Flagship Killer: The Impoverished Geek Review of the OnePlus One

OnePlus, an offshoot of Chinese company Oppo, wants to break free of the mold. Their first phone, simply called “One,” matches 2014’s flagship phones in every appreciable way, dropping gimmicks in order to refine what a user’s base expectation of a smartphone should be. It has the same processor as the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One (M8), and LG’s G3. It has a screen as big as or bigger than the competition, with a resolution that is eclipsed only by the G3. It meets or exceeds the competition in regards to RAM and storage.

The big difference? It costs half as much as anything else on the market.

 

Impoverished Geek Review: Nvidia Shield

I’d actually reserved an Nvidia Shield last year, but cancelled at the last minute and put the money toward a PS4 instead. The device was getting middling reviews, and I didn’t have a PC powerful enough to use one of its main selling points: game streaming. Furthermore, gaming on Android, like iOS, is a mixed bag: lots of games, most of them not great. This is further complicated by the fact that while the Shield has a touch screen, it’s not particularly easy to use. There’s a controller in the way. My main motivation for picking up the Shield was playing retro games via emulation, and since I have a laptop I carry with me everywhere, I already have a decent emulation machine. My opinion changed when I got a bunch of cash for selling my old portables. I decided to take a chance and give the Shield a whirl. 

The Wimpy Method: A Review of Bravely Default

Bravely Default sounds like a foolish debt-management strategy. Surprisingly, the title is quite fitting, though oddly obtuse until you understand the game’s main battle mechanic. Built upon the well-regarded battle system of older Final Fantasy games, Bravely Default adds a turn management strategy to the mix that allow players to breeze through simpler battles and hedge their bets on more challenging ones.

By A Thread – A Review of Beyond: Two Souls

Many game developers have a style. Shigeru Miyamoto tends to gravitate toward the whimsical, whereas American McGee likes to twist children’s tales. David Cage pushes heavily toward the cinematic. Like Heavy Rain before it, Beyond: Two Souls is more readily described as an interactive narrative than a video game, but that isn’t a bad thing. The vast majority of video games use heavily recycled tropes ad nauseum, and although David Cage’s work is never as fun to play as peers, it is every bit as compelling.

Family Matters – A Review of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

 

Sweden-based Starbreeze Studios is probably still best known for 2004’s well-received Chronicles of Riddich: Escape from Butcher Bay, as well as The Darkness. Over the summer, they released a short game called Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Envisioned by Swedish director Josef Fares, it’s an original adventure that features unique gameplay that is best described as single-player co-op. It is is available for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

The control scheme for Brothers is intuitive: the player controls both brothers at the same time. The older brother is controlled by the left analog stick, the younger brother by the right. Each brother has a single action button, which is the trigger button(L2 or R2 on the PS3) on their side of the controller. In addition, the camera can be rotated by pressing the left and right bumpers (L1 and R1 on the PS3). Although this initially seems quite simple, the task of controlling both brothers at once requires a sort of concentration that most games rarely call upon.

Our Fair City: A Lighthearted Dystopia

View fullsize The Our Fair City logo This article was written by me for, and originally posted on, Forward Compatible.    Outside the walls, things are grim: New England is a frozen wasteland. Things aren’t much better within them, but your chances of survival are better. Slightly. The denizens of HartLife’s community — better knownContinue reading “Our Fair City: A Lighthearted Dystopia”

Everyone Needs To Play Gone Home

View fullsize I went into Gone Home blind, and I’m incredibly glad I did. News about the game was blowing up for a while, and I had to avoid reading articles and listening to podcasts about it. It was a little maddening. I am the type to do all sorts of research into something thatContinue reading “Everyone Needs To Play Gone Home”

Do Yourself a Favor: Don’t Miss “The Last of Us”

View fullsize Joel and Ellie make their way through the collapsed infrastructure of the US.  Before The Last of Us, I would not call myself a fan of video game developer Naughty Dog. Obviously, they are very popular; their games sell in the millions, and they are Sony’s flagship developer. Uncharted is the best-selling PlaystationContinue reading “Do Yourself a Favor: Don’t Miss “The Last of Us””