James

James has been writing game reviews for a few years at (the now mostly dead) getxbox.net, and more recently began writing with Kate at Critical Hit. James enjoys character customization, indie games and RPGs of somewhat questionable quality. Replayability is a huge focus of his enjoyment of a game, and graphics are something he usually doesn't pay much attention to as long as there is good gameplay to back it up.

Sword of the Stars: The Pit

 Posted by at 7:52 pm  Reviews
Mar 172013
 
Publisher: Kerberos / Developer: Kerberos / Platform: PC

Publisher: Kerberos / Developer: Kerberos / Platform: PC

Its always a strange feeling diving into a series that has already established itself, especially if you had no knowledge of it beforehand. Sword of the Stars was a series of two space RTS games that somewhat mirror the likes of Homeworld or Sins of a Solar Empire. The Pit, a crowdfunded offshoot of the original series, is a sci-fi roguelike set in the same universe. While I don’t really know much about the SOTS universe, it is interesting to play a game that already comes packaged with a rich backstory in which to surround itself.

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Mar 032013
 
Publisher: / Developer: / Platform:

Publisher: Retro Army / Developer: Retro Army / Platform: PC

Something about top-down games has always grabbed my interest. Some of my most fondly-remembered games from my childhood are games like Grand Theft Auto (and its sequel), Alien Breed, Chaos Engine, and some sci-fi shooter I remember my dad playing but can’t seem to find anywhere. Medal Wars: Keiser’s Revenge attempts to bring back some of the more classic aspects of a top-down shooter and add in some more contemporary features. While the end result isn’t a perfect game, it is still something I ended up enjoying.

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Feb 282013
 

Publisher: Zen Studios / Developer: Zen Studios / Platform: PSN, XBLA

Pinball FX2 surprises us once again with another IP nobody ever thought they’d see as a pinball table: Star Wars! (Well, yes, there are real Star Wars pinball tables, but I’d never imagine it in a video game.) Zen Studios gives us another reason to boot up the fantastic Xbox Live pinball game and try out three new tables: Clone Wars, Boba Fett, and Episode V. Continue reading »

Special Forces: Team X

 Posted by at 9:27 pm  Reviews
Feb 122013
 

Publisher: Atari, Inc. / Developer: Zombie Studios / Platform: PC, Xbox 360

While a lot of people may complain about Call of Duty for being the shooter equivalent of Madden, I have to give it some respect for essentially revolutionizing first-person shooter multiplayer. While forcing the player to play match after match to unlock the next weapon, gadget, or lethal doohickey in the game’s arsenal is pretty par for the course by now, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare‘s multiplayer was pretty groundbreaking when it first introduced the concept. Now, nearly every game has some kind of unlock system in place to keep players coming back and obtaining the next reward for their skills, with many games adding their own little twist to the formula. Special Forces: Team X seems to be the latest culmination of many of the more popular multiplayer shooters’ additions to the now-standard multiplayer shooter formula.

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Jan 152013
 

anarchy1

Anarchy Reigns is the best game you’re not playing. After a long wait thanks to publisher Sega’s unwillingness to bring the game over from Japan to the US, Anarchy Reigns was met with mixed reviews, nonexistant marketing and a small fanbase off the bat. Admittedly, the game does have a few rough edges, but it still is one of the best – and most unique – multiplayer experiences I’ve had in a long time. Here are a few reasons to hopefully convince you to join in on the fun. Continue reading »

Pinball FX2: Zen Classics

 Posted by at 10:00 pm  Reviews
Dec 282012
 
Publisher: Zen Studios / Developer: Zen Studios / Platform: XBLA

Publisher: Zen Studios / Developer: Zen Studios / Platform: XBLA

Pinball FX2 developers Zen Studios have been keeping busy, as of late. Aside from the excellent pinball outing on XBLA, they’ve released other pinball games on PS3, iOS, and even Android. While many of the tables featured in FX2 are available on these other platforms, there are a few tables that are unique to their respective platforms. FX2‘s latest “Zen Classics” DLC brings four of these platform-specific tables  – Shaman, Eldorado, Tesla, and V12 – over to XBLA.

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Dec 022012
 

Publisher: Zen Studios / Developer: Zen Studios / Platform: PS3, Xbox360

As more tables for Pinball FX2 get released, the line between pinball table and video game continues to blur. Tables like Epic Quest and Plants Vs. Zombies prove that “pinball” is a genre that can be mixed in with others just as well, and the Marvel tables have become more than just a pinball table with a different character-themed paint job. The newest table – this one modeled after the Civil War comic book series – allows players to choose a side at the beginning of the game, changing the characters they meet and situations they are put into.

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Hotline Miami

 Posted by at 2:52 pm  Reviews
Oct 272012
 

Publisher: Devolver Digital / Developer: Dennation Games / Platform: PC

I press my back up against the doorway to the next room. Three men on the other side. One is standing with his back to the door, another facing him. A third man – armed with a shotgun – stands in the corner. This would have to be fast. Clenching my fist harder around the metal pipe in my hand, I kick down the door, knocking the first man over. Before the third can react, I throw my pipe in his direction. The pipe connects with his head and knocks him over, affording me precious seconds. In the same motion I leap forward, plowing my fist into the second man’s head, splattering blood along the floor as he falls. The fight barely lasts a second. Not a sound is heard outside the room as I finish the job, ending each of their lives with a strong boot, each marking the dot in an ellipses that punctuates the rest of the night.

Hotline Miami is a game about killing. Beside the ultraviolent executions, acid-dipped visuals and thumping techno, Hotline Miami dares to explore what the act of mass homicide does to one’s mind. Clearly taking inspiration from the 2011 film Drive, the game uses ’80s techno, gruesome violence and rubber masks to show a dirty, unglorified side of underground crime, and while it may leave you asking a few more questions than it answered, the ride is very much worth the destination. Continue reading »

Retro City Rampage

 Posted by at 8:16 am  Reviews
Oct 152012
 

Publisher: D3 Publisher / Developer: VBlank Entertainment Inc. / Platform: PC, PS3, PS Vita

Ever since I was little and I used to secretly play the Grand Theft Auto demo hidden on a PC Gamer demo disc when my parents weren’t looking, I always adored open-world games. Sure, you could do missions or go on a killing spree, but you could also just walk (or drive) around and explore. Sightsee. Do nothing, in a video game! For some reason the freedom to destroy anyone and anything around you (obviously, the same things my parents wanted me to stay away from the game for) was vastly outshined by the ability to just drive around for the sake of driving around. Because of this, I immediately became excited for Retro CityRampage the second I heard about it a few years ago.

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Sonic Adventure 2 HD

 Posted by at 8:11 am  Reviews
Oct 152012
 

Publisher: Sega / Developer: Sega / Platform: PSN, XBLA

Some games were meant to have an HD remake. Street Fighter 2 got a pretty faithful remake with new hand-drawn sprites. X-Men Arcade – according to Kate’s review – is definitely worth playing, and I’m almost positive if the SNES version of The Chaos Engine were to ever find its way onto XBLA I would never leave my TV. Other games, like Vigilante 8 or Lode Runner, are best left to nostalgia and should never actually be played again. Sonic Adventure 2 is a fond memory from my late childhood; however, after revisiting it in 2012, the game unfortunately falls under the latter category.

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