Bioshock: Infinite (XBOX 360) Review


Snap: The third installment to Irrational Games’ popular Bioshock series. Departing from the first two’s original setting of the undersea city, Rapture, Bioshock: Infinite now takes to the skies in a utopian city called Columbia. I bought this while on sale on XBOX Live’s Games on Demand at $50, and based on my first 3 hours of gameplay, it’s a beautiful, well-rounded FPS shooter. Narrative looks promising too. [4/5]

Love: The real show-stoppers are the location and design of the Columbia universe. It’s a steampunk world with a gorgeous backdrop of clouds and slowly descends into chaos. Other things I’m currently enjoying are the sound effects and ‘feel’ of combat. The recoil of guns, the banter and also the short sprints of action that interspeed the exploration of this great sky city.

Hate: Compared to previous Bioshocks, the narrative seems painfully linear, but it’s still engaging enough that you want to find out what happens next. All in all, a good summer blockbuster.


Limbo (iOS) Review


Snap: This award-winning indie game was first released on XBOX Live Arcade in 2010 and ported over to iOS in 2013. It’s a puzzler and a platformer set in a violent, desolate and monochromatic world where you search for your sister in all manner of brain-wrecking physics and precise platforming puzzles. As you’re playing, the spellbinding artwork and intricate level design suck you into a time space fold providing an eternity of joy, terror, confusion and wistfulness after you complete the game. [5/5]

Love: This game is almost perfect because the core game mechanics and simple and intuitive enough to get you started, yet the puzzle and platforming challenges as you progress become increasingly difficult and serve as a huge motivator for you to want to succeed. The jubilation when you successfully navigate a particularly difficult scenario is pure ecstasy. Finally, the art direction and atmosphere created are married together with an incredible detail of physics to give the player dread and wonder all at once. It’s almost as if the developers understand how to keep gamers engaged and waste not a single moment to show off unnecessarily. This could be the most optimized game I’ve ever played.

Hate: Maybe it was too short, I don’t know, and I don’t really care.


Akira (Manga) Review


Snap: It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again. Akira is a masterpiece. Published in 1988, written and illustrated by Katsuhiro Otomo, it will perhaps stand the test of time as a science fiction classic. Painting a dystopian future of war and society, it is ultimately a story about the human condition, the lengths it will go to survive and perhaps seeks to question just what it means to be human. [4.5/5]

Love: Highly detailed illustrations, a page-turning narrative, a rich yet believable universe, enough gore (tasteful gore mind you) to appeal to the more mature reader, all rank highly in this must-read classic. However, what truly stands out is the character development that spans across six volumes. You’ll come to hate some early characters, but that changes toward a sort of empathy when you realize the driving forces and circumstances that all the main and supporting characters undergo. I loved every minute of it.

Hate: There are times when the philosophical undertones just seem a tad meandering and unfocused. Not that it took away from the narrative and setting, but as a stylistic preference, maybe some bits could have been better packaged.