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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 02:25:58     -    The Darkness (360)

    Gameplay:

    After playing The Darkness again for a little while, I still had a lot of fun with it. It's fun to progress further in the game to upgrade your darkness powers. The narrative of the story is still very interesting and it has you interacting with other main characters like Jackie's girlfriend and also his mother.

    Some of the side quests get a little boring because usually they are just fetch quests, or just walking back and forth between places talking to people. The actual gun-fighting and story segments of the game are still very enjoyable though.
    Design:

    I like the innovative use of the Darkness powers in the game. In addition to shooting you can also do things such as impale enemies with a tentacle or create a miniature black hole that crushes them.

    Although the levels are mostly set in new york, there are some weird levels set in the afterlife which look like a demonic version of World War 1 and 2 put together. These segments happen a couple times in the game, so they add variety.

    The game keeps the player interested by allowing him to unlock more weapons and Darkness Powers throughout the game.

    One thing I would change about the game is adding the ability to sprint or something, or just making the main character move faster.

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    Mar 5th, 2008 at 22:57:32     -    The Darkness (360)

    Summary :

    "The Darkness" is about a man named Jackie Estacado who works for a mob boss named Paulie. On Jackie's 21st birthday he is set up by Paulie who tried to have him killed. The game (unlike the comics) quickly introduce you to "the darkness" which is an ancient entity that passes from father to son and manifests itself on the son's 21st birthday. The rest of the game has you trying to get revenge as you travel across New York City.

    Gameplay:

    The Darkness opens up with what may be my favorite opening sequence of any game. Like Half Life 1/2 and The Chronicles of Riddick the game starts out with an in-game cinematic with limited camera controls while the opening credits appear during the scene. What makes this intro so good is the way in which it really makes you feel like you're in the world; a combination of cutting-edge graphics and animation, sound, and voice acting all combine together to create a breakneck car chase through oncoming traffic in a tunnel in New York.

    I think the characters in the game are really interesting because they have very well done motion capture animations, and their voice acting is also pretty good. They also don't shy away from vulgarity, which also makes them more believable. The voice of The Darkness is REALLY good considering the actor didn't alter his voice in any way when he was speaking the lines. (Which if you've heard the game you'll appreciate more.)

    The game is fun to play except for the fact that your character moves WAY too slow. There have been many a firefight where I wish I could run away, yet I have to amble away at a snail's pace while being shot by gangsters. Other than that though the gameplay is fun, and there are some innovative features such as the Darkness powers and the fact that you have to destroy lights and stand in the shadows to recharge them.

    So far I've experienced pretty good flow throughout the game. Between action sequences you can walk around on the subway and talk to people and engage in side quests, but it never feels out of place considering you use the subway all the time to transport yourself between areas.

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    Feb 8th, 2008 at 18:56:55     -    Façade (PC)

    Gameplay:

    Once you've played Façade a few times the opening dialogue that you have to sit through can get kind of boring...

    But anyway, here's play number 2:

    This time I was able to make the conversations a little bit more flowing, but the flaws in the AI are still apparent.
    Whatever you say seems to evoke the all to common response "What??" and then a completely random sentence. Sometimes you'll say something, and then they'll say something that shows the linear aspects of the game. My proposal to partake in the smoking of Cannabis was returned with "Hey Dave, look at this picture of Italy!" It's at these moments where the game kind of feels like it's nudging you along to get you to say the "right" things.

    One interesting thing about the game is the fact that you see new things every time you play it. I'm excited to see the developer play it on Monday; I want to see if he can get a smooth conversation.

    Design:

    It's obvious that this game is very innovative, and I'll give it kudos since it's the first game I've played that tries to create a realistic drama and allows you to type whatever you want to say to the characters. The AI could be improved, but hey, it's a good start.

    The level design is pretty simple: There's an entranceway, a living room, and a kitchen. Considering the game is more about social interaction than running around multiple levels it's ok that you only get to play in one area.

    The tone of the gameworld isn't exactly very positive. Throughout the game your ears are assaulted with the constant bickering of Tripp and Grace, and there is also some pretty trippy ambient music in the background as well that certainly doesn't liven up the mood.

    The good thing about Façade is the fact that it is the very epitome of emergent gameplay. What happens in the game is based on what you say and how you interact with Tripp and Grace (to an extent). The game can end right at the beginning if you yell "Fuck you Tripp, you're such an asshole!" or you can play for quite a while and end up saving the couple's marriage. (Which I have yet to do)

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    Feb 8th, 2008 at 16:52:56     -    Façade (PC)

    Summary:

    Façade is a first-person interactive drama that involves you, the protagonist, going over to your friends Tripp and Graces' House. You soon discover that something is awry with their marriage, as they are constantly arguing throughout your visit. You are able to use the arrow keys to move around and can type whatever you want whenever you want to, and the characters will react to what you type.

    Gameplay:

    Ok, so the first thing I noticed about Façade is that the text recognition isn't very good...(from what I experienced.) If Grace or Tripp are talking and you type something, you interrupt them and they stop, making a perplexed face. This is annoying because they DON'T STOP TALKING. It feels like you can never say anything because you'll get a weird response since you interrupted them. They also seem to say things that really aren't pertinent to the situation, as in my case where I hadn't said a word to Tripp at all and Grace remarked that we were bonding really quickly when in fact we hadn't even spoken yet. Another instance like that is when Grace said something about Tripp always talking about his drinks, and I replied that Tripp's drinks were pretty good. He turned around angrily to me and said "No Dave, I AM NOT going to make you a drink right now!" even though I hadn't asked for one. This ended with me yelling expletives at them, which DID garner a realistic reaction; they kicked me out of their house.

    I'm going to play through a bit more and see if the experience is any different.

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