Displaying articles written by

Brad Johnson

who has written 85 posts for Gamesugar.

Review – PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

Review PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale
When PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale was announced it immediately drew comparisons to another popular game series, and it’s not hard to see why. All-Stars practically begs to be measured against Nintendo’s Smash Bros. franchise.

Normally I would try to avoid a point-for-point comparison of two titles, but All-Stars pulls so much from the Smash Bros. games—without even a hint of subtlety—that I think it’s only fair to compare the two, mercilessly. You can expect to find many such comparisons ahead.

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Review – Assassin’s Creed III

Assassins Creed III
After five entries I imagine it’s easy to overlook the level of craft in the Assassin’s Creed series. Meticulously rendered locations and historical accuracy is par for the course at this point, but thankfully Assassin’s Creed III brings these elements back to the forefront by leveraging the most interesting setting, backstory, and secondary characters in the entire series.

The American Revolution is explored with a balanced perspective, and historical information is poured on in such a way that even the most oblivious player will be compelled to think critically about the stage and the motivations of the actors.

This is not Assassin’s Creed: SUPER PATRIOT EDITION. Bad people and bad choices are everywhere; compromise is ubiquitous. The game begs you to look deeper into the conflict, and it works. That most players will have a stronger working knowledge of the history here than in previous entries is a massive boon to the story being told; it’s easier to grasp opposing viewpoints when the nature of the disagreement is easily understood, allowing the game to more deftly elaborate on the moral struggles the series has always tried to illuminate.

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Demo Report – The Darkness II

Demo Report The Darkness II 2
If you recall my lengthy diatribe on the matter of The Darkness, and the urgency with which it demands to be played, you might guess that The Darkness II is a subject in which I am greatly invested. I very much need for this title to deliver, and for that reason the question of whether Digital Extremes is equipped to succeed Starbreeze is a puzzle I have been pondering since the day of this title’s announcement.

The demo sets up the premise of the sequel and offers little else in the way of narrative—it provides a capable teaser, and then moves directly along to the matter of vicious tentacle murder.

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The Asura’s Wrath Demo – What Just Happened? Edition

Asuras Wrath Demo
I just finished doing something with the Asura’s Wrath demo. I don’t wholly know what it is that I did, and really, I’m not sure what kind of thing I did it with.

Ostensibly, Asura’s Wrath is a beat ‘em up—except, I think I maybe beat up three guys in the course of the demo, for a total of perhaps ninety seconds of gameplay.

The demo chiefly consists of cut-scenes and quick-time events; it plays like an interactive episode of Dragonball Z, where following the prompts progresses the story, chiefly by causing Asura to get angry and hit things harder.

Interspersed were a few brief gameplay interludes, where I actually had some limited freedom to move Asura and do what I would typically describe as “playing the game.”

These sequences involved A) running and blasting things, or B) running and punching things. In the latter section, I fought what would, in any other game, be called a boss battle—but strangely, even this brawl felt suspiciously as if it were on rails. Not that it was, not truly, but there was a pattern, there were prompts—and eventually, I understood that the game was trying to make me play out a cinematic with my own two hands. If the boss knocked me back, I could tap quickly and recover—if I advanced perfectly through his assault, I could attack. If I was exactly skilled enough, I would use all the right moves and the battle would simply look like a cut-scene.

It would look like a good one, too. The aesthetic of Asura’s Wrath is, in a word, brilliant. I’ve never seen a videogame look like this—like a painting come to life. What’s accomplished here is what so many games struggle endlessly with and never achieve; a true visual dynamism where the nature of the image can change, like a brush stroke, becoming smooth and calming or stressed and furious. The visuals alone demand attention, insisting the game be played.

If there is a game, that is. At the end of the demo, a title screen thanked me for playing, and I sat there, wondering: had I played? I had mashed some buttons, sure—but whether there’s a game here? Whether this is a videogame? I really don’t know.

I do want to find out.

Review – Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD

Oddworld Strangers Wrath HD
Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath is the tale of the eponymous Stranger, a bounty hunter afflicted by a mysterious illness and distaste for traditional firearms. Maybe the latter condition makes him sound like sort of a softy, until you realize that his alternative to traditional ammunition is strapping live animals to a crossbow and lobbing them toward enemies at high speeds (and presumably to their deaths).

The game involves claiming bounties on “them outlaws”, a task that can be accomplished A) by sucking their unconscious bodies into some kind of… thing… or, B) by murdering them horribly and sucking their corpses into the same kind of…thing…

To this end, Stranger employs an eclectic mix of tricks that, in a lesser game, might not fit together. Primarily, the bounty hunter is able to switch between the first and third person perspectives, granting him some different abilities tied to those modes.

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When Duty Redials…

Review Modern Warfare 3
MW3 is out and about, scorings its eights and nines and commanding the lives of adherents the world over—though, interestingly, the game has received something of a flogging on Metacritic, with the user score ranking a paltry 3.2 (Xbox 360 version) as of this writing.

Meanwhile, the game sold seven decazillion copies in the first ninety seconds after its release. True fact.

So, you understand: never mind that Metacritic score. The verdict is in, and everybody loves Call of Duty. As a registered and licensed Digi-Herald and Internet Chronicler, it pains me to inform you, dear reader, that your internet voice, and my internet voice, and the score of 3.2 on Metacritic do not matter. The score could be zero, and it would not matter. The gaming community voted with their wallets November 8—and if you don’t like Call of Duty, well, you lost.

Call of Duty is the President of Vidyagaems. Sorry.

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Review – Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

review assassins creed revelations
The latest innovations in stab-simulation from stealth-murder industry leader Assassin’s Creed can be had today, with the release of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. The latest entry in the series sees the aged Ezio Auditore seeking to uncover the secrets of series originator Altair—who appears in a handful of flashback missions throughout the game. Meanwhile, Ezio also battles the Templar armies in Constantinople, and oversees the Assassin guild in that city.

Lording over your Assassin minions is much as it was in Brotherhood, with a few quirks. Assassin’s are recruited in small sidequests and can be deployed at the touch of a button to emerge from the shadows and nail enemy targets.

These disciples see upgrades through combat and can still be sent away on missions to gain experience, but the missions now have more tangible rewards—in that completely freeing a city of templar control yields continuing income and bonuses, much the way renovating shops does.

Additionally, Ezio’s Assassin forces wage a war for control inside Constantinople, whereby Ezio’s captured dens can be contested by Templar forces—resulting in Revelation’s most curious offering: a tower defense mini-game.

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