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



Corruption Time! Metroid Prime 3 (Finally) Touches Down On the Wii
Posted by Diggler - 30/10/2007 20:46

The supposed final part of the Metroid Prime trilogy is here, with bounty hunter Samus Aran returning for more first person adventuring, avec the benefit of waggle
Don't get me wrong, I'm as big a Wii hater as the next guy - honest - but it sure is nice to see some kick-ass new games finally showing up for the damn thing. Paper Mario touched down last month if you hadn't noticed, while next month sees the long-awaited Mario Galaxy promptly joining him. Modern point 'n' click classic Zack & Wiki is even out in the US as we speak, although in good old Nintendo tradition, us Brits will of course need to wait a couple extra months for that. Joy.

Still. Games! Not to mention of course, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. The one I quite possibly bought the system for in the first place. I dug the heck outta the first two Prime games you may recall, and the thought of further such escapades with added Wii-mote waggle screamed sheer beaut to me. Money was plunked. The waiting game began. And this month - final-fucking-ly - it's paid off. At last.

That said, as much I dug Prime 1 and 2, I must admit to having never finished either. If I'm completely honest, I found those games almost too brutal at times. No, not the combat, more the level design. Hypocrite, much? You betcha!

For those Nintendo haters who've never had the pleasure, the Prime games were no ordinary shooters you see; dragging old skool Nintendo heroine Samus Aran into the 3D age may have resulted in an FPS-lookin' game on the face of it, but Prime 1 had way more of an explorative, puzzle solving and adventure game slant to it than your typical mindless blast-a-thon. The result was an incredibly immersive and highly original experience that you could say - still to this day - sits alone within its whole own sub-genre.

There was just so much to see and do in that universe however, that the game's emphasis on non-linearity and free-roaming exploration resulted in me, well, forever getting lost. I'd regularly wonder around without a clue where to head next, nor the slightest inkling of what to do when I got there. I felt like Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth. While it was captivating, engrossing and regularly jaw-dropping stuff...I ultimately just hit a brick wall. These were amazingly realised worlds, but surprisingly inaccessible and hardcore next to the standard Nintendo fare.

Third Time's a Treat

I bring this up as it's precisely what I dig about Corruption though. It looks just like its predecessors on first glance, but the improved level design and more self-contained, streamlined environments make for a far more directed, refined and manageable experience.

Perhaps it's my somewhat limited experience with the earlier games at work, but the set-pieces and scale seem noticeably ramped up this time
The long-time fan will cry rape I'm sure - whining incessantly about such simplification to the formula - but they really needn't bother. Corruption maintains all the plus points of the previous games - the aforementioned emphasis on exploration, the relentlessly beautiful environments and that joyous sense of discovery - it's just lost a fuck-ton of the tedious backtracking and aimless wondering this time around. That for me, makes it a far more enjoyable game.

It's also taken some pleasing cues from some of the more high-profile FPS games of recent times too. After a simply superb intro in which Samus wakes up aboard her ship - then starts fiddling with buttons and levers with full Wii-mote interactivity - the game sees you docking with a nearby space station. Here you find yourself walking down populated corridors, receiving orders from superiors, even - gasp - interacting with real people. While the game shortly returns to its more solitary and isolated roots of old, long gone is that sense of being the single living human in the universe, and it's a pleasing upgrade that I'm particularly enamored with.

There's a sequence early on where Samus reports for duty along with a series of fellow bounty hunters for instance, that looks humorously similar to something outta Empire Strikes Back. Some of these characters are pretty darn cool too, with big blue ice guy and hot lezbo shape-shifter chick standing out in particular. Thankfully, you see a lot more of them as the story progresses...but I'll avoid the temptation to spoil on that front.

Primal Scream

You'll use the Wii-mote to manually control Samus' hands on occasion, pressing buttons, twiddling knobs, and even rotating items with beautiful fluidity. It's simply splendid fun, and never outstays its welcome, with the sequences on her ship standing out in particular
So far so good then. While the game itself is undeniably ace however, the downside is...I don't think the Wii-mote controls quite match up. After Resident Evil 4 in fact, this feels like a slight step back. I love all the gesture-based puzzle stuff, such as pulling levers, flicking switches and fixing control panels with a welding torch. Particularly awesome is the Grapple Beam actually, which involves squeezing Z to select a target, then "whipping" the nun-chuck forward to latch onto it, before tugging back to pull it towards you, and it works pretty darn flawlessly. These sorts of interactions never get old, and really suck you into the game in a way merely pressing a meager button simply wouldn't.

Less impressive is the aiming though. Metroid boasts a wide variety of different sensitivies and configs for you to peruse, but the real gamers will no doubt head straight to "Advanced" mode from the off. This basically attempts to emulate a mouse and keyboard as closely as possible, with super fast responsive on your reticule, allowing you to spin around at turbo-charged speeds and pull off incredibly precise headshots at the flick of a wrist.

