Gamewatch

Gamewatch: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

by on Apr.30, 2012, under Gamewatch, Gaming, Reviews, Video Games

an I’m just kicking butt here with the game completion stuff huh?

So hot off the heels of finishing The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, I finish off Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. The end came actually as a bit of a surprise. I was expecting maybe two or three more hours of game play from where I picked it back up, but I managed to finish it in about an hour and a half, even though the final areas required me to die no less than three times each.

Uncharted is the video game series that proved the PS3’s graphical superiority to just about everything save some of the best computers out there and most of those don’t have software support to rival the PS3. The first Uncharted was a fun ride with impressive graphics, decent game play, and a good sense of humor. The closest thing to an action adventure film the game industry had seen in a long time. You controlled the main hero, who’s quips were often too hilarious for me, and solved puzzles via climbing, jump, and contextual buttons interspersed with cover based firearm combat. The second game upped the scale with more impressive death-defying scenes and interactive cut scenes, similar if improved combat, and even better graphics. Whether or not the story improved is up to personal opinion and whether or not you like the main character.

The third game, on the other hand, upped a few things but not by much. They worked heavily on having your character interact with the environment in a bit of a believable way. For example if your character runs into a wall, he lifts his hands to stop himself from hitting his head on it. Walking down a stairs with a railing or along a wall causes your character to reach out and touch the wall itself as you might do while you’re walking beside it. Little things like that. Combat improvements included a melee system that more or less worked on a basic strike, counter, grab that was neat during interactive cut scenes but less useful during actual gun fights.

Some of the nitpicking I have were that the graphics didn’t really seem to improve at all. If they had I didn’t really notice. The environment layouts were still interesting and breathtaking but I was still getting some uncanny valley on some of the characters. Additionally the game had no install time, which meant that loading the game, and then loading your save, took forever. Plus advertisement credits at the beginning of the game meant a total load time of at least a minute if not more, before I actually started to play the game.

Another weird area was the story. I’m not sure if I liked it better than the second game or if it is on par. I do not really remember the second game’s story other than Drake was having woman problems between his love interest in the first game and a new “edgier” woman who may or may not have betrayed in him the second game. The third game, however, focuses on Nathan’s long-term father-like figure, Sully, even having several flashbacks which help explain how they met, and how everything ties together. Where the story seems to fail for me is the characterization of all the new characters. There is an ally we’ve never met before who, while funny, seems slightly out-of-place. And the two major villains of the story never really explained what they were doing, what they wanted, or what was happening, other than they had a history with Sully and Nathan and were willing to use them to get the treasure everybody was supposedly hunting. It wouldn’t seem like a big nitpick except that all the scenes with the villains played out like Nathan had a serious vested interest in their failure, while I the player, didn’t really know or care.

On other aspect of the story that I felt was touched upon but never really brought to fruition was that we’re giving a back story of how Nathan and Sully meet, which involves pointing out that we don’t really know who Nathan Drake is, or his past, or that he really is or isn’t related to the original Sir Frances Drake. Given the title being Drake’s Deception, I was expecting more revelations regarding Nathan, not just what Sir Frances Drake did many years in the past.

So sadly the story did not meet my expectations. The game play, while fun, was more or less the same old bag. The cinematic nature of the game was upheld but not as memorable as some of the scenes from Uncharted 2. One advantage is that the game is relatively short although the story does seem to end a bit abruptly for me. Overall I liked it but I likely won’t play it again.

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Gamewatch: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

by on Apr.26, 2012, under Articles, Gamewatch, Gaming, Reviews, Video Games

Seems like forever since I did a game watch, although it was really only a month ago. For those of you who don’t remember, Gamewatch is where I report actually finishing a video game I’ve been playing. Since, in the past, I’ve had difficulty completing video games in favor of starting new ones.

That brings us to my latest conquest: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I was a big fan of Twilight Princess. Not only did you get to be a wolf, which was awesome, but the ending boss battle was one of the most memorable for in all the Zelda games, hearkening back to the old SNES and NES titles. If there was an issue with Twilight Princess, it was that it was still rather formulaic. It copied most of its game play from Ocarina of Time which was in no way a bad thing but when compared to the latest installment, Skyward Sword, makes it feel somewhat lacking.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, turns so many things about the Zelda franchise on its head, yet keeping the spirit of the game and the good aspects of the game play making the entire game very fresh and fun. I was surprised by several turn of events and not by others but I ultimately enjoyed the entire game. The most interesting change, I feel, was that there was a far more consistent plot to the game. Rather than the typical hero’s journey to save the princess, Zelda is not so much the princess as a mayor’s daughter, and while she needs assistance, she is as much apart of a the quest of destiny as you. In fact half the game is spent following her trail that she is blazing through a post-apocalyptic world. No not leather and chains just the surface of the world, which was mostly abandoned by people in order to live in the sky away from an invasion of monsters.

Some of the nitpicks I have for the game is the flying mechanic. Your character spends a lot of time flying on his bird between locations in the sky and to locations on the ground. The “skyworld” is not very large and it takes perhaps two-three minutes to fly across it without any special speed boosts but it is also very boring to fly across. Unlike horse riding in prior games, there’s no scenery to get a sense of motion. Just small floating islands getting bigger or smaller. There are some random birds with gems you can knock down, and some floating rocks have enemies that shoot at you, but they don’t provide that interesting of a distraction. Flying is fun for maybe the first hour but you spend about a quarter of the game flying places and it just gets old after a while.

One nitpick I’ve heard from others is that the game reuses areas too much. There are three main surface world areas and two major skyworld areas. Through the course of the game you open up the pieces of each surface area, which generally requires going through the initial area multiple times. I can see how people might feel a little tired being asked to run through one area a few times to get to a new area but you spend much more time in new areas than you do in old ones, and often even the most trekked areas newly accessible secrets with the gear you’ve newly acquired. The game makes heavy use of modifying the areas you’re in to be new and different, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, but ultimately it worked for me.

Overall I would highly suggest this game for Zelda fans.

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Game Watch: Batman: Arkham City

by on Mar.14, 2012, under Gamewatch, Gaming, Reviews, Video Games

So over the weekend I finished a video game. It has been awhile, it feels like, since I did that. Video games are something I still have trouble finishing, as I’ll let myself get distracted by new games, or I’ll try to focus on other things that should be more important such as updating this blog, or my writing. However the weekend was rainy, most of my plans had been canceled and I was very close to finishing. So I punched it. Or rather, I punched the joker, a lot.

