25 March 2015

Various games

The Swapper

Of the various puzzle games I've recently purchased, The Swapper is the most playable.  It's a relaxed pace platform puzzler (my preference since I don't like the ones where you have to constantly run) and starts with you, an identityless, voiceless figure in a spacesuit, wandering about in the aftermath of a disaster that has left a mining installation abandoned.

The plot is mildly interesting, but the strength of this one is the puzzles, which involve getting into difficult places by creating a clone of yourself, transporting your consciousness into the new copy, and abandoning the old body (or positioning it strategically on switches).  The atmosphere is also nicely spooky, and I've been working my way steadily toward the end.

Never Alone

Never Alone is both similar and virtually the opposite of Swapper.  It's another puzzle platformer (with some required running, but not constant momentum).  Again it's very atmospheric, and relies on working together to get through, but the puzzles so far are not as compulsive, and the main draw is the sheer cuteness of your arctic fox companion, and the slow discovery of Alaska Native culture.

It doesn't have the same forward drive as Swapper, but I'll continue it on and off to the end.

The Unfinished Swan

The Unfinished Swan combines a fairytale story book narration with a mechanic that involves throwing blobs of paint in all directions to reveal the location of walls/floor/objects.

This is very cool for the first couple of rooms, but then begins to pall a little and even though they mix up the paint-throwing mechanism later, there's no real narrative or puzzle interest to pull me through.

I may finished it.  Maybe.

Resident Evil: Revelations 2

I've played a lot of different Resident EvilsThis one takes Claire Redfield, pairs her with a less kick-ass girl, and gratuitously kidnaps them to some sort of experimental facility where someone appears to be channeling GLaDOS, but without the entertaining passive-aggressive snark.

I'm only at the beginning of the first episode of this, and not sure I'll buy any more.  [One advantage of these chapter by chapter game releases is you save money when you discover you don't find a game interesting.]

Final Fantasy: Type 0

A pity Final Fantasy: Type 0 hadn't been released on a chapter by chapter basis!  This is a remastered PSP port, so I expected low-rent graphics (and got them).

You sure do get a lot of different characters to play with - you're an entire elite classroom, named for a deck of cards.

Unfortunately the gameplay is entirely uninteresting, and the story not much better.  I doubt I'll play more than I have.

Final Fantasy XV (Boyband): Episode Duscae

Type 0, however, came with a demo of FF XV, set in a region called Duscae.  XV has been in development for something like six years, and was long considered vaporware until the past year or so, when new trailers and now this demo have been released.  And, from the demo at least, it's a solid step forward in the franchise, leaving behind the turn based gameplay for a quicker, smoother experience.  Timefillers like the way FF combat traditionally started and ended have been removed, and the process of finding and embarking on quests is much more fluid.  And there's some funny additions, too, like cooking for buffs.

The game is also unutterably beautiful.

Of course, being Final Fantasy, there's some inevitable negatives.  I call this "Boy Band" for a reason - all the known playable characters are male (breaking a long tradition of having at least a female healer character) and during the demo the only female given any time on screen might be a mechanic, but she's a mechanic in Daisy Dukes, suffering from camera angles focused on her hips and cleavage.



 However, at least one promo image suggests there are two important female characters in the game, and while one is the typical FF ingenue, the plot outline suggests that she's an ingenue that can match the main character in battle.  [Inevitably to be defeated, of course.]

Anyway, I was already interested in playing FF XV.  I've now moved it to the top of my list of games I'm looking forward to.  The demo was that good.

6 comments:

  1. Have you played Book Two of Dreamfall: Chapters yet?

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    1. Yep - and now the long wait until the next episode!

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  2. I started it, but haven't played in a while. I think I'm playing it "wrong" - as in, I feel like Zoe needs to focus on her own life-changing issues and not get tied up on all the political turmoil going on, especially in a city that she's only living in because she followed her pod-person boyfriend there. So when Baruti asks her to help him infiltrate the system for proof that dirty things are being done in the city's organizations, I had her turn him down because she doesn't need that kind of trouble in her life right now. But of course, that trouble is probably the whole point of the game!

    After walking around Europolis and discovering that there is absolutely nothing else to be done, I realized there is no choice but to go back and tell Baruti you've changed your mind. Why even give us the option of saying no, then? So I lost interest for a little while, but intend to get over it and move on.

    I played chapter two of Life is Strange yesterday. I finished it in what was probably only a few hours, and now have to wait another 6 weeks or so for the next installment! In this episode there is the implication that creepy security guard step-douche, although still a jerk, might actually know something about what's going on with the missing student and is all paranoid and being a creeper because he's trying to figure out what's going on with this secret operation and put a stop to it. So he may have good intentions after all, but then again, a douche by any other name...

    With the emphasis on player choices having consequences in these games, I have to say I feel a bit pressured in this one about how Max is supposed to feel about some of the other characters. I think Warren's crush on her is cute, but in her journal she makes it pretty clear that the feeling is not mutual. On the other hand, she is pretty enamored with Chloe, and although there are some things about Chloe's character that I enjoy, I feel like she treats Max like crap sometimes. She wants to throw Max under the bus when she's caught with weed, claiming that a true friend would take the blame for her. Then in episode two, Max gets a call from Kate - the student who is being bullied terribly and is depressed and frightened. Chloe gets upset if Max takes the call, accusing her of liking Kate more than her, are you here to hang out with me or talk to her, blah blah. I realize it's just an opportunity to have another choice that affects outcomes in the storyline, but it just makes me think the relationship is an unhealthy one. Max, on the other hand, thinks Chloe is amazing, which jolts me out of the submersion into the game because, really, aren't I Max? I mean, I act for her and make decisions for her, yet her opinions in some cases are the opposite of mine.

    But, meh, it's a game and I still have a lot of fun with it, so I'll try not to dissect it too much and just go with the flow :)

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  3. I do think ep 2 of Chapters was not quite so strong as ep 1, but still very enjoyable. Though I agreed immediately to help Baruti. I kinda wish I knew what the rest of the world was like - after the break up, Zoe really should have at least contemplated leaving the city. But I guess she's started feeling connected to the people she's got to know, including Baruti.

    I, personally, would like to know the truth about the person whose political campaign I had been volunteering for.

    I ended up rather unsure whether Zoe had formally broken up with Reza, or just had a conversation with him. I hope it was a break up. :)

    I'm also not keen on Chloe, who definitely threw Max under a bus with that weed. Of course, Chloe has been dealing with a pretty messed up situation, and is messed up as a consequence. But I'm glad not to have (at least for now) gone on with the game, as it strikes me as one that would frustrate me.

    Still, I wish for more like it! I like a lot of different sorts of games (as clear from above) and I think that this LiS is a solid entry.

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  4. The answers I chose in ep 1 of Chapters led Zoe to tell us that she honestly wasn't all that invested in the political situation, she volunteered for the one campaign simply because she needed something to get her out of the apartment and keep busy. So when Reza told her he wished she'd give it up now that it was putting her in danger, I could only agree with him. So in my game, they did not break up. Still, Zoe says in ep 2 that things just aren't very good between them, and since he's "not really Reza", I can't say I'd be at all upset if they do split.

    Anyway, I'll pick ep 2 back up soon and go ahead and help Baruti, but as of right now my options for how to spend free time are either playing Dreamfall or reading Pyramids, and so far Pyramids has won every time ;)

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