All posts by Jamie Dalzell
Divinity: Original Sin

By on January 28, 2014 at 3:55 pm

“Hand in hand, ‘til the end.”

It’s the closing remark in last year’s brief hands-on with Original Sin, coming while Larian Studios were still neck-deep in a Kickstarter drive that held the future of their project in the hands of the many. Then, it was a story in the process of being written by each backer, community member and developer, holding on through a journey that has — since Double Fine’s intrepid headline catcher — granted the wishes of many, and crushed the hopes of more than a few.

In truth, Kickstarter’s yellow-brick road may be one giant leap for a game hoping to find gold at the end of the crowd-funded rainbow, but it is far from the final chapter for any developer in search of a ‘…and they lived happily ever after’. It is, instead, a prologue to the story proper.

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Rise of the Triad

By on August 1, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Venture into the darker corners of message boards and forum posts, and you’ll find a humble JPG: an overhead map charting the route of FPS heroes past and present. On the left sits an intertwining collection of rooms, all meticulous in their placement, holding secrets in abundance. On the right it’s a different story, nothing more than a corridor sporting perfunctory turns left and right, the word “cutscene” marked at each corner with a palpable sense of disdain.

The left, 1993, and the right? 2010. And while painting in broad generalisations, this humble image provides a hard case to argue against. Where are the modern shooter’s twisting labyrinths?

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Borderlands 2

By on July 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Once upon a time, the Vault Hunters played a game.

And so Marcus kicks off Borderlands 2’s closing act with more than a lingering sense of deja vu, in the same way he opened the first some four years earlier: against a backdrop of ink-over-parchment that would become Pandora’s defining style. In truth, deja vu may well have been Borderland’s greatest enemy. How many hours could a Vault Hunter last on loot and loot alone? But with its chameleon-like ability to re-shape, re-skin and re-write, Pandora has become a world of characters and tilesets rich enough for any Dungeons & Dragons DM.

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Don't Starve

By on May 9, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Don’t Starve’s campfire should be the starting point of legends. In truth, it serves more utilitarian purposes —flickering warmth fighting winter’s grasp, defending against the horrors of the moonlit hours, and cooking device for a would-be Bear Grylls. Yet as history will tell, the campfire is also the place for stories, so good they’re told a million times, each variation grander than the last. And what better tool for story creation than a world of horrors and your own papercraft marionettes?

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Sang Froid

By on April 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Sang Froid is tower defense meets third-person action in much the same way its Orc-riddled castle of a distant relation is, but in its offbeat setting of a legend-riddled 1858 Canada, and its unlikely heroes of two woodcutting brothers, Sang Froid’s tale of betrayal, jealousy and the Devil’s wiley ways carries an honesty that’s as endearing as its soundtrack is captivating. There is no wide-sweeping tale of a world in danger, just a town, a prophecy and a devil that dons a top hat among all manner of werewolves and their folk-tale brethren . Sang Froid is refreshing in its focus.

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TrackMania 2: Stadium

By on March 14, 2013 at 2:15 pm

When’d racing become so serious?

Trials and its many brethren have answered the disgruntled time-trial racer’s calls for pin-point finger masochism in the interim — almost-racers in disguise — while cars have waged virtual road wars against one another in needless battle, but now, finally, the time-trial king has returned to reclaim his throne. Trackmania, it’s been too long.

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By on February 6, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Antichamber is an indie puzzler from a single Melbourne-based game developer, and it’s a game for those who enjoy backtracking, getting lost, grinning in joy and shouting in frustration. In short, it’s one hell of a clever and ambitious game — but if you find yourself easily stumped or frustrated, it might not be for you. Jamie explains more…

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Far Cry 3 with no minimap mod

By on January 17, 2013 at 2:51 pm

From subduing the hyperactive UI to altering the ballistics system of every weapon available on the Rook Islands, more than Far Cry 2 before it there’s a mod for most every quirk or annoyance Far Cry 3’s mass-appeal heart may have introduced.

And while no number of modders – no matter how ingenious – can alleviate the woes of Brody, his overly-talkative mouth and the rashness of his tale, today we’ll be looking at those that ensure the time in between all of the ruckus – those moments of planning, silence, and execution – are at their best.

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Borderlands 2: Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt DLC

By on January 15, 2013 at 6:30 pm

With Handsome Jack vanquished and Pandora saved, our heroes now find themselves seeking peace on Pandora’s newly uncovered continent of Aegrus, following in the footsteps of Sir Hammerlock who himself has made the trek for nothing more than a quiet weekend of “Hunting, companionship, and bawdy jokes about social taboos.“. We sent Jamie Dalzell along to see if he could help out Sir Hammerlock in any of these three key areas.

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By on December 17, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Far Cry 3 teaches you that being stranded on an island is fine, as long as you’ve got a gun, fast travel points, and a map that tells you where everything is all the time. But Miasmata has none of those things — just you, no food, no water, no idea what is going on, and thirty days to put together a cure to the disease that is slowly killing you.

But you’re not alone on this island. You’re being hunted.

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Day Z

By on November 30, 2012 at 6:41 pm

In DayZ’s case, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt so much as rob the world of its lustre, providing an easier pathway lined with the bones of your previous incarnations. Familiarity in DayZ, then, turns the weak into the strong, sending them map-wide in search of challenges that recaptures a slumbering mind. From raiding the North West Airfield to becoming self-proclaimed leaders of the sniper capital elect, Stary Sobor, Chernarus’ challenges are many, but they are never infinite. Chernarus’ challenge, like its world, decays over time.

Lucky, then, that a mod begets mods in this PC ecosystem, ensuring those looking for it can recapture DayZ’s uncertainty, plummeting onto new islands where survival and player-driven horror are renewed. From the cold of Namalsk to the palm trees of LingorIsland, we’ve ventured forth with Makarov in hand to bring back postcards from these uncharted regions across Chernarus’ ocean.

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Dark Souls

By on September 5, 2012 at 10:00 am

Dark Souls is finally on the PC after a petition from gamers convinced From Software to port it over. But is it the same game we know and love, or has it lost something in the process? Jamie Dalzell is one of the few people in the world to have successfully finished the original Dark Souls, and he was distressingly eager to return for another crack. Take it away, Jamie…

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By on April 16, 2012 at 11:42 am

We all like to reminisce about going to back to the old classics, but it can be hard – old games are ugly, and sometimes don’t even work at all! But with so many sequels coming out this year, Jamie Dalzell has cracked open the vault to show you how to get the most out of Diablo 2, the original Borderlands, and our own GOTY 2011, Mass Effect 2.

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