Debut trailer for Grand Theft Auto V. Looks like we’re returning to a completely restructured and exquisitely artistic rendition of Los Santos and Vinewood…
Justin Keever | 29 September 2011
One of the best things I can say about Deus Ex: Human Revolution is that it really does make me think. It makes me take a step back and ponder the state of videogames today. I finally came to this conclusion: If this is really what the public at large considers one of the best stories that videogames have produced to date, then, to quote Jon Stewart: we’re in bad shape, fellas. It’s not so much that the narrative is entirely poor, it is just a standard cyberpunk plotline that is ridden with cliche and is surprisingly shallow. I wouldn’t take issue with this if the game was so beloved only because of its satisfying stealth gameplay and surprisingly excellent conversation system, but many a critic have cited the game’s story as one of its primary assets. It is not. And while it may not be completely terrible, Deus Ex does so much wrong with regard to its storytelling that I find it genuinely worrying that it is held in such high regard.
Miguel Penabella | 26 September 2011
Should we start a website? That was the nagging question that arose among Free Tea with Purchase of a Family Meal’s founding writers back in the spry wintry days of early 2011. Now with a few months remaining before the close of the year, Free Tea reflects on the idealist early years of our web presence when we, founding members Miguel Penabella and Justin Keever, established what we considered a crucible for assembling and presenting our critical thoughts on film and videogames. This crucible came in the form of a Tumblr blog, a sparse yet artfully minimalist webpage in which collected ideas on movies and games spilled out unto the Internet for all to see. At this point, Free Tea was merely a temporary escape from the banal writing of high school English classes and the endless document-based analysis of history courses. Independently published on a freelance basis, we entered the film and gaming journalism world with eyes wide open. Those who knew of us were our close friends who enjoyed an invigorating face-to-face discussion on film and gaming and perchance even the occasional Facebook or Twitter friend who happened to stumble upon our blog and venerate us for being “Internet famous.”
Justin Keever | 18 August 2011
If you were to ask most people to name ways that Catherine and Persona 4 are alike, I can guarantee they’d name aspects like the anime style, the animated cutscenes, the voice cast, the supernatural, the developer, etc. But beyond the more superficial elements, I would submit that Persona 4 and Catherine are very similar games. They tell their story in similar ways, the trials a few of the characters undergo parallel each other, and they share some themes and ideas. I don’t mean to belittle either game by stating that they both share themes and explore similar topics, but I do think that looking at these games from this point of view may reveal a little about Atlus, and how that studio crafts its tales.
Words do not suffice… this man has chosen to dress up as one of my greatest enemies… the QWOP guy
Justin Keever | 10 July 2011
Overall Score: 0 out of 5
The long awaited Duke Nukem Forever has finally arrived, and has certainly been a rather polarizing game. It has garnered poor critical reception almost universally (with a few exceptions), but has a strong, vocal following of fans who claim that it is a fun, “just run around and shoot guys” sort of experience. Now, I hate to be blunt, but anyone who enjoyed this game has no standards or taste whatsoever. Duke Nukem Forever is a horrid game. It isn’t funny, it isn’t oldschool, it controls poorly, it looks bad, the level design sucks, the enemy AI is dumb, the weapons don’t feel powerful, the sound design is poor from top to bottom, and you only spend around half of the game actually engaging in firefights. But the biggest sin the game commits is pride. It thinks it’s better than your average shooter, and it expects the player to laugh as it takes cheap shots at Halo, Gears of War, and other games. Tell you what, Duke. I’ll laugh with you when your game stops sucking.
Now, we the people at Free Tea With Purchase of a Family Meal had nothing to do with the production of this video, but I just felt that this story needed a little more exposure. Not only is this man one of the coolest people ever, he is living breathing proof that gamers are not merely immature men and kids, they’re just normal people, with no barriers of age. So play on, Jaap. You’re officially one of my favorite people in the world.
Justin Keever | 3 July 2011
Overall Score: 4 out of 5
I was the only person in the world who thought that the original Portal was a decent but ultimately forgettable little puzzle game, apparently, because the majority of the gaming audience received the original Portal as though it was the second coming of Christ. Naturally, none of the raving about the second game made me the least bit excited for the return of Chell (the playable character) and GLaDOS. After about an hour, though, I was completely turned around. Portal 2 is a great game. It is an improvement over the original in many ways, from the humor to the actual puzzles themselves. The game is longer, much more epic in scope, and is far more complete experience overall. But it is not flawless, and a few of the problems from the first Portal come creeping in to spoil a fair bit of the fun, but they’re not what you’ll be thinking about when the credits roll.
Justin Keever | 26 June 2011
I’d like to introduce a segment I’d like to call “artistic vs. technical.” in this segment I will examine a game that may have sacrificed glamor for a steady frame rate or better textures (or vice versa) and decide whether or not the developers made the right decision. And what better way to start off this segment than with a peculiar little game that is loved by some, hated by others, and was recommended to Roger Ebert so he would learn his lesson and shut the fuck up about videogames and stop thinking that Double Dragon was as advanced as they ever got. I am talking, of course, about shadow of the colossus. Now, Shadow of the Colossus is a fairly well known game, but I’ll explain the basic premise. The player fills the role of a young adventurer/warrior whose love has died, and you have traveled to a temple in a far off land in order to ask for an otherworldly being to bring her back to life. What follows is essentially a deal with the devil. The being asks that you demolish 16 statues in the temple by destroying what they are modeled after: 16 colossi. Each one of these colossi is located in the open world environment that the player is let loose in, with the assistance of only a sword, a bow, and your horse, Agro. This leads to an epic journey throughout this mysterious land, filled with beautiful locales and epic battles with huge beasts… or that’s the idea, anyway. Shadow of the Colossus forsakes any idea of technical competence for the sake of artistic merit. Was it worth it? Read on
Justin Keever | 9 June 2011
So, I don’t know if any of you have heard, but the Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly known as E3, has been going on this week. Now that the major conferences have ended, I thought it appropriate to write about what looked good, what looked bad, and what looked dumb. The quality of what was shown at E3 this year was surely variable, and from the unadulterated awesomeness of Mass Effect 3 to the idiocy of Sony’s Medieval Moves, here’s my take on everything I’ve seen.