Gamestyle Wikipedia Page

Thanks to Rogue Soul for the heads up on the Gamestyle Wikipedia page. This was a useful resource to track the history of the website and the team involved – especially the early days. Technically its gone from Wikipedia for whatever reason they want to quote (they’ve lost my pending donation)  and any future support.

However we do have the images of the page and I’ll copy the text beneath as well. That’s what an archive is all about.

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Gamestyle is a UK-based independent computer and video gaming website that was launched in 1999 by Dean Swain, under the name Dreamers128.

Gamestyle covers video game software reviews, previews, news, and other information. After starting out on its own, Gamestyle was linked with a small American media network called FanGen. Later, Gamestyle broke free of FanGen and merged with fellow independent site GameHub.

To date, Gamestyle remains independently operated.

History

Launched in 1999 by Dean Swain, the site focused exclusively on Dreamcast games, under the guise Dreamers128. Approximately a month after launch, the site rebranded to Gamestyle.co.uk, became a multi-format site, and began to cover all console systems – though coverage of other consoles was restricted to previews alone.

With sites of this stature somewhat of a rarity, Gamestyle was quickly tied to a small American media network named FanGen who covered running costs of the website. Under FanGen, Gamestyle turned to become a more humorous, ‘punky’ website which displayed images of semi-nude women on the front page.

The FanGen link remained until Gamestyle merged with another UK independent, GameHub. This merger saw an increase in visitors to the site, due to the popularity of GameHub. With each newer build of the website, Gamestyle progressively lost its attitude and tamed the humour in written articles.

To date, the site runs primarily on gamestyle.com and is now funded by Dean Swain, Dave Carlson, Matthew Cox and Jason Julier.

Main site

Gamestyle’s main page displays the latest news, reviews, previews, and links to areas for the following platforms: Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance. Visiting each console section shows a list of the latest articles, the most popular games on that console, and an index method for users to track down games of interest as quickly as possible.

The new version of Gamestyle launched on 11 April 2010. The main page was launched a few days earlier but the final release updated the review and preview hubs, allowing further searches and the highlighting of top scoring articles and random pieces from the archives.

Reviews and rating system

Gamestyle has a strict review policy and they themselves believe their reviews to be trustworthy and unbiased, granting a fair review score. While none of the writing team are professionals, Gamestyle delivers new content daily on weekdays and also at weekends.

Though in articles, Gamestyle refers itself in third person, staff writers are also credited. Reviews are also listed on GameRankings,[2] Metacritic,[3] Rotten Tomatoes,[4] andMobyGames.

Their reviews were considered highly enough to be included alongside IGN and Electronic Gaming Monthly on Nintendo‘s UK marketing print campaign for Metroid Prime. These adverts were printed in numerous gaming magazines, on advertising hoardings across UK towns and cities and also online.[citation needed]

Developments

Gamestyle is constantly looking to evolve and improve the site. In March 2007 a new feature was launched that connected any posted news story, with a related topic in the forum. This allowed users to discuss events and offer opinions on breaking news in the world of videogames.

2008 version

January 2 saw the launch of the latest version of the Gamestyle site. Then new modern, white look was a dramatic change from its predecessor.

Blog

On June 22, 2008 Gamestyle introduced its own blog. The aim of this extension was to attract new regulars to the site and provide an outlet for the whole team to provide extra comments on their reviews or gaming news. The blog is an open forum for staff members to post about anything from films to their latest review.

2010 Version

Arguably the best version of Gamestyle so far. The 2010 edition incorporated comment functions for the first time in years, allowing users of Facebook & Twitter to give their opinions on articles.

2010 Upgrade

As of 1 November 2010, Gamestyle started coverage of mobile phone releases with Fruit Ninja being the first review. This date also marked its arrival on the Opera portal. The front end and forum were matched under the same banner design, allowing greater ease of navigation.

Retro Gamer Magazine Website Of The Month

In issue 60 of the popular Retro Gamer magazine, Gamestyle received their website of the month award.

