Sunday, February 23, 2014


I recall being intrigued by Alan Wake when it was first released due to its theme: "A psychological action thriller". Now that I think about it, I have no idea what that is... but sounds good I guess.

In reality, the game aims to provide a similar experience to reading one of Stephen King's novels. And for the most part, it works!

On the plus side the atmosphere is well captured. It's essentially a survival horror (surprise encounters, little ammo, vulnerable player) pivoting on the combat system (fairly fresh), some basic puzzles (too simple to me), lots of collectibles (too many, I think), scary scripted events, minibosses (not particularly impressive) and some pointless driving. There are also some storytelling sections in which you simply need to go from A to B and talk to people, which I personally enjoy.

On the minus side, the story was confusing to me: I spent most of that game saying 'Ok, whatever, at some point it'll be clearly explained' and although at the end it sort of does, there are multiple loose ends for me. The player interaction with the world sucks: The team physicallized most of the props in the levels, they can be kicked down but the player locomotion doesn't adapt well to these obstacles and jittering is common. You could also mention the character models are too PS2 for a 2010 game.

Anyway, although it could be a little repetitive at times, the game is enjoyable. It was structured as a tv series: Each level is an 'episode' with a final cliffhanger. These are the little details that make the game slightly fresh in many aspects. And I like people who dare to do something new! I don't think they really made a 5-stars game, but they came close.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


While playing Aliens Colonial Marines, I found this on a remote room:

In case you don't get the reference, here's the original scene from Spaceballs:

After checking Youtube, looks like I missed a part of the egg, since the lights inside the container indicate that in the next room, the baby alien samples have been dressed up with hats and canes as well.

Anyway, this made me think about the Ryse Easter eggs. The community found the Ghost army in the third chapter, and the Lady of the lake in the fourth but... what about the 2 easter eggs in York (6th chapter), the one in Colosseum (7th chapter) and the last one in Rome (8th chapter)? Looks like they still need to be found...

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Ok, another game waiting for its turn that bites the dust. This time it was Diablo 3. I bought it when it was released, played for a while, found it repetitive (as it happened with all the other Diablo games to me), and abandoned it.

So it was about time. I actually stopped playing by the end of Act 3, almost at the end. Just an extra push and the final boss is down. To be fair, finishing the story is just a first stage since the game encourages you to replay with each class and higher difficulty levels. I may actually give a try to nightmare mode.

But as I said, my overall feeling regarding Diablo games in general is not too excited. 90% of your play time goes around repeating the 4 player actions you have over and over, loot and sell. The bosses are ok, and achievements give the game a little extra spice but the biggest finding on this game are the events, which are small scripted encounters with a piece of story that are hidden around the world.

Other than that, the game is probably the most beautiful isometric game I've played, the art direction is superb and I value not adding the lately-so-common micropayments options. But I'm not hot about it, I think they could use some secondary systems to add variation. Actually I think they fucking need'em.

But hey, they've sold 15 million copies. It's probably me.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Continuing with my new year resolutions, I'm pushing for finishing a list of games that I've owned for years and never found the interest. It was time for Castlevania Lords of Shadow!

Four years have taken me to complete the game. I remember to buy it second hand, played it a little bit, dislike the (too high) difficulty and pass on it. When I joined the Ryse project, since it could be a reference for us, I resumed playing for a while but again lost interest around 40% of the timeline... until now.

Before the sequel is released, and already knowing the ending thanks to Enric and his presentation on the Gamelab, I've just finished the game. By all means is the best game done by the Spanish videogame industry in the last 20 years (probably after Commandos 2?) and it deserves all my respect. Plus, I know many guys at Mercury Steam, so I'm happy for them.

They made a good number of right choices: Instead of reinventing the wheel they pretty much copied the combat system from God of War, as well as their QTEs and bosses. Those are good references, and they adapted those systems to their needs and sometimes improved them. In addition to this, the art direction is not only outstanding but also quite varied. Practically every new chapter has a new theme.

On the minus side, albeit having an acceptable story most of the plot twists happen in the last 30 min of the game. 95% of the game is just an succession of 'the princes is in another castle'. And as I said, I think the difficulty was a little too punishing for me, although I can understand that since it's a Japanese IP and they fancy hard games.

So, if you like the hack'n'slash genre, you'll probably like Castlevania LoS. I'd love to see more Spanish studios making games as good as this one. Maybe some day...