dkirschner's GameLogBlogging the experience of gameplay (PC) - Thu, 30 Aug 2018 23:41:10 in a couple hours of Duskers before my EA month is up and before Dragoncon. A friend of mine who likes hacking/command prompt games that model old OSes has talked a lot about it. After dabbling, I can say it has a unique feel, though it's not as suspenseful as I was led to believe. Alien this is not. Granted, I haven't played much, but everyone's favorite get-killed-in-space game FTL has it beat for intensity...and everything but hacking, for that matter. Duskers places you in control of drones that explore derelict ships. Your own ship is stuck out in the middle of space with low supply reserves, and you've got to scavenge scrap and fuel to, presumably, make it somewhere safe. You control drones by inputting commands into a DOS-ish program. Select drones with 1-4, move them with the arrow keys, and type things like "d2" to open door 2, "tow" to tow damaged drones back to the airlock, "generator" to connect a drone with a generator mod to a generator and power rooms, or "motion" to detect motion (enemies) in nearby rooms. You can control drones directly as described, or you can zoom out for a top-down strategic view of the ship and move them in DOS (e.g., navigate 1 3 moves drone 1 to drone 3; navigate all r4 moves all your drones to room 4; etc.). The game reminded me a bit of Endless Dungeon, a roguelike with some similar mechanics, such as using generators to power sections of a floor. If you've got a drone powering a generator (or later, you find a ship mod so you can power a generator remotely), then you can open nearby doors. No drone on the generator, and you can't explore further. I never quite figured out what connecting to computer interfaces did, though I suspect it has something to do with controlling ship defense systems, one of which attacked me when I didn't have a drone connected to the interface. Also like Endless Dungeon, there are enemies on the ship, and you need to route them from room to room so that you can navigate your way safely through the ship. So far, it was easy to see how to solve these puzzle-like problems, but I'm sure it becomes extremely complex. I quit playing when I lost two drones and had to exit a mission severely beaten up. Somehow I tripped an alarm and caused a radiation leak or something, and I ran my affected drones to safety. The radiation seeped to another room, so I shut all the doors. Would it dissipate? Would it still spread? No, it was contained. But then I wondered if I could open more doors and diffuse it. Nope. It spread quickly and my two favorite drones were trapped. So I don't know how to get rid of radiation! Maybe route it to an airlock and open that, but everything on the way would need to be powered. Duskers, then, is like a puzzle-hacking-roguelike game. Look at it in strategic view and you'll see what I mean. It's got a neat premise, and the commands (so far) are intuitive. I was confidently exploring ships after 30 minutes. If I didn't have to cancel my EA subscription, I'd probably spend a few more hours with Duskers, but as it is, I'm happy with the couple I did spend. Thu, 30 Aug 2018 23:41:10 CDT Way Out (PC) - Wed, 29 Aug 2018 20:30:11 Way Out, the reason I signed up for EA's premiere subscription for a month! This is the next game from the people who did Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, but co-op instead of single-player. It's also got traces of LA Noire, Telltale games, and Quantic Dream games in interactive movie fashion. I played A Way Out over two sessions with my friend Patrick. I thought it was just a prison break game, but that's less than half of it. I was on the one hand pleasantly surprised there was more to it, but on the other wanted a co-op experience purely about breaking out of prison. The two characters, Vincent and Leo, meet in prison and wind up reluctantly cooperating in order to escape and get revenge on the man who put them both there. The story unfolds really predictably, with a little complexity by adding their families in, until the end where there is a twist. If the story sucked, the game would be worse for it, but the 3/5-star story and acting allowed the gameplay to be foregrounded, which is the point of this experience. Vincent and Leo need each other to distract guards, to pass items back and forth, to help each other up ledges, to peel away sheet metal, to shoot bad guys, to drive and shoot from a car, to climb up an air shaft, to bust down doors, and so on. This is a world where you need a friend, as everything seems to require two people. We found the interaction with objects and between characters to be smooth and made sense (e.g., time a button press to both shove a door open; each hold RT to fill a meter to grip hands and one pulls the other up a ledge; etc.). The controls were simple, and thankfully quicktime fights were minimal. I'm trying to think if any parts were difficult (maybe riding motorcycles could be a little tricky), and concluding that the game as a whole was very