Category: Written reviews

Like I mentioned earlier, Pankapu will be released on the 21st of September.

Which is today. Yay.


I have played the game for about 3 hours up until I came to a roadblock that I will explain later. Don’t know if said block was poor design or a flaw that is unique to the pre-build. In either case, expect a timely review now and a thorough review later this week. Once I beat episode one, I will have even more info and insight as to what I think of the “ending”. Yes. There will be spoilers. Not in this review but in¬†the next one. You have been warned.


Before I get into the Good, Bad, and Summary of my gameplay experience thus far, let me recap briefly on how I got this game so early. Like many of the indie reviews I do, the source comes to me rather then the other way around. And as is becoming fairly common for me, the messaging system of choice tends to be through my profile  on LinkedIn.com. I was approached by a representative of Too Kind Games and was asked to review it. Upon accepting, I was given a press kit with the pretty pictures you are about to see and a steam code. Perks of being a game reviewer, I suppose.

If you haven’t read my previous post yet, let me recap what this game is about. Real quick; boy has PTSD, his dad cheers him up with a bedtime story, story is about dreamland being taken over by nightmares until dream god creates a hero to save that world RPG platformer style. There. Your all caught up now.

Pankapu is a kickstarter project of a very small indie studio called Too Kind Games, is the dream product of two talented frenchmen, and has been released for the PC as well as pretty much any next gen console you can¬†afford. There is even hints about it being for NX, so you’ll be able to download it if and when you get it for Christmas.

Okay, as always we start nice and positive. Here’s what went right.

The Good

The game in question can be as smooth and polished as you’d expect. It’s an indie game for sure, but one with low-maintenance graphics that feature beautiful artwork, flowing animations, and responsive control schemes that are intuitive to master. So intuitive in fact that the game manages to keep handholding tutorials down to a bare minimum; a godsend in the age of annoying information blips every time you try something new. All in all, maneuvering between enemies and platform is easy enough, and the challenges can require great precision without being unfair. That in and of itself is a staple of good design.

The narrative seems a little too simple at first, right up until you remember that the game itself is actually a child listening to a bedtime story. The game reminds you of this subtly with characters that resemble people who for the sake of this game’s meta story exist “in the real world”. Even when you level up your hero with new magical abilities, you get sparse flashbacks that tell the story of what exactly happened that made the child listening to the adventures of Pankapu wind up with real nightmares. This promises to come together at the end to provide a real sense of closure to what is bound to be a tragic tale of trauma and rehabilitation.

I wasn’t able to play all three character classes yet, but got a good feel for the one called “Bravery”. Its basically when your hero dressed up like a crimson knight complete with shining armor (beautifully drawn shining armor, I might add) a sword you can throw, and a shield that absorbs attacks to restore your magic. It’s annoying to see places where your hero can’t reach because it lacks the ability to “double jump” as promised by the green archer class, but you can always work with what you are given up to a certain point.

The lighting effects of this game contrast sharply and add subtle effects when needed and dramatic effects when appropriate and impressive. The music is soft and peaceful enough to be engaing without being annoying. The levels are well designed, and while it is sometimes tough to play, the game is always fair in a way that tests your skills rather then your patience.

That’s it for the good. Now for the other stuff.

 

The Bad

Just like I called it, the gameplay narrative is EXTREMELY reliant on cutscenes that aren’t so much cutscenes but slightly animated graphic novels with moving text. The only human voice you can understand is the narration of the father telling the story. Everything else is either mute, or speaks in sound effect gibberish, while you rush through a non-rewindable wall of text that you can easily skip over without meaning too. What’s worse is the annoying habit of the narrator to deviate from the storybook text printed on the page. It’s a minor complaint, especially given the developer’s lean resources, but I can’t help but feel a little confused and snapped out of the moment when I see the game spell one line of text and hear the narrator say something else that is the same but completely different. You never lose the gist of what is happening, but I still would like to hear the father read the story in front of my eyes and not in the designer’s head.

 

Like I said earlier, the story of the actual game is a little bland. If you ever played a video game since the 80s, you know the basic narrative pretty well, and the plot doesn’t get interesting without the flashbacks or the meta underneath. What’s worse is that some of the characters can be annoying. The spider sidekick you get stuck with seems to quote the obvious a lot, and is the kind of annoying guide that hasn’t bugged gamers since Navii. See Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for details on that infamous character.

While the spider has some moments here and there, even the good parts of the game fail to make up for what appears to be a very severe design flaw. I can honestly say I would not be able to complete the game even if I tried. Unless they update this one major flaw or I find a way around it (will let you know¬†if that’s the case), I find that while exploring a deep cave, one with ledges and platforms jutting out of the walls, there is literally one space that is JUST OUT OF REACH. I cannot jump high enough with my current abilities, and the game will not let me progress without making the impossible jump. Literally an impossible jump is blocking me from completing a single level in the game. To call it a game breaking bug is an understatement, and it needs addressing ASAP if its worth even a dollar to play, let alone 5. Hopefully, by the time you read this article, they will have addressed it in time for you to buy the game.

That’s the Bad. Time to wrap things up.

 

The Summary

All things aside, if they can fix that one game-breaking bug this game is worth much more then the five dollars advertised. Even if this is episode one, it promises to be worthy your money and your time. It takes real guts to start an indie project like this, and these guys bang out an awesome product that would make and humble bundle an awesome holiday gift by virtue of gracing it with its presence. By itself, I would pay three times this amount for the experience it offers, and despite having some dark undertones, this game is bound to be a family favorite for the budget conscious. 

The only thing holding this game back from being an instant classic besides that one bug (which they can fix with a 5 minute update) is the fact that the bedtime story narrative is a little weak and some of the narration doesn’t sink up. Both can be fixed easily by tweaking some of the text elements in the game in a way that perfects the already glorious design.

That’ll end this review. Next up on my list is a game from Telltale, about another kind of knight…

Image result for telltale games Batman Logo

See you then!

 

 

fallout-4-logo

There is a very good reason Bethesda¬†took away not one, not two, but 3 game critics awards for their showing of Fallout 4. It promises to be one of the best games this year. To put that in perspective; it was pretty much announced this year. As in two months ago. At this year’s E3. That never happens. Most games these days make their entire dev cycle in a PR circus up to the point in which they have to postpone or rush the deadline just so they can ship out a mediocre product that ends up getting thumbs down by guys like me. Bethesda studios did it right; they showed up to the PR conference with Fallout 4 near completion, an honest¬†demonstration of the gameplay, and on top of that a finished phone application that promises to become more popular then the game, for reasons we will discuss.

fallout-4-video-game-screenshots-trailer-teaser-bethesda-17-679x512

Since this is my first review in a LONG time, and I am still working on redesigning this site, it might be a good idea to restructure my game reviews in a slightly less obscure format. I will be sticking to the usual 7 word Synopsis, but I feel that this approach needs a little tweaking. Instead of attempting to define what could be a 50 hour experience into 7 words, I will simply write a small paragraph for each section. A paragraph for the good, for the bad, and for the summary. I might revert to my old method when posting on twitter, but that seems to be the only time where the “traditional” format is useful. That, and maybe for those vine reviews I always wanted to do.

