Undertale Review

Like so many games I buy on Steam, I bought Undertale a while ago in some flash sale, and didn’t touch it for months, while my friends told me how good it was. “I’ll get around to it eventually,” I said, as I turned my attention back to Pokémon Moon or Gears of War. But it always stayed in the back of my mind as something I really needed to get to.

When I finally did, it immediately struck me as something unlike anything I had ever played before.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition Review – Here There Be Greatness

At the rate I’m going, I should probably just call my blog Slowpoke Reviews. I’ve finally gotten around to finishing Dragon Age: Inquisition, the fantastic “new” entry in the Dragon Age series from Bioware. The game released in 2014 to critical acclaim, including numerous Game of the Year awards–in fact, my copy was the “Game of the Year edition,” which included all of the DLC.

Continue reading Dragon Age: Inquisition Review – Here There Be Greatness

Inside Review: Beautiful Nightmare

Every once in a while, a game comes along that leaves you stunned, satisfied, yet full of questions. Limbo and Braid are both examples of this type of game, and I’m happy to report that the newest game from developer Playdead, Inside, joins their ranks and in fact exceeds even the heights that they reached.

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Fallout 4 Review: The Endless Wastes

Hi all! Sorry I’ve been gone for so long; what with work and trying to complete Fallout 4, I’ve been busy. But I’m back with a review for this huge game, and though it’s quite a bit late, I’d still like to lay out my thoughts on it. So here they are!

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Below: GDC Trailer

You gotta see this new trailer for Below. And turn your volume waaay up. If this isn’t the most epic thing you’ve seen all day…well, then you live a more exciting life than I.

Below is a “brutal but fair” rogue-like made by Capy Games, coming to Xbox One and Steam this summer.

Below: My New Most Anticipated Xbox Game

Before IGN started doing more in-depth articles and videos about the game Below, I didn’t know much about it. I’d remembered seeing a trailer at E3 and being intrigued by the moody atmosphere and Zelda-like gameplay, but after that I had mostly forgotten about it. This month, IGN is featuring Below as their IGN First Game of the Month, and have been showcasing various aspects of the game. Now I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

The first thing you’ll notice is how isolating the game is. The camera is pulled way back, giving the island that you’re exploring a sense of scale, while at the same time making you feel small and alone. It is also very dark, and with a torch in hand you can only see a small area around you. This gives a sense of hopelessness and adds to the feeling of isolation. Not to mention Jim Guthrie is scoring the game, and his tunes sound quite haunting in the trailers.

Also, there’s perma-death, which means this game is going to be fairly brutal. But if Capybara (the studio making Below) is able to balance this with a sense of reward and progression–if I really feel like I do better with each failure rather than being stuck in the same place–perma-death could work to the game’s advantage. I have faith in the developer–they have a pretty good pedigree, having made both Sword & Sworcery EP and Super Time Force.

You can check out an overview video below.

How Tacoma Developer Fullbright Makes Games

Courtesy of Polygon.

This is exactly how I want to make games! With a small group of people, sharing ideas and trying them out easily, without having to go through the whole laborious processes you would at a big corporation. These people are truly living the dream.

WTF is Wrong with Video Games?

Courtesy of Polygon.

An interesting read. I’ve never played The Last of Us (I swear I’ll get around to it!) but everything this guy says makes sense to me. Probably most of the games I’ve played have all had game mechanics that were completely separated from and had no bearing on the art or the story of the game itself. That said, I’ve also played plenty of games where the mechanics and story were intimately linked. Braid‘s rewind time mechanic speaks to the main character’s wish he could undo what he’s done; The Last Story‘s Power of the Outsider is a physical manifestation of Zael’s desire to protect people. I think the problem is, for many games, there is no story, no higher goal other than to hook you in with addictive gameplay. (Exhibit A: Nearly any game for smartphones.) That may simply be an inherent quality of games, though–at their core, they are about interactive fun. Supposedly. Personally I agree with this author–I think it’s high time games stopped making fun their primary objective, and started branching off into fresh, new directions. When I sit down to watch a movie like Clockwork Orange, I’m not looking to have fun, I’m looking to be challenged and left wondering what it all means. Games are on the right track, but I think they have a ways to go.

The Last Story Review: A Touching Swan Song for the Wii

The Last Story was one of the last games released for the Wii, which now collects dust alongside copies of Wii Sports and Wii Fit in many homes. I however, having not had time or money to buy and play new console games, am still working my way through a backlog of old games. The Last Story, though, is likely to be the last game I play for the Wii, and I think it’s a perfect send-off for it. Continue reading The Last Story Review: A Touching Swan Song for the Wii

The Witness: New Trailer, Release Date Announced

Hi everyone! Long time no see! Sorry for the hiatus, I just started a new job at Microsoft and moved to Seattle, so I haven’t really had time for blogging or playing video games. But rest assured, I have definitely been keeping up with gaming news, and I’m currently playing through The Last Story for Wii. [Insert Slowpoke meme here.] Expect a review soon!

Jonathan Blow, creator of indie darling Braid and the upcoming The Witness, just did an interview with Polygon about his new game, and if you’re a fan of his work or indie games or if you’re interested in good game design, it’s a must-read. He talks about how he takes an incredibly simple concept, solving a maze, and stretches it to its fullest potential, not afraid to make gamers get stuck along the way.

A new trailer also got quietly released yesterday, announcing the release date to be January 16, 2016. It looks absolutely gorgeous, even better than it looked in the E3 trailer. If this game is half as good as Braid, it’s going to be a must-play. I’m a big advocate for games as an art form, and The Witness looks like it’s going to be another point for games as art.