The Last Of Us – Slowpoke Review

Okay, so I’m veeeery late to the party on this one, but I finally got around to playing The Last Of Us (the remastered version on PS4), and boy, is it good. It was hyped up immensely to me, not only on the internet but also by my friends, so I was very curious to try it. I’m not usually one for violent games, but I didn’t want to pass up a game that’s been nominated for so many awards.

Be warned: if you want to go into this game completely fresh, there will be some slight spoilers here, but I will try to keep the mid-to-late-game plot points to a minimum.

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Monument Valley 2 Review – Like Mother, Like Daughter

Monument Valley 2, the sequel to 2014’s highly acclaimed Monument Valley, came out on Android a few days ago (though it was out for iPhone months ago—even when I’m early, I’m late!), and I immediately picked it up since I had loved the original so much. Plus, it was only $5, and I’m much happier paying a few bucks for a phone game than getting one for free and having to deal with ads and microtransactions.

I can say without hesitation that this is one of the best games that I’ve ever played on a phone. It manages to reach (though not quite exceed) the heights attained by its predecessor, not simply by adding more levels, but also by layering on more meaning and depth. Instead of a lone character, you now control two, a mother and daughter. Sometimes the mother will get separated from her daughter, and you’ll have to find a way to get them back together. Other times, the two will intentionally separate, and you’ll explore what you can do on your own.

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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.

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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.