Archive for the ‘PC/Mac’ Category
Please Note: Many reviewers out there seem to think it is appropriate to discuss the events of previous episodes of Life is Strange as if everyone who would read it damn well should have already played the previous episodes. It has been my experience that if you have held out this long and haven’t already played this episode then you are most likely wondering how the game progresses throughout the season and will decide whether or not to buy when all episodes are out. This is why each episodic review is spoiler free for the entire season, not just this episode.
Episode 4: Dark Room
We have arrived at episode 4, nearing the end of the season and who knows, perhaps this episode contains the major climax for the arc. I say this without assurance because episode 3 had such an unexpected cliffhanger that I didn’t think it was possible to get me again. I was wrong. That being said I need to come right out and say I was a little unimpressed overall with episode 4, proving that the warning I gave in the first episode’s review may have actually come to fruition. Whereas episodes 2 and especially three can begin to fork based off of your choices and possibly even suggest that two playthroughs is more of a recommendation rather than an option, episode 4 is forcing you down a corridor. Granted, it’s a well calculated corridor that presents itself with the illusion of choice, but I’ve seen this trick before in The Walking Dead series from Telltale and without sounding catty, I thought Dontnod was above that. There’s a decent amount of substance here still, with the story having easily its highest moment yet as the episode closes and again there are some strong emotional scenes that make up a very heavy episode. One thing I do find a bit troubling is the fact that as certain plots unfold, others are left almost unmentioned, which nets a lot of catch up, wrap up, and resolution required for the fifth and final episode. I’m just hoping that it remains as interactive as the others have been and doesn’t become the 90 minute ending of Metal Gear Solid 4. Dontnod has yet to convince me they don’t know how to craft a story and without a doubt they know how to catch my interest, here’s hoping the ending stands as strongly as the jaw-dropping cliffhangers of previous episodes.
One of the most common questions I have been asked in regards to fighting games is, “why is Street Fighter II a sequel? Where is Street Fighter?” An understandable question, especially when you consider that the original Street Fighter was released in arcades a whopping four years later, plays completely different from its sequel, and was called Fighting Street in its only US console release (on the Turbografx-CD no less). If you’re a fan of Street Fighter II, the concept of getting to see where the series starts is tempting to say the least (and now completely possible without expensive hardware thanks to the virtual console and Capcom Collection), but you’ll soon find that Street Fighter is much more of a proof of concept rather than a fighting game that pre-dates the record setting sequel.
Writers Notes: In an attempt to make my comeback in game reviewing I wanted to get nostalgic again and revisit the first video game review I ever wrote. But since film and game developers seem to love to remaster everything, I thought I would jump on that bandwagon and re work my old review. Enjoy and hopefully you will see more content from me soon. Today I am going to revisit the 16-bit hit Shadows of the Beast II on the Sega Mega Drive developed by Reflections Interactive and published by the late Psygnosis. I decided to return once again to this brutally challenging game and see if I still remember how to play through what is a relatively short experience (if you know what you are doing).
Alpha Protocol is a game designed around choice, optimized for espionage, and works really hard at having you roleplay as the type of secret agent you want to be. During our game club podcast, we all would refer to our handling of Agent Michael Thorton as “being in character,” which goes a long way in telling you just how immersed in the game one can get. Before you go thinking this means you’ll feel like a true secret agent, there are many aspects of Alpha Protocol – the most notable probably being the game glitches and bugs – that will remind you time and time again that this is a game and tethered to the tropes of such. Still, as time has gone on and the fact that we have rarely seen games quite like it, Alpha Protocol has had a lasting impression and subsequent cult following that we not so warmly embraced when it released up against the likes of powerhouses like Mass Effect 2. It’s time to take a critical eye to this self-proclaimed “Espionage RPG” and figure out if it’s more James Bond or Maxwell Smart.
Fred has never played Operation Raccoon City and after it was mentioned on the most recent Silent Evil Episode, he finally decided to join veteran to the game and co-host Jam for a co-op session. This is the result.
Warning: This video contains adult language and graphic violence. The chat language is quite offensive as well.
Mirrors Edge was released back in 2008 and believe it or not this year was quite the year for EA releasing new IPs to the new consoles. We got Army of Two, Dead Space, and Mirror’s Edge all in the same year. Now whether you like these titles or not is a matter of opinion but this was a good time to be a gamer. Despite my love for survival horror and heartily awaiting the arrival of Dead Space, it was hard to ignore just how unique and different Mirror’s Edge looked. It’s time to revisit this title and see how it holds up today.
Episode 3: Chaos Theory
The story of lead character Max, her best friend Chloe, and the various people that cross paths with these girls in the small Oregon town of Arcadia Bay continues. We are now on the third episode of five, which is the time where typically the twist of the season presents itself and the direction for the overall story arc begins to come into view. I don’t know where Life is Strange is headed – the twist at the end I never saw coming and it only furthered my intrigue – but I am pleased to say that the flaws I was detecting in the second episode are quite absent this time around. In fact, it feels like perhaps two different teams at Dontnod are programming episodes because Chaos Theory feels more like the first episode and might even be able to get by if episode 2 didn’t exist (save for a plot point or two). Needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed this third iteration, although despite my gripes from episode 2 being resolved, all new ones have emerged that prove there’s still room for improvement on this project.
Episode 2: Out of Time
I was quite taken with my initial impressions of Life is Strange, the episodic game that’s part modern adventure and part Choose Your Own Adventure, but there’s a part of me that acknowledged many works have started with fantastic openings and fall short at the end. In fact, much of the first episode was probably how the game was pitched for development. Typically the second outing, especially in the case of episodic titles, give us a much better feeling of what the overall title is going to be like and allows us to gauge how effectively or ineffectively the unwinding story and gameplay goals are executing. It’s also important to note that almost universally the second episode is hit with the largest amount of criticism and negative feedback, if only because it’s a focused burst of reality on the high hopes of the first episode, but also because it’s an awkward in-between time for the plot. I wish I could say Life is Strange overcomes this potential hitch, but it does appear that like most of the others it just doesn’t quite pack the punch of the first.
Of Fred’s 3 random games he has to cover this month, one was a sports game that apparently was the best hockey game on the PS2. NHL 2002, developed and published by EA, touts funny announcers, crazy gameplay mechanics, and some of the smoothest action for the generation. Fred gives it an initial go and if nothing else, exploits the unbalanced nature of the AI on both sides of the difficulty spectrum. More coverage and a review to follow, but here’s the initial 30 minutes and it ends with a Sum41 song, woo hoo game license cross-promotion!