Battle of the Magazines: EDGE vs Games™ (Review)

For an assignment, i was asked to purchase two distinctive and recognizable magazines relating to gaming that would be suitable for analysis and a comparison. After hopping on down to the local Tesco, i found myself bewildered by the choice on display. I recognized EDGE as a distinctly familiar name as i frequent their website, so i decided to purchase it to see how the written publication differs from the digital version. I then decided to choose a randomly selected one, that ended up being Games.

Generally when comparing something between two things you need certain criteria to look against both sides, because without something to compare i’d end up comparing it page by page, which wouldn’t be pleasant.

Criteria:

Overall scheme of the content: How each of the magazines are structured? Are they full of game reviews only? Do they have discussion material for ideas and problems within the industry? etc.

The front cover: In what way is the front cover appealing? Does it relate to the content inside?

Reviews: To save you the heartache of having to read through 30 pages of content about me comparing review styles between every single one, i decided to choose one in particular, Halo 4.

Round 1: Content

EDGE

In terms of content, EDGE generally has an amazing array of varied content. As a gaming news outlet it generally isn’t surprising that the magazine provides useful gaming news as one would expect. The interesting aspect of this magazine is the fact that it seems to be more primed to give the reader knowledge than simply ‘news’. There’s ample amount sections that include in-depth discussion on topics like “Female representation in the gaming industry”, which piques my interest personally because discussions as in-depth as these that tackle major issues plaguing the industry are rarely ever seen in publications as from my perspective, they generally stick to game specific related discussion.

Games™

As far as content goes for Games, they certainly do have an impressive array of gaming related content. With just over 30 reviews stacked into this magazine it’s a sure sign that this magazine is brimming with gaming goodness. There’s a variety of discussion content in regards to the games themselves and speculation for example, but it seems there’s little to no discussion of any placating problems or non-games related gaming news.

Verdict

In the overall scheme of things, EDGE seems in contrast to have a better lineup of varied content in comparison to Games of which seems more gaming related than anything topical. One would infer that EDGE would be more suited to those within the industry or those looking to get in, for a source of inside information. Whereas Games seems like a suitable option as a news outlet for a pure gamer, rather than those associated with the gaming industry itself.

Round 2: Front Cover

EDGE

3Q

The front cover on the EDGE magazine front page is fairly simplistic. From this issue i had picked up it has the Transformer themed stylings of the Fall of Cybertron game with two distinct covers available (Deception and Autobot themed). From an outsider point of view, it would seem to any person picking up the magazine that this is a Transformers magazine because of the blatant use of a singular image.

Games

3Q

Their front cover has a lot of things happening on it, which could become confusing to people trying to identify what the magazine is selling. Although more frantic, follows the same theme as Edge’s front cover by sticking with one themed game on the cover. Initially before buying this magazine, i did think it was Nintendo oriented with its Mario themed front cover.

Verdict

Both equally have bizarre traits when it comes to front covers. It’s mostly for topical reasons so that it is in relation to a game that is currently popular, or of interest in the public eye thus drawing more attention to the magazines. Out of the two i’d say that Edge’s simple design of not crowding the cover puts it out on top in my opinion.

Final Round: Review (Halo 4)

3Q

EDGE

The review overall seems to balance between the theoretics of the narrative and the implications of Master Chief returning and how that’ll affect future installments and the game itself with 343 industries at the helm. It talks about gameplay but not as much depth as Games does.

Games

The review overall seemed to be more gameplay oriented than anything else. Obviously with any blockbuster title the narrative is key but it seems like they ignored it for the most part within this review.

Verdict

Game’s review seems to be more gameplay centric than Edge’s review as that seems to have a more refined approach to being within the middle of gameplay and narrative discussion. In a sense they reflect the magazines themselves as Edge is more for theoretics than Games is as that gives more of a primary gameplay notion

In conclusion…

In the overall concept of things, EDGE in comparative terms seems to deal with articles and pieces of news that greatly reflect a more encompassing portion of the gaming spectrum and reside to more of the stance of encapsulating the entire industry, including developers and recent technologies. Whereas Games seems to be a magazine that revolves around what the title suggests, and does little else other than that. In terms of value, for those outside the industry without any desired notion to learn the inner workings of the industry and how things are produced and managed, then Games may be a better choice in terms of preference for those types of people. However, for those more inclined for wanting to know of the latest technologies and inside knowledge of the goings on within the industry the preferred choice would have to be Edge.

Reviews Evaluation

Having completed the 5 reviews i feel it’s best to evaluate the progress made and to reflect on the experience throughout the project.

