All posts by Leah Williams

Video Games Preview: The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind Feels Like A Worthy Next Chapter

Last week, I was given the opportunity to journey into the newest expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online, and explore the island of Vvardenfell, the gorgeous Vivec City and the surrounding mountains. For those who follow The Iris on Twitter or Instagram, you may be aware of the beautiful trip a number of Australian games journalists including myself were taken on to experience the Morrowind expansion. For several days, we experienced the beauty of Ooralba Estate in Kangaroo Valley, transformed as it was into the wilds of Tamriel, and undertook a range of themed activities like archery, forging and lockpicking – all essential to surviving in the world of The Elder Scrolls Online.... Continue Reading

Video Game Review: RiME (PS4, 2017) is a Minimalist Dream

RiME is a game that plays it’s cards close to it’s chest. Waking on a mostly deserted island, the games protagonist is seemingly lost, and must find his way through the island, conquering puzzles as he travels. RiME is largely guided by its mystery, as players seek to discover the secrets of the boy, the dangers of the island, and what lies beyond the next puzzle. Continue reading Video Game Review: RiME (PS4, 2017) is a Minimalist Dream

Video Games Interview: Rich Lambert Talks The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind, MMO’s and Microtransactions

The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind is the newest chapter in the content-driven MMO franchise, and adds new depth and story to the ever-growing Elder Scrolls universe. Revisiting the beloved world of Morrowind will be both familiar and new to Elder Scrolls fans, and provides new and beautiful cities for players to explore. Given the legacy of the Morrowind name, there was a certain pressure on the development of the expansion, as we discussed with Rich Lambert, creative director at ZeniMax Online Studios. Throughout our interview, we chatted about the upcoming launch of TESO: Morrowind, the pressure of expectation, and the rewarding process of games development. Continue reading Video Games Interview: Rich Lambert Talks The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind, MMO’s and Microtransactions

Video Games Review: Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (3DS, 2017): Stuck in the Past

I will admit to have very little prior experience with the Fire Emblem franchise, having deliberately avoided the series due to its deep lore and extensive history. Despite this, I largely enjoyed my time with its newest entry, Shadows of Valentia, which presents a simple, but surprisingly accessible story for new fans and long-time players alike. Following childhood friends Alm and Celica as they lead separate armies to war, Shadows of Valentia features a story that feels overwhelming at first, but soon unfolds itself over the course of Alm and Celica’s journeys. The initial prologue created an intriguing, if somewhat well trodden hook, weaving a story about the intertwining destinies of the aforementioned pair as Celica goes into hiding from the Rigelian Empire, and Alm trains to become a soldier under his uncle, Mycen. Continue reading Video Games Review: Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (3DS, 2017): Stuck in the Past

Video Games Review: Prey: (PS4, 2017) In Space, Nobody Can Hear You

There’s nothing quite like the fear and paranoia that Prey induces the moment you step into a room of the vast Talos I station. The tension I felt while playing Prey was palpable, thanks in no small part to the edge-of-your-seat atmosphere the game builds. Through the combination of a haunting score, brilliant level design and stellar voice-work, Prey hooks you in and keeps you riveted for the duration of the game. The design of the mimics is frankly spectacular, and while alien enemies in games have largely been overdone, Prey goes out of its way to make the Typhon a formidable and unique force. Continue reading Video Games Review: Prey: (PS4, 2017) In Space, Nobody Can Hear You

Video Games Review: What Remains of Edith Finch (PS4, 2017) Is A Haunting and Poignant Tale

What Remains of Edith Finch is the beautifully told story of titular protagonist Edith Finch as she explores her family’s mysterious history, and her connection to the family’s curse. While many might be quick to dismiss the game as ‘just another walking simulator’, what Edith Finch brings to the table is an entirely new and artfully told story that draws you in from the opening scene, and refuses to let you go. I found myself thinking about the stories and the characters of Edith Finch for long after the tale was over, as travelling through the Finches stories was a deeply affecting experience. At its core, Edith Finch is moving, wonderfully poignant tale about life, death, and everything along the way. Continue reading Video Games Review: What Remains of Edith Finch (PS4, 2017) Is A Haunting and Poignant Tale

What is Australia’s Future in the Games Development Industry?

Earlier this month, I attended Xbox Academy’s games design workshop. The workshop, part of an initiative from the Sydney Microsoft Store to foster up-and-coming Australian games development talent, teaches students the basics of the industry, fundamentals of game dev and tips for getting a foot in the door. The class was led by Jennifer Scheurle, a multi-talented games designer working alongside AIE, one of the best educators for game development in Australia. Throughout the three-hour course, we explored a range of techniques for developing and creating game ideas, ultimately leading to each of us pitching our games to the whole group, of which there were about 15 people. What struck me most was the enthusiasm of the younger kids taking part in the workshop, who had clear passion for the industry and their future in games design. Their excitement had me thinking – what future are we leaving for budding games designs, and are we doing enough for the industry?... Continue Reading

Everything Old Is New Again: The Rise of Video Game Nostalgia

It seems ironic that the more video games improve and grow, the more gamers yearn for the simpler classics of their past. Sure, graphics might have advanced to the point of near-photorealism, but what’s more impressive? That, or being a low polygon Australian mammal with the ability to double jump? For many, it seems the answer is the latter, and it’s the strength of their collective nostalgia that has brought back Crash Bandicoot from his years-long exile. The soon to be released N. Sane Trilogy features the classic Crash trilogy remastered for both a new generation of gamers, and the reminiscing older generation, but is this nostalgia really such a good thing?... Continue Reading

The 10 Best Comic Stories That Should Be Made Into Video Games

Comic book stories make for some great game adaptations, with the likes of Batman: Under the Hood and Ultimate Spider-Man receiving the video game treatment. As mentioned in our previous article, XII and The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction were both based on stellar comic runs, while games like Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and Injustice took only loose inspiration from their comic counterparts. Often, concepts and story elements are taken by games developers and spun into their own original tales, each with varying results. For every Arkham Knight, there’s also a Superman 64, but with such a plethora of great comic stories filled with untapped potential, it’s a wonder that there aren’t more truly brilliant comic book video games. Here are just a few of the best comic stories that could make for awesome games.... Continue Reading

Video Games Review: Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 Remix (PS4, 2017) is Both Familiar and New

In a lot of ways for me, revisiting the Kingdom Hearts franchise is a lot like coming home. The original game was one of my first Playstation 2 titles, and one that’s stuck with me for a long time. From the deep, immersive lore of the series to the unrelenting positivity and charm, Kingdom Hearts has long remained a favourite of mine. Continue reading Video Games Review: Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 Remix (PS4, 2017) is Both Familiar and New