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

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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

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

 

 

Halo 3 Beta Thoughts
Posted by Diggler - 23/5/2007 15:50

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The Halo 3 multiplayer beta is go! Snowbound here is one of three maps included, featuring Hoth-style underground caverns married with a bright, sunny, yet sparsely covered exterior...where all hell often breaks lose
Our first glimpse of Halo 3 multiplayer then...what's the verdict? One of mixed feelings, actually. In fact I was severely underwhelmed at first. What the deuce? Numero uno Halo fanboy Senior Diggler wasn't struck down with a case of erect nipples at the mere whiff of Halo troi? Nope. Soz.

I'll just say it - what everyone else is thinking, most likely - Halo 3 is fuckin' ugly. Exaggeration? Not in my eyes. For a triple A exclusive of such high caliber, the game is surprisingly lacking on the visual front. I dunno what's going on in Microsoft land right now, but with both this and Forza 2 looking about as far from as lush as Gears as you can possibly get, one ponders whether that 360 power is all but tapped out right about now. Hmmmm.

Architecture is low polygonal for instance, jaggies are out in full force, and you have to get right up close 'n' personal to the character models to make out any kinda detail resembling impressive whatsoever. From afar, shit looks five years old.

Of course, this isn't the final game. It's a beta test, no? So spit and polish has yet to be applied? And major revamps are in the works even as we speak? With just four months left, one hopes so. In fact, word of mouth speaks of the single player mode looking vastly more impressive already, making one ponder if this is all a bit of a GRAW/Rainbow Six Vegas style situation here. Wildly varying graphical quality between its single and multiplayer modes. Time will tell I guess.

All Personality

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Valhalla sucks balls as a map, way too large for small groups, and downright ugly to boot. It does however, evoke major Halo 1 flashbacks. Much of this game does, actually
Thankfully, overlooking the distinctly average visuals, one finds a friggin' fun game in Halo 3 though. This beta includes only 3 maps, but there's a fuck-ton of game-modes to enjoy - including both free-for-all and team-based stuff - as well as (one presumes) the vast majority of the final weapons, along with three vehicles and the fab new "equipment" feature.

While I do dig me some online Halo, none of my mates do, thus I've never really given the series the good seeing to it deserves outside of the main single player campaign (and, of course, co-op). This is all a little new as a result, and drawing comparisons between it and Halo 2 proves tricky. What I can attest to though, is how surprisingly tight it all feels. Guns handle blissfully, map layout is great (awful "Valhalla" map aside) and the weapon balance in particular is nigh-on perfect.

The new Brute "Spiker" pistols are a true bastard of a weapon when held in tandem for example, but turn shockingly shit the second you go to reload 'em and are essentially out of action for five painfully long seconds. Or how about the sniper rifle; powerful and mean on the face of it, but damn hard to aim for all but an expert, with a slow rate of fire to boot. Even the bog-standard Assault Rifle - the return of which from the original Halo affords pleasing wood - is fab in its own right, even if far from the most powerful of Halo 3's weaponry. Right across the board, this results in a selection of guns that all have their strengths and weaknesses though, and you never pick one up and think "Ugh, not this". Sure, one tends to gravitate to their faves, but you can essentially survive on pretty much anything this time out. That sir, is aces.

Niceties

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Highground is the pick of the new maps. It's also by far the most visually impressive, almost looking good. Almost
Other little bits and bobs that stick out, include the ability to save films of your matches. One hopes the final game lets you utilize some decent camera angles and start chopping shit up with full-blown video editing features, but even just a bog-standard replay mode here proves awesome and hilarious. I've already begun compiling a selection of my greatest in-game moments - surprisingly big already - despite only playing for a week. Being able to upload and share this stuff rounds it all off beautifully, and is just the sort of revolutionary online integration Live needs to start pushing to help maintain its lead in the online world right now.

The matchmaking and party system also impresses. Grouping up with your pals then just sitting back while the game finds you matches is blissfully effortless, and really should be in all Live multiplayer offerings at this point. I like how Halo 3 subtly inserts itself into the main dashboard too, allowing you to browse buddy's stats and such from the side bar at any point. All very intuitive. All very cool.

I could spooge for hours over the little things as well. That new bubble shield thing. The superb use of force fields. The much-improved Territories mode. And - of course - the sexuality explicit "Man Cannon" to name but a few. Above all else, I gotta praise the sound though. Bungie have truly raised the bar in terms of audio design and sound effects here, and with a mad phat 5.1 rig, it'll suck you in in a way the graphics so depressingly fail to. Just the way distant gunfire echoes and reverbs out around the map is enough to make an audiophile blush.

Minger

Click to enlarge
All the goodies you know and love return, from Battle Rifles to Warthogs. They've brought new friends with 'em though, and a barrage of tweaks and re-jiggers result in a far more cohesive experience
In light of all this then, tears continue to flow in light of how mediocre it all looks. The water effects are gorgeous - especially the way weapons, items and even dead bodies float and bob while being carried off downstream - but it's one scarce glimpse of visual beauty that I would have expected to see right across the board from gaming's most popular and successful of franchises. What a let down. If nothing else though, Halo's lack of graphical detail does afford it the ability to boast humongously large levels, ludicrous draw distances, and a super smooth frame-rate that never buckles, even in its busiest group bundles.

All in all Halo 3 may not be the huge reinvention of the franchise some might have hoped for then, but from what I've seen, it does feel so much more sleeker than Halo 2, hella more fun, and boasts that indefinable "one more go" quality that makes it undeniably hard to put down. Each and every time a round ends, you feel a little bit sad more than anything...

Roll on September.

(Pictures courtesy of Bungie)

Untitled Document

The Polynomial. Like playing a rave

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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

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