California Literary Review

Games

Video Game Review: Deadlight

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August 19th, 2012

Deadlight has impressive aesthetics surrounding a center that’s almost non-existent; a perfect example of people who have looked at other games, thought “how hard could that be?” and then attempted without understanding.

Video Game Review: Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance

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August 12th, 2012

The Kingdom Hearts series, on the decline for several years now, has finally been given a much needed boost by the release of Dream Drop Distance. A stellar title and a must-own for the 3DS, it shows that there is still hope for the franchise.

Video Game Review: Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir

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July 25th, 2012

In order to discover the secret of the house and escape the curse, you encounter and battle ghosts from the memoir and the house using the Camera Obscura – taking photographs of the ghosts at crucial moments leads to their untimely demise. You do battle with all sorts of unsavoury types, from staggering, bloodstained long-haired young girls to bodiless hands which reach out from the memoir’s pages to grab and tear at you.

Farcry 3, Fight Club, and Ultra-Violence: Or Why Gaming Needs to Gain Weight!

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July 9th, 2012

Of the many previews that emerged from this year’s E3 to generate hype, one that didn’t inspire much outrage or concern was the one for the upcoming Farcry 3. In just under two minutes, this (decidedly NSFW) trailer promises an adventure that will play out as Apocalypse Now if it were directed by Rob Zombie. […]

Seeking Absolution Solutions

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July 6th, 2012

It’s raining. Outside the Waikiki Motel the palm trees sway with the showers under a sky filled with dread. Inside, a man takes off his shirt. He’s washing the blood off his face and cleaning the bullet hole in his arm. The scars on his back are visible during the procedure. They reveal a history […]

Lamenting E3 2012 – A Preamble

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July 4th, 2012

Perhaps because it’s an overcast July 4th here in my corner of usually beautiful and overly hot southern California, but it seems a perfect day to take a step back. To look at something important to gamers young and old, hardcore and casual. I’m of course talking about E3 (or the Electronic Entertainment Expo for […]

Video Game Review: Lollipop Chainsaw

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July 1st, 2012

The game’s main protagonist, zombie hunting high school cheer leader Juliet, is, like, totally blonde and sugary sweet. She wakes up and it’s so lame because like, it’s her birthday and there are zombies everywhere. Not cool! Out comes the heart-patterned chainsaw and the pom-poms and soon zombie heads are flying, with flips and flourishes galore as Juliet twirls around the battlefield with elegance and grace. So totally, like, awesome!

Video Game Review: Game of Thrones

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June 17th, 2012

So, does this Game of Thrones manage to live up to the promise of its source material? Or does it end up as horrible as the Hound’s face? The answer is a thunderously hesitant, “It’s pretty good,” but with more caveats than Walder Frey has heirs.

Video Game Review: Diablo III

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June 9th, 2012

Herein dwells the problem. The treatment of your combatants as mere faceless fodder makes gameplay as compulsive and mindless as your average stint in Azeroth – all that is required of the player is to keep on clicking until everything around them is dead. There is nothing skilful about taking an enemy down in Diablo III – if you have the time to sit and click, click, click, you’ll get it done.

Video Game Review: Max Payne 3

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May 30th, 2012

The Max Payne series has always been about contradiction. On the one hand, each game is archetypical Noir: a cynical anti-hero set against the gritty, grimy underworld who wryly waxes poetic via internal monologue. On the other, the actual gameplay is derived from Hong Kong action cinema: bloody gunfights accentuated with lots diving through the air while firing guns akimbo in Matrix “bullet time,” a technique as flashy as it is impractical.

Video Game Review: Minecraft XBLA Edition

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May 27th, 2012

The inclusion of drop-in drop-out multiplayer allows for friends to build settlements together, wage war on each other and have fun without the hassle of purchasing and maintaining servers, a costly and sometimes difficult process required of the PC version. Playing alone is all well and good, but humans are social animals even when isolated in a block-eat-block world. Whether collaborative or competitive, multiplayer expands the Minecraft universe exponentially.

Overachievers: In Pursuit Of 1000G

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May 16th, 2012

In a moment of madness I cared too much about finding everything, about doing everything, and it was to the detriment of my gaming experience. It’s in moments like these that achievement-oriented gamers need to be reminded that their Gamerscore doesn’t mean anything and that they run the risk of turning a fun experience into a chore – and turning one’s hobby into work is a risky business indeed.

A Throne of Games – Volume 2 – A Crash of Kings

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May 16th, 2012

When last we left the historie of the consoleflict, two houses arose in the land of gaming. One, house Magnavox, entering into the untamed wilderness with their host of Odysseys, the other, house Atari, had stolen the fire of tennis and ignited the imagination with Pong, the progenitor of gaming nobility. The first battles over […]

A Throne of Games – Volume 1 – A Historie of Consoleflict

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May 14th, 2012

Tell me, O muse, of that time long ago when there were no video games. When the people did not gather in the halls of the arcade where a round of happiness was bought a quarter at a time, but the pool hall where a beer cost the same if it was cheap, or so […]

Video Game Review: Pandora’s Tower

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May 13th, 2012

What was once iconic – big hair, slender waists and massive…uh…assets – has become a laughable stereotype as developers refuse to push forward and innovate with their designs. Japan used to be a trendsetter in terms of game design, and it’s a shame to see things descend into mere mimicry of what has already been. In terms of aesthetics, Pandora’s Tower suffers deeply from this refusal to move on.

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