Halo 4 (Xbox 360)
Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest (PS3)
Driver: San Francisco (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
Final Run (iOS)
Metacritic: Critics — 87/100 Players — 6.9/10
Amazon Rating — 4.4/5
GameStop Rating — 8.9/10
Best Buy Rating — 4.5/5
My involvement: I worked as a Technical Designer on Halo 4′s multiplayer, including extensive scripting work on game modes, maps and medals.
JoystiqOne of the best games in the series and one of the finest shooters in years.
DestructoidNot only has 343 far surpassed any expectations of what a Halo title should be, they’ve also gone and created a Halo game that is miles above any that’s come before it.
IGNAmazingly, Halo 4 is not only a success, but a bar-raising triumph for the entire first-person shooter genre. [...] So how does Halo 4’s multiplayer suite live up to the legacy in 343’s hands? It’s golden.
GamingTrend.comHalo 4 represents a new beginning for the fan-favorite series, and 343 Industries has crafted a very polished experience.
PolygonHalo 4 is a return to the series’ roots of discovery, of wonder and, at times, of awe. It helps that it might be the most consistently great game of the series to boot. [...] While previous Halo releases have iterated on the original’s basic staples of Slayer, Team Slayer, Capture the Flag and Oddball, nothing has felt like a major addition. Even Headhunter, while unique, felt as much like a gimmick as something with staying power. But with Dominion, 343i has pushed Halo 4 in the direction of Battlefield-style objective-based gameplay, and it shines for it.
Game InformerThe magic formula is intact, but the new development team isn’t afraid to put its own signature features into play, assuring that Halo is on a path to growth instead of stagnation. [...] New multiplayer modes like Regicide and Dominion join perennial favorites like Slayer, Oddball, and Capture the Flag, and all the modes play out across an impressive set of over a dozen strong new maps.
Videogamer.comLavish and meticulous, this is easily one of the most expensive games of all time – and it feels like it, too.
GamespotA thrilling, moving story and intense competitive multiplayer help Halo 4 continue the series’ reign as one of the premier shooter franchises.
GamesRadarWith Halo 4, 343 has proven itself not only proficient in building a Halo game, but capable of building a better Halo franchise in a post-Bungie world.
The GuardianWar Games, however, is where Halo 4′s true longevity lies. It’s also the clearest and most credible claim the Halo franchise has made towards cementing its place at the forefront of the FPS genre. Yes, 343 Industries has taken some cues from the rest of the FPS field in terms of customisation of load-outs, emblems and visual representation of the player on the battlefield, but the whole shebang is shot through with Halo’s DNA. [...] Yet, what hasn’t been lost – indeed, what has been augmented – is the almost Bacchanalian sense of freedom a player has once they’re cut loose in the great multiplayer-nowhere world. Halo 4, more than any other shooter of recent memory, encourages players to take part in the often-intimidating prospect of competing online. If you’re new to online shooters, this really is one of the best places to start.
EGM NowMultiplayer’s one of the strongest efforts in the category in ages, offering full campaign co-op for up to four combatants, episodic co-op Spartan Ops missions, and the newly dubbed “War Games” in a vastly playable smorgasbord of violence. [...] Fans of the game will have a blast here, and the multiplayer is something special.
Metacritic: Critics — 61/100 Players — 7.0/10
Amazon Rating — 4/5
GameStop Rating — 9.3/10
Best Buy Rating — 4.3/5
My involvement: I wrote the rendered cutscenes for this game.
IGNI’m surprised by how much I enjoyed Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest. Its pinpoint controls, whimsical story and fun mechanics easily overcome the fact that it’s on-rails… The comic book cutscenes are awesome… The voice-acting, sound effects and score all contribute to the game’s mood, which never gets too dark, dreary or serious.
IGN Video ReviewMedieval Moves relies on a story to tell its tale, and is thus immediately more engrossing… Load times are a little lengthy, unfortunately, but this is easily made up for by the clever slant Medieval Moves takes in telling its story. Gameplay is occasionally interrupted by comic book-like frames with voiceovers explaining what’s going on. I really enjoyed this method of story-telling… I also enjoyed Medieval Moves‘ voice acting. … it’s important that the voices embody their characters, and they thankfully do just that… Great PlayStation Move games are few and far between. But Medieval Moves, from the makers of Sports Champions, is one of them.