Batman: Arkham City, is the sequel to the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum. In some ways it exceeds its predecessor and in some ways it falls behind. In both games you play as the world’s greatest detective, Batman, facing off against Batman’s numerous villains and their henchmen. The first game was limited to the contents of Arkham Asylum, the prison/psychiatric facility where a majority of Batman’s super villains are sent to once they are captured. In this game, you are limited to an area of Gotham City that has been re-purposed into a giant sprawling prison renamed Arkham City, run by the former warden of Arkham Asylum.

I admit, the idea that any city would let someone build a giant wall around a section of itself, then populate it with criminals and super villains seems insane to me and even at the beginning of the game I was questioning if it wasn’t just some way for the game to “think bigger” like some sequels like to do. However by the end of the game, after unlocking back story that helps explain what happened in between the two games, I feel much better about it. Still it would have been nice if that information was available from the beginning and not an unlockable.

[spoiler show=”Click to read about the Gameplay”]So where in you were Batman before, wandering through corridors and into vents and hanging from ledges and railings in an insane asylum, you are now Batman swooping around an entire cityscape, landing on unsuspecting “inmates” and generally causing mayhem for super villains who have carved out territories among the mostly un-policed Arkham City. You begin as Batman was at the end of the last game, which grants you access to quiet a few gadgets which are mostly unexplained. The game lack an obvious tutorial, although I suspect the beginning sequence attempts to teach you the basics, it certainly is no substitute for having played the prior game.And where Batman: Arkham City shines is in its game play. Between gadgets and simple but infinitely complex combat system, Batman Arkham City manages to make you feel like you are Batman. Except that my Batman was more likely to die than any other Batman I’ve seen. That aside, the combat system works at it’s more core with four actions. A strike, a stun, evade, and counter. Batman will automatically target the nearest enemy in front of him if you strike or stun. However if you point the direction stick in an opposite direction from Batman and hit strike, he will attack in that direction, regardless of his facing. This leads you to doing complicated and fun combinations of elbow jabs, kicks, punches, and the occasional acrobatics. The system gets more complicated as gadgets, a combo system, and enemies which weapons are introduced, but the game gives you plenty of time to practice these added complexity until you can at least overcome the standard challenges of the game.

For those who fall in love with the combat system, there are extra challenge modes which test your fighting game skills.

Combat isn’t really even the central part of being Batman. Batman is also all about the stealth or being a “predator” and there are numerous ways to take down an unaware enemy, from sneaking up behind them silent, to dropping down from a ledge and pummeling the, to using your grapple line to string them up, pull them off ledges, jump through glass/walls to tackle them, jump out of grates and smash them into a wall, the list really never does end.

Which leads me to the gadgets. No only do you get Batman’s trusty batarang and grappling hook, but various other gadgets including an electrical emission “gun”, freeze grenades, a grappling line, small yield explosives, a hacking tools, smoke pellets, and more. None of which aren’t used at least numerous times throughout the game. I made much use of the smoke pellets, thanks to my ability to sneak up right on someone, only to have them turn around and start shooting at me.

Guns, by the way, hurt. Batman is not the kind of hero who can take a bullet. His armor protects somewhat but enemies with guns are something to be worried about and avoided or snuck up on using one of your many predator techniques. This, I feel is, one of the most awesome aspects of the game. I have to worry about guns and getting shot. Compared to so many other games where rushing the person with the gun is a viable strategy, this really helps the game hit it home that you are the Batman.

Speaking of armor, it is worth noting that the game has a token upgrade system. I say token because this time it didn’t feel so much like I was upgrading myself as I was completing all my capabilities. Individually each upgrade only felt like a minor power up, with a few notable exceptions which helped you get around the city much quicker (and were some of the first upgrades I got), and it was only towards the end of the game that I began to understand that I needed every upgrade. This I felt was a small failing of the game. When I gain a level, I should feel stoked to get the next upgrade, not feel like I’m filling in a jigsaw puzzle where the payoff is at the very end.

[/spoiler]

So game play aside, Arkham City manages to tell as interesting of a story as it’s successor did if in a bit more haphazardly way. Since the game is “sandbox” style, the story is told through a main story line that can be abandoned to do numerous types of side quests and collection quests, or just playing around. This means that the main story suffers a little, especially since there are so many collection quests thanks to The Riddler, and more than ten different official side stories to complete, some of which you can’t complete till the end of the game.

Despite the confusion, the game does a good job of providing reminders of the main story line and what you’ve been doing, during loading screens, which really helps keep the narrative together. While I won’t divulge the full story here due to spoilers, trust me in that it is a story well worthy of Batman, and (some of) the twists at the end will leave you wondering if maybe the game was trying to fool you.

All of this culminates in a game that will steal at least forty to sixty hours of your life. More so if you decide to do the optional challenges, the extra characters you can purchase for download (I highly suggest Catwoman, as her story is somewhat integral to the main plot), and trophy gathering. I spent a weekend completing the predator challenges as Batman, the final challenge taking me well over two hours and quiet a bit of frustration, despite being ultimately satisfying.

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Game Watch: Final Fantasy 13

by on May.24, 2011, under Articles, Gamewatch, Gaming, Video Games

So I just beat Final Fantasy XIII. And I honestly can’t tell you why, exactly, I decided to. I started playing it months ago. I believe before the new year began although I’m not exactly sure. I started Game Watch in an attempt to help me finish video games as I had a habit of purchasing them and then not finishing them even though they were good games. Final Fantasy XIII is not a good game but there was something about it that kept me playing.

I finished Final Fantasy XIII in 74:59:26. Which almost makes me wish I had taken 74 more seconds to play just so I could say I beat it in 75 hours exactly. Some of that time was spent not playing as I took breaks to answer emails and chat online. The game was not very engrossing and even during some of the final hours, I stopped listening to the music and instead listened to audiobooks as I played. The game’s playability was on par with driving a car. Sometimes required attention but not enough to distract me from listening to a story. Yet I did finish the game and as I write this, I ponder continuing to play it a bit longer, as it has some post-end extra content that I am curious to try, even if it would mean losing another twenty hours of my life to this game.

Final Fantasy XIII is the first Final Fantasy game I have finished since Final Fantasy VII. Of all the Final Fantasy games, I have played all of them except Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy XIV. I have beaten Final Fantasy 2/IV, 3/VI, and VII. Final Fantasy VI is still my favorite. This game played Final Fantasy X as the prettiest Final Fantasy and supplants my want to actually go back and play Final Fantasy X. Of this list Final Fantasy IX was probably the only Final Fantasy I was close to beating and then simply stopped.

