Welcome to The TPS Report, home to video game blogs, mix sets and even the odd piece o' 3D art.

Broke arse student, freelance games reviewer and rambling obsessive that I am, I currently seek work in mags and web sites throughout the world. If you're in a position to make that happen - and like what you see around here - let me know. I've published work with the likes of IGN and Gaming Steve.


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Future Plans For the Site
28/7/2012 22:31

Preview Time! Games to Look Out For in 2011
8/1/2011 5:54

2010's Games of Shame
6/1/2011 22:47

My Fave Games of 2010!
6/1/2011 20:12

StarCraft II Review - Dig Loveth the RTS!?
7/11/2010 12:48

10 Must-Have iPhone Games
2/6/2010 18:09

A Little Hotlink to An Article I Stuck Up On GiantBomb
21/4/2010 15:01

Aliens Vs Predator is Here! Woo! Oh, Hang On...
6/3/2010 20:58

iPhone Games!
6/3/2010 20:40

The Top 30 Games of an Obscenely Packed 2009. Shit Gets Epic
7/1/2010 20:09


If interested in discussing writing opportunities for on or offline gaming publications - either UK based or abroad - please contact me via E-Mail. Sparkling CV available on request



Dig Lives a Day in the Life of Jack Bauer! A Review of 24 - The Game
Posted by Diggler - 13/2/2006 19:38

24 shows up in video game form, exclusively on PS2 thanks to Sony
What we have here is a wonderful license boasting some fab ideas for its video game incarnation, let down mostly by the lacklustre specs of the machine it's running on. I'm a big fan of Sony as a development team - especially their more recent output - but part of me wishes they hadn't scored this particular license. If someone like Ubisoft had snagged up 24, it'd be free to appear on some of the more cutting-edge systems, ones far more suited to this kinda genre. As it is, 24 is a PS2 exclusive...a system long since past its sell by date...and as a result, no one wins.

It has the makings of a fantastic TV tie-in on paper, and I'd even say that occasionally it lives up to that promise. Charging around as Jack Bauer with an Elite pistol in hand, yelling at terrorists to drop their weapons before blowing a hole in their head holds some major novelty value - not to mention the surprisingly fun "interrogation" sequences - and there's definitely something to be said for that. Yet the experience is constantly marred by poor frame-rates, horrendous aliasing and perhaps most of all, that dodgy PS2 pad.

"Today is the Longest Day of My Life..."

Set midway between season 2 and 3 of the show, 24's plot follows - among many other things - that of terrorists attempting to assassinate the vice president (aka Jim Robinson). You control a ton of CTU agents throughout the day, ranging from Jack himself, to Tony, to Chase, to a bunch of minor no-name bomb defusers and the like. Basically, if you've seen it in the show, you'll get to try it out here.

Each separate mission is interspersed with some absolutely fab in-engine cut-scenes that really nail the 24 atmos. You often feel like you're privy to some sorta long-lost season of the show, and it's pleasingly watchable in that regard.

The missing link between season 2 and 3, the game fills in all kinds of blanks
It's when these cut-scenes end and you actually take control that it all starts to fall apart. Once you remove all the fancy mini-games, the kick arse cinematics and those ever loveable characters, 24 becomes primarily a very mundane and unintelligent third person shooter.

In a game so focused on endless shoot outs, sadly the shooting just ain't much fun either. It's positively crying out for the same control system we saw in Resident Evil 4, but you'd be wiser to set your sights more towards Driv3r. You can mess around with a couple of alternate configs and switch in auto-aim and so on, but that's a cop-out if ever there was one, and in the day and age of Resi 4 and the Halo series, anything less than perfect real-time aiming is pretty inexcusable if you ask me. The bottom line is that the PS2 pad really isn't built for these sorts of games, with the dead zones on the analogue sticks the final nail in the coffin.

It's a shame, 'cos if the game had spent more time beefing up this underlying yet essential aspect of solid combat mechanics, the rest could so easily have fallen into place. There's an awful lot of neat ideas going on around it you see, along with some incredibly solid production values too.

