bit ‘mexsploitation Yackety Sax’), the B-movie vibe speaks of hours spent watching Robert Rodriguez films, and ‘isn’t this wacky awesome cheesy fun? :D :D :D’ practically seeps from every pore. I almost feel bad for making fun of it. On the other hand, The Tay Bridge Disaster was a labour of love.
They wanted silly, addictive combat mechanics. Total Overdose combat is pretty fun. They wanted to make a ridiculous, campy game. Didn’t do too badly at that. They wanted their game to be funny…
“Oh, honey, no.”
Pictured here: a monster thirsting for your tears of anguish.
Peter Molyneux’s pretty alright, really. The whole Spinner of Lies, Peddler of Broken Dreams thing never quite jived for me – it requires a level of forethought I’m just not seeing, especially considering the bloke’s biggest problem is talking faster than his team can say ‘hold on, Pete, we’re still not sure that’s possible’.
Over time I have gone from rolling my eyes at his extravagant promises, to wanting to roll a ball of wool across the floor for him because ‘d’aww, he’s just like an excitable kitten’. And you know why? Bawling anti-fans. Irritating hate-junkies. This pernicious and entirely baseless meme that he consistently produces bad games. At this point if the inevitable letdown involved him personally coming to my house, setting fire to my cat and charging me for his taxi fare, I would smile and give it 89%.
At first I looked forward to the cutscenes, because they got me away from the combat. Then I looked forward to the combat, because it got me away from the voice-acting.
And then I stopped looking forward to anything.
Constantine: the Videogame is what the fans call an over-looked gem, the generous call a forgettable mediocrity, and I call proof that you can piss in a urinal and make it dirtier. The film was a desecration of the comics. The game, I am delighted to tell you, is a desecration of the film. It’s like we’ve got desecration squared up in this joint. If you ever looked at the film and thought ‘wow, they could not have shown that IP any less respect’, then this is your lucky fucking day, baby.
Sit down, shut up, stop whining.
“But it’s taking money from our pock-“
No, it isn’t. Sit down. Shut up. Stop whining.
“You’re screwing over develop-“
That’s your schtick. SD. SU. SW.
“We won’t be able to afford to make gam-“
Rethink your business model. And while you’re at it, have you considered SD, SU, SW?
Despite the prerequisite freaking out from the fans about how Garrett is clearly a ninja now – because gymnast = hired killer, apparently[¹] – having him go out of his way to race around the guard and escape shows an emphasis on non-violent play.
Mind you, anyone who thinks the original games forcefully encouraged pure sneaking and pacifism either never played the originals, or is looking back through a rosy haze. Why do you think the first two gave you an armoury’s worth of broadheads at the start of every mission? It wasn’t for the bloody archery minigame.
My friend killed herself yesterday and the last thing we did together was play Iron Grip: Warlord.
Or maybe it wasn’t. Maybe the last thing we did was talk over Steam, her saying I can’t take it anymore and I’ve ruined everything and you remember when I tried to kill myself last year? while I sat, helpless with the distance of 378 miles, and sent back have you called the helpline? and it’ll be okay and *hugs*. But what I remember is Iron Grip: Warlord.
She was a generous player, quick to build and quick to mend, and I loved being alongside her as waves of enemies scrambled up the bridge; just me, my boyfriend and her against the odds. I thought playing with us would make her happier and I think I was right. I hoped it might help her and I was wrong.
You can’t fix depression with three victories and a retry, I knew that. You can’t even fix loneliness. But I wanted it to. I wanted it to chase away her shadows long enough for the helpline to be dialled, the call to be answered. I told my boyfriend yesterday that I hoped we were doing her some good, before I woke up this morning, before I opened my email and found out she was dead. Maybe she was dead when I said it.
I haven’t opened Iron Grip: Warlord today and I’m not sure when I will. There’s a hole in my team. There’s a hole in my team, ZP, and you’re not there.
After 2011’s leaked concept art, I had high hopes for Thief 4. While the fandom was busily picking fault with a handful of sketches – “The angle of his right calf clearly indicates that Eidos are reimagining Thief as a racing game!” – I was getting my love on for the pretty, pretty possibilities.
Today, all those possibilities came together and danced for the pleasure of my fangirl heart. Look at this beautiful slice of game. If these screenshots were a woman, I would forgo the wine ‘n dine and head straight for the sheets. The only thing keeping me from smooching my monitor is that I know where it’s been.
You’re evil, in possession of an abnormally high intellect, and you want everyone to recognise this and give you presents for it. Starting as little more than a humble dealer in human suffering, you gradually work your way up the ladder of crime until you find yourself squatting in your subterranean base, considering how deep inside the volcano to build your doomsday device.
Not an auspicious goal, admittedly – no one likes being told they share a life plan with Ming the Merciless – but one that’s easy to grasp. Like the world. Between your cruel, talon-nailed fingers.
Written 30/07/2012. First posted here.
When the Thief 4 ‘trailer’ leaked last month, the internet went mildly enthusiastic. Intrigued individuals and 200-word articles as far as the eye can glance. Bit of forum activity, even.
Less a big splash than a skipping stone, but that was to be expected. It’s a 30-second clip for Thief goddamn 4; the next in a series which most people have never played, and which Eidos Montreal have released Sweet F.A about. Most of the attention it got consisted of ten words and a video link, or a sweet little teaspoon of rampant paranoia about The Creeping Inevitable Doom That Has Fallen Upon This Game.
Me? I was pretty psyched, because look at this motherfucker: