Sunday, October 23, 2016
WoW Legion has kept me away from other games lately, but I found the time to play and finish Inside. It was highly praised by some colleagues and I enjoyed Limbo, the previous game of this company. Plus it was reasonably cheap, so why not?
Generally speaking, great game. Not many mechanics but well implemented and always forcing the player to use them in a slightly different way on each new level. Visually speaking has certain personality and altogether gives the title a certain unique mood. You don´t get that so often lately
It´s short (you can finish it in 4-5 hours depending on your ability) but for 20 euros I actually like that. I´m sort of tired of those games that take 40 hours to be completed. I don´t have that luxury. And the best thing of all: While being a puzzle game I didn´t need any walkthrough to finish it. I did it all by myself, and this has some merit because I get stressed easily and as soon as I fail to find the solution 2-3 times I immediately check internet
I´ll need someone to explain me the ending and the internal logic of the world, but other than that it´s a great purchase, interesting, slightly challenging and enjoyable. If you didn´t, go play it. It´s among the top 10 games of the year without a doubt
Monday, July 4, 2016
At the time, I hadn´t previously played Maniac Mansion, but as a fan of other Lucasfilms graphic adventures (Monkey Island 1 & 2, Fate of the Atlantis) I was curious about The day of the Tentacle. In all honesty I had a lot of fun playing... but also frustration. You have to remember back in those days there weren´t online walkthroughs. If you were stuck you had to wait until other kid told you how to proceed. Still I was stubborn and no matter how much I had previously failed I played over and over until... well, couldn`t finish it. I guess the puzzles were too difficult for me
Yeah, some time after I finished it with the help of a magazine walkthrough. It was a great experience to finally see the ending. I had a hard time anyway since my hard drive was fairly small and I had to delete the operative system every time I played to make space for the game. Literally
Point-and-click adventures were everywhere at the time, but this was probably the best. It was fun, lots of new ideas and it made sense as a whole. The only game I´ve played in which you can swap at will among different time periods. Still the procedure of "talk to everybody until you run out of dialogues" and "try every object with EVERYTHING" was boring. Today you just go online and find out the solution. In the nineties you were just fucked
Thanks a to a bet I won (yes, I bet Spain wouldn´t win the Eurocup) a friend of mine purchased it for me to get even. I´ve played again and finished not only the game but also all the Steam achievements. Whenever I was blocked, I would check any walkthrough. I had lots of fun and got trapped in nostalgia often. A great game from a time in which hardcore was the standard
Friday, May 20, 2016
I wasn't an Uncharted fan initially, since the first one felt a little bit "more of the same": Just a nice combination of platforming, puzzles and shooting. All those experiences I knew from other games
And now, I was just waiting for this game to buy the PS4. I gradually realized (see here my previous posts about U1, U2, U3) another aspect of the series: How it achieves to make you feel into an adventure movie, but still interactive. Make no mistake, the story is set in stone and you can't affect the outcome, but there is a combination of visual elements, story tricks (like the use of sidekicks for witty dialogues) and ingredients borrowed from movies that makes the experience unique (you can check out a previous article I wrote about that here)
Uncharted 4 may be the best of the series so far. The main reason is the story, which is much more compelling due to playing with family ties. Aside from that the game features some new functionalities during platforming (the rope and the climbing stick), traversing (sliding) and dialogues (at least once you get to choose between comeback lines, and the optional conversations they used in Last of Us). The rest I think I've seen in the previous games
This is another topic it's important to highlight: Naughty Dog has been building on top of what was developed (and succeeded) in the previous games. They don't need to invent the wheel every time. They use some of the previous systems (like the chases with reversed camera) occasionally but it becomes a nice addition instead of a unique selling point. Still, the game often feels fresh because this variety
On the minus side I could say the game felt a little long to me. There was a little too much standard climbing and shooting here and there I could have lived without because it didn't add anything new. Also the multiplayer is ok but nothing impressive: They've borrowed the challenge systems from CoD this time, and that's pretty much it. No reason for not enjoying it, though
All in all, I highly recommend Uncharted 4. The best game I've played on this generation!