To speculate, I believe I have three reasons for playing this game. The first is the amazing aesthetic. The graphics of this game are truly beautiful and support the creative aesthetic of the world and game play almost perfectly. Each character has its own style and the environments detailed enough to make me believe I was actually playing in a real world. A majority of the story was told through cut-scenes and the aesthetic really made these videos beautiful and fun to watch. I’m almost willing to say that the attention to detail in regards to aesthetic heightened my disappointment at the lack of interactivity. The aesthetic was a reason for me to continue playing the game, even if, after 75 hours, it got a little repetitive and ultimately that alone was not enough to make me keep playing.

(continue reading…)

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Portal 2: Single Player, AC2, Heavy Rain

by on Apr.24, 2011, under Entertainment, Gamewatch, Gaming, Video Games

I finally finished another game. So we have a Game Watch post! It has been a long time.  According to blog posts my last reported completed game was Uncharted 2 back in june of 2010, however I know this is incorrect as I have played Assassin’s Creed 2 to completion as well, so I will go ahead and add that to the list, as well today’s celebrant: Portal 2: Single Player.

Portal 2 is a really fun game. It gave me a replay of Portal with even more. I got to see more of what made Aperture Science, its history and what made it tick. I got to see even more of GLaDOS and listen to her passively and aggressively insult and test me the entire way. The game was definitely longer than the first but on my initial play through, not much longer. The puzzles were perhaps a little less challenge but far more varied but the story was significantly more in-depth. I am actually hoping for a Portal 3 in some form of fashion, or that the Co-op campaign reveals some more interesting tidbits of the world and GLaDOS. The ending was both awesome and a little bittersweet for it was, in fact, the end of the game. The gameplay never really got tiring which is, of course, the sign of a good game.

I plan to play it a second time to listen to the director’s commentary and try to fill out some of the achievements, since it is a game I can easily finish in a weekend if I try.

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Prototype, Batman Arkham Asylum, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

by on Jun.15, 2010, under Articles, Gamewatch, Reviews, Video Games

So I’ve been knocking through the games. Awhile back I started Prototype. I’m not going to make much of a review of it because, well, it took me 3 months to play 24 hours. Which kinda tells you something. It really wasn’t keeping my attention. The story was a decent one but felt kind of toothless in its presentation, which was paced poorly when you’re given so many different things to do. Ultimately it was the unpolished play control which made me get frustrated with it. Plus I had to go to a faq after I finished the game to collect the rest of the story. So overall I wasn’t nearly as impressed with Prototype as I was InFamous and I would recommend the later over the former any day.

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So what came next was Arkham Asylum. And man did I blow through that game. I’m not exactly sure when I started but I definitely finished it in under a month. Why? I’ll tell you. Arkham Asylum tells an awesome story. It tells a Batman story and took the time to tell it right. The game felt very polished, the game play was fun an interesting the entire time though, the extras were supremely well done, and the atmosphere that was created was very conducive to telling an interesting story. Which was really what I needed to keep me interested and playing. But there was plenty more that made this and overall great game.

So the story of Batman Asylum assumes you know at least some Batman lore. Of course it is more than willing to tell you more through the extras, but I’ll get to that in a second. You start the game as Batman and you’ve just captured The Joker and you’re delivering him personally to Arkham Asylum. Something doesn’t sit right with you and you escort him in as well. Surprise surprise, The Joker had something up his sleeve and while he is being processed, escapes. What’s worse, thanks to an inside job and the transfer of a lot of the joker’s henchmen to Arkham Asylum, The Joker has somehow managed to pull off a complete take over of Arkham Asylum. You, as Batman, have to bring him to justice, of course, and as you do you reveal more and more of The Joker’s plot and how he plans to use Arkham Asylum to threaten Gotham City itself! Needless to say it is a plot very worthy of Batman and The Joker. The game has a full cast of characters, all of which have some tie in to the plot. Predominate characters include Commissioner Gordon, Oracle, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Bane, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, The Riddler, as well several original characters including Quincy Sparks (warden of the Asylum), and Dr. Penlope Young.

So with all this story, how well was it presented? Everything about this game was crafted and by crafted I mean they took the time to make it look and feel like Batman. Obviously everything in a video game needs to created but the environments, sound, music, voice acting, character movements, and game play all fit together well and created a very immersive experience. Character designs were redone keeping most of their classic look but also giving them a darker flair. Every character you meet in the game (who is alive and conscious) has something to say to you and something to add, including the random Joker henchmen who attack you. They usually like to congregate around their last victim and laugh at them, or trade theories as to what The Joker is planning. Part of the fun of the game is actually waiting to beat them up so you can listen in on their talk. More story is often explained through Batman’s radio associate Oracle, or through small dialog scenes between someone Batman has rescued or between Batman and The Joker broadcasting over the television.

The environment of the game is expertly crafted. Each area of Arkham Asylum is built on an island, connected to Gotham City by a long bridge. Four major outside areas connect several large buildings including the medical building, the penitentiary, an old mansion converted to administration, progressing and intensive car, etc. The island literally is both a prison and an asylum. And while there are small details here and there that are re-used, textures and pieces of furniture, the overall layout of the game environments shows attention to detail concerning both the aesthetic of the world and game play elements. The island is not excessively large but a good enough distance that you’re given a sense of space.

Sound effects and music were expertly done, drawing from prior batman cartoons for inspiration. The Batarang and grappling hook sounded right. The music flowed well between the exploration and combat phases of the game. But what really makes a game, of course, is the game play. Otherwise you’re just watching a really pretty movie, right?

Game play for Arkham Asylum is very polished. You really do feel like you are controlling Batman. Controlling Batman centers around two particular styles of game play, exploring and sneaking through the asylum, and beating up bad guys. The game play controls are split pretty evenly between these two modes. Combat is handled in a “FreeFlow” system. This means that you effectively only use three buttons for combat. One for strike. One for parry and one for stun. Batman uses the context of the battle to decide what kind of strike maneuver you pull off when you press the strike button, possibly guided by the direction you’re facing or pressing your control stick in. These maneuvers often string together into combos which unlock one or two other fancier moves as your combo meter goes higher. Add in stuns, the occasional dodge, and the ability to parry attacks as they come at you, and you have a robust fighting system that amazing to watch, fun to play, but difficult to master. In addition to this, Batman’s various gadgets often helped, including a batclaw, batarang, explosives, and more.