“Gamestyle has been around now for a staggering ten years and remains one of the most entertaining non-corporate gaming websites around. Featuring a thriving community, Gamestyle prides itself on its well-written and non-biased reviews and covers everything from the latest 360 and PS3 releases to the classics like Metroid and Football Manager.

Indeed, one of Gamestyle’s greatest strengths is that it’s able to offer something for everyone and as a result is a true gamer’s website, with polite and enthusiastic forum members and a small core team of talented writers. Oh and if you fancy a giggle then look for the Project Zero/Fatal Frame review in their massive archive.”

2012 Hack and Rebuild

In 2012 Gamestyle was the victim of an attack and had to rebuild from the very bottom again. Despite losing everything, the current team has pushed on to keep the Gamestyle name running. The focus has shifted somewhat with more reviews based around ‘Indie’ titles and has seen the site build up a solid relationship with indie developers over the months. The team is much smaller now, but by no means any less dedicated.

The reviews are still coming and the site has undergone another redesign.

2013 Back To Social Media

In 2013 Gamestyle decided to get back into the social media space. The Facebook page has become active again along with our Twitter account. All articles will be found on both and the team encourage users to interact.

Gamestyle Offline

Gamestyle also creates and hosts a downloadable PDF magazine. Now published on an infrequent basis, Gamestyle Offline[5] is intended for the visitor to print their own copy for ‘on-the-go’. Gamestyle maintains that download figures of each issue are promising, and are known to have worked with video game publishers such as Vivendi Universal to create special editions.

At the close of 2006 there are eleven issues of the magazine, three of which are special editions. Each issue contained content that one may not typically find on the main site, such as interviews with developers and features on specific subjects. Gamestyle has been known to publish reviews of various titles in Gamestyle Offline, before publishing them online, as a selling point of the PDF magazine.

As of January 9, 2008, Gamestyle began a five-part series called ‘Gamestyle Offline: The Missing Issue’. This brought together the five remaining unpublished features that were intended for Issue 10 which was put together at the end of 2005 with the intention of releasing a new issue in early 2006. Number 10 was meant to represent a new start for the series, with a new look and a new issue editor but unfortunately the project never saw the light of day.

Gamestyle Live podcast

The spirit of the Offline magazine has been carried onto a new format, the podcast. The show covers all the latest news, site developments, reviews, releases and some opinions. It is available via the website or one can subscribe with iTunes.

Community

The Gamestyle forum now has over 1000 members, many who are regular visitors. While this number is smaller than other communities, it enables a more personal level of interaction between members, many of whom take part in meet ups to share their love of video games.

Staff

Owner: Dean Swain

Development: Matthew Cox (design) and Dave Carlson (implementation)

Editor: Jason Julier

PR Contact: Bradley Marsh

Writers: Bradley Marsh, Ben Gleisner-Cooke, Mark Ford, Gareth Chappell, Stef Snell, Adam Gulliver, Simon Farrow

Previous Staff: Andrew Revell, Andy Lucas, Anna Ghislaine, Colin Whiteside, Dan Gill, Daniel James, Gareth Chappell, Garry Webber, Gopinath Chandran, Hanley, Tom Knowles, Usman Zia, Richard Meerman, Drew Middlemas

Other previous staff writers for Gamestyle have gone onto further their career, include Garnett Lee of 1UP.com,[6] Ollie Barder of The Guardian and Darren Jones, retro editor ofgamesTM and Retro Gamer.

Webarchive: http://web.archive.org/web/20151218121356/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamestyle

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Gamestyle Offline: The Missing Issue

Gamestyle Archive Intro: just looking through some old music discs and have come across a batch of reviews from 2008 and beyond – a nice wee discovery. Here is the intro to the lost Gamestyle Offline issue which dates from January 2008.

After a successful run, the Gamestyle Offline Magazine (otherwise known as GSO) was put to rest, as the demands of producing each issue alongside website content became too much.   Yet the story of GSO did not end with issue nine, as many readers believe.

