October 05, 2017

That's A Wrap: Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

warning: may contain spoilers

I went into Rapture knowing only one thing, which is that it's described as a "walking simulator", which, to me, means the game will be reasonably short and not very demanding of the player. Sounds like everything else I've played lately, right? In fact, I was reminded of the game's existence after my blogging pal Sarca mentioned it in her Journey entry. I recalled getting the game from my PS+ subscription but, like most of the games I get there, I completely ignored it despite being intrigued by the name.
So upon booting it up, I took a moment to get myself acquainted with the first-person view, thanking my lucky stars that there won't (as far as I know) be any shooting to do. The game really doesn't give you much to work with beyond a short introduction to one or two characters called Kate and Stephen. Given the title of the game, I knew we'd be dealing with an "end of the world" scenario and assumed I was playing as Kate for a while. For the next hour or two, I found myself a little frustrated with the lack of direction - I had literally no idea what I was doing; my objective, how to find things, what to interact with? And at the same time I found myself amused by how much this situation looks like what I'd probably do if I was "left behind"... wander around and explore people's houses and shit. The aimless nature of the game is actually kind of welcoming to a native explorer like me, but I still wish I had some idea what to do. Eventually, I noticed the repeated mention of the observatory, and assumed I needed to head back there. Before I reached it (I went the complete opposite direction, didn't pay much attention to that map on my first spin...) I started to figure out what was going on and how to play the game.

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is a 2015 first-person walking sim developed by The Chinese Room with the help of Sony's Santa Monica Studios. It's a story-heavy experience released exclusively for the PS4, until 2016 when it was ported to PC.

August 24, 2017

That's A Wrap: Journey

warning: may contain spoilers

There's a game that's been on my radar for many years now; it's received much praise as well as criticism, some calling it a masterpiece while my internet bro Player 1 calls it "push up, the game". That didn't stop him finally conceding to make it a game of the month for the Cartridge Club, though, and I figure that makes this as a good a time as any to finally check out Journey.

Journey is a 2012 interactive something-like-a-platformer game made by indie studio, Thatgamecompany, and published exclusively by and for the Playstation 3 (it was later ported to PS4, I played the PS3 version). The physical copy of the game - which has been collecting dust on my shelf for some time now - hosts the aforementioned as the lead in a three-game lineup, including flOw and Flower, which I also checked out! As the name suggests, the game is centered around one's (or many, for that matter) journey across the land, towards a looming, lit up mountain peak in the distance. Take this time to insert your own "it's not the destination..." joke here.

August 17, 2017

That's A Wrap: Papo & Yo

warning: may contain spoilers

The next in what's becoming my 'month of adventure puzzle games' is Papo & Yo on the Playstation 3. Papo & Yo, which - to the best of my somewhat respectable language knowledge - translates to Monster & Me, where "monster" sounding an awful lot like "papa" was not a mistake, is yet another game I received for "free" with my Playstation Plus subscription years ago. I checked it out in a Game Binge a while back and decided I liked the cut of its jib, so it sat on my Playstation for another year and change until I realized that these shorter games are about the only thing I have time for this summer. I don't know if you've noticed, but ATSG always gets a bit... tumbleweed-y in the summer months, since my work schedule picks up significantly, I have little to no time for games, much less writing. But with a roster that includes games like Brothers, Journey (coming soon!) and Papo, which can be finished in one sitting, I'm working towards a somewhat busy summer for ATSG! That said, if you can recommend me any other games that fit this mold, drop me a line! I'd like to keep this momentum going!

Anyway, Papo & Yo is a self published, adventure puzzle game made by Minority Media and released in 2012 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. As I said a moment ago, I got my first look at it during a random Game Binge, and was intrigued by the light/dark tones of the game, the cute delivery system for tutorials, and even the "little kid" writing for the menus and dialogue. The game has a very free feel to it, like you can do anything you want, but your purpose becomes quite clear very soon.

August 10, 2017

That's A Wrap: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

warning: may contain spoilers

A much talked about game, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons first came to my attention shortly after its release. Everyone remarked on the unique use of the game's dual controls - that is, you must control one character with one half of a single controller, and the other with the opposite side - which honestly made me groan. 10-year-old me wouldn't have thought twice, but not-so-10-year-old-me is noticing a distinct loss in fine motor skills as I age, and everyone knows patience isn't my best feature... so a game that requires both sides of my brain to work simultaneously didn't appeal to me that much. But that wasn't the only thing people were talking about, many discussed the emotional story, the acute sense of adventure and the somewhat complex puzzle design of the game, and those are all dead ringers for a game I'd like to play. So I thought I'd give it the old college try, and see if I could handle two brothers. Historically speaking, having one has been a pain in the ass...