Anyway enough chitchat; here is the 7 word synopsis regarding whether or not those E3 awards mean anything.

Here’s my Review of Fallout 4

manNDog

The Good

Let me start off by saying that I love playing this game. Period. I was a big fan of the previous game Fallout 3 and actually enjoyed Fallout:New Vegas despite some of its flaws. I think almost every decision made in the game itself was either necessary or at the very least necessary to make this a top quality game. The graphics look very realistic when your not moving something in a weird way. The controls are responsive, and more attuned to FPS style combat then any other Fallout game to date. Even the command system, while not completely flawless, does offer you a degree of control over companions. The little tutorial videos for the series patented S.P.E.C.I.A.L system look like they were made by a professional animation studio from 1935 . The story, while simplistic, offers a wide variety of options without adding too much complexity, and the sheer depth to character statistics make crafting your character feel like an art form him OR herself.

and speaking of crafting…

BaseballBatnever have I seen the core mechanics of RPG, RTS, and world-building games like Minecraft come together so seamlessly. Not only can you build modifications, not only can you build cities AND run them. Not only can you upgrade machines and augment your massive robot power armor, but you do it in a way that compliments your exploration and RPGing. Rather then being just tacked on, it becomes part of both the story and the game as a whole. You know all that useless junk you end up hoarding in every single Bethesda game (not just Fallout; Skyrim had this issue too) when your looting a cave? That’s all useful now. Everything from the teddy bear to the globe to the broom sticks can be McGuyvered into something as cool as a weapon mod, a power up, a new type of explosive, or even a new house and piece of furniture. All the Homemade stuff that served as mere backdrops for the previous Fallout games that were obviously made from scrap are now yours to build and command. You are no longer just a lone adventurer but an active leader of a community and a builder of your own monuments.

fallout-4-crafting-electricity-lights-die-sign-xbox-one-ps4-pc-gameplay-screenshot

Do use responsibly

That’s it for the Good. We got a few things for the Bad that you need to watch out for.

fallout-4-screenshot-nuke

The Bad

I’m not going to talk about how the animations sometimes gets weird when certain objects like items or AI chicken heads move in the wrong spot. I’m not going to talk to you about how there is no tutorial for the V.A.T.S. system that still predominates the combat system. I’m not even going to complain about how you can build everything in Fallout 4 except bullets and ammo; two very important resources in a game with dozens of guns as the primary weapon. Those are all things to watch out for, to be certain, but one thing trumps them all that actually ruins the experience pretty badly if your not careful.

See this screen?

loading

This is free wallpaper that is based off the loading screen. The one where you press start and it loads that awesome game I told you about. I pressed start when beginning this game at around 8:00 am this morning, hoping to get a little more play time before writing this thing.

It’s almost 12:00 at noon as I type these words.¬†IT’s STILL LOADING.

I am not the only one with this problem either. I played this game on the Xbox One, and its supposed to be even worse for the PS4 and PC. Plus there are supposed to be glitches to watch out for, including one where your weapon disappears. I thankfully haven’t run into any problems like these. Worst that happened to me was that there is too much load time and I sometimes saw characters and objects float while on the edge of surfaces. This is pretty normal though.

What isn’t normal is having to wait 4 + hours to not just play for the first time, but continue playing. This is ridiculous. I have tried restarting the app, unplugging the Xbox One, and it still loads like molasses. I will try updating the Xbox One and see if it helps, but a word of caution to the unwary consumer; be prepared to wait.

Okay that’s the brunt of the bad, lets wrap things up.

fallout_4_vault_1

The Summary

You might think that playing this game isn’t worth it based off my previous statements. Especially if you never played a Fallout game before. While I can say for sure that veteran Fallout fans will have a much better experience with this game then inexperienced players, the game is worth learning and worth the wait. My advice would be to start the game before heading to work on Friday and then playing it for the rest of the weekend. It takes that much time to load, that much time to master, and you will have fun for hours upon hours.

It’s like building a shack out of scrap metal, or modifying you Fat Boy to carry more nuclear payloads; all it takes is some time and work.

That’s it for Fallout 4. Next I will be finishing a long overdue coverage of last year’s South Jersey Geekfest, and maybe a special article about a Fallout 4 perk that personally offends me. Hold my calls.

Update

Go figure. I update my Xbox One, and the game loads like a dream. Remember kids; always update your consoles!

The time has come

A fact’s a fact

It belongs to them

Lets give it back.

mario-bros

Yes, crappy 80s lyrics for a less then crappy video game, to say the least. Super Mario Bros is the game you had to play if you grew up in the late 80s or the early 90s, you had to play Super Mario Bros. It was essentially the COD 4: Modern Warfare of days gone by. It’s influence never went away, and can best be seen with the indie hits Super Meat Boy and Braid in 2010. If you ask any gamer older then the age of 25 what game helped them become infatuated with all things fun and electronic, they will more then likely cite the little red plumber that could.

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So what was it about the first Super Mario Bros. game for the NES that not only made the console a success, but the resurrection of console gaming successful as well? Many things. For one, it pioneered just about every kind of commonplace trick in the game development handbook; teaching the player though design, multiple paths to the same goal, secret levels, warp zones, power-ups, coin collecting, and even the common boss battle all started with Super Mario Bros. It didn’t just save the game industry; it made it what it is today, and will continue to spread its influence on games, gamers, and game makers as a whole. If you want to design video games, I would say it’s just about paramount to get some hands on time with this game. If you have a Wii, try to find it on the virtual console in the Wii Store. If you don’t have any of the nintendo systems, get on Ebay. Or better yet, look up the Nintendo website or watch videos like this one.¬†Good sources on the material at hand.

super-mario-bros-nes

 

I will be reviewing this game like any other; complete with the Good, the Bad, and the Summary. Like all my retro reviews, this will be more about what the game did then wheather or not you should buy it. If you are reading this article wondering if you should buy Super Mario Bros, I will save you time and effort by saying this; go buy the game, and don’t tell any of your gamer friends you were unsure. They will smack you upside the head for your perceived ignorance.¬†Just buy it. It’s worth it. Here are a few reasons why, in the form of a review.

To be clear; Super Mario Bros for the NES is a…

Very Fun

 

Somewhat Punishing

 

Genre Defining Platformer

Again, click on any line for more details. In case you were wondering, this format did work well for me and I might just climb out of obscurity yet.