Boss fights are a little too long and annoying for my tastes, but prove majorly satisfying to finally beat. If nowt else, you're always suitably rewarded
At least, in theory. In practice though, it's just a little too twitchy for its own good, and ever so slightly laggy to boot. Not by a huge amount, but just enough as to prove noticeable. It's undoubtedly the closest the Wii's come yet to pulling off truly impressive FPS controls - not to mention almost matching up to PC standards - but it's still not quite there I'm afraid.

Rather than line up those bulls-eyes and make every shot count, you end up simply spraying and praying as a result. Corruption's enemies take a mountain of shots to take down you see, so it's far more productive to merely aim in roughly the right direction then hammer random shots off like there's no tomorrow. It's not particularly sleek, stylish nor as fun as it should be, and I ended up using the (optional) lock-on way more than I wanted to simply to save time. Not a good sign really. No motion-controlled Morph Ball action rounds off the let-downs.

It's no game-killer though by any means. In fact, for all my bitching here, what we're left with is still noticeably cooler than the old Gamecube analogue stick setup, and I only have to stumble across yet another fab gesture-based puzzle, or start fiddling with my ship's various knobs again to resume happy thoughts.

A step in the right direction then - and I should mention this all beats the pants off the likes of Red Steel - but there's still room for improvement. FPS developers, take note.

Artful Dodger

On a far more positive tip, this is easily the most graphically impressive Wii game yet. Human models look rough around the edges, and the jaggies are out in full force as per usual, but my god, these are some of the most stunningly gorgeous videogame worlds you've seen in years. Seriously.

Alien designs impress too. Huge crab-like beasties meet glowing worm things and psycho robots aplenty, all coming off most pleasing to the eye
As always, Retro Studio's art style is second to none, somehow managing to pull off just as striking a look to its worlds, I'd argue, as Irrational did with Bioshock. The difference being of course, Metroid stretches such inventiveness across multiple different planets, encompassing a ton of different styles for each along the way. Just wait 'til you see the steampunk-tinged SkyTown for the first time. Or dock with the brooding GFS Valhalla. Or explore the grotesque Seed lairs. Just like Bioshock, you forever feel privileged to simply walk around such environs, savoring each and every room you stumble across. The seldom-faltering 60 frames per second doesn't hurt either.

Particularly awesome on the visual tip is Samus' new suit. Again, without drifting too far into spoiler-ville, it gets infected with a virus towards the start of the game (read: "corrupted"), resulting in the old cheesy orange get-up of yester-decade ridding itself in favour of glowing blues and ominous blacks. She looks more and more badass as the story progresses, and as a nice side bonus, turns out she's hot too. Giggedy.

If that weren't enough, I particularly dig all the cool little nuances Retro throw in on top. When switching to scanning mode for example, you'll notice the subtle reflection of Samus' eyes in your visor, darting around the screen as you move the reticule to and fro. Her face even distorts later in the game in light of the previously mentioned corruption.

They really do an amazing job making up for the Wii's sub-standard tech specs, and it's definitely one of those games that reinforces the importance of strong art and interesting ideas over boring old technical prowess. It's been a good long year since one was reminded of such things...in fact, only last year's Okami springs to mind.


Prime games have always been notorious for their atmosphere, and 3 is no different. The game positively oozes sci-fi techno-polish from each and every crevice
All in all then, Metroid Prime is perhaps not quite what I expected. Here I am praising the graphics, yet whining about the controls. In a Wii game. Sacre blue! While mildly flawed in some areas though, the game most definitely exceeds expectations in others. For any minor misgivings I have with the control system, its improvement over bog-standard analogue sticks - not to mention the tightened up level design - both make for my personal fave Prime game of the trilogy. Although the die-hards will no doubt call for my head on a stick.

Needless to say, this is one of the better games out for the Wii without doubt. Some might consider that no tough feat...but whatever; Corruption is a beautiful sci-fi epic in its own right, one full of awe and spectacle, and even if it's only a fairly standard shooter when stuck in combat mode, that good old puzzle solving and adventuring sure set it apart from the mainstream crowd. Such shenanigans elevate it into a pretty significant highlight in an already densely packed year for me.

It says a lot that when long-awaited PC FPS Crysis touched down in demo form the other night, I fired it up, gave it 10 minutes, then set it back down without finishing. Why? I had to get back to Prime, of course. From the gorgeous locations to the brain-scratching puzzles to the vastly improved sense of pace and urgency, this game just sucks you in like nothing else. In some ways, you could say it's the Prime game for the masses. One that opens up the experience to newcomers, while still retaining that truly original Metroid vibe in the process. Something, I'd argue, the series has somewhat wrestled with up 'til now.

And because of that, both Zelda and Resi 4 now have a new found friend in their "must-have games for the Wii" camp. A year late, things are finally picking up...

(Pictures courtesy of Wii)

Untitled Document

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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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

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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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