Another aspect of the combat system are the two styles. Combat and Predator. In Combat you use the system described above to take out one or more enemies. These enemies usually only have melee weapons of some kind. Predator mode, you’re pitched against a group of enemies who have guns. Batman can take one or two hits but not much more than that, so stealth is the key. You can “Take Down” an enemy by attacking them before they are aware of you. This also makes use of some fun gadgets that you can use to distract henchmen or knock them unconscious from a distance.

The exploration aspect of the game reminded me a little of Metroid in its style. You’re confined to the island and there are three major outside areas which interlock the various buildings of the island. Each building is its own area. There is also a sewer and a few other hidey holes. Each major area has secrets for you to collect aside from the main mission, set out by The Riddler. This was actually perhaps one of my favorite aspects of the game. Secrets came in the form of several things. Finding riddler trophies in out of the way areas that often required significant platforming or use of gadgets that you collected throughout the game. You could also find and destroy joker teeth. There were a certain amount in each area easily dispatched by a batarang. You could also collect audio tapes, but more on that later. And then there were the riddles themselves which had two types. One was a find the object this riddle is associated with and analyze it using your batcowl. This lead to a lot of interesting story and appreciation of the environment. Examples would include finding news paper clippings of various villains, or a picture of someone, or a small trinket. Usually it was something very unique in the environment. The other type of riddle was a perspective riddle, however that takes some explaining.

So Batman’s cowl has a lot of neat functions, one of which was detective mode, which allows you to x-ray people (awesome) and notice them through walls (useful for stealth). It let you track clues you’ve found like blood samples or smoke, very useful for story missions where you’re trying to find someone who was kidnapped. It also let you see a special mark which The Riddle left on the walls in the form of a question mark. But since The Riddler is so smart, he didn’t leave it on just one surface. He broke the question mark across multiple surfaces, like if you were to stand on your table and look down at the floor, the top of the question mark would be on the floor, while the bottom would be painted on the edge of your table. You were required to look at the missing parts in such a way as to align them, then analyze them with your cowl. These were usually easy to find but hard to finish. My first one nearly drove me insane for an hour.

But to add icing to an otherwise humongous cake, some of these secrets you collected unlocked various things in the game. My favorite being the character bios. As you encountered characters or unlocked them, bios would appear in the menu. These bios included a short history of the character, a comic rendition of them, general stats including height, weight, first comic they appeared in. And the characters were not limited to the ones you saw in game. In fact they showed me several batman villains I never knew existed since I only primarily watched the cartoons! It was quiet a treat. Also those audio tapes you collect associate with a bio, allowing you to listen to patient interviews between characters like Harley Quin, Joker, Poison Ivy, and others. And there are messages built into weird stones all across Arkham Island that tell a story about Arkham Asylum that are also interesting to find. If you aren’t a fan of FAQs, like myself, there are maps that can be found in each area which put moving question marks on your navigation map which make it easier to find all the secrets. In addition you unlock high resolution statues of characters that you can view from the main menu and challenges that you can play outside of the story mode.

Challenges make up the meat of the replay other than the usual score of achievements. Challenges come in one of two forms: Predator or Combat. In Combat you receive several waves of melee equipped enemies and you need to defeat them all. In Predator you’re in some environment with enemies with guns and you’re charged to take them out, usually in a stealthy manner. These both emulate the two combat styles of the game. And since even Batman can’t take more than a few bullets to the chest, predator mode can be a lot of fun for stealth junkies. Combat mode is great for mastering the FreeFlow combat system, as well as getting some of the harder combat achievements.

Okay so this all sounds awesome right. Great voice acting, great environments, interesting combat, a stealth system, investigation, extras, plus a good story to boot. So what is bad about the game?

Honestly not a lot. If you aren’t a Batman fan, you might find a lot of the extra elements as interesting as fans or even people who have seen the movies would. There are certain game play choices that I found slightly tedious. For example grates that allow Batman to sneak through the Asylum required rapid pressing in order to peal the grates off. Some doors or actions took one or two seconds to fully activate which created a nice sense of atmosphere but after the first few times I had to wait for a door to scan me, it got boring. The menu navigation systems were stylistic and somewhat cumbersome because of it. My biggest complaint is perhaps the the climax of the story, where the game felt a little rushed as you effectively get into three major villain battles in a row. The end felt kind of rushed. In addition the ending wasn’t too much of a payoff. It was a fitting batman ending but I felt more satisfaction finishing off the Joker Riddles than I did capturing Joker.

Still it is probably my favorite game of the year so far. Definitely of the last few games that I played.

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So during the time it took me to write this review, which can tell you how long it took me and how many times I lost it, I managed to play through all of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. I never reviewed Uncharted because it was before I was really reviewing anything. But I can sum up Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune with one sentense: It made me glad I bought a PS3. To expound upon that, I found a 3rd person “cover” shooter with an interesting protagonist that actually had character and an excessive level of humor. A decent amount of exploration, platforming, and story engagement, and breathtaking graphics. Game play was a unpolished and level design while beautiful, made the difficulty curve erratic.

So with that in mind, let me say that Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is just Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune but improved.

Really that didn’t change any of the core game play. Just refined it. A whole different story. Improved graphics. A far more linear difficulty curve. Greatly improved achievement system. Plus online play that I never tried out but made the mistake of clicking on which required a 5 minuet loading/download that I couldn’t cancel out of.

When compared to the first game, it doesn’t beat it in everything. The treasure hunting system in this game is significantly harder, something I didn’t actually appreciate but could understand. Also while I liked the story of Uncharted 2, it didn’t have nearly as much quirky humor as I remember Uncharted having. Instead most of it was replaced with romantic comedy and drama and while I appreciated that, Drake’s humor is what carried the game for me the first time. That being said the ending to Uncharted 2, while short, was priceless and I re-watched it in the video options several times.

I played the game on easy mode and there were only one or two places where I got “stuck” for a bit and had to replay it several times. The game was far more forgiving. For example I died all out of ammo and lacking a secondary weapon, and restarted with two half loaded weapons, which was refreshing and overcame some of the major issues with the first game. The stealth aspect of the game was also greatly improved, allowing you to take out people from cover before they see you. I especially appreciated this.