In late 2005 plans were afoot in Gamestyle Towers to take GSO in a new direction, complete with a new visual design and issue editor.   Unfortunately the design never progressed beyond a few draft pages, pictures of which are shown here for the very first time.   While the design may not have been completed, the issue was practically bursting full of content.   Since then some of this material has been released online at Gamestyle, as ‘the nine lives of games developers’, ‘the cult of thrill kill – and others’ and ‘remake them, we have the technology’ to name but a few.

Today five features remain unpublished amidst our submissions, lurking with no real intent and now outdated by the ravages of time.   Under the series banner ‘Gamestyle Offline: The Missing Issue’ these few remnants will be released and finally close the door on the GSO era.

Armored Core For Answer

Gamestyle Archive intro: always partial to an Armoured Core experience, or is that Armored? This PS3 edition came as somewhat as a disappointment.

 

Writer: JJ

Published: 2008

Developer: From Software

Publisher: Ubisoft

Set a decade after the conclusion of Armored Core 4, the bizarrely named For Answer is the latest instalment in the burgeoning definitive Mecha series. Despite numerous attempts From Software’s efforts have given us more lows than heights, can this buck version the trend?

Unfortunately not is the straightforward answer, as From Software have stuck to the same formula and delivered a mission based game with the emphasis on building your own Mech. This is all fine and well but after countless instalments and more horsepower under your console hood, Gamestyle is frankly expecting much more nowadays.

Our love for Mecha experiences started with the original Psone Armored Core and Sega’s sublime Virtua On release. We even went to the trouble of Steel Battalion and somehow managed to overcome its emphasis on realism. Even with some dubious releases in the series such as Armored Core 2, we’ve stuck with it as on occasion it does produce something special like Armored Core 3: Silent Line.

The storyline in For Answer is very thin but essentially you are a mercenary for hire who can pick and chose sides. What missions you decide on will limit your options further in and result in one of three different endings, yet the plot is dispensable. From Software continuously refuse to integrate the player into the story and seem content with mission briefings. Gamestyle isn’t expecting another Zone of Enders or Front Mission but the potential is certainly there for more. The range of missions is a positive aspect that will throw various challenges and requirements your way before you can even consider seeing the an ending.

For Answer features a colossal amount of customisation options, in fact double what appeared in Armored Core 4. There is little here you cannot tinker with having spent your credits in the shop as you continuously try to create a fighting machine that matches your style of combat. As ever there is no right or wrong way and the mission structure as it is stands means that on numerous occasions you will have to amend your design to overcome a particular challenge. The core strength of the series remains the combat, which can be beautiful to watch, and wonderfully fluid to experience. There is little your Mech cannot achieve, whether its long range or close quarters combat and you always have the option to take to the skies.

Yet you’ll struggle to find any combatants online to really appreciate this ballet of mechanical violence. The servers are eerily quiet with no versus or co-operative play available and sadly it’s to be expected in such a niche title without seemingly the Japanese players being available for duty. This leaves you to hire wingmen on certain missions although we do query why this feature isn’t available for every job you take on; after all their services come out of your bonus. Apart from offline LAN play you can also try to rise up the ranks of top 30 in offline order matches. Now these are particularly enjoyable as the AI and opposition firepower gradually increases. Several times we raced through a few matches only to eventually hit a brick wall that sent us scurrying back to the garage to re-evaluate our design.

Visually Armored Core For Answer is pretty drab and futuristic with the emphasis on numerous enemies. The only positive aspects we can identify are the speed of combat and the impressive size of enemy combatants on the odd occasion. The Earth it seems has been scorched and little survives except these roaming mechanical beasts in drab and mundane environments. Given From Software’s visual fair previously seen in titles such as the Otogi series this is nothing short of very disappointing.

Armored Core For Answer is really only for fans of the series, which Gamestyle does count itself among. However even then our patience is starting to wear a little thin as From Software seem content to churn out these unremarkable editions without really building upon the strong combat and customisation features, making this title very hard to recommend.

