I’m Not Dead, I’m Just Resting

It turns out I’m not dead, I just forgot to update this with anything because I’ve been busy working and moving house and being on Twitter and doing my other, boring, technical website.

But now, updates, maybe.

Either way, I’ve been doing a podcast thing with this guy I know and it’s available here: www.twostarpodcast.co.uk. It’s godawful but it’s also free, so on balance it’s amazing value.

I’m also still writing for Gaminglives where I’ve done things like this about non-games and this about a game and this about D I G I T A L S P O R T S and you should probably read them and then read other things.

Until next year, kids!

Modern Warfare 3 Confuses Me

I would like to preface this by saying that I haven’t played MW3, I probably won’t, but I have played Battlefield 3; take from that what you will.

I really don’t understand how Modern Warfare 3 is getting the review scores it’s getting; 4/5, 8/10, etc. Every review I’ve read, seen or heard has said pretty much the same thing, that the game is formulaic, only a small iterative improvement over the previous one, that it’s a lot more scripted than the previous one, that half of it is on-rails shooting, that the multiplayer is pretty much the same as the previous one – if not worse in some aspects due to design choices. On the upside, it’s a polished version of MW2 and it does resolve the story that has been built up through MW1 and 2.

So how does this equate to an excellent game? Because it’s sold more than 9 million copies? Because it’s a big AAA title? Because it’s part of a popular franchise? Surely none of these things should have any impact on the review score. It seems to be getting worse and worse over time; reviewers basically saying “This game is essentially the same as the last one and doesn’t really do anything new. 5 Stars!” or “Well the single player is shit but, you know, there’s multiplayer that’s really good. 5 Stars!”

For the record, I have nothing but bad things to say about the Battlefield 3 Single Player campaign because it’s a poor attempt to copy Modern Warfare and should never have been shoehorned in to the game. It would have been much better not to include a single player component at all. That said, people don’t buy Battlefield games expecting a solid single player game, they buy it for the multiplayer and I’m willing to cut it a little slack from that point of view but I still believe that it should negatively affect the review score because it’s a part of the game experience that is substandard.

I’ll admit that I don’t put much stock in review scores, because they’ve never seemed to me to be a particularly good metric with which to measure something as complex as most games, but if you’re going to have them then please try and make them consistent with the text of the review, otherwise you’re just making yourself look bad.

Bad Science

Bad Science
Bad Science

If you have not already read Bad Science by Ben Goldacre (of the excellent badscience.net and the Guardian’s Bad Science column), then I insist that you buy it now.

Go on, buy it now!

Seriously, it’s easily the best book I’ve read this year and it’s probably one of the best books I’ve read in years. It certainly made me re-evaluate how readily I accept the information in news stories and parroted by other people.

Splinter Cell Conviction

Good story, good gameplay, good God it’s finished already.

Now, I haven’t played a Splinter Cell game since Pandora Tomorrow; Chaos Theory annoyed me with its overly Xboxy controls & interface and Double Agent didn’t get great reviews, but I really loved the first two so in spite of a lingering bad taste from past experiences and bearing in mind the obscene Ubisoft DRM, I decided to give Conviction a shot…
Continue reading Splinter Cell Conviction