"It would be fair, I think, to describe these lockers as suffocating—intolerably so. Finding yourself relegated time and again to the Sevastopol’s invariable refuge simply isn’t interesting, let alone fun. The game is unreasonably, punishingly difficult, even on the easiest setting, to the degree that I frequently abandoned it mid-mission in frustration, returning only when I mustered the patience to soldier back in. And yet, as far as I can tell, this is all very much the point. It’s apparent that Alien: Isolation is frustrating by design. It is also unfair by design, oppressive by design, and perhaps even—frankly—unfun by design. This is a game whose chief objective is to authentically simulate the experience of surviving in the presence of a Xenomorph, the acid-blooded, razor-toothed, virtually invulnerable creature at the heart of Ridley Scott’s Alien. Fifteen hours and probably a thousand deaths later, I emerge from this simulation convinced of its accuracy: If I ever find myself alone with one of these things, it’s safe to say that I will die—swiftly and brutally.”
Showing 301 posts tagged gameological
"I’m immediately left wondering about the possible real-world implications of my action-movie fantasy. Are any of these people hearing me interrogate and kill these guys? How can they not? I imagine an innocent, fair-going child discovering the body and being scarred for life. Sam Fisher, in that moment, seems less a hero and more a maniac murdering people in the park. To be fair, I don’t think you’re supposed to sympathize with Sam much throughout this story. He’s at his most extreme and bitter, killing brutally and quickly. This amount of dissonance, however, breaks from the tone of the rest of the game and creates a lingering disturbance. It’s the intrusion of more realism than we’ve been trained to expect in this sort of cinematic action romp, while you yourself intrude somewhere you don’t seem to quite belong."
"It is a confident approach, and for a game like Bayonetta 2, it is also the only approach. This is a game that takes some central ideas—ultraviolence, religious iconography, female eroticism—flattens its palm on the sliders, moves them all the way to the right, and then breaks them off; we won’t be needing those again. Watching these maxed-out themes play with and bounce off each other is fascinating nonsense that gets stranger as the game progresses.”
"Sauron may have inadvertently created a rival, though, when Talion develops the ability to control orc minds and make them his own lobotomized servants to counter the Dark Lord’s army. This dynamic has raised troubling issues for some. Is Shadow Of Mordor not, in fact, the story of Talion at all, but instead that of an oppressed race of orcs doomed to do the bidding of a series of tyrannical masters? Have we as a society gotten the orcs wrong this whole time? Are the likes of Nazkuga and Ratanak the real victims here—not Talion and his brutally murdered family? Is the wraith-ranger’s mission tantamount to ethnic cleansing and slaving?”
"Pompey isn’t a whole lot like Chrono Trigger’s Truce. We don’t have a port. There’s no massive castle sitting to the west. We don’t have a sweet cobblestone arcade at the center perfect for a Millennial Fair. Pompey’s got an old cannon infested with red spiders at its center. Come summer we have the Field Days. It’s got a Tilt-A-Whirl. It also doesn’t have a local teen’s teleportation device accidentally ripping open space-time, so we’ve got that going for us. I get Truce, though, and I get why Crono, Marle, and Lucca do something insane like trying to save the world. Not only do they love their hometown, they know it in a way no one else does. They literally walk its entire history, from the moment it’s created to the moment it’s destroyed. How their relationship forms with their hometown’s history is what lets them save the world.”
"The new Smash does a remarkable job of making all of its characters—not just the new ones—worth playing. I often would let the game choose a fighter for me. This is a testament to the work the developers have done to amplify not just Smash’s signature arsenal of nostalgia-inducing items, arenas, and fighters but also more minute details, like the way characters move and control and the satisfying impact of their strikes. The attempt to appease both camps of Smash fans—those who play “For Fun” and those who compete “For Glory,” as Nintendo has put it—does far more good than harm here, making Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo 3DS the best of both worlds.”
“Eternal Darkness benefited from slightly more sophisticated tactics, but it isn’t difficult to imagine Castle himself devising and marketing Nintendo’s patented “sanity meter”—that epithet even sounds like a Castle original. And in the end the sanity meter’s appeal isn’t much different from the gimmicks promoted by films like The Tingler: Both promise audiences the novelty of an experience they’ve never had before. Perhaps that’s a superficial virtue, an easy way to render something ordinary extraordinary. But there’s value in seeing and feeling something new, something that genuinely takes us by surprise, even if the effect is chiefly to annoy.”
"By using the familiar locations, characters, and items of the Zelda games, along with the attention to detail that has become Nintendo’s signature, Hyrule Warriors is by far the most accessible entry in the Dynasty Warriors family. It feels more refined, with clarity of scope and a greater sense of agency in combat. At the same time, this is the least accessible Zelda game thanks to its truncated story and reliance on series history.”
"In popular fiction, when zombies, plagues, or GMOs lay waste to the planet, humanity tends to huddle around barrels of burning trash and sometimes band together to fend off the feral coyote-wolf hybrids hounding them at every turn. Well, Megaton is like an enormous flaming trash barrel, and it has more than a few unshaven hobos shivering around its central, yet to be ignited, atomic flame. Yet while they lack many of the obvious protections enjoyed by those living inside the vault, as well as any semblance of personal hygiene, the citizens of Megaton have learned to depend on the person next to them to get along. In many ways, it’s the ideal post-apocalyptic neighborhood."
"Double Fine’s Hack ’N’ Slash is all about giving you the coveted power of perception, peeling back the game’s symbols to reveal the mathematical viscera underneath. In its opening moments, your Link-like adventurer gets a sword, which promptly breaks, revealing what looks suspiciously like a USB connector. When you swing the sword against a nearby door, a pop-up menu appears, letting you edit the state of the door. You flip its “closed” value from [true] to [false], leave the menu, and the door slides open. From here, the game begins gleefully showing its inner workings, turning its internal logic into puzzles. Hacking the game around you makes for a fascinating time, but Hack ’N’ Slash too often gets lost in its own guts.”