It took me 76 hours, but I finally beat Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together for the PSP. To say it was an arduous journey would be putting it lightly. I’ve had the game in my possession since it was launched in February 2011. My romantic notions of the game were quickly realized: this was no half-hearted attempt at a remake. This was a quality product. The effort shown in updating the visuals and introducing a system that allows you to remake game-changing decisions is welcome. It’s a meaty adventure, with hundreds of characters and unlimited possibilities to customize them. Sounds pretty good, right? But by the time the end credits rolled, I experienced a sense of relief instead of glory.
I can finally put this baby to rest after nearly three years of on-and-off sessions, but it won’t go down as one of my favorites, and I wouldn’t recommend it to any but the most hardcore fans of tactical RPGs. I could talk about how battles take an eternity to get through, or how managing your inventory is frustratingly monotonous, but my main complaint with my Tactics Ogre experience doesn’t have anything to do with the game itself. My biggest problem: I regret not using a walkthrough. READ MORE
I’m not a hardware guy. If somebody asks me what my computer’s specs are, I’ll admit I have no clue. It runs Dota 2 perfectly, and that’s good enough for me. I couldn’t care less how much RAM the PS4 has versus the Xbox One, or how much anti-aliasing the Wii U can handle. I say this without trepidation, because I know the power of hardware is irrelevant if it doesn’t have the software to match it. READ MORE
I’m a huge hockey fan. How typical: I’m a Canadian talking about hockey. The next thing you know, I’m going to start talking about beer and poutine! (Great combo, by the way.) I mention hockey because there’s currently a discussion going on about the National Hockey League’s decision to hold select games throughout the season in outdoor venues. A great idea is a great idea, but oversaturating the market can lead to early exits for all types of products, and games are no exception.
Graham has told me I’m an overly positive person and I’m inclined to agree. I have 75 “friendly” commendations in Dota 2, a game that will test, bend and break friendships before turning you into a raving maniac with the patience of a honey badger and the tact of a cynical, angry drunk. I can be unnecessarily optimistic to the point of frustration; am I putting on an act? Or am I so completely ignorant of my surroundings that I’m blissfully unaware and won’t acknowledge that the ship is sinking? I’d say a bit of both. READ MORE
I’m a creature of habit. I tap the dashboard three times when I drive through a yellow light. I’ll eat the exact same meal for weeks in a row. I rarely alter my jogging routes. I’ll latch onto a podcast and listen to every single episode, or even continue watching a show long after my interest has waned.
These stubborn tactics and silly quirks carry over to video games. I don’t know if it’s perseverance that gets me through long games that I hate, but I do know that I’m almost incapable of adjusting my behavior, even when it makes complete sense to do so. It may prevent me from playing an outstanding title, or cause me to play a game I don’t even want to play. All I know is that if there is a game series, I’m going to start with the first one. READ MORE
It’s an exciting time to be a video game enthusiast. Feelings of welcomed anxiety accompany insatiable fascination with the coming of new consoles. You want to read everything you can, while jumping up and down like a four-year-old discovering trampolines. Along with these feelings comes a tsunami of analysis, debate, competition, reviews and industry predictions. The “old” consoles and games will receive price drops, the new consoles will fuel the fire of internet flame wars and, here at Snackbar, we’ll talk and talk and talk about the Xbox One and PS4 until our throats are sore. New, new, new.
All major changes have consequences. Nothing exists in a bubble; new consoles are great for some, but what does it mean for the sector of the gaming industry that won’t immediately benefit? Will brick-and-mortar stores slowly fade away, as Blockbuster did? Will we see the death of the mid-range developer? READ MORE
I just started playing Tales of Xillia, the latest entry in one of Namco’s longest-running series. It instantly hooked me with the lavish colors, the grand aspirations, the overly enthusiastic dialogue and an overabundance of exposition in the first few hours. The mechanics feel natural by now; menu systems, experience points, leveling up. Battle strategy and traversing an overworld map have become second nature to me, as I’ve played hundreds of games in this genre. I also get the benefit of playing games that emphasize beautiful worlds and incredible soundtracks. They’re an acquired taste, but I can’t get enough.
That doesn’t mean I always enjoy them. READ MORE
I love cooperative play in games. Playing with a partner isn’t always feasible, though, but thankfully games have been getting better at implementing AI partners. Ellie in The Last of Us and BioShock Infinite‘s Elizabeth show that escort quests don’t have to be excruciating, and if you don’t have a friend to play with, you’re not completely alone.
But Elizabeth isn’t going to punch me on the arm excitedly when we beat a tough boss, or scream at me loudly when an enemy pops out of nowhere. Ellie will never call me in real life and ask if I’m down to play a session of Gears of War or bring over beer. READ MORE
The Breaking Bad series finale aired September 29, and a void has been created in my television-watching schedule that will not be replaced anytime soon. It has received hyperbolic praise for the acting, direction, cinematography and level of commitment to a storyline that bordered on dark comedy in the first season to a tragic, operatic finale that left audiences shocked, speechless, stunned and satisfied. We’ve never seen anything like it. READ MORE
My girlfriend and I often play games together. It’s a good way to pass the time in the fall and winter months. When we can’t go for hikes, or kayak in Victoria’s beautiful inner harbor, we settle for placing lightning towers in Dungeon Defenders or doing a second playthrough of Borderlands 2. Like most experiences in life, ours with games are enhanced when enjoying with others. READ MORE