Sparky

Aug 262014
 

Status: Completed Most Intriguing Idea: Transitions between 3D and 2D platforming. Best Design Decision: Adopting noir trappings that go with its mechanics. Worst Design Decision: Inconsistent behavior of shadow edges. Summary: Contrast feels like half of a game. That impression comes from the story, which is short, simpler than its noir aesthetic trappings suggest it should be, and ends abruptly. It also comes from the gameplay, which never reaches a point of maturity. In any platformer I expect to have a moment where I have to put together everything I learned earlier in order to succeed; not coincidentally such challenges [Read more...]

Aug 182014
 

Status: Completed Most Intriguing Idea: Showing off every single input the Vita possesses Best Design Decision: The “mystery” puzzles, though they could have been harder Worst Design Decision: Showing off every single input the Vita possesses Summary: Well, Golden Abyss is bad, and I’m glad Nick Burgener wrote this detailed post about its many shortcomings so I didn’t have to.  My single point of departure with his opinion would be on the combat, which I thought was also total garbage, albeit in a completely different direction. Drake’s foes are ridiculous bullet sponges in this game in ways that barely make [Read more...]

Aug 142014
 

Video games act as a gestalt between many different kinds of art. The player’s experience depends on visuals, on writing, on music, on acting, and of course on the mechanics and dynamics of the gameplay. That these elements can be in tension with one another has been recognized for a while—”ludonarrative dissonance” is a term that encompasses a subset of possible conflicts. Special terms haven’t been invented for instances where the art and level design don’t work with the narrative, or the art style interferes with the player’s assessment of dynamics, and perhaps they need not be. Developers, however, should [Read more...]

Aug 062014
 

After the tremendous success of The Walking Dead,  I suppose another comic book adaptation was in the cards for Telltale Games. These are a good match for their graphical style, and mature graphic novels have a deep bench of quality storytelling that the vast majority of the population hasn’t been exposed to. I might not have chosen Fables out of a hat, but in a way it seems like Telltale did. The Wolf Among Us uses the same approach as The Walking Dead, but the gameplay never feels like a good fit for the story. As a result, the game just isn’t compelling, [Read more...]