easy, which lends authenticity to the interactive movie-ness of it. We thoroughly enjoyed the game, even if the endings weren't what we wanted to happen. (And it wasn't a tough choice because you can just re-load and see the other one). BUT, when you do get to the end, there is a very cool piece of design that affects character speed, and thus, the ending you get, and I won't say more for spoilers. That was one of my favorite parts though. Now to decide whether or not to play with Duskers for a day before EA trial expires or just save it for another time. Wed, 29 Aug 2018 20:30:11 CDT 2 (PC) - Sun, 26 Aug 2018 14:10:45 wow. This is an outstanding FPS. I played through the campaign over the last couple weeks and had some truly memorable experiences. I haven't played a new FPS in a while (and I know this is 2 years old), but Titanfall has some things I've never seen before. For one, the titan/pilot relationships are very cool. Sometimes you play as the pilot, and this feels very 90s FPS with double jumping and wall running. The movement is fairly quick, and you can go invisible for a few seconds from time to time. I used this a lot because it was fun to invisibly run up to enemies and melee kill them. Other missions are more titan oriented, where you hop in the hulking robot and take on larger enemies. Titans have a bunch of different load outs focusing on ranged or melee or close combat, taking out bunches of small enemies, or one-on-one with other titans, etc. Some of my favorite missions switched back and forth between the pilot and the titan. But what I really found neat, like I said, was the relationship. In the story, pilots have a neural link to their titan, and BT-42whatever was such a good character. He doesn't understand humor and nuance too well, and will respond matter-of-factly to Cooper, which is often funny. You really develop a liking for the two of them during the campaign. The other thing I have to call out is that specific chapter with time shifting. Extremely interesting to play. In this chapter, Cooper (your character), is exploring a ruined facility to follow data remnants of another pilot (who you earlier find dead). You have this device that can shift between the present and the past so you can see what the facility was like when the other pilot infiltrated. You use this to avoid enemies in one time, and to navigate past obstacles (e.g., a fire in the present? go to the past and pass the area). What's bizarre is that the facility in the past reacts to YOU, so you really are transported to the past. Which raises a tiiiime paradox because this arc weapon was moved and all this stuff happened because the facility is responding to you in the past, which presumably only happens because you're in the present following Anderson's trail. So did this whole timeline happen because you got that time shift gadget and you're stuck in a loop? Of course time goes forward as you pass that chapter, but then at the end of the game, there's evidence that BT is lost in time or something. I haven't thought about it too hard and I'm sure there are reddit threads aplenty. Get your binary translator ready at the end. The gameplay, visuals, audio, etc. are extremely polished. I encountered no bugs, only some stuttering on my machine because unfortunately I'm starting to come up against games from a couple years ago that it struggles to run perfectly. It got a lot better when I turned down some graphics settings. I went into multiplayer for a couple team deathmatches, which seemed fun, but I got killed pretty handily. It's cool that multiplayer is so movement oriented with pilots jumping and wall running and using grappling hooks to zip around the map. You can call in your titan too, and then rampage around launching rockets, though in my experience, I was easily destroyed by enemy titans / highly skilled players. Anyway, highly recommended to play through the campaign. It's a neat story with likable characters, menacing bad guys (with Australian accents), and tons of action. Sun, 26 Aug 2018 14:10:45 CDT (PC) - Wed, 08 Aug 2018 23:54:35 game. I believe I will be showing this one to people and would like to watch others play through it. Better than Limbo. There's more story embedded in the dialogue-free game this time around. I won't pretend to have it figured out, but will spend time soon attempting to interpret it. One thing that struck me is that I encountered 0 bugs or glitches. The game played flawlessly. Audio was minimalist and sounded oppressive with headphones. Visuals were more colorful than Limbo. I liked the reds, which made its dystopian industrial setting more ominous. Controls were smooth and near perfect for the platforming. Several things in Inside stuck out to me, including the violence with which the protagonist is repeatedly killed, as well as the ending when you control the blob or hive mind or whatever it is. The way that thing moves is so fucking creepy and neat to watch, all those arms and legs sticking out and all those voices groaning. Nightmare city.Wed, 08 Aug 