Games

Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons

This game was 3 hours long, and I played it with my older brother. I controlled the stick for the younger brother in the game, and my bro controlled the older brother. On hindsight, after playing the game, I don’t recommend this. This is not a game to play with your older brother if you want to spend happy, quality time together.

It was, though, rather fun to work through the puzzles together and having to coordinate to get it done. The graphics were gorgeous and the controllers were tightly knit. And the storytelling and plot is what sold the game for me as being a masterpiece. Lovely moral message put in there. I won’t spoil it any further. I highly recommend it.

2014-06-25_00003
Two brothers enjoying the view

10/10 (ratings are arbitrary, either I recommend it or not, I just like making ratings)

 

Games

ABZU

ABZU is a beautiful, underwater, diving game and some of the better non violent games I’ve played. It has some truly beautiful graphics and you often feel immersed in the setting around you. The colour scheme ranges from bright colours to darker ones as you descend deeper into the depths however it never once loses its sense of beauty. Though the game follows a linear path, many secrets are waiting to be found should the player search around a bit before moving on. Finding these secrets does give a bit of a sense of “hurrah!” and it is often an enjoyable task to do once moving into a new area.  Game-play itself is fun in and of itself because it is simply a joy to move around. And you can even grab onto larger marine animals for a ride.

20170108162307_1
One taxi please

The other aspect I enjoyed is that there are pedestals you can sit on to simply watch and observe the life around you. These times were often serene and quite peaceful and can lead to nice screenshots (I did not take advantage of, I took others).

20170108163156_1
Majestic

The storytelling is touching and well told through the use of cut-scenes and game-play taking place in a vast ocean with the main character referred to as female diver. The ending is worth the journey but more importantly, the journey was very well told, and very well done. It’s a game I recommend to everyone.

20170108163129_1
OMMM

10/10 game for me.

20170108150647_1
Catching a ride, dude!
Games

How not to make a card game

Every single computer trading card game struggles at the very concept of its core game-play. You don’t fucking randomise my hand, and deck. Doing so, completely nullifies any strategy involved in the deck and makes the game turn out to be 100% a matter of luck. No skill is needed. Slay the Spire is a card game that tries to reinvent certain aspects of the card game but ultimately fails flat on its face. You start with one hero, and as you play once with that hero, you unlock the next. Until you’ve unlocked all three. Each hero has their own starting deck, and you choose which linear path of rooms to clear. Clearing a fight results in a getting a new RANDOM card, or you can choose to decline. You can come across rooms that have a random event, giving you cards, or taking away, or upgrading, or just a random thing happens. There’s shops and there you can remove a card, but the price goes up. You choose which cards to add, or not. You face off a series of enemies that have set patterns, so it’s up to you to decide how to use your deck. Except…

NONE OF THIS MATTERS.

You are 100% up to the mercy of the game. The cards you can earn are completely randomised and the second hero you unlock, is so completely under-powered compared to the other two, you wonder if the developers even bother testing him out… oh wait, it’s an early access title… GO FIGURE.

The only strategy available for this hero is to redo and abandon every run unless you get a set of poison cards, or shiv cards. Otherwise no matter how well you try to do, you’ll inevitably lose without making it to the final boss. And if through some sheer luck, you manage to get to the final boss, it’s a possibility of three final bosses. And if you’re in my case, each FUCKING TIME, you get to the final boss, it’s the HARDEST boss available who absolutely fucks up the second hero. You had an insane stack of poison going? Purged. You had an insane shield stack going? Purge. Meanwhile the boss progressively gets stronger and stronger.

I dream of a day developers realise that the only strategy that can exist in a card game is only achievable by letting the player choose which fucking cards will be drawn, what fucking hand to start with, and every other hand. Give me control of my cards, and then.. I know, this next part is hard to swallow, omg look at that, there’s no more fucking luck involved. Then, miraculously, SURPRISE! There’s actual skill involved and not who can pay more money to the maker of the cards, or let me be at the mercy of sheer fucking luck.