"I'm Gonna Need a Hacksaw"

This sucker's clearly built by huge fans of the show. It seeps with love and worship for all things 24, from the awesome use of split screen camera work, to the kick arse script and storyline. Every single 24 alumni shows up for voice acting duties too - including Kiefer Sutherland himself - and they all do a damn good - if somewhat subdued - job for the most part. Actors have also had their likenesses recreated digitally in-game, and although not quite perfect, if you squint your eyes they can often pass for the real thing.

Every 24 cast member lends not only voice talent, but digital likeness too
The game also - somewhat surprisingly - boasts full physics at all times, with crates, shelves and even enemies flying all over the place amidst hails of gunfire. You'll even find drivable vehicles peppered throughout, including the occasional level set around high speed car chases and the like. Although rough as hell and plagued with pop-up, such moments certainly add a nice bit of variety and help pull off that 24 adrenaline rush the game so desperately needs more of.

Heck, just little things like the fact your cell phone reception alters and cuts out as you move around the levels is a great little touch, one of many such fanboy nuggets that are just oh so 24.

As I say, there's some very nice ideas and concepts at play...it's just let down by the underlying and highly monotonous shooting sections that unfortunately dominate most of the levels. Oh, and to add insult to injury? 24 also thinks it's a stealth game, with you - get this - controlling Kim Bauer of all people on a couple of such levels. The unholy marriage of all that is wrong with the universe.

"Tell Me Where the Bomb is or I Will Kill Your Son!"

24 looks fine in stills, but the framerate and jaggies kill it in motion
Graphics, as I touched upon, are damn impressive in cut-scene mode - right up there with the likes of Metal Gear Sold 3. Much like the game as a whole though, they rapidly degenerate when the actual gameplay kicks in. Those jaggies...the goggles, they do nothing! Textures are also very bland and lacking in detail, and without the 24 countdown along the bottom of the screen, you'd often be hard pressed to tell it apart from any other third person shooter.

Sound is absolutely spot on however, with all the classic music queues, solid voice work, and vintage sound effects you'd hope for. Every single bleep and telephone ring from the show makes its way across, and you even have a button for yelling out Bauer-isms at suspects mid-mission, making this 10/10 material without a doubt.


All in all though, 24 - The Game disappointed me pretty damn hugely I'm afraid. Coming off of Shadow of the Colossus and God of War, I was hoping Sony would knock a third ball out the park in this one, but 24 just doesn't cut it. The story and cut-scenes are fantastic, but the gameplay is often boring, rough around the edges and just lacking enjoyment.

While the chance to live the life of Jack holds some minor novelty, 24 - The Game could have been so much more
Perhaps most criminally of all, it does absolutely nothing interesting with 24's greatest asset...its real-time nature. How I would have yearned for a genuine 24 hour long persistent video game, with you stopping a terrorist attack in under a day of real-time gameplay, played out with interactive branching storylines that really got the blood racing. Instead, 24 treads the far more traditional route of linear level after linear level, with the real-time concept conspicuously missing. You'll find cheap, and often non-sensical countdown timers pushing you forward, and it just ain't enough.

In a way, this is the "Enter The Matrix" of the 24 world. An ambitious, and passionate affair that aims for the skies and tries to do its subject matter justice, but doesn't really have the innards to back up the vision. As a die hard 24 fan, I'll see it through to the end - if for no other reason than to enjoy another Jack Bauer arse kick-a-thon - but at about two thirds in now...it's starting to feel an awful lot like hard work...

Wanna know how Chase become Jack's partner? How Kim started working at CTU? Who was behind that slimy hand President Palmer assassination attempt many moons ago? Then this game is definitely worth a ganders...albeit in rental form. If however, you care not for such things, and are wondering "Who the hell's Jack Bauer?" then move along...there's nothing to see here.

As Jack himself would say, "DAMN IT!".