2018 23:54:35 CDT Full Clip Edition (PC) - Sat, 04 Aug 2018 11:47:11! Pleasantly blown away by Bulletstorm. This one was never really on my radar when it originally released, but I caught press of the Full Clip edition and apparently it's a game that sticks with people. My three-word review is "big dumb fun," which is a solid review. It's like Gears of War meets a more mature, less offensive, and more self aware Duke Nukem. I'd read that you can actually play as Duke, fully voiced with new lines, in this Full Clip edition, but I actually played Bulletstorm "Lite," which I gather is just the single player part of Full Clip, and unfortunately without Duke's voiceover. I did find a Duke Nukem figurine on a table near the end of the game. Couldn't interact with it, but neat surprise. It's well enough that I only had Gray's (the main character) original lines because they're good. The language is very colorful and R rated, but I usually found it funny, or so exaggerated as to be funny. The bad guy has a habit of using racial slurs against an Asian character, Ishi, but I guess that's why he's the bad guy. Ishi even says at one point something to the effect of "If you use another racial slur, I will punch you in the face." Does using racism in humorous context, even in a self aware way, make it okay? A question for the ages...Ishi's humor, in contrast to other characters, is dark. In the beginning of the game, he gets melded with a robot AI, and constantly battles for control of himself, but it causes him to have really dark and deadpan humor that I loved. Ishi made me laugh more than anyone else, with Gray a close second. Okay okay, so while the characters are fun and the story is well done, that's not why you would play Bulletstorm. The name says it all. This is a game about murdering enemies in deliciously brutal ways. At any time, you can have three guns and your "leash" equipped. Guns are varied and all have secondary fire, or "charge," modes. Your standard assault rifle can charge a powerful blast. One gun launches bouncing bowling-ball sized mines. You can control when they explode, and you can, when charged, cause multiple explosions. Zoom in with the sniper rifle, and you can guide the bullet, which is super fun and deadly. Charge up the drill and you can use it to melee enemies. You upgrade guns and purchase ammo using skill points, which are granted for fashionably killing enemies. Headshots, ballshots, buttshots are some standard methods that yield extra skill points. There are like 150 specific kinds of skill shots to figure out though! Each weapon has like 10, there are skill shots for killing bosses and minibosses in various ways, and there are, my favorite, environmental skill shots. You see, Bulletstorm isn't just about bullets. It's about using your leash (the closest comparison off the top of my head is the grappling hook from Just Cause) to grab enemies from afar and fling them into spikes, off ledges, into man-eating plants, into dangling electrical wires, etc., and using your boot to kick enemies into same. The environment is littered with killing opportunities, including a liberal amount of exploding barrels. All of this makes Bulletstorm a massive playground for combining these elements. What felt especially novel is that the more you use the tools at your disposal, and the more creative you are in your killing, the more skill points you get. So it becomes this cycle where you get creative to earn more skill points, use the skill points to buy more and fancier weapons and ammo and charges, which allows you to cause even more mayhem, which rewards even more skill points, etc. The loop is brilliant. The game is fast, flashy, and sounds good too. The Gears reference comes from the look of the game, the exaggerated military gruffness of the characters, and the fact that like half the settings are ripped from the franchise. Totally fun, totally self aware, totally worth it if you want a few fun gory evenings in a video game. OH, and I played this because of EA Origin's "premier" membership launch. I've wanted to play A Way Out with a friend, and I went to see how much it would cost. Found out about Origin's new model, and saw they'd greatly expanded their library. So I'm subscribing for a month to play A Way Out, and saw a handful of other games on my wishlist, including Bulletstorm, Titanfall 2, Inside, The Witness, and Duskers. So I'll be trying to burn through some of those in August, which is most certainly a bad idea given that school is starting.Sat, 04 Aug 2018 11:47:11 CDT Revolution: Black Friday (PC) - Tue, 24 Jul 2018 16:30:55, this was better than expected. I expected a knock-off Telltale game with a historical story, but this stands up on its own. The voice acting is really good, especially for the prison warden, and the music is pretty good too. It keeps things tense as the action drama unfolds. Some of the character models are really janky though! My favorite is this one NPC who sits like a statue in an area, never moving. My second favorite was a man with extra-large, deformed hands. They looked like an alien's hands. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the attention to detail to place the character in the midst of the Iranian revolution. Really impressive. How many of the characters in the story were real people, or based on real people? So, in this game, you're a journalist, a young adult from a well-to-do Iranian family, trying to avoid sides in this political struggle. You take photos, but the problem is, as your character realizes, photographs are not neutral. The eye of the photographer inscribes photographs with meaning, and then those images can be interpreted by others for various purposes. One person looks at a revolutionary photograph and sees passion; another sees lawlessness. The coolest thing about taking photos is that many of them, once you snap, are juxtaposed with real photos from the revolution that have been recreated in the game. Extremely cool! You of course get sucked into the revolution against the Shah, and the game tells the story of your involvement with resistance groups through your friend and family servant (I think this is the same kind of relationship I read about in The Kite Runner--not really servants, but not equals either), your family, including your police officer brother, and your lovely time post-arrest with a prison warden who enjoys a good torture session. The game does a good job exploring the moral gray areas of the revolution, how different groups had elements of good and bad, and how people changed sides over time. Actually, this game corrected my limited understanding of the Iranian Revolution. I didn't know how oppressive the Shah's regime was. I thought Iran was modernizing and that Khomeini's rise to power was more simply a backlash against westernization. I didn't know there were so many other ideologies vying for dominance, and that there were other prominent, even progressive, religious leaders besides Khomeini. The game plays out in 19 chapters, most of which are basically interactive movies with dialogue options a la Telltale. Occasionally there will be a serviceable quick time event. My favorite parts were the few times you're allowed to walk around and interact with objects and people, like during a protest, in your father's study, or at a revolutionary headquarters. These moments slow the tense action down and let you view the pieces of history you've collected as you've snapped photos and read about Iranian culture. I haven't felt like I learned this much from playing a game in a while, and there are clear parallels here between this and Never Alone. I use Never Alone to teach about culture in my SOCI 1101 classes, and I had bought 1979 Revolution as a potential tool to discuss social movements or politics. Not sure how well it would function for an actual play session in class, but at least as an example may be useful to demonstrate something about religion and politics, ethnocentrism, and some other topics. If I had to score this game, I'd give it around an 80, which is 10 points lower than I would have given it before the ending, which just...ends. Did they run out of time or money to finish? Are they planning a sequel? Not cool! I also don't think your choices mattered much. I can't imagine what else could have happened in the end depending on choices you make regarding your brother and cooperating or not with the warden. Also, at the end the game credits Sundance. Do they have a game development arm? I hope so. More games like this would be welcome!Tue, 24 Jul 2018 16:30:55 CDT (PC) - Tue, 24 Jul 2018 10:35:54 started playing this at my mom's house a couple weekends ago with my uncle and 14-year-old niece present. He's a conservative pastor man and so I stopped out of respect when Delilah started dropping F-bombs. My niece, sitting with me reading, says, "Why did you turn it off?" She was enjoying watching. I said, "Uh, because it's supposed to be widescreen on this TV and it's not, and it's not recognizing my controller right." Lame. So I booted it back up last week and thoroughly enjoyed the game, though it's not perfect. Certainly the highlights are the dialogue, overall story, and voice acting, which is superb. Henry (main character) and Delilah play off one another so well, and their relationship evolves easily and naturally. I liked Henry's backstory and reason for going out into the wilderness, though I didn't like the ending because that's not what I see myself doing in his situation. The ending also leaves something to be desired in terms of finality. Everything is wrapped up, but nothing is concluded, if that makes sense. The Wyoming forest is an excellent environment, and I love that they give you an old camera to play with and take photos. I felt alone, but immersed in the beauty of the mountains. At the same time, I felt connected to Delilah, while still feeling the distance between us, and by comparison, constantly reminded of the distance (physical, mental) between Henry and his sick wife. It's actually quite a sad game, dealing with illness and