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    Jan 21st, 2017 at 01:04:22     -    A Wolf Among Us (PC)

    Delving into this game a little deeper for my second play, I noticed a few things gameplay-wise that allows the narrative to take more precedence in the game and impact the player more effectually.
    Something that struck me with the gameplay is the fact that the cameras are always fixed and only shift when cutting between angles or scenes – the only movement the cameras typically exhibit is during an action scene, and maybe an establishing pan to show the cityscape. This is very much a trait of films and filmmaking rather than games as we traditionally know them (although many of the classics such as the original Silent Hill, Resident Evil, interior shots in Zelda: Ocarina of Time, etc. also did this because they were still treading the new ground of 3D, so it's almost paying homage to that as well). This subtly reinforces to the players that there's a story here and that it carries the most weight, just as it would in a film. It also allows the developers to carefully design and frame the compositions so you see what they WANT you to see -- which is fantastic because then you can keep going back and picking up on subtle symbolisms and other imagery - it certainly encouraged me to pay more attention.
    I also wanted to talk about the choice system briefly. I think it's great that not only are there three speech options of varying intentions, but there is also a silent option. That is powerful and a good reminder that sometimes good answers are none at all. I haven't progressed very far in this game because I sometimes reload and try other options. The replayability and duality of events and the subtle changes (especially people's changing perceptions of you, I LOVE that aspect) is incredibly addicting and I can see why these series hold such appeal. It's really hitting home for me as a player that I need to more seriously think through things and look at the more nuanced consequences of my actions.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 21st, 2017 at 01:08:58.

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    Jan 20th, 2017 at 01:07:16     -    A Wolf Among Us (PC)

    For my first game choice, I decided to go with A Wolf Among Us by Telltale Games.
    I've always heard excellent things about the narrative and know it's essentially a novel playing out in front of you based on your choices and quick time events, but apart from that I was going into this completely blind. I'm very glad I did as this created a completely fresh experience for me which was so enjoyable and I haven't had that in a long time where I know nothing up front – people usually talk up games online and certain plot points are brought up to convince other players to try it, but I somehow avoided all spoilers! I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that this was a gritty modern twist on classic fables and seeing as I'm a sucker for that to begin with I was immediately excited. However, the gameplay and visuals really struck me in ways I didn't expect.
    As a game art major I could go on all day about the graphics and chunky-lined comic art style with psychedelic colors that I love so much, but the thing that struck me most in this first 30 minute playthrough was that the pacing was excellent. When I heard about these games that were “story + quick time events,” I was a bit hesitant and expected a slow novel with lost of conversations and a couple quick time events just thrown in to spice things up. I personally don't mind slow pacing like that but still – when I was then thrown in and fully engaged in the initial fight with the Woodsman I was taken aback. It was awesome despite my...somewhat embarrassing death very early on. However this demonstrated a few things to me about the narrative and my own perception. When I was prompted to use the axe on the Woodsman in the intro's fight, I thought it would kill him. I really didn't want to and I'm typically as peaceful and diplomatic in these kind of games as possible. I thought that since silence was an option that perhaps in-action would allow me to spare him. Unfortunately he jumped up and killed me instead so the game quickly illustrated to me that I needed to try and jump in with their flow of things. I was glad the Woodsman wasn't dead after all that despite him being a dick, but this showed me “Look just like in real life, certain situations can't be resolved peacefully and inaction can in fact be a bad thing.” I think having that degree of realism was incredibly insightful and I really look forward to continuing this game through all of its episodes!

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