Review: Two Worlds II

The original Two Worlds? Not so much. But this sequel looks better, plays (mostly) better, and I have to admit it really scratched my action RPG nerd itch. That said, there’s some wonkiness that pops up throughout the game. It’s not enough to ruin it, as it is a far superior product to its predecessor, but not everyone will have the patience for it. Just sayin.

You can check out my full review over here at EGMi.

Review: Ghost Trick Phantom Detective

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective was a pleasant surprise. Having heard very little about the game before I was assigned to review it, I didn’t know what to expect when I dug in. I was sucked into the story and wacky characters almost immediately, and the plot twists and turns the unfolded further along in the game kept me absorbed. Aside from being entirely charming and bizarre, the story is a touching one. This is one of the better DS games I’ve put my hands on in recent memory, which is why I wholly recommend it.

You can check out my full review here at EGMi and in the latest print edition of EGM on newstands.

Print Mag Contributions Round-up

The holiday season is always bat-shit crazy around these parts, which is not unusual for most folks who work covering the gaming industry. Publishers love to crank out a heap of games right before the colder months hit, and they don’t tend to let-up until right about now. That’s great news for us game journo freelancers,  as there’s usually a glut of overflow work available for a few solid months. But hot damn, is it a pain to keep up with blogging during the busy season. I’ve been making a solid effort, and I’m also considering making some design and writing changes to this site in the near future as I roll out some other projects. Until then, this remains a repository for my work, my random thoughts about whatever, and my music-related stuff.

Borrowing a handy little updating trick from fellow freelance comrade Andrew Hayward, here’s a massive info dump on all the print work I’ve done over the past few months. I’ve got a busy year ahead, so it’s upward and onward. Figured I’d just get this up before I dive back into the fray. Here’s a quick visual rundown of most of the print mag issues  I’ve contributed to over the last couple of months. I may have left a few issues out due to my inability to find the actual copies buried in the stacks of hell that have accumulated in my office.

First up: Nintendo Power.  I started writing for the mag in Oct. 2009, and I’ve been fortunate to have my work appear in every issue ever since. There’s a lot of new pieces I have in the pipeline, which I’m pumped about. Anyhow, I can’t find the Dec. 2010 issue, but I’m pretty sure my epic piece on this awesome live action Mega Man fan film ran in that issue. For the Holiday 2010 issue, I wrote another Mega Man themed Community piece, this time about a dude who made this insanely detailed mosaic out of screen shots from the first six Mega Man games. That appears on pg 94. and my review of Rune Factory 3 on DS also appears on pg. 89. In the January 2011 issue, I have a small community piece on pg. 94 highlighting some slick Princess Peach art made entirely with painted bottle caps. In the February 2011 , issue that just hit newsstands, I have two community pieces on the inventive charity fundraiser, Mario Marathon, and a piece on a working LEGO Metal Slug tank that all appear on pages 92, 93, and 95. That’s it for now. I have a bunch of stuff queued up for the next few issues and some other pieces I’m still working on.

Next up: EGM. This past summer, I was lucky enough to do some writing for the newly relaunched EGM/EGMi, and it’s been a pretty steady gig. In the Dec. 2010 issue, I have a news feature that explores the online gaming payment models for the three major console publishers, with a specific focus on the impact and implications of the semi-recent Xbox Live Gold subscription price hike. That shows up on pg 14, and I also have a short second-opinion review of Super Scribblenauts on DS that can be found on pg 74. In the January 2011 issue, a bunch of my recent EGM/EGMi review scores appear in a large recap found on pg. 77. I also have a news feature article on page 16 that looks at the Schwarzenegger vs. ESA/EMA case being looked at by the  Supreme Court and the impact it could have on the sale and development of violent video games. In the recent February 2011 issue, I have a full-page review of the excellent Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective on DS (found on page 75).

And finally: PlayStation: The Official Magazine. I started doing a monthly two-page review roundup of PSN games for the magazine back in late 2009 as well as some review write-ups of larger games.  Since the re-design a few months ago, I’m still writing monthly blurbs on PSP Minis, downloadable demos, free goodies, and whatnot, though my byline doesn’t appear under these pieces. I do this every month. Some month I also contribute larger reviews of PSN games. In the January 2011 issue, I have a short review of Blacklight: Tango Down on pg 85. For the February 2011 issue, I wrote up reviews of Spelunker HD, Worms Battle Island, and Pac-Man Championship Edition DX that appear on pages 86 and 87. In addition to my regular PSN stuff, I have a few other reviews appearing in the next issue as well.

Alright, alright. Enough self-indulgent word wanking. Time to get back to work.

Review: Golden Sun: Dark Dawn

Man, the characters in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn LOVE to hear themselves talk. They love to talk to other folks. And they LOVE to talk to themselves. Despite having to frantically mash through some excruciatingly long conversations, Dark Dawn is a pretty enjoyable game. The combat is satisfying and classic, while the puzzles really make the adventure shine. You can check out my full review of the game over here in last week’s at EGMi.

EGMi Review: GoldenEye 007

I’ll admit it: I was a GoldenEye crack addict back when the original came out for N64. I spent a good chunk of my high school and college years playing through the campaign over and over again and blowing the hell out of buds in split-screen multiplayer. So in tackling GoldenEye 007, I was both excited to check it out and reserved about whether it was going to be any good compared to its predecessor – a game that dished out massive levels of fun for me over the years. You can read all about my thoughts on how it came out in a recent digital issue of EGMi here. If you want the short version: it’s good. Damn good. That is all.

Review: Kirby’s Epic Yarn

I haven’t played a Kirby game in some time, but once I fired up Epic Yarn I was grinning from ear to ear. Though the little fellow has mostly new moves, the classic gameplay (minus the suck-o-lux moves) feels really tight, and the new yarn-centric theme adds some really fun twists. My write-up is the lead review in the latest digital issue of EGMi, which you can read over here. This game is definitely worth picking up.

EGMi Reviews: Shantae and Super Scribblenauts

I’m a bit late on the updates today. Last week I tackled two reviews for EGMi. Shantae: Risky’s Revenge was a pleasant surprise on DSiWare, considering the volume of awesomeness being churned out on that platform is rather meager. It’s a nice mix of old school and new school that I found rather enjoyable. You can check out my full review in last week’s issue.

I also offered up a second take on Super Scribblenauts – a game I could barely pry out of my fingers once I started fiddling around with it. The wife and I both cracked out on this one big time, and I found the addition of adjectives and the other fun updates improve the gameplay.

You can check out both reviews here at EGMi.