Next week, we delve into another classic, but Unlike Super Mario Bros, you might not be immediately familar with it unless your a die hard Zelda fan. That’s right; next review is…

Zelda_II_The_Adventure_of_Link_box

 

 

 

It’s July, and for a gamer that means three¬†things.

  1. Less and less excuses to stay inside and play games.
  2. Less and less holidays for gamers to give or receive new games.
  3. Less and less and even less reasons for publishers to release brand spanking new games to retailers.

These are the ingredients to the ever dreaded summer draught that plagues the industry annually like¬†a migrating flock of money eating locus. True, the vast majority of gamers are no longer teenagers and children, but until the big players in the current industry mold adjust their business models to compensate for that, most of the big budget games aren’t going to be released until at least October. That includes the vast majority of the titles I showed you on my E3 bulliten¬†are in that pile, and on top of that, the last PS4 contest I ran left my wallet bone dry. So here I am – no games to buy and no money to buy them with. At least not from the triple A world. That’s why I’m going to do something different this summer; Today, on the first day of July, I will begin what I like to call¬†Retro Month. From now on, every July, I will be unearthing games that have been out for a while and reviewing them based on both their historical merits, and how they stack up to today’s standards. August, meanwhile, will from now on be¬†Indie Month. The theme there will be nothing but reviews of Indie titles; games that have a low budget, come from a small, obscure team, and/or can be found on Xbox Live Arcade, Playstaion Store, Steam, or App store exclusively. I might even be able to get an interview with an Indie dev with insights on how to break into the industry. This way, I can save my earnings by playing games I already own and¬†then¬†buying games for cheap quickly and swiftly.

Let Retro Month…Begin!

 

2011-11-12 16.50.28

If the title of this article and the big picture wasn’t enough of a hint, we are going to review a certain kind of system for you today. It’s the system that resurrected the game industry from what was then certain extinction. The crash of the 80s was a kiss of death for companies like Atari, Colecovision, and the likes of which you will never hear of because they died before they went public. To this day, they are unearthing the remains of¬†E.T. for Atari, a game so bad that they literally took all the unsold copies and buried them in the desert. Such stories are not only common then but are common in the now, and history would repeat itself had the people who changed it for the better not become the kings of the new world.

For you see, after the games market collapsed, mainstream america and it’s media declared video games a dead fad. A reasonable estimate at the time, since fads that come and go have pretty much illustrated both the latter half of the 70s and the early 80s (Pet Rock, anyone?). It was the general consensus of just about every pundit on 1984 prime time that the video game fad had come and gone and the world was ready to move on to more important things, like computers. The fact that computers usually had interactive games on them was rarely discussed. What was normally discussed was the booming economy of Japan and the corporate powerhouses whose imported goods were quickly flooding the US markets. Products that came from the land of the rising sun were quickly starting to outnumber American made products, and no more was this apparent then the arcade. Among them, a great and ambitious game called Donkey Kong was king of the pizzeria, and was making a killing for the toy company that made it. You may have heard of that company; they call themselves Nintendo these days.

To make a long history lesson short, the designer of the game Shigeru Myamoto wanted to try something ambitious, CEO Hiroshi Yamauchi (died fairly recently) went along with it, and one extremely clever Market campaign and 60 million sales later, the game business was back and made Nintendo it’s king.

2011-11-12 16.50.28

DSCF0497

DSCF0497

This little system that could is what started it all; the Nintendo Entertainment System. NES for short. For many of you, it was probably your first real taste of what video gaming is all about. Join the club, ladies and gentlemen, and don’t¬†mind the crowd. My professor for video game design Ryan Morrison said it best when he described us as the Nintendo generation. Like generation X, we proud ourselves on being different and often define ourselves by our entertainment choices. We also tend to have our views shaped by the technologies that made our generation possible, and which continue to affect our world. The ballads of Super Mario, Metroid, and Zelda have repeated themselves throughout the ages, and they all had their first adventures on our TV with this little cartridge machine.

I won’t lie to you; unearthing this thing from my mother’s basement was a blast from the past. Games I fondly remember playing over and over again in the days of yore resonated within my mind as I search through each cartridge. I had it hooked up to my room fairly easily, and it took a lot of patience just to get the thing working. Not surprising, since the game is almost as old as I am. For the record, I turned 27 this year, and I started playing this thing when I was two years old. As Gabe from Penny-Arcade once said, this system is old enough to drink.

God, that was a long introduction. Is everyone still with us? Good. Lets begin the review then.

Real quick though; this isn’t about the quality of the system. Period. For it’s generation, this machine was a revolution in gaming. The review is more for what that revolution was, and how it might affect you if you get the same nostalgia bug that bit me and decide to unearth your own. Enjoy.

 

Beautifully Simple

 

Often Unreliable

 

Gaming History Piece

 

That’s it. If your wondering where the rest of the review is, know that this time I’m trying something different. I have a seperate article linked to each line of words on the Seven Word Synopsis, and all you need to do is click on one to see a better description of what I mean. If the hits come off this thing pretty well, I will model all my reviews after it.

Next review will be about the game that made this system a legend. That’s right; a retro review of

 mario-bros

 

Screenshot 2014-04-07 14.37.42

Yes, that is a picture straight from my Macbook. Yes that is Google Chrome. ANd yes… I am reviewing a game on Newgrounds that you can play for free.

Why?

Because if you are the kind of person who reads my reviews, then you know that they deserve the traffic. If you haven’t heard of Newgrounds.com and you like computer games, you are missing out. Go to it. I will wait.

You back from Newgrounds.com? Good. If you are confused as to what it is, it is a website made exclusively for flash animations. Many of which are interactive to one degree or another. It was essentially the pet project of Tom Fulp, the same guy who helped make Castle Crashers. If you haven’t heard of Castle Crashers don’t worry; I’m here to help.

The above game on the above desktop screenshot did not have a fullscreen version, so please forgive me if you happen to see my url among other things. Truth is, though, I won’t have to many screenshots. Mostly due to the fact that technically, this game doesn’t even need a screen. The Blind Swordsman lives up to its title.

Screenshot 2014-04-07 14.37.50

That’s not a botched screenshot; Blackness is literally all you see. You hear plenty though; ¬†the sound of laughter, footsteps trotting along, your enemies taunting you, and even the twirling of a spinning flail. You really are the blind swordsman, and you have to fight blind.

The plot is pretty straightforward; you are a renowned sword master who lost his sight, and seeks the aid of a mysterious warlock who could heal your blindness. But you reputation precedes you, and you have a number of armed assailants who stand in your way. Each level is essentially an armed duel to the death between you and a ever growing number of opponents. You can’t see them, but you can hear them, and you cunningly let them come to you. You use the arrow keys to turn, block, and attack. If you don’t time your attack or parry well enough, you die. You will never see it coming.

