Author: Sparky Clarkson

The Saboteur Review

Black and White and Red All Over

The Saboteur Screenshot

HIGH Blowing an entire Nazi base sky-high in the space of a few seconds.

LOW Any time you try to escape an alarm in a car.

WTF They can blow up heavily armored tanks, so why don't my explosives damage buildings?

Nostalgia Review

You've Seen it all Before

Nostalgia Art

HIGH Pitch-perfect turn-based combat on the ground.

LOW Unbalanced, tedious battles in the air.

WTF I can't use an item because you broke my gun?

Brütal Legend Second Opinion

It had the Chrome but Not the Polish

Brütal Legend Screenshot

HIGH Crashing a flaming zeppelin into the enemy stage at the end of a long battle.

LOW The aforementioned long battle.

WTF Pardon me, but I think about a third of the story has gone missing.

Chosen at birth

Dragon Age: Origins Screenshot

Last post, I mentioned that the tendency to choose segregation as a means to solve problems was a feature of many societies in the world of Dragon Age. Another, related motif appearing in many Thedan societies is the existence of a rigidly-defined social order in which a person's status and even his occupation are set at the moment of birth. To varying degrees this kind of social rigidity appears in almost every social group in the game (except the elves). Through its dialogue and plot, Dragon Age: Origins repudiates these systems, but in its mechanics it supports them.

Out of sight, out of mind

Dragon Age: Origins Screenshot

Playing Dragon Age gave me a relatively frequent sense of déjà vu. Although the game portrays a number of different nations and societies, there are recurrent features that speak to underlying ideas about the psychology of its inhabitants. One such motif is the tendency for its denizens to solve their problems through segregation. At several levels, the people of the continent of Thedas like to resolve issues by pushing problematic groups into isolated areas and pretending, as much as possible, that they no longer exist.

Cursed Mountain Second Opinion

Touch The Void

Cursed Mountain Screenshot

HIGH The moody and atmospheric section in the ice caves, featuring a perfect use of the Wii remote.

LOW The meditation sequences, which feature a painfully imperfect use of the Wii remote.

WTF Am I seriously smashing pots for loot at the top of a mountain?