Friday, May 6, 2016
After many months I finally found the time to finish Starcraft 2. As suspected, nothing revolutionary from the extremely successful original game, but quality content nonetheless. The gameplay remains the same – classic RTS with a superb balance – but they’ve added some new features:
- A hub, mostly UI work, where you can interact with your crew and unlock new units / technology with the credits you obtain completing missions
- Choices: At 3 times during the campaign you’re given the opportunity to choose among 2 possible strategies during the next main mission. At least the last one actually changes the gameplay during the final encounter
There are some other goodies – Play an arcade game, watch the TV news, check your new equipment’s specs – but they’re cosmetic. The core of the game is still the combat between the 3 races - with the addition of some new units - and it still works smoothly. I can only imagine the countless hours of playtesting and balancing they went through. Also each mission tries to offer a twist over the basic "destroy their base" approach, using plenty of level design tricks. You can genuinely say no mission is similar to another. which is very well appreciated
I also played some MP games but it’s just shameful, people there are super pros and the encounters are resolved within seconds in some cases. If you don’t have the basic skills to start up the ladder you’re going to have a hard time until you start being competitive / have fun
All in all, nothing you haven’t seen before, but great content if you like the IP or genre. It certainly works and the Korean professional players will be super-happy but I still kinda suspect the RTS genre is not showing much evolution. Who knows, maybe the expansions will offer something brand new?
Friday, April 15, 2016
Chasing up the impossible dream of finishing my Steam game library, I've just completed Wolfenstein The new order. Why that one? Well, I hadn't played a FPS in a while, and there will always be a space in my heart for the first game of the series and shooter genre in general, Wolfenstein 3D
Overall it is a solid game. Not particularly original nor amazing, but works and has 2-3 minor unique selling points that makes it special. The setting is the first one - you don't get to play in an alternate post-WWII scenario where the Nazis won and now it's the 60s and they've subjugated most of the world. There is a nice variety of scenarios (including the moon, ala Duke Nukem yay!) and there are some humorous moments like Germanized classic US songs (i.e. the house of the rising sun) or be able to play the original Wolfenstein in one of the levels
Aside from that, the rest works: Diversity of weapons, optional (but not particularly well integrated in my opinion) stealth paths, interesting boss fights, scavenging ammo/health systems ala Bioshock, good variety of enemies (although they pretty much fight in the same fashion) and plenty of collectibles
There is no MP but you won't miss it. The SP campaign is good enough to satisfy you. There are some interesting replayability incentives, since you make a relatively meaning choice at the beginning (what would have happened if I had chosen the other one?) and also if you collect all enigma codes you can unlock additional game modes
In the minus side, it's not graphically impressive. I still need to see one game based on the latest ID engine that really shocks me. And all in all the AI and weapons taste a little bit like more of the same. However I believe this is the first game made by Machinegame, the developing studio, so you can safely say it's a very good start, and the best is still to come?
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Yep, third time I finish this game after PC and Nintendo DS, only this time on iOS (specifically on an iPad 2). Not much more to say over previous reviews aside from finishing also the additional game modes (puzzles, minigames...) and being enjoyable level after level. It's really unusual to find a game concept that can be ported to so many different platforms, work fine and keep the same spirit. Great game!
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Some time ago I wrote my review of Monument Valley, in my opinion the best game of 2014. They released an expansion not so long ago and I honestly missed it... but now I had the chance to play it and it's as good as the original game. Maybe a little more?