To begin with i chose 5 distinctly different games that had no comparative when it came to game mechanics. For example; A First Person Adventure (Dishonored) and A Third Person Action-Adventure (inFamous 2)

I started these reviews off with one goal in mind and that was to keep the judging of the games as unbiased as i possibly could have. To track the progress of these reviews i documented the score within a spreadsheet (link), and slowly found myself desiring more criteria to satisfy my need to be impartial. Eventually i found myself autonomously reviewing the games because of how much judgement it took away from myself overall. As you can possibly note throughout the reviews, i’m granted little if not any opinion whatsoever and this is due to the spreadsheet. It granted me my wish of an unbiased viewpoint yet sacrificed a large majority of my viewpoint towards the games.

It was an enjoyable experience using the system i created, i think the score system was effective in its purpose although initially it became a little complex to understand it was a learning experience nonetheless. It’s certainly made me think about how difficult it is to convey a relatively valid unbiased opinion within the modern journalism world today.

Tap Tap Revenge 3 – The Review

Tap Tap Revenge 3 – The Review

TapTap


Introduction
Tap Tap Revenge is a music simulator that gives the player the opportunity to emulate their favourite music by tapping to the beat of the song in contrast to the onscreen prompts.

Visuals
Graphical Issues – Graphically there isn’t much to the game so there is little error occurring.
Aesthetically Pleasing – As simple as the game is, the graphics work well with the mechanics and are indeed aesthetically pleasing.
User Interface – Practically the game consists how little more than a single menu and the game screen so it’s relatively easy to understand.
Art Style – In the style is relatively contextual to the song, so it is relatively appropriate

Controls
Appropriate – With only 3 places to ‘Tap’ the controls are relatively appropriate because of its resemblance to the placement of guitar strings.
Easy to Learn – Depending on the difficulty selected and the song, it’s relatively easy to learn the controls as there are literally only three places to tap.
Dynamic – The tap places can be dynamically used with three fingers, meaning that they are dynamic to the point of optimal use.
Changeable – Unfortunately i didn’t discover a way to change the controls. As it is a touch-screen system there really isn’t a need to change the controls considering there is no alternative.

Gameplay
Fluidity – Gameplay thus becomes very fluid because of this
Replay ability – With these types of games there really isn’t a limit the possibilities of replayability because of the use of different songs and high scoring capabilities.
Interesting – In terms of gameplay the intuitive dynamics of the mechanics make the game interesting for those wanting to play their favourite music.
Addictive – The addiction factor on this game stems from it’s ability to give the player a challenge that is ‘beatable’ but is often failed by human error, thus creating a pattern of constantly wanting to beat a level because of estimating how to win.

Score
Does it have a score? – Essentially, the score implemented into the game is the designated song that the player has selected so it effectively changes the mood of the game on its own and its appropriate in its own right.

Narrative/Story
Does it have a Narrative/Story? – Like most casual iOS games it doesn’t have a narrative/story simply because it’s essentially just an emulator to ‘tap to the beat’ in synch with your favourite music.

Rating

FullDisc FullDisc FullDisc 3Q

(A score of 3.75 out of 5 Discs)

For an overview of the reviews and the marking criteria, click the link
 

Angry Birds – The Review

Angry Birds – The Review

AngryBirds

Introduction
Angry Birds is a puzzle game developed by Rovio Entertainment. A where the player must utilize the birds at their disposal to take vengeance on a group of green pigs to reclaim what is theirs.

Visuals
Graphical Issues – For an iOS game the graphics are superb and my brief playthrough i encountered no graphical issues.
Aesthetically Pleasing – As simple as the game is, the graphics work well with the mechanics and are indeed aesthetically pleasing.
User Interface – Using a platform as small (usually) as the iOS devices, there is always a minimal user interface experience. Thus the interface becomes easier to use, of which Angry Birds accomplishes very well.
Art Style – In the style of a comic, the art style works very well for the iOS platform.

Controls
Appropriate – Within the game there are only a number of the controls to master and with the scope of the game being a projectile puzzle game. The controls to catapult the players arsenal of ‘Angry Birds’ is appropriate in that sense.
Easy to Learn – There is a learning curve involved with Angry Birds. The use of the catapult and the trajectory required to hit a specific target, can become trial and error.
Dynamic – With the lack of controls, the working controls of catapulting and activating the birds abilities work dynamically well together.
Changeable – Unfortunately i didn’t discover a way to change the controls. As it is a touch-screen system there really isn’t a need to change the controls considering there is no alternative.

Game-play
Fluidity – In terms of game-play it does tend to run fluidly most of the time. Apart from the limited ammo of birds that stops the continual flow of the game, of which is accounted for being the mechanic in the game that negates a player losing. It’s particularly fluid within this department.
Replay ability – With these types of games there really isn’t a limit on the possible levels available. The ever expanding universe of Angry Birds means that continually there will be more additional levels implemented into newer game versions, thus increasing the replayability. Factor in some players desire to ‘better’ the score they originally had and it produces ample amount of opportunity for replayability.
Interesting – Game-play wise the series has always offered intriguing combat scenarios that entice the player to keep leveling up their Pokemon.
Addictive – The addiction factor on this game stems from it’s ability to give the player a challenge that is ‘beatable’ but is often failed by human error, thus creating a pattern of constantly wanting to beat a level because of estimating how to win.

