Saturday, 22 September 2012

Skyrim - camera at the ready

I've been mixing Skyrim mods from the Steam Workshop with the magnificent selection over at Skyrim Nexus, Not only that, but tonight I discovered the PC version has a free-roam camera. As a result, I've spent much of my Saturday evening taking more pictures. Here are four of my favourites from tonight's travels.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky - DS

I love mystery dungeon games, with Shiren the Wanderer being a particular favourite. However, this latest addition to the Pokemon series doesn't come close and is remarkably similar to last year's Explorers of Time/Darkness. 

Taking control of a Pokemon of your choice, the player wades into a series of randomly generated dungeons, seeking out special objects and defeating evil pocket monsters. It's presented well, but aside from a couple of new features, Explorers of Sky is virtually identical to the last two DS games.

A real shame and a wasted opportunity to broaden this type of game's appeal. If you are interested in mystery dungeon titles, track down a copy of Shiren - it's a far more rewarding game, packs a challenge and has a huge amount of replayability. Alternatively, pick up a copy of Chocobo's Dungeon on Wii. Both these games leave Explorers of Sky in their dust. One for Pokemon diehards only - and it might just be heavy going for them, too.

Monday, 17 September 2012

NiGHTS into Dreams HD - Return to Nightopia is only a few weeks away

I have very fond memories of the Sega Saturn and in particular, long evenings spent playing NiGHTS into Dreams with that wonderful, circular controller. The combination of bright visuals, smooth gameplay and an amazing soundtrack blew me away and I spent hours memorising levels, stringing chains together and perfecting swooping runs through Nightopia.

So when it was announced NiGHTS was to receive the HD treatment for 360 and PS3, I was overjoyed. Today it was announced the game will be coming to Europe on both platforms in the first week of October, so only a few weeks to wait. But even better news was close behind, with the announcement that players will also be given access to Christmas NiGHTS, which was originally given away as a demo disc via special promotions back in the mid-Nineties.

While this festive version of NiGHTS only features two levels, it used the Saturn's internal clock to change aspects of the game. As the 360 and PS3 are always online, I really can't wait to experience these time-sensitive unlocks in glorious HD.

And with Jet Set Radio HD only a few days away, there's plenty for Dreamcast fans to get excited about over the next few weeks.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Look back: Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage - Wii (from November 2009)

Last year’s Shaun White title appeared on multiple formats. I reviewed the PS3 version and was left underwhelmed due to a host of control issues and the bland racing action. This year, Ubisoft have released the follow-up exclusively on Wii and the game is all the better for it.

World Stage can be controlled via Wiimote and nunchuk or Balance Board and all set- ups work extremely well. No matter what your preferred option, controls are fluid and intuitive and it’s a pleasure slicing through the powdery snow or pirouetting off a ramp into the icy night air.

There's a good variety of courses and events, and via the in-game airport hub, the player sets off on a globe-trotting journey in their quest to become the No.1 snowboarder in the world.

World Stage has a distinctly kid-friendly approach and includes a raft of cartoony characters and has a bold colour palette. Impressive camera shake and a nice blurring effect when hurtling down mountains at speed also add to the neon-tinged visual style.

It may not be the most comprehensive take on the sport, but World Stage proves to be an above average ride and one of the better examples currently on Wii.