isolation and alcohol abuse and death and lying in impossible situations, but it weaves in all these funny and happy moments throughout. I'm curious to re-play this sometime with the audio commentary turned on. It's not a long game. Took me a little over 5 hours. The main thing I disliked about it was getting stuck on ledges and rocks. It happened upwards of 10 times, and although I never had to reload because of it, it was frustrating. Looking at the map and compass could be a bit cumbersome when figuring out where to go, but I get that it is 1988, and I got used to it. Anyway, worth a shot if you like a good "walking simulator" mystery with excellent writing. Tue, 24 Jul 2018 10:35:54 CDT Fantasy V (PS) - Sun, 15 Jul 2018 20:14:54 played about 5 hours of this and it didn't stand out besides being wonderfully nostalgic. Apparently this one was notable for the job system later made famous (and perfected, according to me) in FF Tactics and for having summons. The story was forgettable and the characters were overly cartoonish and pretty uninteresting. The nostalgia was so strong though! It's such a simple RPG! Walk around the small 2D maps, talk to NPCs in towns to glean where to go next, buy your new gear, click on all the pots and treasure chests, sail to the next location, wander through the dungeon, fight the boss, go to the next town, etc. It's cool to see a 25-year-old game have all these Final Fantasy staples--the music, chocobos, the menus, summons, jobs, etc. Of course I played the original Nintendo game when I was a kid, but my family had a Sega, not a SNES, so I missed all the rest until FFVII on Playstation, and have played all the main ones since that one, except the MMOs and XV. Anyway, I started to get a little bored and looked up how this one was rated compared to VI, which I also acquired, and apparently V is largely regarded as one of the worst, while VI is one of the best. So out with V, in with VI. Sun, 15 Jul 2018 20:14:54 CDT of Fate (PC) - Mon, 09 Jul 2018 11:37:23 was sold on the idea of Hand of Fate before playing it, and I tried it at a friend's house sometime last year, bought it, and just got around to playing it the last couple weeks. It's a mixture of deck building, dungeon crawling, and action RPG. You are "the player" sitting across a card table from "the dealer." There's no exposition. You're dropped into this mysterious situation. The dealer is an enigmatic figure, and I want to know more about him. Throughout the game, there is little in the way of story regarding who he is, who you are, and why you are there. The dealer tells you that you're playing "the game" that he's created, many have played before you, the dealer always wins, and all the players have died. And he alludes to the fact that somehow Iím regaining my memories through the cards, which leads me to believe I was some adventurer or another who maybe just stepped through the wrong portal and found myself here. The dealer explains the game to you over the first level, but youíre figuring a lot out yourself (e.g., that some cards get locked to you until you fulfill their conditions, that the icon on the bottom of the card is a token that grants rewards for fulfilling conditions, that you can equip as many rings as you want, etc.). Very intuitive way to present rules and information. So *basically* how the game works is as follows: - Deck building is fantastic and never gets old. You have two pools of cards, equipment and encounter cards. Equipment is your various types of weapons, armor, rings, and artifacts (trinkets that have some special use like making you temporarily invisible, giving you a fire aura, reflecting ranged attacks, etc.). Encounter cards are little scenarios that determine much of what happens to you in each level. For example, The Maiden can give you food, increase your max health, and bless you. Ambush gets you a combat encounter with an equipment draw card as reward. Dark Carnival has you choosing a series of chance cards as your character explores a weird carnival. There's usually some element of risk/reward with the encounter cards. The Altar, for example, gives you a 50/50 chance to be blessed or cursed. All these give the feel of a tabletop game with the dealer as DM. Anyway, you choose a prescribed number of equipment and encounter cards to fill your deck, and then you enter the level. - Dungeon crawling is exciting. Levels are made up of a series of encounter card arrangements that your player, as a tabletop game piece, moves across. Find the exit, go to the next area, explore the area, find the stairs, and repeat until you find the level's boss in the final area. Each card you land on flips over and you resolve the encounter. There is *tons* of chance here, though you have some control over what encounters you will...encounter...based on what you chose to include in the deck. When you have to choose chance cards, you can have either a Huge Success, Success, Failure, or Huge Failure, which will change the outcome of the scenario. However, as I learned when reading an