Extras were bought using money collected by either finding treasures or pulling off achievements. It is interesting to note that the game had an excessive amount of achievements but only a subset of them translated into trophies on the PSN. I found this interesting in neither a good or bad way.

Overall I’m glad I got the game. Its nice to see a game that is “more of the same” and didn’t try to be different for difference’s sake. Perahps if I hate disliked the first game more, I wouldn’t have been nearly as satisfied with its sequel.

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Prototype & Arkham Asylum

by on Jun.04, 2010, under Articles, Gamewatch, Reviews, Video Games

So I’ve decided that how quickly I finish a video game might actually relate heavily to its quality and presentation. Take, for example, Prototype. It took me over three months to play 25 hours worth of that game. Why? Well it was a fun game but its gameplay so was so unpolished and its storyline presentation, while unique, so disjointedly connected, that I didn’t often want to play it. I didn’t even really write a review about it after I finished so consider this my gamewatch entry for it, if you would. Overall I’d have to say in the fight between Infamous and Prototype, Infamous wins.

Now we have Arkham Asylum. Now I am a small fan of Batman. I do think Dr. Doom could take him out in a no-rules fight, but as far as kicking ass goes, Batman pretty much has it down for any non-omega level super hero. I’ve played some Batman games in the past including the original Nintendo platformer that I wasn’t very good at. But this is the first time that I’ve felt like I was actually a Batman game, controlling Batman and generally foiling a good semi-old fashioned Super villain plot.

So what you should be getting from this is that Arkham Asylum has an amazingly good story. It gets the atmosphere of Batman right. The villains (Joker, Harlequin, Scarecrow, Bane, and Poison Ivy) present themselves at their best. The basic premise is that the Joker is being taken to Arkham Asylum after Batman has once again foiled one of his plots. However what we learn rather quickly is that Joker is playing the long con. He intentionally got a lot of his henchmen caught and moved to Arkham as well as getting himself captured. With the help of some crooked cops he takes over the asylum. Batman, having escorted Joker in, is now “trapped” on the island and is going around tracking down Joker and putting out fires, all the while learning more and more about Joker’s devious plan and what secrets the Arkham Asylum has been hiding from the public.

What really helps the immersion of story is the level of detail this game took to bring everything to life. Every level is crafted to be both excellent for game play and a visually realistic, if somewhat stylized, view of a insane asylum turned prison. The details hold up to inspection and while not everything is staggeringly realistic, you don’t really want a video game to be realistic. Another aspect of the story that was impressive was the voice acting. With Mark Hamill (Joker), Kevin Conroy (Batman), and Arleen Sorkin (Harlequin), Cree Summer (Random NPC Doctor who also voiced Max from Batman Beyond) as well as many others reprising their animated Batman roles really gave the game the right feel. NPCs, while often sitting around away for batman to do stuff, would talk and discuss amongst each other which was often a fun listen while hiding in the shadows.

So other than watching a really long episode of Batman: The Animate Series, you had a game to play. The game play was well refined. I played the game on easy mode, which still gave me a decent amount of challenge, oddly enough. I suspect playing it at harder difficulties will give any gamer an actual run for their money. The game is somewhat analogous to Metroid/Castlevania style games in that the environment has plenty to explore but you need certain events, weapons, and gadgets to access it all. There is a minor character customization system that grants you access to better combat abilities, more health, better use of the gadgets you collect over the span of the game.

Speaking of combat, the game was heralded with its “Free-form flow combat system” and it had good reason to. Despite really only having 1 button to attack with, the combat was rather like a timing ballet that was fun to try and maximize. Batman would attack in a series of combos as you press a button, generally in the direction you aimed him, regardless of facing, picking out enemies if you aimed directly at an enemy. Even if the enemy was a few steps away, which often led to fun acrobatic attacks. There were bonuses for chaining attacks together, and a ‘countering’ system, as well as a simple stun move required to take down more complex henchmen who wielded weapons. As you got better at combos, it unlocked two special moves which made combat more interesting. Also you could get the Batarang into the mix, which I rarely used but was still useful.

The game also had a stealth component, which was usually enforced by henchmen who had guns. While Batman could survive stray shots, he wasn’t bullet proof, which enticed the user to hide and take out NPCs in a stealth fashion. An aspect I particularly liked. The mix between both styles of combat made the game rather fresh. And since both types were upgraded with smarter or more henchmen, or more dynamic environments that made it both easier and harder to sneak, the game play never got old.

Exploration, one of my favorite types of game play, is also a major factor in this game. Plenty of collectibles and hidden items are found throughout each level. Cleverly themed behind The Riddler leaving items around Arkham, although he has little impact upon the story and breaks the 4th wall somewhat to collect obviously video game stylized items, it still gives you plenty of reason to wander around. My favorites being the riddles and the Arkham story tablets. Riddles weren’t exactly very puzzling riddles as they came in two varieties. Find the unique piece of environment and take a picture of it, or find the piece of a riddler question mark painted on the wall and take a picture of it. The second was much harder to do as it was often a perspective puzzle which required you to stand in just the right place to see all of the question mark painted on various walls. Often times these riddles would unlock character bios or statues, or lead you to more back story about the various characters, which I got a lot of delight out of. Learning about some of the more obscure Batman villains from the pulp era Batman was interesting!

The Arkham tablets gave an audio recording of the founder of Arkham asylum, kind of like a bonus story. As of the writing of this review, I haven’t finished finding them all, but the story is very compelling and according to the bio, completely written for the video game. Bios sometimes also have audio tapes of psychological interviews with various patients which are a neat treat to expand story as well. Other extras the game provides include challenge levels and character status.

You can tell there is a lot to this game simply by how much I am describing it. So what is wrong with it? Well gamers who aren’t a fan of Batman might not be able to forgive some of the more classic eccentric aspects of Batman such as his remote control vehicles which he only uses to bring him stuff, rather than go places, and his aversion to guns. Then again this might prove to be a good intro to the batman universe.

Honestly my only real complaint might have been that the secondary type of riddle, about the question marks, was not especially well explained except in the instruction manual. I wasted a lot of time trying to understand it with no instruction. Also the end felt a little rushed. Perhaps the story was just trying to build to a climax but I found myself moving between big fights far quicker than prior at the end of the game, almost as if some content was missing. Given the delayed nature of the game, I’m wondering if that was true.

Either way I highly recommend the game.