Best way to play this game is either with surround sound that you probably have hooked up to your TV and not your laptop, or just use headphones. I tried playing it with my Macbook speakers, and I could barely get past the first level.

This review will not be for the purpose of whether or not you should buy this game. There is no buying; its free on the internet. Rather, I am reviewing the concept, how well it is executed, and why you should be as impressed with this game as I was. Yes, I am pandering to indie devs yet again, but why not? Evil-Dog Studios and Sick Death Fiend (really) had the balls to do something new and exciting. Lets give them a review that they will remember, and you will to.

Here it goes

Simply Revolutionary

It’s a crime that no dust has been raised over this game. IGN should be doing an exclusive interview. Only website I seen that seems to promote it is Newgrounds itself. For the first few days, it was a banner on the front page. One of the biggest things holding this game back isn’t even a part of the game itself, but the medium that has to carry it.

You could program this game on an Ipod. One of the little nano-ones without a screen. Just replace the arrow buttons with the ipod buttons and your good to go. This game could be an MP3. You can hear a lets play over the freakin radio. Yeah, this is my budding game designer talking more then my inner gamer, but when you create something that only needs a pair of headphones and a controller, you are not just thinking outside the box. You are making the box obsolete. That is a direct analogy for the TV monitor of course.

Not that it wouldn’t work just as well for console gaming. The game proves that the screen can be useful even when you don’t use it directly. They put some instructions on theres. What if we had a menu on a blind swordsman Xbox game that affected your inventory or allowed you to map out your course. A visual metaphor for the non-visual memory. Heck, you saw my Thief video; with a vibrating controller, I can feel the lock pick with my eyes closed. Imagine having a similar mechanic for a blind man’s walking stick? You feel a slight stutter of the controls every step you take. Your stick bangs into something, the controller shakes fiercely. You then feel the object with your stick. Is is a friend? A wall? Or a monster? Survival horror gold!

I could rant and speculate on the possible mechanics for days. Hell, this game gave me an idea for a Daredevil franchise that wouldn’t suck. When I get Ryan’s Video Game Prototypes up and running (coming soon!), I’ll have to fire up Unity and see what I can crank out.

But until then, I should also consider the game itself rather then just praising the absolutely brilliant high concept behind it. How does the actual game play.

Well… to be frank, it plays out more like a

Prototype Phase

game then anything ironed and finished. I hate to give such a brave and industrious indie project a bad rap, but one needs not look past the Newgrounds Reviews to see where I’m coming from.

Screenshot 2014-04-08 00.41.31

 

Save for the one 0 stars that is obviously a troll, they all seem to be on the same fence post I am; they love the concept, but feel the game needs tweaking. ¬†The parry and attack system requires too much timing, there is no tutorial to help you adjust to its radical differences, and quite often, the voice acting tries too hard to announce where the bad guys are. I can hear footprints, and mad women cackle rather quietly. The obnoxious sword guy saying “die Blind Swordsman!” is just redundant.

In my last review of the game Thief, I compared the game’s flaws to that of the Disney movie John Carter, both of which defined their mediums but made the mistake of sticking to their original and overused formulas. I liken this game to the movie The Purge, in the sense that it takes a brilliant high concept but doesn’t run with it as far as they could have. To be fair, the Purge movie was a multimillion dollar hollywood project, and Blind Swordsman was programmed by one guy. Most games need at least two or three. Plus the game, at least in my opinion, seems to have the best excuse a developer could have for screwing anything up.

It’s Experimental.

The game dev community has a special saying. One that becomes Game Design 101 to all but the least experienced game designers. Fail Faster. Blind Swordsman was a cautious step into the dark with no torch and barely any footing. Now that it gained some publicity (and some press :3), we are likely to see these two guys charge forward with gusto once Blind Swordsman 2 comes out. I will be there to review it.

So overall, it basically plays like a…

Combat Audio Game

Pop quiz ladies and gents; what’s the difference between a computer game and a video game? Answer; computer games are on the computer, and the other on the TV console. You know, like a video that you play. Remove that big Plasma box, and you only got sound. Music. Speech. Like an audio file.

Audio games could become our future. Games are getting smaller and smaller as it is. Take out the visuals, and you got little more then an interactive MP3. Small, portable, easily downloaded on your phone. And the fact that someone made the most generic and common type of game with it-action/adventure-means that it has potential to pierce the industry. Even with its quirks, the game is a great challenge for experienced gamers who need to try something different. For the low low price of nothing.

The ironic part by far is that even though the current game isn’t completely workable as such yet, it caters to the same demographic it perpetuates. The last clientele you would ever consider for an electronic program. That’s right; with verbal instructions and a braille keyboard, this is the first game that can actually be played by the blind.

I actually have more fun and an easier time playing with my eyes closed. It’s a process of¬†hearing¬†the distance of enemies. You even have to anticipate arrows coming your way at one point. The whoosh of a flying projectile is your only indicator to react. Your blind cousin would feel like a ninja playing this game.

In fact, screw it. I am throwing down the gauntlet.

If you have a blind friend or family member, show him this game. It’s called Blind Swordsman, its online, and its free. In the comments below, post a link of a youtube video of said loved one playing this game, and I will post the video right under this text.

I mean it too. I wanna show the world myself the possibility for good games have, and what a little innovation and hard work can do not just for an industry, but for humanity. I wanna see more games like this. Make a game with no sound for deaf people. Have a game for austic savants that help sooth their nerves and ¬†develop their social skills. Make a game for PTSD patients who need closure for the horrors they were forced to face over seas. Games aren’t just about entertainment; they are about the people who play them.

This is a good as place as any to end this piece. I leave you with the Synopsis.

Blind Swordsman

Simply Revolutionary

Prototype Phase

Combat Audio Game

I’ll see you around. So to speak 0_0

 

Thieg Logo

Almost seems redundant writing a review I made a two hour video on.¬†But not everyone has a super fast computer to run youtube videos on, and I feel that the game’s lackluster performance warrents further observation. Especially since it’s somewhat of a trend lately.

If you didn’t see the Active Critique¬†I had yesterday, I’ll break it down for you quick and dirty; It was a game that took Stealth games into the FPS zone in the 90s, had three games before this one, and is about a Thief in a weird alternate renaissance that clashes with both medieval Europe and steampunk. You are of course a thief; more specifically an ex-rebel turned klepto who steals from the rich for his fence and with his portage’. Spoiler Alert; she doesn’t stick with you for long, and I’m pretty sure if I played all the way through, I’d have to rescue her. You and her basically spring in on a magic ritual that blasts her into oblivion and you into a coma in which you wake with “flow” vision. Basically gives you superpowers not unlike the one’s in Dishonored. You then go right back into doing jobs while unraveling the mystery behind what happened to you and your partner. If I ever play this game again, I’ll have another broadcast for it. Update on that another day.