FAQ one night, the chance cards are not completely random! You're shown the cards, and then they are shuffled. But there is order to it. If you watch closely, you can follow individual cards as they shuffle. Itís not too hard when there is like one or two slow shuffles, but itís pretty impossible when the shuffle speeds up and especially when there are three or four shuffles. But it makes your odds of the easy shuffle encounters almost 100%, which means guaranteed equipment or blessings or whatever. Prior to this, I'd just been picking the left-hand card every time because I thought it was random. But now, if I choose the wrong card, it feels like my fault! Each level also puts different default curses on the player, and the dealer shuffles different negative cards into the decks, and this can make things really tricky! One level that stood out cursed me with "Whenever you acquire a curse, lose 10 max HP." You begin with 100HP, so 10 is a lot. I had runs where I was cursed down to 40 max HP because he also shuffled encounter cards in that would put a random curse on you. Another level curses you such that when you counter-attack, you consume a food (every space you move consumes a food, and if you run out of food, your health begins to drain, so you *really* need to manage your food) AND every character takes additional 50% damage. The next-to-last level, the dealer shuffled a bunch of Rusty Axes (the worst weapon) in my equipment pile, so it was difficult to acquire a good weapon. These starting curses and insidious dealer cards can really change what equipment or encounters you put in your decks. For example, to combat the "lose 10 max HP per curse" curse, I only included one helmet in my deck, the one that reveals the exit from each area when you enter an area, and then included every encounter card that had a chance to give me a helmet. Once practically guaranteed to get that helmet, I could make a beeline for the exit in every area, thus not veering off in unnecessary directions landing on more curse cards, and allowing me to attempt the boss with sufficient HP. The one that consumed a piece of food every time I counter-attacked and made everyone take 50% more damage meant that I couldnít counter and I couldnít get hit much. I wound up removing most of the combat encounter cards from my deck and luckily discovered a couple rings that let me heal in combat (one saved me on the boss). - Action RPG combat leaves something to be desired. It hearkens back to simpler days of button mashing hack-n-slash games. A little slow response to buttons (e.g., slightly sluggish movement, you can get caught in combo or finisher animations, etc.), but there is a rhythm to it in the attacking and counter-attacking. It's almost got an Arkham/Shadow of Mordor feel. If this was polished, the game would be significantly more fun. As it is, the combat becomes nearly as frustrating as the randomness. Blessings and equipment can change the feel of combat, but it's generally basic and easy to get overwhelmed (e.g., 6 lava golems, multiple bosses at once). Some encounters just kill me (Lich, &#*!@ Kraken), and randomness plays in both to (sometimes) what monsters you will fight and what equipment, blessings, curses, and health buffs, you will have accumulated up to that point. For example, I almost rage quit after I unlocked the Kraken encounter, which becomes a locked card in your encounters pile (i.e., it cannot be removed until you defeat it). I kept landing on the Kraken, at least 6 games in a row. You can't flee from the Kraken, so you have to fight it, and the fight involves actually fighting the last regular boss, the King of Scales, whom I hadn't even encountered at that point outside the Kraken battle, WHILE trying to kill the Kraken. It was brutal. This turned really detailed, huh. One of my favorite things about Hand of Fate is that you can play the game with different goals (e.g., progressing through quest lines; trying to kill a particular boss or complete a particular task; or going for the level progression). There is also an endless mode, and DLC that adds different modifications to your character (think classes). I wonder how differently Hand of Fate 2 changes up the formula. I mostly want to see improved combat. Super interesting game though, highly recommend checking it out.Mon, 09 Jul 2018 11:37:23 CDT Frame (PS2) - Sat, 30 Jun 2018 15:24:45 got this cool RCA --> HDMI adapter off Amazon that lets me play PS2 on my newfangled TV. It should also work with Wii, so I've been accumulating Wii games to exhaust that system now that I'm done with PS3 and Xbox 360. Fatal Frame was the last PS2 game I had, but I acquired a stack of Final Fantasy games, including V and VI (PS1), which will work with my new combo, so I'm also excited to see SNES era Final Fantasy games that I never played. ANYWAY. Fatal Frame. I had a girlfriend once who was always talking about this game. She liked horror games. We had an Xbox version that we never played. At some point I bought a PS2 version, no idea why. I didn't even