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Bioshock Review

by on Apr.20, 2010, under Articles, Gamewatch, Reviews, Video Games

So Bioshock is a video game released about three years ago. And I just finished playing it tonight. Bioshock won game of the year in 2007 and most actual critics gave it no less than a 95 out of 100, quite a few gave it a 10 out of 10.

I remember when it came out I really wanted to play it. I loaded it on my most powerful computer at the time, my laptop, and it could barely handle the game at the lowest graphic settings. I understand that at the time, a great deal of effort was put into the game in order to make the water graphical effects realistic so I opted to instead not to play the game. Three years later I have a computer more than capable of handling the game at its worst and now what do I have to say about the game?

Pretty good but some obvious gameplay issues brought down the whole experience. I still enjoyed it despite its flaws but not enough to play it again anytime soon. I liked the story but the ending felt a little too short to be satisfying.

I’m not going to write a full review for you guys. For one its a three year old game. If you haven’t decided to play it you likely won’t. If you already have, well then knowing my opinion won’t matter, right? But I’ll give you the quick run down.

Gameplay is an almost stereotypical FPS except that you switch between weapons with ammo, and super powers with a power meter. I say stereotypical but prior to this, I’m not sure how many games actually /did/ use this capability so it might be that Bioshock started that particular cliche.

The backdrop setting is insanely interesting and the atmosphere of the game is excellent. The graphics compared to some modern games, namely on the PS3, kinda kill some of the immersion, especially the dead bodies. But graphics rarely age well. The actual environments were well created and very interesting to explore, if at times a bit hard to navigate, which is usually the trade off you have when you have an actual world, rather than corridors dressed up. The plot is good but parts of it bother me. I’ll discuss that behind a spoiler cut.

Hacking was insanely interesting the first 50 times. The last 50 times it grew excessive and annoying task. Since I was a hoarder I wasn’t willing to spend money just to bypass the game. But since I have played the pipes and oil games incessantly as a child, the game was insanely easy for all but the most unfair of configurations. Customization was interesting and unlike what Yahtzee said, I found that there were quiet a few choices to be made between what plasmids and splices you equipped compared to slots. I also played the game going the “good” route which supposedly hampered your capabilities. I felt the weapon customization was very tacked on and that the item building was also poorly constructed, since you had no real way of knowing your inventory (both in spare parts, and how many of the item you were going to build already in hand). This annoyed me.

Something that really bothered me during the end of the game was when you were escorting the Little Sister, who suddenly had a health bar. And this health bar didn’t regenerate. They made a point of telling us that Little Sisters were impervious to harm except that when we’re finally in charge of one, they aren’t. Gameplay I’m sure but still rather annoying. And what was the point since you could just ask for another Little Sister if she died? It only just made me feel bad when I was overwhelmed and couldn’t protect my companion cube… I mean Little Sister!


So I give them props. The “Would you kindly” stuff is actually really cool and interesting. It actually answered my question regarding /why/ I was going around and helping out Atlus to do stuff that just didn’t quiet seem right. Just when I was starting to feel railroaded they revealed that. Bravo. Insanely good storytelling there.

Atlus being Fontaine? Okay that seems a bit of a stretch. Only because of the whole Atlus family incident. Yeah I suppose you can just wave your hands and say ‘Well that was all just an act and there was no family’ but why setup that scene? Was Atlus/Fontaine actually trying to save someone? It just seems… weird. When Fontaine reveals himself he more or less says you’re his only son and plays up the stereotypical villain, almost. Just feels slightly off kilter. Plus was there really a need for Fontaine to keep up the Atlus persona when it was obvious that Rapture was already dead and covered in splicers? The only people left alive were Fontaine, Tenenbaum, and Ryan that we ever found in the game.

I also felt that the game could have explored you slowly descending into splicer-hood. Since you were taking so many plasmids and adam into your body, it just seemed like a natural story to engage. I kept thinking about it the more and more adam I spent. It could have easily led into the Big Daddy section of the game, where you were also converting yourself into a Big Daddy in order to stave off the insanity of being a splicer. One particular story element that I liked that seemed to be completely dropped in the later half of the game was the ghost stories.

I liked that there were NPCs with story in this game. I can’t remember them all but the story of reapture was slowly revealed in location, audio tapes, conversations, and visuals. Such as getting into someone’s house and finding a dead body and realizing who they were. That was kinda cool. Sadly the game is so long and no emphasis is made on it that I can’t remember these little bits, just that they happened.

Actually the character that came out the most awesome to me was Tenenbaum. I liked what I learned of her throughout the story. I liked Ryan and Fontaine, both had decent characterization, but Tannenbaum showed the most interesting characterization in my opinion. Since she was the only other survivor of Rapture other than you and the girls, I expected the ending to include her in some fashion. She narrated it but what of her story? Did she die in rapture? Did you two hook up? Was she mother to the girls, and I was father?

The ending was perhaps the most unsatisfying. I played through the whole game, being nice, and got a minute long video telling me that I raised a bunch of loving daughters. While sweet and touching, what about Rapture? What about Tenenbaum? What about my horribly disfigured self? It was an ending but far too short of one for such long time investment. I youtubed the bad endings and sadly found them a little more satisfying if only because I could infer what I did with Tenenbaum, being as I became the world’s worst nightmare.

If you are interested in an in depth study of Bioshock’s story, I found this analysis on game faqs to be very interesting.

http://www.gamefaqs.com/computer/doswin/file/924919/50027

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Tales of Monkey Island Part 5 (Rise of the Pirate God Review)

by on Mar.22, 2010, under Articles, Gamewatch, Video Games

So I /finally/ finished Tales of Monkey Island. I wasn’t feeling to great this weekend so rather than doing anything productive, I just vegetated my brain on video games and let my body work out its issues.

Not that a game like Tales of Monkey Island can really be considered vegetation material. It was a blast almost all the way through. Like the prior episode, this episode was almost all climax. I admit I got stuck once or twice but that is par for the course with adventure games. The story told was classic Monkey Island with enough flair to be new and interesting. Several of the puzzles required Monkey Island knowledge which was attainable within the game but obvious to those of us who had played the prior games as well.

Ultimately I declare Tales of Monkey Island to be a successful addition to the franchise, unlike Escape from Monkey Island which, while fun felt off in the way most transitions from 2d games to 3d games do.

I would highly suggest this game for fans and newbies to both. Although with the HD remake of Monkey Island available on steam, I would suggest starting with that one first as well.


