GameLogBlogging the experience of gameplay (PC) - 08 Aug 2018 - by jp (This entry has been edited1 time. It was last edited on Tue, 14 Aug 2018 15:37:55.)jpWed, 08 Aug 2018 23:57:57 UTC (PC) - 08 Aug 2018 - by dkirschner 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.dkirschnerWed, 08 Aug 2018 23:54:35 UTC Full Clip Edition (PC) - 04 Aug 2018 - by dkirschner! 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.dkirschnerSat, 04 Aug 2018 11:47:11 UTC Revolution: Black Friday (PC) - 24 Jul 2018 - by dkirschner, 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!dkirschnerTue, 24 Jul 2018 16:30:55 UTC (PC) - 24 Jul 2018 - by dkirschner 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. dkirschnerTue, 24 Jul 2018 10:35:54 UTC Team: Metal Cartoon Squad (DS) - 22 Jul 2018 - by jp this a bit more, and sadly it didn't get any more interesting. I did figure out that there's a map that gives you an overview of the entire level (which makes it easier to get to the end). I had a bit of trouble with the first boss, strangely. It took me a few deaths to really understand what was going on (it wasn't clear to me when I was/wasn't taking damage). Once that was sorted out it wasn't too hard to beat. This one's going on the just wasn't that fun for me.jpSun, 22 Jul 2018 17:50:21 UTC Fantasy V (PS) - 15 Jul 2018 - by dkirschner 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. dkirschnerSun, 15 Jul 2018 20:14:54 UTC Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (3DS) - 10 Jul 2018 - by jp has been a great game to play on the plane with my two kids. There's surprisingly more stuff to do than I expected - even as a single player (which I haven't experienced yet, but maybe later?). We've played in - I think - three different worlds so far, and each has a different item you use to solve puzzles and such. It's pretty standard Zelda in that regard, but having three links running around doing things adds a lot to the chaos and mayhem. At the end of each area you open a chest and get an item you use as materials for different outfits, and different outfits give you bonuses/special abilities which are fun. We've each unlocked a few - I only have one copy of the game, but the kids download to their devices AND they can save their progress which is neat.jpTue, 10 Jul 2018 17:52:58 UTC a Move 2: Dance Tengoku Mix (PS) - 09 Jul 2018 - by jp'm currently on vacation and I've been going through stuff I had "in storage". My old (original) Playstation was among the things I've pulled out and plan to get back into "circulation". Fortunately, it worked, and I spend a nice 30-45 minutes playing this game with my son - who was not familiar with this style of music/dance game. It took a few seconds to remember how it all worked and I now wonder what happened to this "branch" of the evolutionary road in game design. This game is a weird hybrid of sorts - it's a rhythm/action game that also feels like a fighting game although there's no combat. Here's how it works (this is partly as I recall, since I didn't play it that long!) a. The game has a bunch of characters, each of which have different dance moves (and a song and a stage). The dance moves change if you pick different characters and might even vary in their difficulty to pull off. b. Each match has a set length (the song) during which you'll get to do a certain number of moves. There are moments where you have moves, but not your opponent (solos!) and vice versa. c. Moves are a sequence of button presses illustrated in the screen (e.g. up,up,down,left). Each move ends with a separate button press (e.g. X or O). The final button press has to be on beat - the prior presses don't have to be. [This is what feels like a fighting game - these are combo moves!] d. If you get a sequence right, the next sequence is "upgraded" - get all the sequences right and you "fever" (AFAI remember, that's the "best"). e. If you get it wrong, you start over (or from a previous sequence). Obviously you won't get the highest rating. There are ways to attack your opponent, but I don't recall what they are. I DO recall that there are SECRET sequences you can do to unlock even higher combo levels and better scores. Anyways, the game still holds up incredibly well - even the gameplay feels fresh and different from other stuff out there now. Weird, huh? Also, I think it's a reasonably early game such that "O" is the default for "ok/accept" rather than "X" (then "cancel/back"). Story goes that US/Western devs ignored (didn't know?) the recommended default and used "X" instead - pissing off Japanese devs who then had to change when some Western games became really popular and cemented the "wrong" standard. It's been "X" as default for ok/accept ever since.jpMon, 09 Jul 2018 15:56:42 UTC Team: Metal Cartoon Squad (DS) - 09 Jul 2018 - by jp this in during a short plane ride and...hmmm... I haven't done any research on the game whatsoever so I'm super curious to know if it's based on an existing IP or not. It's just that the art is so bad that it feels like the only way this would make sense is for it to be based on an IP with a particular niche crowd and aesthetic. Otherwise, the art is just bad... The game, so far (I've only played three levels) is a to down twin stick shooter where you control movement with one hand and the shooting direction with the other. It feels a bit awkward to play for me, but having the large-sied DS doesn't help either. You mostly run 'n gun, with some pickups along the way to heal, change to a rocket launcher, or move faster. Other that that, I'm not sure what else to expect.jpMon, 09 Jul 2018 15:29:46 UTC