know I still had it, but I was cleaning and found it. ANYWAY again. Fatal Frame has some serious pros and some serious cons. PROS - The atmosphere is terrifying. The game is set in a haunted old Japanese mansion. Creaky. Falling apart. The site of horrific rituals. Mean ghosts. The visuals and audio hold up surprisingly well. After I heard how good the sound design was, I played with headphones on. Good choice. It's totally haunting. Very immersive. - It FEELS like survival horror games of the era (e.g., Silent Hill, Resident Evil). This is both good and bad. For example, the controls are tough to handle, but for the beginning of the game, it's not too hindering. As you walk, the fixed camera angles will change, forcing you to reorient yourself before you accidentally walk back where you came from or run into a wall or an enemy. The game is very dark, which makes your flashlight especially important. Right, this is all nostalgic in a good sort of way. But, it is bad because (see con 3). - Puzzles and story. Thoroughly enjoyable puzzles to move the story forward. They haven't been difficult so far, but I'm sure they get a little harder. It's how the story uses puzzles that's really cool. So for example, one thing I picked up on is that the game centers around the "strangling ritual," which is basically that a sacrifice victim is drawn and quartered...well, no, fifthed (add the head)...with ropes tied around the to-be-removed body parts. In the game, you have to find five shattered mirror pieces and put them together. Puzzles are replete with Japanese folklore and imagery. The first mirror piece you've got to find a Buddha statue, and solving this puzzle reveals where some missing children have gone to, who were playing something called "demon tag," which is like a Japanese version of tag where "it" is a demon. Anyway, I enjoyed how steeped in Japanese folklore the game is. Really added to the atmosphere. CONS - Voice acting is generally bad. Par for the course for Japanese survival horror from this era though. The ghosts sound good, but the humans do not. Very flat and emotionless. Slow talkers. - Combat. Combat in the game involves pointing your Camera Obscura at a ghost, holding the targeting circle over the ghost as it moves and as your shot powers up, and then pushing X when you want to attack (or square when the circle turns orange for a critical hit). I like the combat for its novelty and how scary it can be, but hate it for other overwhelming reasons. The ghosts are extremely irritating enemies. Yeah, they're scary, but as I played more and more, they became more annoying than scary. They disappear and reappear on another side of you, become untargetable, move through solid objects, and take a large chunk of your life per hit. Each hit slows you, and since you may be disoriented from a fixed camera shift (see below) it's not unlikely you'll get grabbed again quickly before you figure out which direction to run. Add to that limited healing supplies, and this became so tedious. - As you progress, the clunky controls (a) break the immersion and (b) get you killed. Here's a prime example in combat: As you run from an enemy, the fixed camera will change positions, which sometimes makes you run in a direction that you don't want to go. Trying to control your character in tense moments breaks immersion. Add ghost teleportation in the mix, and the controls become extremely frustrating when you are hit and die because the camera keeps changing and the ghosts keep disappearing and reappearing. Worse, the sound doesnít accurately tell you what direction ghosts are coming from because often the sound will change with the camera angle and not the ghost direction! You literally can't tell when this is happening when you're in camera mode because it's first-person and you don't see the camera shift. The ghost noises just seem to spin around you, then a ghost will kill you from behind when you were listening to the ghost sound coming from in front of you. Add into that how the controls change while using the camera! You normally move with LS and look around with the flashlight with RS, like every other game. But for some reason when you go into the camera mode, LS moves the camera, and RS moves the character. I cannot tell you how many times I was hit and/or died because I'd go into camera mode and walk into a ghost when I meant to move the camera up, or moved the camera around when I meant to run away. It makes no sense! And you can't change it! I had a harsh lesson in manual save points (and Fatal Frame's combat) the first time I played. I hadn't seen a save point in an hour and then got killed by a ghost. Had to play the first 45 minutes or so, after the tutorial, all over again. That repeated over and over, the dying, if not with so long between saves. I made it about 30% of the way through and figured I'd gotten the gist of it. Read the rest of the story and watched the ending bits on YouTube. Glad I played a little bit of Fatal Frame. Also glad to cut it short. Sat, 30 Jun 2018 15:24:45 CDT