Score
Does it have a score? – Yes, a score is present throughout various levels within the game.
Appropriate – In game the score tends to be ambient background noise that sets the scene.
Mood Change – It doesn’t tend to change the mood of the game because of the casual, comic nature of the game.
Voice Acting Under shadow –
No it doesn’t undershadow the voice acting because there is no present.

Narrative/Story
Does it have a Narrative/Story – Essentially there isn’t a plot-line to the game other than the motivation of the protagonist Angry Birds to reclaim their lost eggs from the foes onscreen.

Rating

FullDisc FullDisc FullDisc

(A score of 3 out of 5 Discs)

For an overview of the reviews and the marking criteria, click the link

Pokemon White 2 – The Review

PKMNW2Logo

Launch Trailer: Pokemon White 2

Introduction
The first direct sequel in the series, Pokemon White 2 takes place 2 years after the previous game. It follows a new character, exploring the landscape in similar fashion to its predecessor.

Visuals
Graphical Issues – As far a the game itself goes, there aren’t any graphical issues that are of a noteworthy nature. The game still maintains a near 8-bit appearance that has defined the series since it’s debut with Pokemon Red and Blue/Green.
Aesthetically Pleasing – Although the pixelated appearance may be appealing for some, eventually after awhile it does become increasingly inferior with greater improvements in handheld graphical engines.
User Interface – Like all Pokemon games, the user interface is aimed towards catering to its main audience, children. So naturally the interface is easy to navigate and very user friendly.
Art Style – Pokemon as a handheld game has continued in its own trend of maintaining its near 8-bit pixelated appearance even on advancing systems. After a while, this has evidently become the trademark of the series and has appropriately used through the series.

Controls
Appropriate – For a game that is a top down experience, the navigational controls and contextual menu controls are appropriate for this style of play.
Easy to Learn – With my experience in the game, once you’ve learned how to manoeuvre the character and use the targeting system, everything else comes naturally.
Dynamic – Cohesively, the controls work dynamically very well together. Whether this is my intrinsic knowledge of the game series dating back to the originals or it’s apparent in the game itself is another questionable point.
Changeable – With most games, it seems in this age that games are tested before release to the point that they rarely allow changeable controls due to focus group testing. This isn’t always necessarily a bad thing as it gives the game a solid basis to work from instead of being a changeable state. However, as people may be discomforted in modern times with preset controls, this is unfortunately present in Pokemon White 2.

Game-play
Fluidity – Like all Pokemon games the game-play is renowned for fluidity, except for random encounters that is. We’ve all been there walking through a seemingly empty cave trying to make our way through and have to struggle against hordes of wild Pokemon that relentlessly desire our attention. Other than this, navigation and in-game combat are as fluid as they possibly can be on the Nintendo DS.
Replay ability – Pokemon games generally suffer heavily with a lack of replay-ability  It’s not that the post game experience isn’t at all fun, it’s just that eventually you’ll grow tired of endlessly trying to “Catch ’em All” in the realization that it’s generally impossible to do so nowadays.
Interesting – Game-play wise the series has always offered intriguing combat scenarios that entice the player to keep leveling up their Pokemon.
Addictive – Pokemon White 2 unfortunately suffers from Sequel Syndrome. The adverse affect of sequels that offer the same experience, but with a new coating. Sure for newer players trying out the series may have a greater desire to become addicted to the game, but personally I had no inclination whatsoever trying to soldier through this.

Score
Does it have a score? – Yes, a score is present in the game.
Appropriate – I had a chance to play through segments of the game with and without audio and surprisingly it’s far more enjoyable without the audio. I specifically played a segment in the game that brought a returning character back into the fold and experiencing this with and without audio, it just didn’t seem appropriate for this type of occasion.
Mood Change – Taking into account the previous statement, the mood change at that particular scene contributed to it’s lack of appropriated score. Instead of feeling joyous at this characters return, I personally felt like the audio gave a different tone to what is was meant to do.
Voice Acting Under Shadow – As there is no voice acting present, it’s by default not over or under shadowing anything.

Narrative/Story
Does it have a Narrative/Story – The story of Pokemon White 2, is effectively the same structure as all Pokemon games and intertwines the task of gym battles with the underlining plot-line.
Structure – As the story is intertwined with the gym story arc, it’s appropriately structured accordingly.
Captivating – I didn’t find myself compelled enough by the story to classify it as ‘captivating’ personally I thought it was far too predictable and reiterates the point of suffering from Sequel Syndrome.
Plot Twist – Whether it’s down to the inherent predictability factor that’s present within the game or a lack there of, I didn’t see any compelling evidence of a sufficient plot twist.