EGMNow.comIt’s rare that you see a game revolving around motion controls that also attempts to feature a deep, fleshed-out story like Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest… Although he’s an orphan, Edmund’s built up an almost King Arthur-esque mystique, and he’s now destined for great things — including inheriting the crown… The cartoony graphics work well with the lighthearted writing — and when you couple that with some surprisingly competent voice acting by all involved, this game’s definitely aurally and visually pleasing… THE GOOD: Humorous characters and an entertaining plot.
A text-book example of The Hero’s Journey. The plot is told mainly through storyboard-esque cutscenes … that by the game’s conclusion manage to win you over with their energetic and slightly naive charm. The cutscenes and overall aesthetics also fit the younger target audience at whom the game is unquestionably pitched.
Characterisation is strong in a cutesy, Saturday morning cartoon, claymation type of way – and the locales are varied and interesting (when was the last time you fought sunhat-wearing skeletons in a vineyard?!). There are also some nice moments of humour… If George Lucas needs any tips on how to make a PlayStation Move Star Wars game, he need look no further than Medieval Moves for an ideal template.
Brash GamesThe tone is well pitched for the younger audience Medieval Moves is obviously aimed at… The character designs and the comic book-style cut-scenes have a pleasing look…The voice acting and script are very cool, there are some jokes in there that are funny and the way the story is told little by little plays perfectly to the audience it’s aimed at… This is a game primarily aimed at the younger audience, but it’s been put together well enough for anyone to enjoy.
Dealspwn.comWe’re very much in Saturday morning cartoon territory here, and nearly every aspect of the game nods towards a focus on a younger audience. The character models are delightfully endearing, the animations smooth and often comical, there are little bits of slapstick humour here and there to get the youngsters giggling and it has to be said that there’s a certain charm to the whole venture that manages to provide a little whimsy.
GameTrailers.comThe game also has a sense of humor, from the Scottish brogue of your ghostly companion to the playful antics of your bumbling, stumbling adversaries.
GameProTo a young gamer, this kind of epic adventure is, in theory, a perfect fit. It combines an exciting adventure played out in a world of charming fantasy, with action in the form of cartoon violence, all the while utilizing motion controls that help bring battle moves to life. More than any other element, it’s with the charming fantasy world that San Diego Studio and Zindagi Games get the formula just right.
DestructoidMakes solid use of the Move controller and tells a cute little story … The game also wins points for having a terrific atmosphere. Despite not being MediEvil, it still captures that same goth-cartoon look and constantly delivers endearingly silly characters to interact with.
G3ARThe story is delightfully narrated in book form with accompanying hand-drawn animation… and has notable charm and humour, especially for a younger audience.
WorthPlayingThe voice acting is good, and none of the characters seem miscast. The dialogue is fine during cut scenes and can get quite humorous at times for both younger and older audiences.
GameKultThe tasty cutscenes and more-inspired-than-usual French dubbing are sure to win over younger players.
GAMEBLOG.FRFun, extremely playable, full of secrets and funny details … captivating in more ways than one. The narrative is neat and colourful: the humorous story is told in the form of an illustrated scroll, and the presentation of the characters and the French dubbing all work extremely well, even for older players.
DigitalChumpsThe story and presentation are charming … Medieval Moves‘ presentation is cartoonish and very fitting for the audience and style of play. Characters look pretty detailed and animate nicely. I liked the art style that, again, seemed liked it was taken right out of a cartoon or comic book. In fact, the cutscenes are a series of still images that display just like a comic book. Voiceovers and the rest of the audio were well done, too.
Metacritic: Critics — 80/100 Players — 7.5/10
Amazon Rating — 4.4/5
GameStop Rating — 8.8/10
Best Buy Rating — (not currently available at Best Buy)
My involvement: I was a Narrative Designer on this game, involved with writing characters, a couple of cutscenes, and extensively designing mission story and logic as well as general audio logic for dynamic systems like the Felony system.
PC GamerOne of the weirdest driving games ever, in the best possible way… constantly fun, funny and chaotic… Tanner’s enthusiasm for all of these is infectious, and the fact that he’s temporarily possessing drivers instead of simply their cars makes for great in-game chatter from other terrified passengers… one of the most enjoyable racing games in a very long time.
VideogamerRefreshingly original… a totally new experience, and that’s not something that can’t be said very often when talking about driving games – or any genre, for that matter. Developer Reflections also gets playful with its mission design now and again, using Tanner’s coma to deliver some crazy situations that stand out as the best the game has to offer… With a bit of imagination, the dev team takes the open-word driving genre to new heights.