In essence if you liked the original game you'll like Forgotten Shores. It's pretty much the same vision, visual style and most of the player actions. It features 8 new levels (generally 3-4 screens per each) plus a bonus level (Ida's dream)
However, most levels have a brand new gameplay option, and the experience is centered around it: In one you twist columns to blend your path towards your goal, in other you control water flows, and such. I believe the level design effort has been increased on this pack, and it's certainly refreshing
On the minus side, I would say the story side has been substantially reduced. Not that it mattered much in the first title, but doesn't look like Ida's quest has progressed much in the expansion
If you didn't play Monument Valley in the first place, you're wasting your time in life. Seriously. If you did, then go for Forgotten Shores. You won't regret it!
Since I'm working on a "interactive drama" game right now I'm taking a look at other similar titles. There was a time when Quantic Dream was pretty much the only studio working on this genre, but today there are multiple competitors and they often have interesting new approaches, like Life is Strange
In short, the proposal is basically the classic interactive story: You go around the scenario interacting with some pre-defined objects, often gathering clues and solving puzzles. Short cutscenes are used to explain how you interact with the world, dialogues and characters, and at times you need to make some choices that affect the outcome of the story and your relationships. The unique selling point of the game, though, is the ability to rewind the timeline previous to choices you made so you can select other options or solve puzzles otherwise it'll be impossible to sort out. It is an interesting new feature and certainly adds a lot of gameplay options and flavor to the game
Other than that, the game also relies on visuals to be appealing (the art direction is remarkable) and a good script. It is also an episodic game, which is always nice since you don't pay that much at the beginning and you can stop buying episodes as soon as you decide to. I honestly only played the first chapter but I hope it's enough to value the product as a whole
In every sense, it's highly recommendable if you like the genre!
Sunday, January 10, 2016
After being included in some of the "Best games of the year" rankings I was curious about Prune so I bought it and frankly it doesn't dissapoint. It is indeed a very good game
If you don't know it, it's quite simple: Your goal is to grow a tree so the branches reach the sun and flowers blossom. You do that by cutting branches that go in the wrong direction by swiping. That's it
Other than that it's very minimalistic. Shapes and sounds are very basic. Those players who like "poetic" experiences (in the sense that the game doesn't give you all elements and you need to complete it with your own perception/feelings) will have it easy
The most remarkable findings of the game are the lack of tutorial or any training (it's all integrated into the main experience) and the controller simplicity: You just need to swipe. Still the game offers some scalability on this basic scheme, boosted by some additional gameplay elements that offer additional complexity
If any, the game is short. You can finish the main walkthrough in 1-2 hours, make it 4 if you also do a set of post-end additional challenges (blue flowers). However the iOS platform usually don't offer long games since users actually look for shorter experiences
I certainly recommend it. You won't be disappointed.
Saturday, January 2, 2016
As every year at the family reunion, I organize a gymkhana for the little ones. Truth is, they’re not that little anymore so this year I tried to update the challenges to match their age (an average of 10)
I designed a mix of quiz and treasure hunt, as follows: I divided the kids into 3 teams (lead by the elder ones) and their goal was to answer correctly 5 questions (out of 6). These were particularly complicated, so I hid the answers in papers around the house. The teams could choose to either try to response the questions directly, focus on finding the answers, assign some of their members to spy other teams or simply look for the answers online after failing
Accessing the Quiz was not free: I hid some doubloons which granted access to the questions, made by me. In addition to that, some “wild cards” were also hidden. When used, they will automatically “win” any question
Aside from the game itself, I also invested some time buying more “mature” presents. In the past we gave the kids just some plastic toys but since many of them were 10-15 years they should appreciate “older” gifts
In general, it all went well but some things could have been improved:
- The difficulty of the questions was too much for them. Just trying to answer directly was not an option
- The pool of questions (around 35) was too large. As a consequence finding all answers was almost impossible. Even with teams of 5 kids each they would find only 70% of all responses. I had to help them a lot during the quiz
- The wild cards made the difference. The winning team used 2 of them to achieve the needed 5. Otherwise it’d been impossible
- The new toys (small strategy games, mostly) were not particularly appreciated. Nor disliked, though