So, I did a "non-perfect" (because I missed a few augs) playthrough of the game and it's definitely MORE interesting than I thought (as a game, the whole violent videogames controversy is a separate issue).
I'm not that familiar with FMV games, but in comparison with Dragon's Lair, I think this game has some interesing design innovations (they might not be innovations because, like I said, I'm not that familiar with FMV games). So..here goes:
a. Yes, you have to react appropriately (press button for trap deployment) at the right time - BUT, you have to be at the (or watching) a specific location in order to do so. It's super easy to miss things that happen while you're watching the wrong camera.
b. The new version is a lot easier because you can see a small version of each camera that "comes to life" when it's actually playing video. The original just had static images.
c. Since there are often multiple things happening at the same time, this is a game in which you're figuring out the "correct" watching order - what to watch when in order to succeed. So, to figure it all out you really need multiple playthroughs which is not something I'd say of Dragon's Lair.
d. I screwed up once near the end and it didn't "game over", rather it re-started a bit of time earlier. I'm not sure if it's a formal "check-point" (if I had messed up later, would I have restarted at the same moment) or if it's a "rewind X minutes on the clock". But still, I was surprised when it happened.
e. Because of the randomized code changes, you have to pay attention to the video (well, the audio, case the video might be the same).
f. The code changes are NOT all instant - rather, after a color code change you might have to wait (execute a few traps with the wrong color) before switching to the new color. I'm not sure why this was the case and I wonder if I missed something (e.g. they announce in video "hey, now it's changed").
g. There's a few moments where you get the cue to trap BUT it's wrong (you have to wait a few seconds for a 2nd cue). I messed up the first one (pressed trap immediately) and was surprised by this. They video makes sense, but I'm not sure the "trick" is a good one other than the fact that I enjoyed the surprise and quickly figured out what I had to do.
h. There are multiple endings and playthroughs (which I didn't do) that are interesting. With more time I'd probably pursue them just to see what happens.
i. At least in this edition, the game is really framed as a movie/tv show -> highlights the cast and most significant crew in a credits sequence that, I'm guessing would have been rare for the time. From the video bonuses, it seems like the creators weren't seeing it (in the original concept) as a game and more as a movie that's enhanced (the whole project started as a way to use a hardware addon to a VCR rather than a console videogame - BUT it was conceived as a sort of trojan horse into the game industry)
j. Perhaps my favorite thing is that there is a nice tension between wanting to "watch the movie parts" and the gameplay - activating traps at the right moment. In order to play well (without foresight) you have to literally ignore all the social stuff (people being social, interacting, etc.) and just focus on spotting "bad actors". So, like actually running security? In a way it's sort of like blind surveillance - I have to ignore what I'm spying on because that part is noise... weird?
Finished this last night and...oh, wow, that ending took a real turn to the bizarre!
The kid you've been controlling all along finally makes their way into a large tank - with a bunch of scientists watching - and you start to unplug this weird bulbous fleshy mass that's floating from a bunch of mind-control devices. Suddenly, you're sucked in!
...and you're now in control of this large bulbous fleshy mass that has multiple arms and legs sticking out of it.
It was weird!
You manage to escape from the giant tank, you wreck a lot of stuff along the way and the onlookers are generally in fear. So, your goal now is to escape from the facility - which you do eventually - by solving more puzzles, breaking stuff AND, in an interesting turn - getting help from some of the people that work in the facility! Up until now, any other human was either going to kill you immediately OR was a "drone/zombie" that was mindless and that you could ignore (or control). But now, when you're the weirdest crazy thing - some people help you escape?!
The game ends when you escape the facility, roll down a hillside and come to rest in a patch of grass. The sun is shining.
It was weird.
(I also then completed the "secret" ending - where you enter an old unused vault - walk a bunch underground and then unplug some stuff - that, if memory serves, is color-coded like the mind-control devices)
Weirdness aside, controlling the blob was a real joy - it sort of flows over things and also strains and grunts to get "tall". It can't jump or use stuff, but can grab on to things. It was a nice change of pace both in terms of verbs (what you do) but, more importantly in terms of game feel. Huh.
I've played a few games (only gotten as far as "50" captures) and it's really hard to resist watching the video clips. As I've learned the hard way, this is not the way to succeed at the game.
I'm actually surprised by how simple the gameplay is. It's REALLY simple - such that there are scripts online for how to win/get to the end. I'm not sure if I'll take the time for that but...in a nutshell:
a. Select room where there are active "augers".
b. Push "trap" button when the warning indicator is red.
c. Oh, find the clip that lets you know what the new color is, change to that color.
I only learned about the color change from a lucky moment when I overheard the characters comment that they had changed the code - and then realized that my traps had stopped working.
Will I make it to the end? I don't know...not sure if I'll have the patience for it all (it's basically a memory game in that you need to remember what room to switch to and then hit the button at the right time).
I played Limbo and it was good. (I'll have to go back to my GameLogs to know for sure, but at least that's the memory I have).
I've heard two different things about Inside:
a. It's Limbo, but with more colors. Even the same puzzles!
b. OMG, this is so much better than Limbo - it's amazing!
So, I picked up the PS4 double pack to see what Inside was like.
...and so far I'm really enjoying it. I was surprised when - a few minutes in, as I was running (always running!) I missed something and was shot and killed. It was brutal - especially because the game doesn't have a whole lot going on. So, the crack of gunfire was a stark contrast to what was on-screen and coming out of my speakers.
I get a real sense of urgency when I'm running away from dogs and the swimming "creature"(?), I feel a sense of awe when I'm walking through these abandoned facilities, I feel so sad for the gray "lifeless" humans I control, I wonder where it will all end (who is the child I'm controlling and where do they want to go and why?)...