(Pictures courtesy of 2K Games)

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The Polynomial. Like playing a rave

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Fallout 3

Enjoying a fully modded out re-visit. Wow

The Road

Pretty much due to the above

Breaking Bad

Already shaping up to be the best season yet

Explosions in the Sky

Easing the pain of living in a post-Friday Night Lights world

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Gaming Shows

The 1up Radio Network
1up.com's collection of weekly gaming podcasts, the pick of which would have to be ListenUP, full of juicy rumors and interesting banter week in, week out

Area 5
Formerly The 1up Show, since losing their jobs the old video editing team have continued doing what they do best, in an independent internet-based TV show, covering whatever upcoming games they can get their hands on, and various other bits and pieces

Fully Ramblomatic
A hysterical gaming blogger posting what he calls "zero punctuation" video reviews that have to be seen - and heard - to be believed

A Life Well Wasted
Freelance journalist Robert Ashley's internet radio show, with a far more interesting and professional demeanor than your typical podcast. Interviews, fast-paced editing and catchy tunes abound

On the Spot
The humongous gaming site known as Gamespot broadcasts a video show each week, in which upcoming games are demoed live on air, and viewers are invited to send in questions to find out more

The Hotspot
Gamespot's audio-based companion to On the Spot, in which site editors cover the week's news while simultaneously poking fun at all that is gaming

Gaming Steve
A more mature podcast, hosted by a long-time games industry professional armed with a ton of insider info and loads of interesting opinions. The Dig's been known to post articles and stories on here from time to time

Quick-fire internet-based TV show with console reviews and comedy sketches. Funny as hell

Major Nelson
An interesting "blogcast" hosted by a Microsoft employee, featuring stacks of exclusive behind the scenes news and interviews relating to all things Xbox 360

The Kojima Productions Report
Official podcast from the team of Hideo Kojima, creator of the much-loved Metal Gear franchise. Full of news and interviews relating to all things Metal Gear, it's probably one for die-hard fans only

Pure Pwnage
Mockumentary series on the life of a pro gamer. Episode five is possibly the funniest thing on the internet

Other Sites

What you could call gaming's homepage. Constantly updated news and links on the entire industry, from minute breaking headlines, to funny arse viral vids

Game Trailers
Easy to use multimedia-rich web site offering official trailers, video demos and sneak peaks at all the upcoming releases

Game Videos
Sister site to 1up.com, focusing on game trailers, video interviews and even the odd documentary

The Gamespot front-end, and the gaming equivalent of the Internet Movie Database. Includes detailed reviews and extensive video features on pretty much all systems and games ever made

Giant Bomb
Speaking of Gamespot, the controversial "letting go" of editor Jeff Gerstmann resulted in him starting up this new venture with fellow former writers of the site. Great podcast in particular

Discounting the audio and video shows mentioned earlier, 1up's main site is also worth a visit in its own right. Not only bustling with quality gaming articles and extensive developers' blogs, it also doubles up as a massive friends network, ideal for meeting fellow gamers and joining like-minded communities

Live Marketplace Feed
The most up to date and reliable way to keep track of all the new Xbox Live Marketplace content, from new weapons and map packs, to movie trailers and game demos

Xbox Reloaded
360 backwards compatibility can be a minefield. This blog attempts to shed some light on the issue by playing original Xbox games for you and reporting back the results

The ultimate resource for walkthroughs and cheats

Disposable Media
A wonderful (and free) E-zine, full of reviews and articles on gaming, movies, music and TV. Puts most high street mags to shame

A must-have for all PC gamers, X-Fire is a buddy list and communications tool that keeps constant tabs on what games both you and all your mates are playing, on or offline

A contender to the X-Fire throne that has pretty much overtaken it straight out of the gate. Valve's Steam client contains friends lists, downloadable games, Live-style achievements and plenty more to sink your teeth into

Convert your Xbox Live gamercard into an image, for use on forums and web sites for free. That's mine further down

Ain't it Cool News
The latest news, gossip and spy reports from the world of movies, TV and (occasionally) video games

Writer, director and actor Kevin Smith - he of Clerks fame - records a monthly podcast in which he and fellow pals discuss everything from trying to felate oneself, to the time his dog got covered in ejaculate. Riveting stuff


Matt Robinson, 2011

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