Tail Concerto – Parts 3 and 4

•April 6, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I uploaded these almost back-to-back, so here they are in one post!

Checking out Airleaf, and then investigating the mines of Ferzen.

 

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Tail Concerto – Part 2

•March 24, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Playing more Tail Concerto!

Random Thoughts: KoTOR and Game Design

•March 22, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I’m replaying Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and marveling at how great the game design is. For example, when you get to the Lower City on Taris, there are a few directions you can go. Some of those directions have hostile characters and will get you engaged in combat, and the other directions will require you to have skill in persuasion to get anything done, and failing that, at least give you more objectives to let you stall while you gain more experience.

My character is not specced for combat, but persuasion, so direct combat with multiple enemies is just going to get me killed. But going the other ways allows me to talk my way through things, and I think that’s really cool you have clear control over how you progress through the game. Not a lot of games do that, especially today. Take Fallout 4, for example. If you don’t have at least some skill in combat, you’ll die pretty quick in the wastes. That’s not a game you can just dump points into charisma and win by charming everyone, though admittedly it’s a harsher world.

Any game with combat mechanics kind of requires you to have some skill in defending yourself if you want to survive, but KoTOR often gives the player choices in how they want to progress, whether they want to take the talking route or the killing route. Notice I didn’t say “tackle a given situation”, but make progress in the game. Like real life, there are some situations you just don’t get the option to talk things out: the other person/ party just wants you dead. So, here you get a choice of specific paths that have different journeys, but the same outcome: you make progress towards the ending of the game.

Tail Concerto – Part 1

•March 16, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Tail Concerto is really an underrated gem. Come watch me play through one of my favorite PS1 games of all time.

Seattle Retro Gaming Expo 2016

•August 2, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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Last Saturday, I decided I was going to get up early on a weekend for once and ride my bike seven miles to an event someone who runs a retro gaming blog wouldn’t dare miss: The Seattle Retro Gaming Expo.

Read on…

Nintendo Playstation: A Prototype Exists!?!?!

•July 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Look at this! We’ve all heard the story about how Nintendo and Sony were going to team up to bring us the “Nintendo Playstation”, but did you know there was an actual prototype made? I didn’t! Ben Heck tears it down in this fascinating video for the hardware savvy.

Quick Review: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst (BETA)

•April 24, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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So, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. I played through the beta last night, completing all of the main missions and some side missions.

This is… very different. It’s not a bad different. It’s not a good different. This game is going to appeal to an entirely different audience than the first game, which is… good- no, rather, not bad- but also slightly disappointing to those who really loved what made the first game unique.

Mirror’s Edge was a sort of puzzle game in the vein of Portal. You had to traverse from Point A to Point B, utilizing mechanics the game taught you from the beginning. It was a relaxing and solitary experience. Just you, the city, the soothing electronic music, and running. The entire game felt like breathing cold, winter air into your lungs.

Catalyst is… Assassin’s Creed. Far Cry. “Insert-open-world-heavily-cinematic-game-with-grocery-list-of-mundane-side-tasks-here”. The gameplay from the first one is still there and intact (though with some of the skills locked behind a progression tree, it feels a little clunky in the beginning), but everything is soaked in draaaammmmaaaaa now.

Faith is the edgy protagonist trying to pay off her debt to some dude she used to work for, there’s a subplot involving her family getting killed or something in the riots, a bunch of flat, uninteresting characters she works with now… God, I just could not bring myself to care about anyone or anything I saw in the cutscenes. The overly cinematic story feels forced into a game that doesn’t need it, and everything is so hardcore serious and dramatic 100% of the time. There was a point when I was running, and some guy was blabbing at me over the headset about something he clearly thought was important involving the main bad guy and paying off the debt if you want to keep running and I just thought, “Why are you talking? Why is there so much plot? Why are there markers all over the map? Why do I need XP to level up? Why am I retreading the same paths over and over to complete similar objectives???”

I realized how much I missed the first game’s ambiance. The sounds of running footsteps with soft music in the background, my only concern keeping up the flow. There was a story in the first game, sure. But it was so minimal and hardly intrusive, and felt like as much a breath of fresh, chill air as the rest of the game.

Catalyst is not a bad game. But it is a very different experience from its predecessor.

People will like Catalyst, but not necessarily people who liked the first game. It reminds me a little of the RE series, in a way: Losing sight of what made the formula special in order to capture a new audience.

Bottom line for me: Most of the time I was playing Catalyst, I wished I was playing the first game.

 
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