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

 

 

Fucking Hell...Prince of Persia: Warrior Within Reviewed
Posted by Diggler - 16/12/2004 23:19

Click to enlarge
The new "mature" Prince of Persia. If ever there was a case of bad judgement...
Last year's Prince of Persia: Sands of Time was a wonderful update to the platforming golden oldie we all grew up with. The graphics were stunning, the story was great, and best of all it played like a dream. Among all the dark, violent shooters and beat 'em ups of recent times, Sands of Time was the perfect antidote - it felt like a souped-up version of Aladdin, wrapped up in a modern 3D twist.

That same year Ubisoft also put out Beyond Good & Evil, resulting in a fantastic double whammy that put them right up there as some of the premier games developers of our time - even more impressive when you consider both games were cross-platform titles that still retained the quality and magnificence usually only associated with system exclusives.

My love for the PoP series goes back further than Sands of Time though, all the way back to the old PC classic. I still find myself playing the much enhanced SNES version to this day in fact - it truly is about as atmospheric a game as you'll ever find. It's also the series that spawned Flashback, and for that it'll forever have a place in gaming's hall of fame.

Downhill From Here

Click to enlarge
For the very best in dull grey levels, pick up Warrior Within now!
With all that in mind, my thoughts on Warrior Within are hugely disappointing. Right from the get-go it's quite clear what's going on here; as wonderfully magical and gorgeous as Sands of Time was you see, financially it didn't do as well as it should have done, and now Ubisoft seem to be pandering this sequel to the lowest common denominator in an attempt to shift more copies. In other words, everything just wreaks of "sell-out".

So instead of the lush Arabian nights setting of the last game, everything's been "darkened" up with a gothic tinge. Instead of the old reliance on platform shenanigans and complex puzzles, we now have much more of an emphasis on blood-soaked beat 'em up sections (against women, no less). No longer is the Prince the charming yet sheltered character of the first game, now he's all stubbled up, full of attitude, and uses words like "bitch!". Instead of the old impeccable voice acting, it's now drowned out by non-sensical annoying American accents. There's even great big sodding boss fights. But worst of all, horrendously loud rock tunes now drown out most of the game, and are about as out of place as hearing the Sesame Street theme tune played at a heavy metal concert.

All in all it feels like the Prince has been completely and utterly "Mtv'd" up for the mainstream. Heck, we even get gratuitous point blank arse shots for no good reason at all, but this one I can live with. It's not a complete failure as a game admittedly, but it's a significant step back from last year's much more stylish classic...and that makes me a sad panda.

But Now the Prince is Super Bad Arse & Cool!

Click to enlarge
The Prince has been playing some Mortal Kombat since we last saw him
Okay, so the fighting has been heavily expanded since Sands, but really, was it worth it? If we wanted a beat 'em up, we'd play Ninja Gaiden. The Prince games are about so much more than battling hundreds of enemies with endless finger-numbing combos. It's always been a puzzle game at heart, where the journey from one side of the screen to the other is an intuitive series of mental and physical challenges. Not hammering X as many times as humanly possible.

In an attempt to rectify arguably the single problem in Sands of Time - the simplistic combat - the developers plans have backfired hugely here, and the fighting seems to be a heck of lot more prominent and annoying this time around. It's also stupidly hard unless you play on the lowest difficulty setting, and most definitely not in a good way.

Click to enlarge
The one thing I always felt missing from the series was a battle with a 15 foot demon
The platforming, swinging, and wall-jumping escapades are just as good as ever, which is really the most important thing to remember, but at the same time the much darker and gloomy setting results in a game that's not nearly as fun to look at while you're doing it all. I miss those glorious purple skylines, the hazy sun beams, and most of all...Farrah. Where oh where are you? Now it's all ominous dark pits and depressing grey skies everywhere you look. What a lost opportunity - I can just go jumping around England if I wanna see that kinda thing.

Extra mention has to be made of the sound, as Warrior Within has possibly the worst of any game this year. Along with the previously mentioned monstronsity of a score, the voice acting is absolutely heinous. But it's the dialogue itself which truly makes your heart turn to ice, with the kind of sexploitation nonsense usually relegated to top-shelf porn flicks. Battling half-naked chicks and hearing them scream, "You like the pain don't you!" for the first time was very possibly the moment it suddenly struck me what a complete misfire this damn game is.

Now compare that to the both hilarious and extremely touching dialogue of the last game.

Potential

Click to enlarge
Admittedly, the ability to now slide down curtains is pretty damn sweet
One aspect that I like, at least on paper, is the plot. Despite all the hell that broke lose in the prequel, with the Prince setting free the Sands of Time and nearly destroying humanity, his time travelling antics allowed him to cheat death...and now death wants revenge. The Prince's number is up, and an evil demon named Dahaka is all but two steps behind him, determined to set right the natural course of events. As the Prince, you have to stay one step ahead of him at all times, and it results in many of the game's standout moments.

It's a sweet little storyline, and a great way of tying in the last game with this one, but never the less I don't think the plot should automatically necessitate such an enormous shift in tone as we have here.

I dunno, I was just hoping for more of the same I guess. While it retains elements of the same core gameplay as Sands of Time, Warrior Within does a complete 180 in terms of style and artistic merit. If this one sells better than the last game then I guess Ubisoft will have proven their point, but honestly, part of me hopes it flops...

...because bare-clad female foes that constantly scream, "Hit me harder Prince!" isn't exactly high art.

(Pictures courtesy of Prince of Persia)

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