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.


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

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



New Post? WTF? Resident Evil 5 Opinions...a Wee Bit Late, Like
Posted by Diggler - 3/7/2009 11:08

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One of The Dig's fave games ever got a sequel this year. Amidst a worryingly hectic period of his life, it's one of the few games to get a decent seeing to. But is it all it could have been?
Yeah yeah, I know it's been a while. I know I'm a terrible web master. And I know you hate me oh so much.

Rather than list off excuses as to explain The TPS Report's near-demise of late, let's cut to the chase with the updates though. Here's some ramblings on one of the very few new games I've actually had time to play this year.

It's a minor beaut too.

True, on first firing up Resident Evil 5, one can't help but feel the disappoint wash over them. Oh, I thought the same on trying out that demo, so know exactly what you mean. "It's oh so dated" I thought. "I can't move while shooting?!" I sputtered. "Racist!" I giggled. While also thinking, "Hmm, it actually kinda is...".

Those are RE5's probs in a conveniently summarised paragraph really. Particularly that first point. You see, as fantastic as RE4 was, the time's sure have a changed. The game which pretty much invented the entire new skool third person, over-the-shoulder shooter, has since been surpassed by its many brothers and sisters. Gears and Dead Space are the obvious culprits, but even GRAW and - dare I say it - Dark Sector added some nice improvements to that since-surpassed formula. Chucking in everything from strategic dismemberment to seamless cover systems, each has improved on the old Resi stylings to pleasing effect.

So it's something of a let-down to see Capcom themselves take on little, if any of these improvements for RE4's sequel.

It all feels so 2005.

Come On!

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Co-op feels like a natural evolution for the RE universe, given the series' endless emphasis on duos and their adventures together. Dropping all the scares along the way to accommodate that though? Something of a ball fumble
As a single player experience, it's not even as good as RE4 in fact. The fantastically in-depth treasure hunting system from the last game is completely castrated for one, while the much loved cockney trader is heart breakingly replaced by a non-descript menu screen. Level design is nowhere near as interesting either, losing the more hub-based structure of RE4's village for far more linear, self-contained set-pieces. The puzzles are long gone, even, replaced with a whole loada combat and...not much else. Most disappointing of all, much of that famous Resident atmosphere is lost, with not a single scare or shock to be found throughout its entirety. 5 is no longer a horror game you see; more about the straight-up shoot-out, than the dog jumping through the window.

I say "as a single player experience" though, as the one, ripe saving grace that totally and utterly saves RE5 in every single way is its new co-op mode. They say co-op makes everything more fun, and it's true...but that kinda sells RE5 short. It's built pretty much entirely around there being two of you from the ground up, ya see. Trading ammo, covering each other, strategizing on weapon loud-outs and constantly healing your buddy become pivotal parts of the RE5 experience, and kinda subconsciously get you working as a team without you even noticing it. There are simple voice commands at your disposal, but you won't really need them with that in mind. It's far more natural than all that. The way you need to tag-team certain bosses in particular, is somewhat inspired.

Come Back Anytime

This is how you need to play RE5, really. Although Chris' almost albino looking black partner Sheva tags along as an AI drone when tackled solo, single player is an appropriately lonely experience, losing much, if not all of the giggles and memorable moments that make co-op such a riot. The thought of 2 player quicktime events for example, may sound like the gaming equivalent of hammering nails through a scrote, but with the right company turns into one of the most hilariously friendship-testing gaming experiences of all-time. The laughs were many. As were the insults. ("Sorry, I was making a cup of tea!" -Jamdunc).

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Newcomer Sheva's pretty bad ass. Just wait to you unlock her bow 'n' arrow in Mercs mode
That's all nothing compared to RE5's true coup de grace though. I talk of course, about the all-important "Mercenaries" mode. Opened up by completing the game once, Mercenaries is a time-trial mini-game that is almost fun and fleshed-out enough to pass itself off as DLC or similar. Mercs was a riot in the previous game, where you'd tackle self-contained sections of the main game in an attempt to beat high scores, while an imposing clock ticked-away at the bottom, but proves the one specific area highly improved this time out. The wealth of unlockable characters and weapons are simply amazing, while the ability to play this mode with a partner - both on or offline - imbues it with far more fun than ever seen previously. Nailing "S" rankings with a pal will prove Resi 5's true long-lasting end-game, and some of the best multiplayer action you'll currently find. I exaggerate not. I actually prefer this to the...ahem...slightly over-rated Left 4 Dead (oh balls, I'm gonna pay for that).

That's pretty much RE5 summarised for me, really. I could tell you about the largely irrelevant story if you want, the insanely beautiful graphics, and the simply superb weapon unlock system, sure. But the end of the day, it's just a damn fun 2 player game and not much else. That's not what I expected from the game going in by any stretch of the imagination, which perhaps explains some of the early disappointment. But removing comparisons to the previous title - or even others in this genre - I grew to kinda dig it.

Others may have taken over the former king, matching it feature for feature while adding a whole lot more on top, but RE5 is a textbook case of being more than the sum of its parts. It's a fantastic co-op game that you can do a hell of lot worse than.

Now that the old schedule's easing up...what's a ginger to play next? Recommendations?

(Pictures courtesy of Xbox)

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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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The TPS Forum
Official boards for the site

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

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

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

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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