What a gamer reads...

Written by Benke on the 26th of February 2009 at 00:26

I must admit to reading books on occasion. Its a soothing way of passing time and hopefully squeeze an ounce of knowledge or entertainment out of it.

While I do enjoy a classic from time to time I also indulge in reading science fiction pulp. Originally mostly set in the Star Wars universe, but lately I've been picking up gaming related literature as well. Bioware lead writer Drew Karpyshyn's Mass Effect books as well as his books set in the Old Republic starring Darth Bane, the Starcraft: Ghost novel to mention a few. Currently I'm reading Gears of War: Asphos Fields by Karen Traviss. Not exactly Nobel prize winning calibre, but a straight forward tale of how Marcus Fenix and the Santiago boys grew up together and went to war together.

The Gears of War universe doesn't translate all that well into writing. Most of the book is told through Dom's internal dialogue as the characters aren't very chatty. The book does however provide some more background into both the personal history of Marcus Fenix and Dom Santiago as well a more in-depth look at how the remnants of society is coping with the Locust threat on a day-to-day basis. It's a half decent novel if you are into Gears of War, but it doesn't stack up well in terms of literary qualities.

Once I've finished reading Asphos Fields it's back to reading Strindberg's collected works...


Halo Wars controller blues...

Written by Benke on the 18th of February 2009 at 17:35

Halo Wars certainly does what Ensemble Studios set out to do... the controls are great. But with that said there are limits to what you can do tactically compared to the full control of the keyboard+mouse combination, a plethora of short cut keys, groups, and tactical options. While there certainly is micro management at work at a tactical level it is more focused on commander options from above. The game has been designed with this in mind so while you're not frustrated like when you play a real time strategy game originally designed for PC and then ported to consoles, I still think... what if Halo Wars was made for PC. What if I could command truly gigantic squads, group them and lead multiple attacks... well it remains to be seen how the rest of Halo Wars develop - maybe it takes a turn to the more epic scale later on.

Halo Wars is an extremely polished product from what I have seen so far. There is a lot of easter eggs, and fan service throughout. After my first few hours it certainly seems like a worthy farewell to one of the most renowned RTS developers of all time - Ensemble Studios.

Oh, and while I would love to tell you some of what I saw over at Avalanche they would have my tongue for it. I think all I'm allowed to say is that the menu screen looked pretty sweet...


Everyday is like Sunday...

Written by Benke on the 15th of February 2009 at 23:01

...that is in the sense that Sunday is like any other day. Lots to do, and lots to organise. I want to get some more time with Killzone 2 before I publish my review. Suffice to say I am enjoying it more than Edge did.

I'm also glad to let you know to we will soon have another staff member here at Gamereactor International. Can't wait to start seeing his stuff on the site, but it will probably be a little while longer until his first reviews are finished and published.

Monday is filled with GRTV work for me and there will be more of that on Tuesday. A couple of studio visits are planned including a press event over at Avalanche Studios. I'm really looking forward to seeing more from Just Cause 2 as it is just over a year since I last saw the game in motion. I never really got in to the original Just Cause back when, but bought the Xbox 360 version cheap just before Christmas and enjoyed it far more than I though I would. It still stands out as a technical achievement, especially on the old Xbox. Hopefully Avalanche can nail the gameplay (shooting), mission structure, and storytelling better this time around.

What is old shall once again be new...

Written by Benke on the 13th of February 2009 at 15:10

So here we are... Gamereactor International is now more of a fully fledged website complete with reviews, previews, community functions... all the stuff we have in the other countries.

I was sort of fond of the old blog style site, but this site allows for more content, more interactivity, well simply put there will be more. The news page still retains that look though so if you prefer it - bookmark the news section (do people still bookmark stuff?). We are slowly scaling up operations and hopefully you will see some new faces around here in the coming weeks.

It's an exciting spring in terms of major releases and announcements, but there is a huge shadow hanging over the industry with job cuts and closed studios reported on a weekly basis. Let's hope the old "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is true for the games industry.