I actually came to own Brothers after it was given away for free ("free") to PS+ members some time ago, so I'm plum out of excuses!

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (stupid subtitle) is a unique dual-control adventure game made by Starbreeze Studios and originally published in 2013 for the Xbox 360. It popped up shortly thereafter on PS3 and has since been ported to PS4 and Xbox One as well, among others.

July 13, 2017

That's A Wrap: Shining Force

warning: may contain spoilers.

You've probably heard me raving about Shining Force 2 more than a few times on this site, and that's because it's my favorite game of all time. But I seldom talk about its predecessor, Shining Force. The way I see it, in a world where SF2 exists, there's little reason to reach for Force 1 much, but that didn't stop me downloading it on my iPhone just in case I got bored one day...

...one day is here. After my pal DukeTogo from RF Generation mentioned that the Playcast's game of the month is Shining Force 2, I somehow got roped into a Shining discussion that ended in me mentioning that I had Force 1 on my phone. I was asked if it was terrible, and I realized that I didn't actually know... I dabbled with it a bit after downloading (and that was years ago) but never actually tried to play it on my phone; I always just play on my Genesis. So I decided to give it a look and see if it belongs in the Shining world...

Shining Force is 1992 strategy RPG made by Sonic (hahaha) and published by and for the Sega Genesis. It was ported to iOS in 2010.

June 15, 2017

The E3 Blog: 2017

Every year now, the video game industry breaks into two groups; the first gets very excited for E3, and starts making predictions and wish lists for certain content, the other are nay-sayers who insist E3 is becoming obsolete and is a waste of time. I fall somewhere in between. I'm never really excited for E3 anymore; it's become really difficult to avoid rumors and leaks, so surprises are rare at a convention like this, and the rest is usually a bunch a predictable ports and sequels... I'm often left uncharged at the end. That said, I also think the event serves more than one purpose, and just because we aren't jumping out of our seats in shock and awe, doesn't mean the annual activity is worthless. I quite like this platform for people like me, and I just hope for something truly interesting every year... a new I.P. is always welcome, and perhaps a confirmed released date for something I've been waiting for (although we all know release dates are bullshit these days too). I'm ready for some good information. Here's hopin' at least one of these guys has an ace up their sleeve...

Oh, if you're new here: hi! I'm Lo! Every year I watch each of the major press events at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), America's largest video game and tech convention, and tap out my thoughts in real time here, for the E3 Blog. Thanks for joining me!

I'm already so confused by this schedule. We don't normally start on a Saturday, do we?

June 01, 2017

Tales of Opinia: Demos

If you've paid any mind to the assault of Game Binges here lately, you've no doubt picked up on the fact that I'm no stranger to demos. And why should I be? Demos are an excellent answer to the problem of having some interest in a game, but not knowing if it's worth your money. I think demos have always been an awesome way to introduce gamers to your content and potentially sell your product.
That said... there's no shortage of absolute shit demos out there. You think it'd be pretty straight forward, but developers are often coy when it comes to revealing certain aspects of their game on the first date. And I suppose I understand, I'm not asking for a movie trailer containing all the best parts of the movie here, I just want to know what I'm getting into before I sink $60+ and countless hours of my time into something. So when I'm not 100% certain of a game, I look for a demo, and after so many years, I've noticed what it takes to sell me from one. Listen up, industry! I'm going to tell you what I think it takes to make a good demo!

May 25, 2017

That's A Wrap: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

objection! may contain spoilers

I got my first look at the Ace Attorney series when I did a 3DS Game Binge for the site a couple months ago. I've been hearing people raving about these games for some time, but I guess I just shifted it to the back burner to focus on the more "heavy duty" games I wanted to play. Doing that binge helped me learn that, in fact, it's Phoenix I need in my life right now... he's all I've got time for!
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a 2001 interactive courtroom "drama" game by Capcom, originally made for the Game Boy Advance and later ported (and expanded*) for the Nintendo DS (and others) in 2005. It's the first of many in the Ace Attorney series, which, as the title suggests, follows a number of elite lawyers in their bid to bring justice to all.

I suppose I expected AA (teehee!) games to be puzzle in nature, and obviously law themed. I wasn't too far off. The game plays like an interactive novel, where a number of cases play out and it's up to you - as Phoenix - to memorize facts and point out inconsistencies in the stories of all people involved. A slight departure from the law theme, the game also includes an investigative portion in which Phoenix acts more like a detective than a defense attorney.