I won’t waste your time and convince you not to waste your money with my review. As always, we start with the good.

Faithfully Adapted

 

Thief-Game-2014

I won’t lie to you folks; I had a hard time coming up with positive things to say. If you saw my video (seriously, see the video!) you probably saw this coming. By reading this, you might also see a bad review coming. Before you put Thief back on the shelf, I suggest you keep reading and hear me out on this. There is a silver lining that I was pretty oblivious to that took a small bit of research to confirm¬†After looking up the history of the game and only watching ten minutes of someone’s documentary, two big things occurred to me.

  1. Thief, while revolutionary at the time, was not the first stealth game. Metal Gear was. Thief was published in the 90s while Metal Gear was an old MSX2 game from 1987. MSX2 was a failed console that competed with NES. If you knew that, wear your indie hat with pride. If not, rest assured, cuz I didn’t know that either until I Googled it.
  2. That many of the features I labeled “unoriginal” and “hackneyed” started with Thief to begin with. Loss of visibility in the darkness? Thief started it. Pick pocketing? Thief Started it. Shooting a light source to create darkness? Picking lock mini game? All Thief’s original idea. Splinter Cell didn’t start with these things; Ubisoft just adapted them to their own game. For it’s name, the Thief series is a standup original game that is only affect by age and not much else.

So yeah; if you are a fan of the Thief series as a whole and have followed it since it’s inception or soon after, there is something for you hear. Playing the game and seeing how Thief: the Dark Project plays, it’s obvious that they took almost all the mechanics from that game which works and gave the rest of the game a much needed upgrade. Fanboys, rejoice!

Now that I gave you something to chew on that didn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth, let’s address the issues that will no doubt affect those of you who, like me,¬†didn’t play Thief since the beginning. Here is the Bad.

Boorishly¬†Cliche’

John Carter

 

I am feverishly entrenched to the idea that video games are not only comparable to but must exceed the standard of blockbuster movies in terms of narrative and presentation. When they don’t, they prove to all the idiot pundits who ostracize our medium that not only are they right, but they are better for being right. That is why game devs need to stress the quality of their games more then anything, and stop using stuff that was only revolutionary in the 90s.

Okay, stepping off of my soapbox for a minute, I can safely say that Thief is a victim of its age. To go back to the movie analogy, I would compare the game Thief to the recent live action Disney movie John Carter. For those of you unfamiliar, it was originally a pulp novel about an astronaut who went to mars and saved the planet due to being immortal, plus stronger and faster due to low gravity. Superman 0.1, basically. It was because of this that the long awaited movie adaptation didn’t do so well at the box office. Even though John Carter was the original Superman, Superman and others like him have been repeated through the Hollywood business so many times that the original no longer outshines the competition. They say imitation is the best sort of flattery, but it sure doesn’t make you stand out. ¬†Thief encounters the exact same problem; the traditions it started have been adapted throughout the medium. Splinter Cell took it’s Darkness mechanic, Dishonored had a dark Steampunk vibe, FallOut 3 had the lock-picking mini-game, and knocking people out from behind is almost a universal standard not just for stealth games, but games period. Plus, the only things that come into the Thief game that it didn’t invent decades ago was things like Mirror’s Edge parkour system and Dishonored and Batman: Arkham series’ detector vision. So even when they try to catch up with the modern world, the lack of originality shows. I like the classics as much as any nintendo generation nerd, but game mechanics do not age like fine whine. They grow stagnant like sour milk, and Thief is a walking testament.

Now let’s wrap things up here.

Lame Franchise Reboot

Thief-Game-Indoor

You might be a little surprise to see a negative word placed in the Summary. But the truth is, where this game failed to tow in the mechanics and systems and gameplay that made Thief a legend to begin with, it makes all the same mistakes all games make when they don’t take risks. Uninspired cutscenes, lame voice acting, juvenile plot, laughably one-sided perspective, wooden character models, and to boot even a poorly choreographed music score. Square Enix wasn’t trying to resurrect the series, they were using the brand name to make another quick buck. Its the kind of thing that makes schlock like Transformers 3 and the new RoboCop movie in the movie business, but it happens all too often in the game business with little to no one batting an eye. Even guys like me didn’t look twice until games like Uncharted 2 showed us what the industry now was capable of in terms of narrative.

Thief had potential to pick up the slack its outdated mechanics left us with by giving us a fresh look. It’s about as fresh as a rotted corpse with the gloom. While I firmly believe you can teach an old dog new tricks, it seems like our corporate masters in game land didn’t even bother to try. Unless you are a DIE HARD fan of Thief, and want to play a game that hasn’t collected dust in your basement for that fix of Thief’s original greatness, this might be worth at least renting. To anyone who wants to see what video games are capable of being, I recommend Bioshock:Infinite instead. Way better everything, plus its cheaper since it came out a while ago.

To recap:

thief-4-logo

Thief: $25(PC)

 

Faithfully Adapted

 

Boorishly Cliche

 

Lame Franchise Reboot

 

Since I am thoroughly pissed at the video game industry, it is time for me to review something original. This game should fit the bill just nicely. Next review is for a game called

Blind Swordsman

it doesn’t have the best graphics, and it never needed them. It is something you have never seen before! Pun intended ūüôā

Screenshot 2014-04-05 00.17.40

How many of you guys and gals have at least heard of the book “Lord of the Flies”? I never read the book myself, although I did pick up the basic plot strokes on sparknote.

If you’d rather just read ahead then click on the link, I’ll break it down for you quick and dirty; its about kids who get stranded on a deserted island and in the process of trying to survive kill each other. Grim stuff. What’s even grimmer is that there were actual experiments done with 12 year olds where limited resources were competed over by two separate teams from two sides of a wooded area. The two teams ended up attacking members of the other team savagely, and if they didn’t end the experiment then and there, someone would have gotten seriously hurt. Rust is a lot like that experiment, only instead of twelve year olds hunting pigs, you got the same guys you’d meet on Battlefield 4 running around naked trying to hit you with a rock. Not kidding.

The basic premise is that you start out literally stripped bare, armed with nothing more then a torch, some bandages, and a really big rock. The rock is a decent melee weapon, but slow as molasses. You can, however, use it to kill animals and chip away the wood off of trees and break down huge boulders. With enough wood you can make a fire, and with some stone in the mix you can make a stone hatchet. Animals produce food in the form of “chicken” items (tastes like chicken!) and also provide animal fat and cloth. You can turn cloth into much needed pants and other clothes, mix it with animal fat to make fuel for your torch, and mix it with wood from your bow. You can construct a number of things like this with the resources you collect, ranging from hatchets and wooden shacks to towers, workbenches, ammo, and even guns. If you want to really expand your arsenal, you’ll have to venture into the abandoned military camps near the roads and irradiate yourself in the process.

