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.

-Matt/Diggler

Old Entries
First time visiting? Be sure to flip through the archives. I've been writing for friggin' ever, and you never know what you might have missed.

Score Breakdown
Just what those wee numbers mean exactly.

Visit the Forum
Multi-platform gaming chit chat, along with whatever interesting news and downloads I happen to stumble across amidst the interpipes.

TPS approved custom
built gaming PCs

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

WTF? Dig's Getting Hitched!
18/2/2010 23:39

More...

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

 

 

Thoughts On Black
Posted by Diggler - 23/2/2006 17:14

Fun for five minutes, but
ultimately empty and tiresome,
this is Black
Admittedly, I'm only a quarter of my way through Black as I write this, so whether you take it as a full-blown review or not is entirely up to you. I will say this though...it's one big arse disappointment of a game.

Due out next week on the PS2 and Xbox, Black promised us mass carnage, crazy physics, destroyable scenery, and the most over the top FPS experience yet.

Sadly, while it demonstrates ambition for such things, it never follows through, and to make matters worse, is let down by numerous annoyances and a general sense of, well, boredom, that ultimately results in an exercise in mediocrity that I have little passion for. Think more Killzone than Halo.

The Good

Indeed, destroyable scenery runs rampant throughout Black. Whether it be every crate on screen, the massive statue in the middle of that square, or every window of that building, ploughing enough bullets into it - or a swift 'nade - will sure enough blow the fuck out of it.

Although not pictured in this build, Black features a bizarre blur feature while reloading, where your eye-sight drifts to your weapon and the background goes momentarily out of focus. It's a little odd, but I guess kinda works
It's actually rather refreshing to see enemies cover behind a car, but instead of having to line up careful headshots, simply being able to shoot the shit outta the car itself 'til it explodes and burns 'em all alive. Similarly, spotting a small building full of soldiers, then lobbing a grenade through one of the windows and blowing out half the wall along with everyone inside provides some pleasing enjoyment too. There's a feeling of connection and interaction with the game world as a result of this stuff, and Black can perhaps boast the most destroyable environments around thanks to this.

The feel of the guns also deserve a mention. As self-proclaimed gun nuts, developers Criterion do their best to convey the sheer brutality of firing off a lead spewer. They feel oh so meaty and there's real weight and oomph behind every squeeze of the trigger as a result, and this too deserves some applause.

This extends to the sound in fact, which I'd consider the true high point of the game. Every guns proves loud and angry, blaring through your speakers like a rabid beast, while Michael Giacchino - of Medal of Honour and Lost fame - provides another beautiful score to add to his belt which undercuts the violence nicely.

Sadly, it's all down hill from here however.

The Bad

As Criterion's first FPS, it most definitely shows. The story and cut-scenes are embarrassingly bad, and the design is about as clichéd as you can get. You'll find health packs, bad guys wearing ski masks, non-existent AI, and while the handling of the guns is pleasing, it still features the same selection of boring old weaponry we've fired in a million other (far superior) FPS games. You've got your pistol, your shotty...your AK-47...zzzZZzzz...

Enemy character models fail to impress, and killing them over and over (and over...) grows monotonous
Visually, the animation is poor, character models appear blocky, and the whole thing actually has a faint whiff of the budget-ware about it. Black is one of those titles boasting average looks, that tries to disguise it by hiding behind a whole heck load of special effects, namely blooming and blurring. That may work for some, but not here...Black is startlingly dull to look at. There's just no flair to it.

Somewhat worryingly, the physics are surprisingly cack too. For a game so hell-bent on carnage, I was expecting Half-Life 2 style dynamics in abundance, with crates, objects and bodies colliding and bouncing around with beautiful hilarity. Nowhere to be seen.

And this leads me onto really my biggest gripe with Black as a whole; this game just isn't as ridiculously over the top as we were led to expect. Early footage, cut together to form crazy collages, showcased amazing explosions and endless barrages of machine gun fire going off in all directions, creating the most chaotic FPS action the world had ever seen. Dig should know better than to trust strange trailers though, in practice Black really isn't any more high octane than any of its peers. Despite an emphasis on exploding scenery, it's hardly the "Burnout of the FPS genre" as promised, and I'd say even the average online game of Battlefield 2 offers more chaotic bang for your buck than this. Christ, there are even levels that - gasp - border on stealth. And don't get me started on that fucking sniper level.

These missions also have a tendency to go on waaaaay too long. For such a repetitive game, the levels don't half drag, unfortunately making this one of the few FPS titles I've played in which I came dangerously close to - literally - nodding off mid game.

This is all compounded by the lack of any sort of multiplayer functionality at all. A shame, as tearing up shit with a mate could have adding some much needed fun that - trust me - the game is in desperate need of.

Conclusion

Black does a decent job with the environments, but in the day and age of FEAR, Battlefield 2 and the 360, it looks startlingly dated
As a console FPS, Black handles itself better than many, with tight controls and combat that proves - at least initially - quite satisfying.

That ain't saying a whole lot however, considering the travesties thrust upon some of these consoles in the FPS genre, and to be frank, I'd advise you to whack your February wages on Shadow of the Colossus instead, a far superior, long-awaited title which just recently hit European store shelves at last.

Black on the other hand, will long be forgotten by this time next month. I expected beautiful insanity, but instead got little more than a noisy version of the same old FPS bollocks we've been playing for years.

It's just not the game I was expecting, and more importantly...was promised.

(Pictures courtesy of Black)

Untitled Document

The Polynomial. Like playing a rave

Untitled Document

Game
Fallout 3

Enjoying a fully modded out re-visit. Wow

Film
The Road

Pretty much due to the above

Show
Breaking Bad

Already shaping up to be the best season yet

Tune
Explosions in the Sky

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

Untitled Document

Forums

The TPS Forum
Official boards for the site

RLLMUK Forum
The old Edge forums gone independent. The busiest and most interesting gaming board around, worthy of multiple visits a day

NTSC-UK Forum
Another exceptional gaming forum, featuring one of the friendliest communities on the net, and up to the minute news

NeoGAF
A more US-centric gaming board, with huge piles of traffic and even the odd famous face

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

Consolevania
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

Kotaku
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

Gamespot
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

1up.com
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

GameFAQs
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

X-Fire
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

Steam
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

MyGamerCard.net
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

Smodcast
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

Please do not use anything on this site without credit
X-Fire Profile
Feel free to add me to X-Fire, Xbox Live or any of the other apps to the right
Xbox Live:
Diggler26
Wii Friend Code:
1224 7821 4721 8136
Playstation Network:
Diggler
Steam:
Diggler26
Twitter