Sunday, March 29, 2020

DETROIT BECOME HUMAN (PS4)


The year I spent working in Paris was in Quantic Dream, and the project Detroit become human. It was a weird experience because of the company – and particularly its owner, David Cage – idiosyncrasies, so I tried to stay away from the game once it was released to avoid bad memories. Some time ago Playstation Plus gave it away for free, and recently I felt enough emotional distance with that period as to play it objectively

Overall I liked it. After all, that was the main reason why I accepted the job, I like QD´s games. You could say it´s Heavy Rain with a more interesting setting: A futuristic Detroit, reborn from the ashes as the manufacturing capital of intelligent androids for the world markets. On the bright side the characters and story are interesting and keep you engaged until the end. The art direction is adequate – scifi but not too much as to not relate to today´s world – and the UI/AR is elegant. It all piles up to a good combination

On the minus side, gameplay wise is more of the same, compared to previous QD games: Over-abundance of QTEs and environment interactions; Branched stories rich in sad moments/decisions (don´t expect any comedy) that keep you in a constant melancholic mood since no matter what you choose, it always makes you feel a bit miserable; and a certain feeling the more you approach the end that the game loses a bit its focus and delivers sub-optimal closures, likely due to lack of time and too many potential outcomes

All in all I can recommend it if you like interactive storytelling. The setting might be among the best the company has created, and if you buy the gameplay proposal you can find it time well spent, and maybe even enriching

Monday, February 3, 2020

BLACKSAD UNDER THE SKIN (PS4)



Blacksad is a series of noir comic books I´m fond of, by Spanish creators Guarnido and Canales. Pendulo Studios is a small Madrid studio specialized in graphic adventures for the last 20 years. Seemed like a good fit for them both to work on the videogame adaptation and I was very interested in seeing how it´d turn out. Could have been the break-through opportunity for Pendulo to get access to bigger markets and become the Spanish Telltale

They won´t, I´m afraid. At least, based on the PS4 version I played. The game was plagued by critical bugs that made it simply unplayable. A couple of weeks after the release a patch fixed some of the issues, but not all. I still had to go through some crashes, barely functioning puzzles and frequent visual glitches. On top of that, there is a number of design decisions I found at least questionable, some of them – collectibles, I´m looking at you – actually detracted from the overall experience

I won´t recommend to buy it, but I have to admit once you lower your standards in terms of stability, I got very involved in the plot and really enjoyed it. Visuals are a little less than adequate but mostly work, and the controls and game mechanics – similar to other storytelling titles – do the trick to let you move forward through the story, which does have some interesting twists and branches. I might even play again in a future (maybe it´ll be patched further?) to have a look at some options I discarded

I could also use some help from internet walkthroughs to complete some trophies, but couldn´t find any available. I fear the game has had so little impact no living soul wants to share their exploits. Can´t blame them, you need to put a lot from your part to make the experience work