Friday, April 17, 2015

The Official Chessasaur 2015 Playlog #6 - At the end of Dead Space 3

Last night I finally got to the end of Isaac's story - or at least as much of it as currently exists.

A couple of years back, I played the first Dead Space game, and in atypical style (for me), I finished it. It was a great survival-horror/sci-fi adventure that was brought down a little by clunky movement, awkward zero-G action, and a story that had the lead character, Isaac Clark, basically bossed around the whole game doing everyone else's jobs. But it was still entertaining.

Earlier this year, I got the bug to go back and play the sequels. (At some point, I thought that playing all of a particular series of games would make for a good gaming goal this year.) Dead Space 2 fixed many of the movement and control issues of the first - objects were particularly difficult to position in #1. But, overall, I never really connected with the story. Isaac is "haunted" by the memory of his girlfriend who died on the Ishimura, and other than a final battle with her (sort of) she's not a threat at any time. Meanwhile, most of the exploration and combat takes place on a space station with generic hallways and room design. What I did like was the inclusion of more personality for Isaac and the addition of a new character, Ellie. She rescues Isaac at the end of Dead Space 2 and their relationship is a major part of Dead Space 3.

Dead Space 3 is a full-on, summer blockbuster, thrill ride! The design team at Visceral put a huge amount of effort into the game to make it as exciting as possible. You could tell that they wanted to surprise you with something new to do or overcome at every turn. Other than the combat sometimes, it never got repetitive. Add to that the ongoing situation between Isaac and Ellie (they threw in a love triangle as well), and it was a game I had to finish.

The DLC...well.... Ok, I had to play Awakened since it was basically an epilogue to the game, but at least I got it cheap. I sort of wish that it didn't exist though, because it's the last thing I'll remember most about playing Dead Space 3. It did little or nothing to extend the story other than to say that everything that Isaac did in the main game was worthless (ie, he didn't stop the Marker signal) and that the Earth, in the end, gets screwed anyway. Add in that a third of the gameplay takes place in reused sections of Dead Space 3, and you get a poor ending to a great series.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Official Chessasaur 2015 Playlog #5

Framed Image Framed - (iOS / ~2 hours / Status: Completed) - So, the fabled creator of Metal Gear, Hideo Kojima, called this his Game of 2014. That was one of the reasons I decided to pick it up. Also, I think I got it for free on some sort of one day giveaway deal. For the most part, I liked the puzzle mechanics - you move comic panels around in order to help spies elude police; very unique. It's like an interactive comic, but without any dialog. However, it could have used a bit more instruction as the game progressed. To up the difficulty, you get to levels where it's necessary to move the panels after you've started the action, but it does a very bad job of letting you know when you can move the panels. There were a couple of puzzles that I solved just by luck and shoving things around - probably not what the developers had in mind. I'd like to see a Framed 2 someday that actually had characters and told a story.

Hitman GO Image Hitman Go (iOS / ~30 mins / Status: Aborted) - I really seems a shame to use the Hitman license to market a chess-like puzzle game, but I will say the graphics were outstanding for a tablet title. Definitely not what I was expecting though in the way of gameplay.

Ori and the Blind Forest Image Ori and The Blind Forest (PC / ~3 hours / Status: Abandoned?)  - There should be a rule, nah, a law, that game developers shall be forbidden to create beautiful, whimsical games with cute characters that are hard as balls to play!! I bought this off Steam after hearing just glowing reviews for it's charm and graphical quality. And yes, it looks awesome, like an old fashioned hand-drawn Disney cartoon. And yes, I was moved to tears by the opening sequence. all came apart for me. Truth be told, I've always sucked at games like Super Metroid and Castlevania. I'm just not a really good side-scrolling platformer gamer. I've played a fair number over the years (mostly in the SNES days), but I guess I stayed toward the easier ones. This game gives no quarter. After about 3 hours of enemies that took half my hit-points at once, getting hurt by water, and having to use up power-ups to save, I gave up. A real loss as I'm sure the ending of this game would have been wonderful to see.

*** Update: Well, maybe I was a little too hasty on my verdict here. I was watching a stream yesterday of someone playing Ori and was somewhat heartened to see that they got stuck in exactly the same place I did! With some help from the other watchers, he got through it and I saw what I had missed. So, that evening I reinstalled it and decided to try some more. Mind you, it's still harder than I think it should be, but if I take it in small chunks I might be able to get through more of it.

I have over 900 games in my Steam catalog and last night decided to hit up a couple, just to see if I could find a diamond in the rough. No such luck this time.

Wrack Image Wrack (PC / ~ 1/2 hour / Status: Aborted) - It would be rude of me to say too much negative about this game because it's apparently supposed to be an "old school" FPS - like Doom, but cel-shaded. So, saying things like "the writing is juvenile", "the controls are primitive", and "it's not worth my time" would just be a slap in the face of the developers who slaved over this game. Moving on...

Super Toy Cars Image Super Toy Cars (PC / ~ 1/2 hour / Status: Aborted) - I'm always up for a racing game, no matter how cheesy, but I still wonder what the big draw is for toy cars driving around a kid's bedroom floor. Seems like I've seen it too many times before. Anyway, the controls on this one were not as tight as they needed to be and I found myself hitting the track walls much too often. Fortunately, I probably got it in a bundle deal. No major loss.