Your not the only one who does this, and unless your on a strict non-pvp server, there is nothing stopping the other guy from killing you and taking your stuff. Alliances are strictly voluntary, and you can be betrayed at any time. So naturally, your bound to meet a few nice people.

Screenshot 2014-04-05 00.43.25

Or not.

In either case, it certainly makes for an interesting experience. Kinda like Unreal Tournament in “survival” mode. This kind of experience isn’t for everyone, and should be approached delicately by those with weak stomachs, nosy parents, or sensitive children who might wanna play this game. Here is my review.

As always, we’ll start with the good.

Dynamically Expansive

Screenshot 2014-04-05 00.46.17

¬†To be clear, the game is still in alpha. Judging by how well that alpha is selling on Steam, and how little has been added so far, it might be a long time until it breaks out of alpha. Nonetheless, the dev team seem to be updating regularly about it, and if they aren’t lying on their blog, it does appear they are coding new things. Still, there is only one map, and even if you wiki the map and learn its ins and outs, your going to do a whole lot of exploring in this game before you put it away. Like a hiker who forget his camping gear and unmentionables, you will see a world almost barren of life, save for the few sociopaths who settled near you and the wildlife that wanders through the woods. It is very easy to get lost in this game, and is not for those of you who get simulation sickness from first person games. But if you can handle the cursing tween and the wide open world, you will be wandering through the woods like Lewis trying to find Clark after the fallout. What’s interesting is that the mechanics of building and finding new recipes to build with encourages you to explore every nook and cranny rather then just “settle in”. That picture above is of a city built entirely from other players, and I gotta feeling you can stack them higher then that. If any of you are starting to get a minecraft vibe from this game, keep in mind that unless you get a mod for said game, you will not be able to compare it to rust. Like I said earlier, you can make guns in this game. You can build a revolver, a bow and arrow, a pipe shotgun, or a hand cannon at the beginning of the game. you need to find metal and cloth and whatnot, but that’s only a matter of time and effort. Both of which you will have plenty of. If your the kind of gamer who likes to delve deep into the rabbit hole of a game’s intricate details, you need to play this game, and keep playing up until they finally finish the beta. If that kind of thing bores or intimidates you, see my review of Reaper of Souls.

That was some of the good, now for the bad.

Anarchic, Unbalanced.

Screenshot 2014-04-05 00.47.17

I do believe you saw what the screen up above said. You know, the one saying I AM DEAD. That was from a guy who pistol whipped me with a gun I didn’t even know existed in the game. I was camping with nothing more then a bow and arrow. This is all too common in a game where you start off with a rock and can move on to make automatic weapons. You get noob hunters. Merciless, pwn hungry noob hunters. If you do not know what the words noob and pwn mean, you are not going to have a happy time with this game unless you pick a server that is mostly abandoned. Even then, survival is not guaranteed.

Screenshot 2014-04-05 00.23.44

While many of these issues range outside of both the anarchy and unbalance this game has to offer, they are worth noting. To start, the animation is not perfect by even a substandard stretch of the imagination. Even for an online computer game, the movements of characters are laggy, the people sometimes act like robots, and the A I seems to get confused for no reason at all. I was able to kill a wolf naked with nothing more then a stone hatchet. You normally can’t do that without some kind of armor, but this wolf seemed to forget how to bite once it passed through me. These are bugs that need to be addressed before the beta to be sure, but there is no point in ignoring them now. The lack of an aiming reticle makes starting off the game without a gun even MORE frustrating then it already is, and it seems like hacking is a national pastime in the land of Rust. I will be launching another review when and if a Beta or Gold version is released, and hope to find them address these issues then.

Lets wrap things up here

Sandbox Survival Shooter

Screenshot 2014-04-05 00.16.27

Three words that rarely appear in the same sentence. Yes, this game seems to appeal to try for the GTA crowd, the Minecraft crowd, and the old fashioned Quake Arena Types all in one move. I’m not sure they succeeded the way they wanted to. We got cyberbullies and hackers in the same level as people who want to build stuff. We got players who stockpiled ammo, armor, and weapons out the wazoo hanging out in the same server that newcomers are just starting in. This is less of an Alpha and more like a free for all. If you ever wondered what it was like to live in an unmanaged zoo made for people as well as radioactive animals, Rust is the perfect simulator. Pray you don’t run into any hackers who can run at 65mph with a shotgun in their hands. And if your a newcomer, try for the less populated servers and look for one that says “NoPvP”. Trust me on this one.

Rust Image

Rust:$19.99

 

Dynamically Expansive

 

Anarchic, Unbalanced.

 

Sandbox Survival Shooter

 

 

That’s it for the review. Next game is right below me. See ya.

 

thief-4-logo

If you are not somebody I know, ignore this; I KNOW WHERE YOU WORK TYLER!

photo 1

Okay, I’m back. To be clear, this is the VERY first Iphone game review. It is the app of someone I know, but I do not work for him and I plainly do not care about offending him in any way, so this is as objective as its going to get.

Queen of space is a basic tap and move game where you touch the screen and slide your finger across to move a colored triangle in a position to catch circles of the same color with the same symbol. Easy to pick up, not so easy to master. Like geometric wars and the like, you are navigating through a rejected Pink Floyd concert version of space complete with weird geometic shapes, odd symbols, and pop rock music in the background. You can turn the music off if you like, and if the premise seems too simple, you can switch it to hard mode. Plus it keeps track of high scores. I dare you to beat the dev team.

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I could easily end the review then and there, but to give you an idea of weather or not you want to download it (I’d say buy it, but its free as dirt) I will give this game a proper seven word synopsis. If nothing else, I do belive that the new medium on our smartphones is just as good a platform for gaming as your nintendo DS, minus the hefty price of a DS cartridge.

As always, we start with the good.

Simple, Relaxing

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Few games on any system can claim to the description above. Some can be simple, but very few manage to actually relax players into a state of trance. Those that do can barely even be called games. Queen of space, through its bright colors, strangely soothing rock melodies, and progressive flow of gameplay elements, playing Queen of Space is right up there with laying in bed with a pair of head phones listening to the rock group Queen. Even on hard, the game does little to punish you at all, and its easy to restart without problem and having a high score you can compare to the developers put this in place for both the most and least competitive gamer out there. For the low low price of free.

There are some drawbacks.

Shallow, Repetitive

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If you get bored easily, or need something that engages you in more then one way, you might wanna spend some money on something else. One thing that Iphone apps lack that mainstream games do not is depth and complexity of gameplay. This is due mostly to the simple touch screen. This game has the same problem for the same reasons, and can easily become the kind of thing you clear off your Iphone desktop when you need storage space. Unless you want something you can waste time with when you are burnt out past the point of intellectual reasoning, you might wanna play something else. IF you don’t care, play this game and remember why its free.

