Archive for the ‘gaming’ Category

Blackgate is the very last Batman game of the unparalleled Arkham series I have played/finished. And I’m really glad I did. It was a lot better than I expected it to be. Somehow the first impression can be that it might be kind of a half-assed effort, but I would have to disagree with this sentiment. The graphics, backgrounds and animations are mostly very well done. Them branching out a little from the typical Arkham formula makes it even more interesting to me. It really makes me wish they would have dared to pull more stunts like this. Who knows what types of Batman games they could have produced. Just imagine Telltale Batman with Arkham Knight level graphics…

There was really only one single thing in this game I honestly hated and that’s the backtracking. There were way too many situations in which one solved mission objective would lead to another one that required running 15 minutes back the way I just came. This game would have needed fast travel so bad. The maps are super-complex too (as far as modern games go) so on top of it all, it can be necessary to search for the correct (or at least shortest) path.

The rest can be pretty satisfying. It’s just another solid Batman adventure. The numerous boss battles play differently and require various tricks for successful completion. It could be more diverse than the boss battles in the bigger Arkham titles. The game also reminded me how sad it is, that Catwoman didn’t get her own Arkham-style game.

I also can’t remember a single bug from my playthrough. This always helps me enjoy a game more.

I’ve often seen this thing lately, where people are feeling sorry for BW now, after learning how “troubled” the development of MEA apparently was. Apparently people are supposed to be cool with a disappointing storyline now, because the whole game was done in 18 months instead of 5 years (=they were just dicking around the other 3,5 years) and the reason for the state the story is in, is, that it was one of the last things they shoved in there. This is all a little bit weird to me, since this is all a result of internal decisions, it’s nothing that was done to them, not even bad luck or anything that could inspire much sympathy.

I find it much more interesting, how little story and characters matter to them after all, no matter what the marketing tries to convey. If story/characters would really matter so much, then this should the very first thing that is created and everything else in the game should then be build around that. The first action can’t be to start cooking up some algorithm/tool to randomly generate as many locations as possible – this can only be the action of someone who wants to create something soulless and generic, something that is forgotten fairly quickly.

Another really dumb argument I hear a lot, is that people should be happy about shitty facial animations regardless, if the face of the PC can be user-generated. In that case, all faces in the game would have to be shitty, in comparison to games that have a PC with a unique face. Even if this would hold any water, how obvious is it, that even in this case, only the face/facial animations of the PC should be shitty. All other faces in the game would still be unique just like in the game with the unique PC face. Seriously? This whole line of arguing is pathetic and intellectually disingenuous. That doesn’t even cover, that the craziest face in the game was default Sara Ryder, who obviously wasn’t a user-generated face…

If someone dislikes the reactions of some crazy assholes who went totally nuts that is perfectly fine, but they still should find a better way to express this, then praising even the shittiest stuff, just to spite these assholes.  

Every single time someone has to fill an “open-world” with meaningless “tasks” in order to make it feel less dead and lifeless than it actually is, they already have all the reason anyone will ever have to not shove an open-world into their game and seriously reconsider.

Really loved this game and enjoyed it tremendously. Also another prime example what incredible mileage one can get out of great voice acting.

Anyway, the game is about teaming up with a ROM (a robot with true AI) in order to find out what happened to its creator. I know, right? SAY NO MORE.

The game has it all, lots of characters, places multiple solutions and several endings. It even has an epilogue. Finally a game where I can’t complain about an ending being to abrupt!

I’m still wondering what Dana Zane was doing in this game, she was a character in another good game I played a while ago – of course I haven’t done any research, but at first glance these games don’t seem to be from the same dev, so I have no idea how that came to be. It’s quite intriguing though, since I tell myself that I play all these games more or less by coincidence.

All screenshots are 1.08.

1.08 is out “now” and it does little to change my opinion that BW never really fixes anything. They take months to release such a patch and the notes then list stuff like “Improved clarity of descriptions”. It’s shocking. With such few fixes and then ones at the aforementioned level, I’d at least expect them to deliver this faster. Sadly I feel much more validated in believing that they primarily fix some superficial stuff, but nothing of true significance.

If that would be the case, the game wouldn’t still have:

– Characters morphing into each other, here we see Cora and Peebee becoming one. :D

– Characters going into t-pose during cut scenes. If they aren’t going to get a handle on this situation after 3 patches (and months after release), chances are they never will and this is just how the game is going to stay.

– Stuff like enemies or objects that should be scannable are inside other objects. This is especially annoying with enemies who are inside walls, because missions don’t progress unless all the enemies are dead.

– Maybe worst of all, even some bugs that are listed in the changelog aren’t actually fixed. I can’t build this Nomad upgrade, nothing happens if I select it. Super frustrating.

The Deadly Tower of Monsters is one of these games, which essentially have only one central narration, but manage to get a lot of mileage out of it regardless. There is even a little bit of Stanley Parable thrown into it here and there. I like it!
The game is built around the idea that a director is recording a commentary track for one of his old movies, which gets a new DVD release.

So this director has a ton of stories to share while playing, but also addresses things the player does. It’s done really well, they have thought of a great many scenarios. While the gameplay and the graphics and the sound are all good, the director and the assistant commenting on everything, is the main event here.

It was actually shocking to me how good the graphics were. Both animation and design were much more imaginative and creative than many AAA games I played in recent history. Finally something that has true memorable and distinctive design and isn’t just some generic outing like a thousand other (therefore) forgettable games.

Without them having to say it outright, I was constantly thinking of Ray Harryhausen, tons of the monsters moved/were animated exactly like beasts from his movies. They nailed that stuff. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone even trying anything like that in a game. I had to wonder if it’s harder to animate something that looks like “stop-motion model animation” in the Unreal engine, than it is to do it like everyone else.
It took me only 5 hours to complete the game and I’m really happy I haven’t missed this fun gem.