IGNPossibly the most ridiculous and difficult-to-explain premise of any driving game in history… Happily, Driver: SF brings you around to its way of thinking within minutes of picking up the controller… It’s difficult to say too much about the game’s best story missions without spoiling the plot, which actually isn’t half-bad. It’s a high-octane, improbable and comfortably ridiculous tale of terrorism and intrigue that carries the game along at a nice pace. It’s novel to play a racing game whose primary concern is telling a story. You can tell how serious Driver is about its plot by looking at the amount of effort that has gone into things like facial animation and voice-acting, which are totally irrelevant concerns for most other racers… Driver: San Francisco has one game-changing, eyebrow-raising idea and it pulls it off with aplomb, infusing the OTT arcade racing with unparalleled variety and a ridiculous supernatural twist whilst staying true to its Seventies chase-movie roots. It looks great, it’s got a lot of personality, it tells an entertaining story and it’s great fun to play.
JoystiqDriver: San Francisco is the best Driver game there’s ever been, because it is wholly and entirely true to itself… No joke, San Francisco’s story arc goes from “zero” to “completely bonkers” in about 5 minutes. Tanner’s ability to “shift” into and possess the body of any person driving any car, anywhere, makes for an experience that’s a hell of a lot more cerebral than previous entries in the series, yet somehow still lighthearted and endearing enough to maintain the buddy-cop atmosphere. It’s weird, but it’s also engaging, surprising, and superbly acted, with a fantastic script that borrows more from magical realism than film noir.
GamesRadarDriver: San Francisco is like a great summer blockbuster movie (remember those?). It’s got tons of action, an over-the-top story that manages to keep your attention even as you roll your eyes, painfully cheeky banter between characters you learn to like and hate… You can jump right in to the story without missing a beat. Characters are quickly introduced and the plot established, and from the word “go” it’s clear what’s happening.
GameSharkDriver: San Francisco turned into one of my favorite games of 2011… While the gimmick does offer plenty of fun gameplay moments, what I’m most impressed with is Reflections’ ability to seamlessly weave a story around it… The little vignettes are well-written and carry the light-hearted tone the rest of the production exudes. It works to provide a fun, fly-on-the-wall perspective, when most games would be happy to just give you a list of missions to play.
TelegraphWhoever said silly couldn’t be smart? It would have been tough to predict that one of 2011′s more inspired video games would be a cross between Quantum Leap and the Dukes of Hazzard, where the main premise was a man that could supernaturally inhabit the driver of any car on the road of San Francisco. But here we are…Delivered with wit and panache, Driver: San Francisco works because it’s daft, rather than in spite of it. And if it proves anything, it’s that having conviction in your ideas — any ideas — can bring a refreshing new twist to an ailing series and genre.
D+PADIf previous Driver games have striven for a movie-flavoured sense of realism, Driver: San Francisco marks the point that Ubisoft Reflections removes these shackles, grinds them into a fine dust, snorts them up their collective nostrils and sets Tanner off on a flight of fantasy that is unheard of within the genre… Such a diverse range of influences would be impressive for an action-adventure game; that Ubisoft Reflections has managed to squeeze all this into a game that never strays from the core theme of driving is nothing short of miraculous… We won’t go into too much detail regarding Driver: San Francisco’s plot, as to do so would be to rob you, dear reader, of the impact of the twists and turns that you encounter along the way. What we can say, however, is that Ubisoft Reflections have crafted a satisfying and well balanced tale that marks a high water mark for the combining of narrative and arcade racing thrills.
DestructoidWhat happens next goes beyond the realm of sensibility and kicks off one of the most deliriously stupid videogame plots in recent memory. I do not mean that disparagingly — Driver: San Francisco‘s story is thoroughly ridiculous, but it’s so refreshingly unique that one can’t help but admire the foolishness… During the course of the game, some absolutely brilliant ideas are presented, showcasing a remarkable amount of flexibility from what looks like a shallow gimmick… One defining factor of San Francisco is its sense of style. With its licensed cars, excellent soundtrack, and shamelessly silly narrative, Driver: SF has a very personal charm, not to mention plenty of silly humor… Driver: San Francisco is a good laugh, and deserves immense praise for its ingenuity.
EurogamerIf it’s all a little flimsily framed, Newcastle developer Reflections at least plays it for laughs. Driver: San Francisco, when it’s got its story face on, often feels like a Carry On film directed by Christopher Nolan… This is a city that’s dense with characters, and leaping from car to car throws up a seemingly never-ending succession of skits; finding yourself in charge of a school run, leaping into the midst of a lover’s tiff or between two sparring work colleagues and, at one brilliant juncture, between two policemen having an illicit affair… For each moment of ticklesome slapstick there’s another of striking dreamlike imagery – a city deserted, or one that’s been dramatically put on pause. Driver: San Francisco‘s core storyline exploits such moments to full effect, managing to gingerly toe a line that means, while it’s never exactly credible or plausible, it’s at the very least enjoyable.