Rating

FullDisc FullDisc FullDisc

(A score of 3 out of 5 Discs)

For an overview of the reviews and the marking criteria, click the link

Dishonored – The Review

DishonoredLogo

Launch Trailer: Dishonored

Introduction
Set in the fictional city of Dunwall, the game cast as the assassin Corvo Atano. Formerly the bodyguard of the late empress, is accused of her murder and the kidnapping of her daughter Emily. Sentenced to death, he eventually escapes his bonds and with assistance begins a quest for revenge.

Visuals

Graphical Issues – Graphically, on the PS3 version i played the game on there were some instances of screen tearing.
Aesthetically Pleasing – Aesthetically the game itself looks amazing. As it uses an art style similar to painting, it’s unique and visually appealing.
User Interface – Within the game there aren’t many interfaces other than the menu, and the radial dial. And these are visually easy to understand.
Art Style – As mentioned previously the art style used is almost reminiscent of a painting. So in a sense, the game is one singular vast painting in motion.

Controls

Appropriate – Being a first person action game with supernatural contextualization with it in regards to controls, them themselves are appropriate in the terms that they work efficiently and are designated as one would assume on a first person game.
Easy to Learn – Personally i had initial issues with the game in terms of learning the controls. It wasn’t that the controls were inappropriate because within context they’re optimal, but at the start of the game there is that much variety open to the player that it does seem that you can get lost in the complexity of the controls.
Dynamic – Once past the learning curve, the controls do dynamically work well together in the sense that it becomes very fluid to switch between weapons and abilities.
Changeable – In my experience with the game i didn’t find any alternative way of changing the controls personally. It may have been an attribute to the fact that i prefer to learn the controls in a game before trying to alter to cater to my preference, but by this time the controls become recognizable and the use for change isn’t required.

Game-play
Fluidity – In terms of game-play the mechanics that have been implemented along with the controls do result in very creative and intuitive ways of controlling the fluidity. Also to note that each level/mission doesn’t dictate a set path for the player to take.
Replay ability – As there is varying game-play styles and ways in which to play the game this is the main selling point for replay-ability.
Interesting – As a new IP in a generation currently swamped with reused ideas and sequels galore. Dishonored is not only a breath of fresh air, but with a cool Steampunk breeze. In terms of game-play  as mentioned previously the game has no limitations on set paths the player should take, coupled with the choice for different play-styles (To name two: High profile, Low profile) and it gives players a variety of options to choose from.
Addictive – From personal experience, having only played it fully once. I found it addictive to an extent. After the initial learning curve and becoming familiar with the mechanics, eventually an attachment to the games crazy antics and overtly amazing feats that can be accomplished from this very simple idea. I’ve since been longing to start another play-though to see what else i can do.

Score

Does it have a score? – Yes, a score is present in the game.
Appropriate – As an alternate reality Steampunk game, the score relatively contrasts this in corresponding fashion.
Mood Change – The score is particularly scene-centric. Usually you’ll hear it ambivalently appear from time to time but it’s more prominent for setting either an intensity or a soft nature to particular scenes.
Voice Acting Under Shadow – The score usually never impacts further than background noise in comparison to voice acting, this allows for the scene to be amplified emotionally by the score but maintain the integrity of the voice acting.

Narrative/Story

Does it have a Narrative/Story – Yes, Dishonored indeed does have a narrative as previously explained.
Structure – In terms of the scope of the story. it is linear but the way in which the choices and the resultant branches of these are laid out
Captivating – I found myself compelled to the end with this story. Usually in most video games within the modern era they rely on the protagonist having a voice instead of letting the player project themselves onto him/her. Having the ability to do this with Corvo and experience the story in this way, truly is captivating.
Plot Twist – Like all good plots, there’s always a plot twist. Having not read any spoiler material prior to playing this game, i did predict that this specific event may happen but my enthrallment with the game allowed me to experience the initial gratifying shock that i’ve missed about most games within the generation.

Rating
FullDisc FullDisc FullDisc FullDisc Quarter

(A score of 4.25 out of 5 Discs)

For an overview of the reviews and the marking criteria, click the link

Game Reviews Overview (Spreadsheet Screenshot)

Whilst i was critiquing the games, i thought it more appropriate to document it in a more definitive layout, rather than allow myself to misjudge a game on personal preference. So i came up with the criteria and documented the process accordingly and the following screenshot is the resulting spreadsheet that i used, that can be used as an overall overview for those interested in the breakdown of the marking criteria.

SpreadSheetScreenshot