Rift is a shamelessly derivative MMO. This admittedly says little in a genre festering with copycats, but Rift stands out because its derivativeness serves to amplify what it does that is unique.
The adventure genre has undergone many variants over the years, with more mature, serious titles joining the genre’s initially comedy-dominated ranks. Since the likes of Telltale Games gave the genre a second wind, we’ve seen a real broadening of both the mechanical and storytelling techniques used by adventure devs, resulting in quality titles stretching from The Path to Machinarium. But we’ve not seen anything much like Lucius yet – in the gaming arena, at least.
Trion Worlds’ MMO, Rift, is now in full flow, on the back of a strong beta phase, the reassuring news of a million accounts already registered, and a relatively smooth launch – minus a bit of server queuing here and there.
You should never judge a book by its cover, and you certainly shouldn’t judge a game by its cover either. Remember how crappy The Orange Box looked on shelves? But the less literal point stands. Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom may sport visuals with texturing and detailing that feels a few years out of touch. It may come from the developer who thrust Genji: Days of the Blade upon an unwitting public, but beneath the superficial lies a game with a fair dash of potential.
Beads of sweat gleam below the bandana adorning Teemu Maki-Patola’s forehead. It’s 2 in the afternoon, and the Virtual Air Guitar CEO has been demonstrating Kung Fu Live since this morning. Yet Teemu is still putting together the moves, still punching and kicking with maximal gusto. As I watch from the comfort of my leather bench, Teemu uppercuts the final enemy before closing with a stylish Karate Kid pose. “Nice,” I say as I sip my drink. “OK, you’re next!” replies Teemu… oh no.
Compared to the Monkey that graced our TV sets in the late 70s with his cheeky grin, emphatic forehead slaps and sideshow array of expressions, the Monkey of Enslaved is a right miserable git.
Even the Nintendo PR admitted that the HMV Gamerbase in Piccadilly Circus, London, was an unusual place to host a Metroid: Other M pre-launch event. Usually a hub of PCs and Xbox 360s, Wii stations had to be drafted in to accommodate a throng of fans eager to test drive Samus’ latest adventure, and in truth there just wasn’t enough game time to go around. Not that many people seemed to care, mind you. They were just happy to try out the game and get some Nintendo goodies.
Dave Wilson looks out from the DJ booth onto the union bar. He and I have drunk our weight in Snakebites. It’s 3am, and the dancefloor is empty. Dave sticks on a record before sprinting clumsily out of the booth. And behold, I did see a DJ making airplane arms to the Top Gun theme, all alone at his own disco. It was beautiful.
Were he somehow alive today, I doubt Immanuel Kant would’ve given a jot about No Russian. Despite the controversial Modern Warfare 2 level grabbing all the headlines, the 18th Century philosopher’s concepts of the categorical imperative, morality and duty don’t really accommodate for killing – undercover agent or not. He would have deemed partaking in a brutal terrorist massacre as always morally invalid.
tri-Crescendo’s debut solo project, Eternal Sonata, did not deliver on its potential. It took place in the mind of composer Chopin, bravely attempting the balance of a rich, vivid art direction against an overtly morbid theme. It proved to be a mismatch of ideas, criminally let down by poor writing, superficial characters, and combat that neither challenged nor engaged.