Wow. So Morgan was dead. And so was Guybrush so it all worked out. But that ending after the credits? Wow. I never really thought about it but Voodoo Lady is now a distinctly awesome kinda maybe villian. AND she is bringing back Morgan, which gets her a plus in my book.

I really liked Elaine when she was LeChuck’s Demon Bride. I was hilarious and amusing. I kept going back to have her gut or root beer Guybrush several times. So much so the hint system thought I was stuck. I admit there was a moment where I thought they were going to make it so that Guybrush ends up with Morgan! I was also conflicted in that idea… which is a sign of good storytelling I suppose.

I ordered some voodoo cards. I couldn’t really not, ya know?

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Heavy Rain Review

by on Feb.28, 2010, under Articles, Gamewatch, Reviews, Video Games

Holy Crap. Did he actually say review in that title? Of a video game that has been out less than a week (in the US)? Why yes, good reader, I do believe I did write that in the title. And yes, I did complete the game in under a week. Actually its amazing to even say that I played the game within a year of purchasing it! But in the interests of full disclosure I will admit, I was not alone. I had the assistants of three of my very good friends to help me through the awesomeness that is Heavy Rain.

Whoops I may have just given away how I feel about this game.

To explain I asked several of my friends who were also excited about this game to wait on playing it until the Friday after release day where we all met at a house and started playing through the game. The controller was passed about as needed in order to continue the story, major decisions begin decided somewhat by group think but mostly by random chance. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Lets start at the beginning. Heavy Rain is a video game developed by Quantic Dream. It is a game currently exclusive for the PS3 although I don’t doubt they’ll release another copy of the game for the PC sometime in the far future. It is the spiritual sequel to Fahrenheit, more commonly known in the states as Indigo Prophecy. I have never finished Indigo Prophecy although I may try to now just for nostalgia and because it was recently released on Steam for cheap. But I digress. Again.

Heavy Rain is an interactive story game. You could also use the term interactive movie. Movie video game. Or a choose your own adventure video game. Or even adventure game. But really Heavy Rain doesn’t fit well into any term you put it into. Thats because it is an unfolding sequence of movie chapters where you have direct control over a character’s choice to do certain types of actions which may or may not culminate in consequences throughout the game. But even explaining it in that form is a little too generic.

The problem is that while I wish to explain to you the game as a whole, this game only really has two aspects to it: The story and the game play. And the story is about 85% of what makes up this game. So I will save discussing the story for the spoilers section of the review and instead jump into the mechanics of the game play. So in the game you’ll be controlling several characters. The control scheme for controlling a character is actually very unique compared to almost all other games that I’ve played. The game is presented in a 3rd person camera perspective and the camera in most scenes has two modes: automatic and “stick with the character” controlled by a button. As long as you’re willing to make use of this button regularly, you’ll find the game’s camera issues nothing to complain about. At times the camera will take over for certain types of events, or to pull a nice cinematic view of the actions you’re performing. The first few times it did this I noticed it, but afterwards it seamlessly became the reality of the game, allowing it to steal tricks from the movies that really only added to the story. Tricks like split camera views, aerial establishing shots, close ups, and the like.

So while some aspects of the camera of the novel, the control scheme for your character is unlike any other video game I’ve played so far. If you’re familiar with any 3rd person style game on a PS3 or X-box 360 video game console, then you know that you generally control your character’s movement with the left analog stick on the controller. In Heavy Rain this is not the case. The left analog stick actually controls your orientation which is a fancy way of saying which way you face. In general your character will look right or left if you push the stick in those directions but will do nothing if you press forward, and on occasion if you hold it back long enough, will turn around.

Movement is actually controlled via a combination of using the orientation analog stick and holding down a button which is pressure sensitive enough to let you decide to walk, or walk faster. The novelty of this control is that you can hold down the walk button without requiring the analog stick. Your character will just move in the direction they are facing. In most complex environments such as stairways, corridors, and steps where there are no choices, your character will automatically navigate them, making movement in these areas seamless, meaning that they won’t break your immersion to the story. Sadly this control scheme can fail if your controller lags a little in its sensitivity.

Aside from moving your character around, you also need to interact with your environment. Heavy Rain is a game of context sensitive actions and quick time events. Wait! Hold that shudder. This isn’t your Granny of War’s QEDs. Alright some of it is. But for those of you who are completely unfamiliar with the PS3’s button layout or aren’t the type to prefer testing your hand eye reflex skills, the game does have a simple mode. I admit I have not tired it as I do have a somewhat obsessive love of quick time events in their purest form (See PS2’s Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles 1 & 2’s Hang-sign minigame) but given this company’s reputation I’m sure it is more than adequate to allow any kind of player just enough challenge to make the game interesting.

So I mentioned context sensitive actions. In the game, as you move your character around, icons will appear on the screen that match either the buttons on your controller, a movement for you to mimic on the right analog stick, or as an icon for moving your motion-sensitive controller in a certain direction. So for example if the game wants to provide you the option of picking up an object from the ground then an icon of a down arrow will appear just above the object in question signifying that if you want to pick up the object, you should push the right analog stick down. At the same time other icons may appear including the x button to speak a word of dialog to a person in the room, or a left arrow to slide open a door.

The game expands upon this concept by providing you with special types of icons such as ‘tap this button rapidly’, ‘move this analog stick carefully and slowly’, and ‘press and hold this button until the icon disappears’. This leads to an array of complicated yet highly immersive control techniques where you might be trying to stand up by holding down the x, square, and L1 buttons all at the same time, and be required to rapidly raise the controller upwards in order to hop to your feat in time to avoid some deadly danger. Most quick time events are as simple as press the buttons in rapid succession or press them before time runs out in order to avoid some sort of bad action. And some combine context sensitive actions to be truly complex and challenging.

If this seems confusing or complicated, do not worry. The game provides a length introduction tutorial including a cute mock sword fight with children in order to get you introduced to what this all means. In addition there are easily accessed guides that will fully explain icons at any time in case you forgot. Additionally the context buttons are not chosen at random. Each scene can be repeated and the buttons used are the exact same sequence (per difficulty) so you can attempt to memorize them if you repeat the scene several times. The choice of what context buttons to use is also not random. In fact being able to watch the game as a spectator allowed me to notice that the buttons had a kind of general mapping to your character or situation.

