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Interview with Jim Deal of Airtight Games on... Dark Void

Interview with Jim Deal of Airtight Games

At the most recent PAX show, I was fortunate enough to spend a bit of time with a game I had been greatly anticipating: Dark Void from Washington's own Airtight Games.

Produced in conjunction with Capcom, Dark Void is an adventure game featuring aliens and jetpacks inside the Bermuda triangle. With tight transitions between air and land on top of clever vertical combat, this title is definitely one to watch—it also doesn't hurt that the people behind it are some of the same folks who worked on one of my favorite Xbox titles, Crimson Skies.

Airtight Games' president and creative director Jim Deal was kind enough to spend a few moments talking with me about this upcoming title and I'm quite glad to share what he had to say.

Demon's still has my soul

Demon's Souls Screenshot

I had to put Demon's Souls aside for while to cover a couple of must-review titles, but I decided that I was going to take a break from reviewing for the weekend and just play for fun. Popping it back in my PS3, I was instantly sucked back in. Taking that short time away, I had forgotten how ridiculously awesome it is. The atmosphere, the feeling of exploration… everything. I totally love this game. That's not to say the game is flawless, though—it suffers from the same issue so common to many RPGs in that the developers want you to choose the type of character you play before you really know what your preferred play style will be.

Demos: Free Monkeys, Banchos, and Wii-views

A while ago, I complained about demos that failed to impress, and wondered why it seemed so difficult for developers to accomplish what appears to be a fairly straightforward task.

At the end of the piece, I invited developers to write in and school me if I was off-base, and one actually did. Talented game dude and all-around good guy Andrew Rubino dropped me a line not too long after my blog ran, and this is what he had to say:

In summary, making a demo is harder than it seems, especially for some games. A demo for something like Gears of War would be relatively easy – have a couple combats and the player walks away with a good understanding of what the game is about. But a demo for something like Batman is harder, (something that I can see now that I’ve played the full game, which is awesome, btw). (More after the break)

Replayability and Muramasa

A while ago, I received a request for a quote from a guy named Chris at a site called The Submission. Chris was putting together an article about replayability, and I was glad to contribute, although I don't quite think I said what he expected… In any event, I thought it was an interesting read when all was said and done.

My review of Cursed Mountain is nearly done and I've got another piece coming up for (believe it or not) Sudoku Ball Detective. In the meantime, I've started playing Muramasa: The Demon Blade for the Wii, and I'm finding it to be a difficult experience. Difficult not in the sense that it's hard to play, but difficult in that part of me wants to praise it and admire it, while another part is deeply unsatisfied with its structure and content.

I definitely need to play more of it before making up my mind, but whichever way it goes, I have a feeling that this is going to be a difficult piece to write.

Back in action!!!

Apologies to all my readers. I completely forgot to post a message here to let everyone know that I would be skipping updates for a few days due to my wife and I moving to a new place. My computer has been in a crate since I posted the last update about PAX Day Two, and with all of the hubbub and box-lifting, it didn't even occur to me that I had forgotten to say something until this afternoon. If you've been checking in and wondering WTF was going on, wonder no longer.

Anyway, although I haven't quite gotten my office space properly set up, the blogging will commence... Now!!

The Games of PAX - Day Two

The Games of PAX - Day Two

Since this was my first year going to a conference as a family unit (mommy-daddy-baby) I decided to skip most of the presentations and after-hours events. My little boy was great on the exhibition floor, but I didn't want to push my luck… or his endurance. Since I don't have much to say on the other events that occurred (and boy, there were an absolute ton of them) here's my final rundown of the games I saw and played.

The Games of PAX - Day One

The Games of PAX - Day One - Dark Void Screenshot

Today was the first day of PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) 2009. I have to admit that I hadn't really been paying attention to many of the press materials prior to the show, and I was a little taken aback when the family unit and I arrived on-site to find that the place was an even larger, more spread-out roil of gamers than it was last year. I think the expo may be reaching its critical mass at the Washington State Trade & Convention Center, honestly. I certainly don't want it to leave, but I have a hard time imagining more people being able to cram into that space.

Early impressions of Atlus' Demon's Souls

Early impressions of Atlus' Demon's Souls

Got my hands on a pre-release copy of Demon's Souls from Atlus today. It's certainly been one of my more anticipated titles, yet has remained a fairly large question mark. It's easy enough to get the gist, but as we all know, the devil is in the details… Fortunately, although I didn't have as much time to sink into it as I would have liked, the time I did have was extremely impressive—even moreso than I had anticipated after watching several videos available via the Internet.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - Tatooine DLC

Just completed the new Tatooine DLC for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed on Xbox 360. As my co-podcaster Tim Spaeth so eloquently put it, it's another piece of "stealth DLC" arriving with no forewarning or fanfare, much like Mass Effect's Pinnacle Station. However, unlike Pinnacle Station, this add-on is pretty sweet.

Starting out, the mission assumes that the player became the Emperor's new disciple at the end of The Force Unleashed proper. (This was only one of two possible endings.) Seeing main character Starkiller as a desiccated metallic husk consumed by the dark side was a bit of a shock, but still pretty cool, regardless.

Pinnacle Station: No sizzle, no steak

Mass Effect Screenshot

So, out of my ten-year career reviewing games professionally, I've only awarded two perfect "10" scores. I'm no math whiz, but if you average that out, I'm pretty sure that's one for every five years. My gist? I don't hand them out lightly.

One of the games to which I gave top marks was BioWare's Mass Effect. Encapsulating basically everything I love about videogames, action, and sci-fi all in one complete package, I blew through the game and devoured every last tasty morsel. Couldn't get enough. Although it's true all good things come to an end, thanks to the implementation of DLC, good things can keep going for a little longer. More Mass Effect? Yes, please.

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