EdgeThere have been concept car games, but could this be the first high-concept car game? Ubisoft Reflections’ Driver: San Francisco is given a ludicrous but ultimately rather brilliant twist – a narrative crutch for extravagant mechanics that’s no less weird than the metaphysical premise of Life on Mars or Quantum Leap… Tanner’s tall tale has the amicable feel of a Sunday afternoon TV serial, told with a light heart and easy wit. As he jumps between bodies, we dip into incidental stories. A pair of brothers struggling with their college fund find themselves swept up in the dangerous world of street racing; a secretary elopes with her embezzling boss/boyfriend; a man bitten by a ‘Colombian dream widow’ spider needs a quick shot of adrenaline at the hospital. These vignettes are dispatched with a cheery humour and a dramatic irony as Tanner hurriedly adapts to each new situation.
Playstation LifestyleSurprisingly, the story is one of the strongest aspects of the game and builds to a satisfying climax. In most driving games, the story takes a backseat – pardon the pun – to the vehicular mayhem, but the story in Driver: San Francisco remains a dominant factor compelling the player throughout the game… Driver: San Francisco is a game that is full of surprises. Even when you know that the entire game takes place with Tanner in a coma, the game still manages to surprise you with how the story is handled.
App Store Rating — 4/5
My involvement: I wrote the full script for this game, based on a story framework provided by Rotor Games, which I tweaked and finessed into the final story.
iPhone Gamer UKThe storyline’s great, the soundtrack fits, the gameplay is awesome, the graphics are great… Go pick up Final Run!
Given the gross oversaturation of the genre on iOS, it takes something truly extraordinary to pique our interest in a zombie game these days. Final Run is that something! Rotor Games’ thrilling survival horror/driving game mashup boasts a lengthy level-based campaign, stunning visuals, and an engaging storyline and bleak atmospherics that echo the very best post-apocalyptic cinema has to offer. Oh, and zombies. Lots and lots of stinkin’ zombies.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that sounds like the set up for a high-octane action game chock-full of car chases, gun fights, and nonstop zombie slaughtering, but to label Final Run as such would actually be doing this surprisingly nuanced driving game/survival horror hybrid a disservice. Like all the best horror games, Final Run takes its sweet time setting up the plot, fleshing out its characters, and building up a bleak, oppressive atmosphere of desperation and desolation… the slow-burn storytelling and worldbuilding makes for a rich, immersive experience and, hey, when enemies do start coming out of the woodwork, it’s all the more thrilling!
A masterful blend of compelling plot, well-drawn characters, and incredibly intense and perfectly paced gameplay adds up to one of the most impressive indie debuts yet this year.
AppCrocLooks like someone has finally followed the Hollywood dream, a storyline so perfect that all it lacks is a well-renowned actor and actress. Final Run is a unique game which we have come across, the game has everything you could ask for in an action game.
squarezero (forums.toucharcade.com)I am reminded of the driving portions of Half-Life 2 … The writing does a good job of delineating the world without sounding just like exposition… I’m pleased as punch.
lumothesinner (forums.toucharcade.com)The story is good and feels finished… a few points in the story, you could make a choice to get a different conversation pop up, adding that little bit more to it as you could replay to get different outcomes. Very well-polished game that could do with something to compliment its great, varied story mode.
psj3809 (forums.toucharcade.com)The early missions not much happens but it helps build up the whole story, I’m glad so far this game’s totally living up to the hype and expectations i had for it.
Robin/P1XL (forums.toucharcade.com)I’m totally loving this game; story/mission-based vehicular combat has only been done once before on iOS as far as I know.
PsychDoc* (AppStore review)Nice story and humor.
Sready (AppStore review)Great graphics, great AI, great storyline.
doomfan (AppStore review)Final Run … just shines love and care, from the opening screen… A super involved storyline, a massive 3d world, combined with some of the best zombie killing fun you will find in any iOS game to date.
Lumosthesinner (AppStore review)Nice little story inserted as well, with a few choices to get different conversations, again good for replay value [...] the story mode is well polished and finished [...] worth the price of admission
psj3809 (AppStore review)Plays very well and has a nice storyline.
Disius (AppStore review)Love this game, good gameplay, good story and best of all a good feeling.
manutd1 (AppStore review)Nice character relationships [...] beat the game and enjoyed it a lot.