For example the L1 and R1 buttons were generally used for your left and right hands, respectively. Similarly the square/left and circle/right buttons in the button area of the controller mapped to those directions when you wanted to dodge your body right or left without moving. If you did want to move, the analog stick was employed. To give an example, climbing a particular rocky ledge might require you first to press and hold L1 so that your character would grab and hold with their left hand, then press and hold x, so that your character with lift one of their feet to the rock, then R1 as you lifted your self up and grabbed higher with the right hand. By this point the L1 icon would disappear and prompt you to press and hold the square button to simulate you lifting your alternate leg. And so on. Your hands actually mimic the process of climbing the rock. Of course if you let go of the buttons before you complete the climb. . .

There is only one last aspect of the control/interface that I want to comment on that I found new and interesting. During the course of the game you have access to some of the character’s thoughts and feelings. Your character’s thoughts are done in a very obvious way. If your character has a thought, you simply hold down a button and they appear, floating around the character’s head. They usually appear with one of the four standard buttons on the PS3 controller and a single word which helps define what kind of thought the character has. Pressing the button reveals an internal monologue. This technique is used to be both informative and controlling. Sometimes characters will have ideas that help you solve puzzles and other times they will have conflicting thoughts about moral decisions you need to make.

I also mentioned feelings. Feelings are presented in many ways throughout Heavy Rain. The most obvious, to my eye, was in the icons. As your character begins to feel strong emotions, the icons around them begin to become influenced by them. For example if you are stressed, the icons tend to shake or get a little fuzzy, making them hard to see. If you are angry, the thoughts in your head fly about your head rapidly, also making them hard to see. If you are clam, or happy, your icons are often steady and very clear. Being a fan of ubiquitous user interface design, this especially caught my eye and is something I feel Quantic Games should get major kudos for. Kudos to you Quantic Games!

Now enough about the game play and controls. I will try and give a short summary of the game’s story and themes with no spoilers and follow it up with my thoughts on the game and who should play it. Then I will go into a spoiler-light story explanation and perhaps some deeper opinions, if you’re willing to follow me there. Ready? This review is already so long I won’t hold it against you if you take the coward door right now. Scroll your mouse wheel to continue.

So Heavy Rain is a game about choices. Tough, hard, moral choices about life, death, and humanity. In the game you control a father, a private investigator, an FBI profiler, and a woman, who are all affected a series of killings perpetrated by a man the press has nicknamed the Origami Killer. The story is very much murder mystery/drama that is in no way suitable for children, assuming you feel that children are the type to have their innocence shattered by hearing curse words and seeing violence. And while the game lacks any significant levels of gore, its psychological claws will rake you over. While I have not lost any sleep over this game and I am a regular viewer of psychological horror and suspense, there were scenes in this game that made me hesitant to do what I needed to do.

And while I’ve given away how I feel about this game towards the beginning of the review, I feel obligated to you, my faithful reader who has been willing to read through this mini-novel to get to this part, to talk about a few of the bad things about this game. The most notable was the crashing and graphical errors. While the game had excellent control and excellent story, even on the PS3 it seemed to suffer from glitches I thought were only limited to ports from X-box/PC coded games. At one point towards the beginning of the game, the game hung on us. We were able to quit and re-start and continue the story just fine, however upon repeat play of that exact scene, the game hung a second time. I suspect this issue will be fixed in patches quickly but it is still a notable issue. The other issue was primarily graphical. During the later parts of the game, it was becoming very obvious that the graphics engine was not keeping up with vertical sync/redraw issues all across the screen that were somewhat distracting.

Additionally the game used a new type motion capture engine which allowed them to capture an animate characters in real time including high levels of detail in the facial area. This allowed for exceptional scenes involving many of the character’s and their emotional responses and the PS3 definitely managed to pull this off. However certain background and secondary characters suffered a bit when being compared to the protagonist characters in their level of graphical complexity which is somewhat understandable given the amount of time and effort needed to make a realistic looking character but also still somewhat disappointing. But honestly this is somewhat of a petty gripe.

One comment that I will make which I personally do not feel is a negative but others might is the length of the game. You may have already put this together given my initial statements at the beginning of this review but the play time through the game is rather short. We began playing around 6pm and stopped around midnight. The following day we started a new game around 9am and stopped about noon, only to resume the original game at 1pm and finished the story about 9pm, taking an hour break for dinner. Which means the game itself is only about fifteen hours long at most.

Its a game that could be finished in one sitting if you’re determined or over the span of a weekend with pauses, like how we played through it. This is a benefit for those of us who do not have have a lot of time to play games, which is generally the elder adult video game playing crowd, which this game seems very much to be targeting in both its theme and story. So the shortness of the game is likely a deliberate choice. Additionally since the narrative changes significantly depending upon your choices and success or failure of certain actions, the replay ability of this game is very high. Given the short play time makes replaying the game very enticing.

The game offers a chapter jump system, which allows you to jump back to a previous chapter of the game which you have played and replay it. When you jump you are presented with the option to either save or not. If you do not, then essentially you’re just replaying the chapters as you played them, testing the small differences you can change within a chapter as none of the proceeding chapters will be changed by your choices. If you decided to save, then you will be effectively re-starting the game from that point and replaying through, making new choices. This allows for an even quicker attempt to achieve certain endings. Add the trophy system (which is equivalent to the X-BOX 306’s and Steam’s achievement systems) adds another level of encouragement.

So the question you’ve been dying to ask me. Nojh, should I play this game? You obviously seem to think its awesome and I have it my minion on my cell phone ready to purchase it from my local video shop right now and/or have it queued in my favorite internet store with my finger hovering over the checkout button. Should I tell Igor to buy? Should I click? Should I do both!? And the answer is: That depends.

So this is obviously not a game for everybody. It is not a game for button mashers or people who are big on action, mindless distraction, or easy fluffy puzzles. Which honestly eliminates most of the Wii and X-Box 360 crowd. What it is, is a game for people who love a good story. Specifically it is a game for people who love psychological murder thrillers. The aspect of this game that could really turn off a lot of people is that you control the characters, which means you’re making some of the hard decisions that typically you’re not forced to make when watching a movie or reading a novel. It is actually a very different and possibly nerve racking experience. That being said the reward for having such control over the narrative of the story through your successes and failures throughout the story I personally consider to be high.

So if you’re the type of person who likes psychological thrillers movies/novels, likes the concept of an interactive story that changes with your choices, touch moral decisions, and moderate to short time comitment, this game is completely for you. If you’re the polar opposite of this type of player, I may suggest you try a different game. If you’re still on the fence, I invite you to read my spolier-ish story review.

—===/Spoilerish Review Commentary\====—
(continue reading…)

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