Games

How not to make a video game

Too often developers tell a beautiful story bogged down by horrendous game-play decisions that leave the player with a sense of “did they even bother testing this game beyond a couple times?” Too often western games borrow from Japanese games in the philosophy that it’s completely okay to bash your head against a metaphorical wall with little payoff. A wall that only increases in artificial difficulty because the developers want it that way and not because it comes off organically from the game-play mechanics or story. Oh you’ve mastered the controls? Well, lets take these checkpoints which were evenly, and nicely spaced out, and you can bash your head against the wall because now they are few and sparse. Oh, you wanted to play a quick game and hear a beautiful story recited by a father to her daughter about the father’s uncle? Yea, take two cups of go fuck yourself, and one cup of nope, and welcome to A Story About My Uncle. A game that doesn’t understand what it wants to be. “You can go almost anywhere” is what the game says early on. Early on, you realise, that’s a load of shit. You can only go where we, the developers, want you to go.

I play games to escape. Playing this game started off that way and quickly turned into a sweaty palms fest of needing high skill and intricacy. Linear passages turned to open space linear passages that are very difficult to judge where to go. Though this does nicely result in the player feeling a sense of “huh, that was the right way to go”. Sadly, any feelings of accomplishment are quickly buried because the game goes “oh, you thought that last bit was hard? well get ready to go bash your head against the wall again”. THANK GOD, the game was free. I wouldn’t recommend this game to anyone if it cost money. An exercise in futility and how much time are you willing to waste practising the end bits (Ice cave) over and over, spending more than 3X the amount that you spent anywhere else in the game. I’ll be honest, I didn’t beat it. And I don’t think I ever will. I’m stumped because after pulling off an insane amount of platforming, the game rewards you by putting you at the edge of a cliff with no obvious answer. And when you do realise the stress and insanity of platforming you’ll have to accomplish, you ask yourself… is it worth giving a fuck about A Story About My Uncle?

The answer is fuck no. You don’t design a game to be an ever increasing series of stronger walls to bash your head through. Want an example of a good puzzle platformer? Quantum Conundrum. Portal. Q.U.B.E (and number 2). The Turing Test. This game is a fraud that uses a beautiful and whimsical story to barely thread together a series of rooms. And within these rooms, is a system of first person platforming with jumping, high jumps, momentary thrusts forward, and a very limited grappling hook. Using momentum to fling yourself across large distances and open spaces onto precarious floating platforms. Momentum which follows random laws of the developers own making and often not even making sense to its own system, leaving the player often frustrated at having to make repeated attempts at what should have been rather easy.

3/10 game. 2 for story, 1 for system of movement (limited grappling hook).  -7 for constantly making the player do a series of every increasingly harder tasks with no payout in between. Never does the game let you rest, or give you a breather, or even plateau for that matter.

Games

Red Dead Redemption 2

Where does one even begin with such a game? The amount of details, and layers, and layers to the layers is staggering. Some moments can be slow, and feel almost like a chore but then you slow down and look around the screen. The way the ground gets trampled under your horse’s hooves, the indents left in the ground and if it’s raining: watching the rain fill it. The very minor details are noticeable when you pay attention and when you don’t, there is a beauty to the way the system works. Time just flows by. There is only the world of Arthur Morgan.

Then you start to see the flaws in the system. As with any system of choice, you begin to notice what you cannot do. You push, and prod, and explore what you can do. And you begin to realize the depths of what you can accomplish… And it is deep. And rewarding. Playing within the rules of the system, you can achieve a lot. And experience a lot of different stories. The game has many different encounters of scripted events, and then responds with more scripted events to the one you just had – layers on layers. I have yet to beat the game. I’m only a third of the way through. I just pick a direction in game, and explore. Once I reach my destination… I’ll be honest, I’ve yet to actually do so. As I’ve mentioned before, there are so many random scripted events that I get waylaid adventuring.

Games

Black Ops 4

It’s been awhile since I’ve played an enjoyable Call of Duty game. Blops4 delivers the fun well. I’ve found a game to name after my psn account, and firefly namesake, Jayne. Will post more on the game as I play. One can craft their own stories in the Blackout mode, so stay tuned.