Free Abnegation App

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I might have mentioned this before, but to reiterate Abnegation means that you basically need to spend time on something relaxing, simple, and unobtrusive. There are two ways to do this with electronic games; one is to grind levels in an RPG like Diablo 3. The other is to move a spaceship past obstacles. If you don’t mind replacing a spaceship with a color changing triangle, this app is worth downloading. Island Officials makes money off the adds here, so its free as Evernote. I will list your name in this review if you can get the hight score. Not kidding

Queen of Space App Review

Queen of Space App Review

Queen of Space

 

Simple Relaxing

 

Shallow Repetitive

 

Free Abnegation App

Next Item will be

Rust Image

Promise this time ūüôā

 

 

Screenshot 2014-03-26 18.23.47

I can safely say that the term “Reaper of Souls” for the new Diablo 3 expansion has got to be a Blizzard title. Between addictive pastimes liek World of Warcraft and it’s CCG HearthStone, I can safely say that even if the word “Diablo” and the number 3 didn’t precede it, I would call Reaper of Souls something that personifies Blizzard’s business model-to a tee.¬†If you ever lost months of your life to leveling a WoW character you know what I am talking about. If you did not, congratulations on actually having a life. Either way, you might have heard of Diablo 3, as it came out a few years back. You might have also seen the trailer for Reaper of Souls splattered in front of your favorite internet video. You probably already know this, but to be clear as possible Reaper of Souls is not a new game by itself; it’s an expansion. If you don’t own Diablo 3, you won’t be able to play Reaper of Souls. It is what console gamers would call DLC, or downloadable content, and what DVD owners might call the extended version. You get more levels, more chances to advance your character, and a new class of character to play with to boot. I do not know why they won’t let you make a brand new 35th level “Crusader” class character instead of forcing you to begin the game anew to play with the new feature. Blizzard did it well with Death Knight. Why not the Crusader? More on that later.

Screenshot 2014-03-26 18.21.32

In the off chance the trailer didn’t make the plot clear, you basically beat Diablo in the end-spoilers! (Well… not really. What else was gonna happen?!) and his soul stone is basically bad news waiting to happen, so the ex-archangel Tyrael (real spoilers) takes his posse to seal it, but his brother the Grim Reaper kills everyone besides him and takes the soul stone for nefarious purposes, and you come back just in time to see him turning people into ghosts to make a private army. You need to solve the mystery of why he took the stone and what he plans to do. So yeah; instead of facing Diablo, you face an evil angel of Death. Who wants to raise an army of the dead. Play the game to find out why; I’ll update once I’m done.

The expansion leaves off where the original ended, and will set you back 40 dollars to play the game for longer. Question of course is, should you even bother? ‘

Here are a few reasons why you probably should.

 

Adrenaline Pumping

Screenshot 2014-03-26 20.35.58

Diablo is all about the hack and slash; period. It is what the industry would label a game that is built for abnigation; basically a way to fill time when your burnt out and don’t feel like doing anything challenging or complex. In the same way normal women knit and a normal man might whittle, gamers tend to grind levels as they kill monsters and collect loot. Diablo 3 was always a game that made this experience as easy as point and click. Diablo 3 was no exception, and the Reaper of Souls expansion does nothing to change this-at all. In fact, the only thing that remains and the thing Reaper of Souls is very true to is the Diablo 3 tradition of making each click create a dazzling animation that kills things in a show of blood. They even reinforce this idea of “Hack and Slash to the Extreme” by literally giving you small achievements whenever you do this especially well. Words like MASSACRE litter the screen if you kill enough enemies in a few seconds. This is obviously to make you feel empowered with every kill and with excessive use of the core mechanic of click, kill, and collect. Since the looting system has been vastly improved with the 2.0.1 patch, this means that you can spend less time trying to learn macroeconomics for online bidding and more time killing and looting monsters as well as stress.¬†Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls follows these core qualities in the same vein, and you hit the ground running by killing undead and rescuing civilians from undeath at the hands of evil reaper ghosts. You literally delve through dungeons loaded with huddled town guard and civilians and a boss battle even ends with you rescuing the women and children. This, and the heroic dialogue your character will give makes it a power fantasy as well as a mouse powered stress ball. If you loved the elements of Diablo 3 beforehand, your in for a treat.

Assuming you can handle the Bad

Linear System

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The ups of Diablo 3 are back, and so are the downs. The down that stuck out the most with this game was the simple fact that when it came to leveling your character, you have no options. None. No skill branches, no skill points, no nothing. This does not improve until you get the paragon system at level 60; this is the Reaper of Souls remedy for the infamous level cap syndrome that plagues all RPGs. Once you do, you actually have a pretty good selection of what you want to improve and why. I wasn’t able to test this system unfortunately, so until I can update this post, ¬†I’ll have to settle for second hand research. I will share my experience once I get there.

Screenshot 2014-03-26 18.19.59

The Dungeons do very little to relieve this, as it basically amounts to little more then a narrow alley/catacomb/graveyard/pick a gloomy medieval backdrop where you hack through monsters like a machete through the reeds. Such straightforward gameplay enhances the “action” portion of the game, but does little to add depth or make an “adventure”.

Much needed improvement

Screenshot 2014-03-26 18.22.33 Screenshot 2014-03-26 18.24.22

That being said, Reapers of Souls does make Diablo 3 a better game. While expansions do tend to have the same function as DLC most of the time, this expansion seems to actually expand the game mechanics. You get 100+ levels with the paragon system, you can remake weapons based on enchantment with the Mystic, and even add replay value to the game with a brand new class. This actually works for the game as a whole, and I would recommend this highly to people who played the game before and was disappointed. Where the auction house fell, the Reaper of Souls rise. And he saw that it was good.

Last two paragraphs were brief, but sometimes less is more. To recap:

Screenshot 2014-03-26 18.22.33

 

Diablo 3:Reaper of Souls

 

Adrenaline Pumping

 

Linear System 

 

Much Needed improvement

next up is…

qos-featured-image

 

Screenshot 2014-02-17 17.38.47

Every once in a while, a man who plays video games like Splinter Cell, Halo or Gears of War asks himself a very important question; if I really am a grown man, why am I still playing games where you just bad guys?! If you think about it, most M rated video games amount to little more then bloody, sex crazed interactive GI Joe cartoons. Splinter Cell is about a commando that fights enemies of the state (Michael Bay, anyone?), Halo is about a commando cyborg that fights aliens (similar to the movie, uh… Aliens) and Gears of War you pretty much face off against both at the same time. They rarely let the gameplay or the story of the game itself go any deeper then that, and even though the rating is technically for “ages 17 and up” the content seems to target a teenage middle school demographic. Fortunately, for every ten Halo and COD games, we get something like Papers, Please. The game takes place¬†in the fictional communist country of Arstotzka. You just won the lottery for a job as a customs agent, and your basically the one who has to stamp the passports for people crossing the border into your country. You have to double check their passports, make sure all the rules are followed (they change daily) and support your family’s overall well being with whatever money you can scrape up on the job.

