I've had a hard time with being stealthy, but no matter. I'm just terribly curious and excited about the world. Intrigued. Interested. Etc.
I feel like the game has done an incredible job with the world building and it reminds me a LOT of Bioshock (and Bioshock infinite). I don't know what it is exactly? The vibe? The camera angles/perspective? The way your hands appear in the screen? I'm not sure...
The only thing I'm a little worried about - just because I felt it really detracted from my experience with the Bioshock games - is that I hope there isn't a ton scavenging and looting to do. I've only encountered a little so far, which is nice. I'm just worried that as I move into more residential spaces I'll have to engage with opening all the drawers in a desk, opening this and that all to find coins to then buy upgrades, etc. That gets old and annoying really fast so I hope it's used sparingly... We'll have to wait and see though!
I played this over the weekend (the campaign, all but the last three missions) and it was a more interesting experience than I had anticipated. I bought the game a looong time ago when the PS Move controllers were the hot thing and I was curious about how an FPS would play. I recall trying it, thinking it was terrible, and then setting it aside. It definitely was not terrible with a DualShock in hand.
It took me a while to get used to the tactical nature of the game - in this case reflected in the fact that for most of the game you have two pairs of soldiers following you around and that you can direct to go to places, engage with enemy, and such. At times this felt a bit cumbersome, but overall it was interesting to play the game and having to think about where I'd like the other soldiers to go that could help and so on. It made me think that the game was tuned harder such that you have to rely on your team, which definitely makes for an interesting experience that was new to me. I enjoyed that side of it for sure.
The story is weird/interesting and I thought it would go places that maybe it didn't. So, the name of the game includes "Navy Seals" but I'm not sure I understood what the connection if any was. One of my two-soldier teams was asian (with the main character South Korean if the patch on her uniform is to be believed). The other two were American... but the whole setup was that you're some sort of UN force? Or there are other UN soldiers that you coordinate with? I don't know it has a gung-ho US military vibe from the title, but in playing it felt more like "We're International Military Good Guys".. I'll probably have to look stuff up on wikipedia to see what the official story/premise is...
Anyways, the main character - the one you control - seems have some past (dark) in the area and at one point we destroy a dam that floods a significant part of an area and, at least according to the warnings/disbelief of my fellow teammates, results in the death of a lot of civilians, villages wiped out, and that sort of thing. All of this to stop the baddies... Once you destroy the dam you get a cut-scene showing the aftermath - but it's only enemy baddies (all dead/drowned). I thought this game was going to go all SpecOps:The Line, especially with the other characters objecting to what the main character wanted to do, and his reaction (very negative and a bit aggressive) to their objections to the plan.
Wow, this will be really cool, and unexpected I thought.
And then nothing else happened. Oh, what a missed opportunity!
It turns out the baddies are just being manipulated by a militarized corporation and your commander, assumed dead, is actually running that show. So, I guess there might be more to it?
I didn't play all the way through the campaign, so maybe I'm wrong, but I was looking forward to having another example of an anti-war FPS game, but alas...it was not to be.
I played this over a few sessions (3, I think?) not too long after having played Life is Strange. It's definitely an interesting prequel - Max, the protagonist of the first game is nowhere to be found, with everything centering on Chloe Price (Max's best friend) and Rachel Amber (the girl who went missing in the first game).
If you played the first game, you obviously know what lies in the future for both characters - but it's interesting to see how you can shape things in a way that can be interesting to you. So, I really enjoyed that part of the game.
The original game (LiS) had a special time-rewinding mechanic that Max could use to change things around and so on. It was pretty central (thematically, narratively, and mechanically) to the game so I was curious if it would appear here (it would make no sense narratively...unless the team sort of bent over backwards to explain why it might work). Fortunately, they didn't include that mechanic but clearly there was a need to have SOMETHING special. I think it's mostly a differentiator from the Telltale Games? At this point, both were not interested in the puzzle aspects common and Telltale has QTEs. LiS doesn't really (hedging my thoughts here just in case there are a few and I'm forgetting).
So, LiS: Before the Storm has a "argue" mechanic reminiscent of the old swordplay/wordplay from Monkey Island. A character says something and then you have to find the right/best response such that you make progress towards a central icon - at which point you've "won" the argument. Winning here is more like "you've manipulated the social situation to get what you/Chloe wants" (e.g. got someone to let you in to the club, pissed someone off, etc.). Those moments - there aren't too many of them - were perhaps the most enjoyable part of the experience for me. Keep in mind that I'm a middle-aged man playing a game about two high-school girls and their issues/angst/etc.... so, I'm not the target demographic at least in terms of relating to some of the issues the characters go through...
I also enjoyed the "trophy mechanic" - in LiS Max had to find special moments/things to photograph (to unlock that trophy) and it was fun to try to guess/identify where those moments/places were. Some were obviously harder than others. In this game, Chloe likes to write/graffiti/tag things - so basically the same idea - you have a clue in each episode that helps you try to find/figure out/setup a moment for her to tag something (and thus unlocking the corresponding trophy). I appreciated the consistency with the first game and the minor twist on the theme. It makes sense with the story (Chloe the rebellious kid with art skills vs Max the amateur photography lover).
I've been thinking of the overall tone of the series - and I'm not sure it meets the formal checklist for "tragedy", but I definitely think of that when I reflect on my experience with the game. Also, I've been thinking of how many other games do this (or have this sort of an experience)...and there aren't many, which I think is kind of interesting in and of itself. It makes me wonder what next?
Oh, as a final note - the bonus episode is also fun (and nice and short) and perhaps even sadder even if it's not sad per se. It's just sad in the context of everything you know will come for both characters - you play Max at Chloe's house before Life is Strange: Before the Storm takes place...so it's a pre-prequel of sorts. (it's their last day together as pre-teens before Max leaves for Oregon, she returns from Oregon for Life is Strange and Chloe is angry that she never wrote/they lost touch with each other).
You know you're in trouble when you're surprised by the level of challenge in an easy low-level starter song. It took me 2 songs to get the hand of it, such that I could pass harder songs...but I also realized in two songs that I was not the target player for this game.
It's a pretty bare-bones rhythm game that has a bunch of features and options for advanced players. I don't know if it has more than the games the advanced players follow, but definitely more than I knew what to do with. Features you would care about if you noticed there were delays with your tv? I don't know. I played a bunch of songs I enjoyed, realized that pretty much all the other songs were j-pop (that I don't particularly care for) and decided that I'd seen enough to know what the game was about and to leave it at that.
I did think the interface was unusual. The default setting was left, up, triangle and circle for each lane respectively. It reminded me of playing DDR on the playstation, but I think that worked better in terms of letting you figure out how to handle two arrows at once. Here my hands just got into knots. Also, it didn't help that the symbols flying at you aren't representative of what you press on the controller. It took me too long to wrap my head around what lane required which button press...