Gamestyle Score: 6/10

Persona 3 FES

Gamestyle Archive intro: When asked about a great gaming series Persona always springs to mind. Right through the PlayStation 2 era the franchise was hitting 8’s and 9’s and these scores were never given out lightly. Even today if we had a moment to return to the Persona world it would still be remarkable and like very little else that had gone before or arrived since.

We have some content from 2007-2008 deposited in the archives. This includes the initial entries in the Silver Screen series where Gamestyle looked at the growing popularity of video game titles making the transition to the big screen. Expect that soon.

Writer: JJ

Format: PlayStation 2

Published: November 2008

 

Developer: Atlus

Publisher: KOEI

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Only nine months have passed since Gamestyle reviewed Persona 3, which is already established as one of our PlayStation 2 highlights of 2008. Here we are faced with an enhanced version of that title, complete with a new bonus storyline. Is Persona 3 FES a warranted package or a needless expansion?

We’ll leave the storyline of Persona 3 aside and you can refer to our review of the original. This critique is still very relevant, as the changes to the main storyline are for the majority only from a technical standpoint. However in FES you have the option to play this under the mode dubbed ‘The Journey’, whilst the new mode is available as ‘The Answer’.  Originally released in Japan in 2007, FES was originally conceived as a bonus disc before slowly replacing the popular Persona 3.

Those of you who picked up Persona 3 and never completed it, will have mixed feelings about the existence of FES, however we should be thankful that KOEI has seen fit to release this extra content in the UK. This new version does utilise your existing game save, but unfortunately only to transfer your Persona creations, social links and statistic levels. Its very much a case of starting from the beginning once again, and luckily the gaming experience is strong enough to warrant this approach.

So what do you get? You could think of the original mode in this version being the directors cut. Atlus have returned to what made Persona 3 so enjoyable and added new Personas, enhanced the weapon system and implanted new cut scenes and side quests including new social activities. More cosmetic enhancements exist with the ability to change clothing, which fits ideally with the social aspects of this unique role-playing experience. Anyone looking for a challenge can also return and take on the new Hard Mode, which is suitably named.

For fans the main attraction is unquestionable what is called ‘The Answer’, a new Persona episode that picks up just after the conclusion of the original. You should only head here once you’ve completed the previous storyline. Not only will the opening twenty minutes (comprising mostly of cut scenes) make more sense, but you will be able to tackle the increased difficulty and appreciate the character development. Far from being a dumbed down expansion pack, this new episode expects players to utilise their skills and hit the ground running, from almost the first fight.

You take the role of Aigis, still recovering from the final battle, as are most of the surviving members of the team. A fierce intruder shatters their well-earned downtime, but this soon turns out to be the least of your worries when time ultimately freezes. Your only way to escape the cycle and leave the sealed dorm is to tackle the dungeons of time that have appeared below. The premise is brilliantly devised, not because of the plot dynamics, but simply because it immediately rules out any social links or exploring the nearby town.

It is a huge risk by Atlus to remove several of the distinctive elements that made Persona 3 so enjoyable first time around. With such a move, the new episode is more focused on combat, learning the battle system and creating a new range of Personas. The standard difficulty setting has also been tweaked, prompting more focus on behalf of the player and tactics. This is no easy ride, as progress is difficult and all the more satisfying for it. Using the Rush function, sitting back and watching the action unfold is not recommended this time around.

Given the time frame between releases, much as been achieved in FES but it is clearly based on the previous instalment in the series. The new dungeon (for want of a better word) is just Tartarus with a fresh lick of paint, featuring the same designs and style of layout that proves all too familiar. Even the music is extracted from Persona 3, although in remixed form it remains a joy to hear. Ultimately these limitations explain why we have this expansion rather than what may have became Persona 4.

Unquestionably if you did not get around to buying Persona 3 earlier this year then this is another opportunity and one not to be wasted. The game works perfectly fine on the PlayStation 3 and trounces any RPG’s currently available for the more powerful platform. Having played the original release earlier this year, Gamestyle believes this enhanced package is a justifiable purchase despite the new episode following a more traditional RPG experience.

Gamestyle Score 9