Screenshot 2014-03-25 16.37.31

It’s the kind of game that reminds us that “Mature” isn’t just a warning to protect little Johnny from shooting zombies and hookers. With less technology then a game from two decades ago, Papers Please delves into issues ranging from security vs. privacy to terrorism, socialism, and foreign policy. Words rarely used in the modern FPS.¬†That’s not to say that this indie classic is not without its fair share of flaws. Papers Please is like any other piece of work; it has its ups and downs. While I would gladly recommend anyone buy it for the price tag alone ($9.99), I suggest you read the Seven Word Synopsis for not only an understanding of why you should buy this game, but why games like this earn an M rating far more then other so-called “Mature” titles like GTA and the like. Not that GTA was a bad game, of course; it just takes more then F-bombs and crude sex humor to be adult in the true sense.

As always, lets start with the good.

Sophistically Designed

Screenshot 2014-03-25 16.36.01

If you read a review on this game already, you already know that this is a different experience. Whereas most games commit to simply looking pretty while you kill things that are dubbed arbitrarily as evil henchmen to the boss you fight at the end, Papers Please takes a different approach to not only gameplay and story but morality in general. Not once, not twice, but almost every time I played this game, I come away with a sense of fear, guilt, uncertainty and wonder.

This game is not “fun” in the traditional sense. Much the same way the movie Schindler’s list wasn’t, or the novel Grapes of Wrath. Both of which are revered classics, despite their disturbing and provocative subject matter. Subjects like targeting ethnic groups for “random searches” and the weight of helping someone in desperate need versus loyalty to your job and country come into play very early. It only becomes darker, deeper, and more intricate as the game goes on. And every time the rabbit hole gets deeper, the game sends an important and powerful message that reflects not only the moral ambiguities of life an liberty, but the reality of how they affect you and what you can do about it. The fact is the game is made to intricately point out these themes not only with dialogue or backstory, but through the core mechanics. You collect wages for every passport you check, you need to use the wages to pay rent, heat, and food, and if you don’t pay heat or food your family will suffer until you catch up. Neglect it long enough, and your family will die one by one. Balancing that is the fact that every time you deny or approve a passport that you shouldn’t, you get a fine, and that doing the right thing often means denying or approving someone wrongfully. Plus the number of citations you get in general affect your advancement in the game differently, with ending for every outcome. Part of you will want to play this game again and again, and the other would rather think of something more pleasant. The game’s message hits home in the age of NSA domestic spying, terrorist threats, and heightened concerns for national security. Penny Arcade said it best – safety is an illusion, and we are all F’ed.

Meticulously Difficult

Screenshot 2014-03-25 16.35.11

I was thinking about knock on the games less then sophisticated graphics, but given the price and probable budget the team had to work with making it, it’s more fitting to leave that for the summary and point out a more serious price to pay while playing this game – attention to detail. Unlike many games where you can practically play on autopilot if the difficulty isn’t cranked too high, Papers Please demands that you pay attention, work quickly and efficiently, and be aware of what your doing constantly. I actually like this, only because it forces you to feel the tension of working as a public servant, but I wouldn’t list it as bad if it didn’t have serious drawbacks. For one thing, you need to read each document carefully and notice what every face looks like. Plus the rules for what passes and what doesn’t changes with every day that passes in the game, forcing you to waste precious time making money just figuring out what the new rules are. It’s easy to waste time just trying to understand how to play, making this game hard to pick up and play. If you want to devote some time and effort to experiencing Papers Please, do it during the evening you are alone and/or free, and learn the controls before you even select start. Make sure you know how to pause it, cuz time is money in this game. I think the difficulty is well placed and confirms my point of this being a game that actually is mature even more. After all, learning about new countries’ regulations on the fly while stamping passports and checking for terrorist contraband to select nationalities will keep out little Timmy better then stamping a white “M” on the bottom left hand corner. Hell, most punk teenaged boys look for that M rating. Just ask your clerk at GameStop. He’ll tell you how many kids buy GTA V on a daily basis. I bet none of them have even heard of Papers Please, for better or for worse. Design marks a games audience better then censorship any day of the week. This game only proves it.

Affordable Zeitgeist Critique

Screenshot 2014-03-25 16.36.06

Fancy words up there, huh Billy Bob? For those of you reading this and scratching their heads, let me save you guys the trouble of fetching a dictionary; zeitgeist is a word of german origin that means “spirit of the times”. Basically conveys what life and culture is like during a certain era (usually the current one) and what it says about humanity as a whole. My Grandkids will one day be playing this game, and I will be able to use it as an example of how terrorism shocked the nation and how drastic security measures were at the time. They will probably criticize my era for doing things like invading privacy and singling out minorities to prevent terrorism. Such things will reflect how we were and how they are now. That is zeitgeist; knowing who you are and what you are when. Papers Please paints a dark picture to that affect, but only because its true.

Critique is easier to define, and most of you probably know what it means. To be perfectly clear, a critique is different from a criticism in the fact that it doesn’t just review, commentate, or nitpick a work, a critique is more of a careful analysis. This analysis often borders on satire, and is meant to put the themes presented in a clearer light. I call this game a “zeitgeist critique” because it’s basically just that; a careful and educated analysis of our current state of affairs. Although it may not stay current for very long. It was release a few years ago, and while we haven’t completely ended our occupation of the middle east, regulations for terrorism are starting to relax, and the days when we regard the zeitgiest Papers Please is critiquing as past may come sooner then we think. That being said, you still can’t bring liquids on board an airliner, and I can easily remember a time this piece of pixelated art represents, and I’m not even 30 years old yet. So yeah; this game’s underlying themes are still relevant.

I won’t insult your intelligence by defining affordable, so I will only say this; even though this game is dirt cheap on the steam store, I wouldn’t recommend this game to anyone who is inexperienced and/or unfamiliar with electronic games in general. While it technically is a “point and click” game, what it is your pointing and click involves a great deal of multi-tasking and attention. You have been warned.

If that doesn’t scare you off, and the price is right for you, by all means go to your local Steam Store and buy Papers Please, please. It’s not as pretty as Halo, but the game behind the graphics is a breath of fresh air. The cloud it comes from sure is ominous, though…

Next game up for review is RUST. But before that, I got a surprise for you guys.

and gals.

Not sexist.

_PapersPleaseLogo