It's time again for another late night posting of Destructoid's (semi) weekly conversation blog. Last week I suggested that we talk about review backlash, but we just ended up talking about Eternity's Child. So this week, I just decided to cut to the chase and make the subject the only game anyone is talking about: Braid.
I really can't think of anything else that's relevant right now. So ... Braid!
Hamza CTZ Aziz
Did you ever post the last DD?
Tuesday night. I was going to do it Sunday, but I was hammered. I was going to do it Monday, but I had to write that Skate 2 preview, then the EVO announcement; so at 4:28 in the am, I was sleepy. It went up, though :)
Disclaimer: This is not a "fanboy" rant, but it's going to look like one because of a digression.
Sadly, I have no means to play Braid, and it doesn't appear that I will for a long, long time. I don't own a 360, and I doubt that my four-year-old laptop could handle the PC version of the game (it's coming to Steam soon, right?). None of my friends own 360s, either, and though my brother has one, he's taking summer classes at college, so he left it there when he came home for our family vacation to India. Also, he's not the kind of guy who'd buy Braid anyway.
Earlier today, I was having a discussion with a bunch of the editors about my stance on the 360: namely, that I don't ever plan on buying one (and that's not just because I don't have the money). I really don't like the way Microsoft makes you pay for everything, and don't even get me staahted on the RROD. But most importantly, there really are very few 360-exclusive games that I'm interested in, so I wouldn't buy the console.
Regardless, Braid is one of the few games that make me lament the fact that I don't own a 360. It looks like everything I'd want out of a video game -- beautiful art direction, wonderful level design, intriguing game play (mechanics), and a fantastic story -- and I really wish I owned a 360 for Braid alone. Blockbuster doesn't still allow you to rent consoles, does it...?
Hamsa CTZ Aziz
Wow, totally missed it.
So hey, while I got you here, did you visit John yet and preview the games? Also, what's your schedule next week like?
It IS coming to Steam eventually. Maybe not soon, but eventually. If anyone is holding out on buying it just to stick it to the guys at Microsoft, then, yeah. Steam's your best bet.
I'm not really gonna talk about the game too much because I assume people are sick as shit of hearing me go on about it. I know I am.
As usual, I'm pretty busy. Aside from the 40-hour week, I think I'm going to the Bionic Commando thing with you, and then a Fracture multiplayer event on Wednesday morning.
Rev, I saw you playing Braid on your laptop months ago, where did that come from?
Preview build I replayed for about three months straight.
Hence my top spot on the time-ranked puzzle pieces leaderboard.
Rev showed it to me at E3, and I actually had really mixed feelings about it. The gameplay was clearly fantastic, the music was good, the animation was great; everything was AAA in terms of un-subjective assessment of quality.
But the art direction.... Ugh. It bothered me a bit. The main character looks like a cross between Chucky and Harry Potter. I'd almost go as far to say there was an uncanny valley feel to him. So far, I can't relate with the guy at all. That definitely has to do with how detailed he is rendered.
It's like the game almost wants to go for realism, with tons of shading and a high-res look, then takes a step back and gives the characters doll-like proportions and big eyes. Remember that "realistic Mario" graphic from a few months back? That's how the Braid protagonist makes me feel.
I'm sure I'll get over it, but still, I would have rather the game look more like Fez or (gasp) even Eternity's Child.
Jordan "Grim" Devore
So, how about that ending? Since we're probably going to avoid spoilers in this discussion, I'll just say that it was a Memory Card moment for me.
The Jim Sterling
I would love to talk Braid, but we have a full Destructoid review in the works. For now I would just like to say: THIS GAME IS GOING TO DRIVE ME FUCKING INSANE!!!!!
I first got my hands on Braid a few months back and instantly recognized it as a winner. I immediately took my hands off the game so I could play it fresh from the beginning when I had time to sit down with the whole game.
Time limits in games are a huge pet peeve of mine. Amazing games like Dead Rising and PixelJunk Eden can be ruined by something as simple as a time limit. Braid, on the other hand, sort of has the opposite of time limits. I can take my time and think carefully about my next move without feeling pressured. Additionally, I absolutely love lateral thinking puzzles, and that's exactly what Braid is. I have to think outside the box to move forward with the game. The art direction and sound are just the icing on this delicious cake.
Braid does seem a little expensive at $15, and that seems to have caused some controversy. Some people seem to think it is too expensive for such a "short" game. To those people I would simply say this: "Would you be willing to pay $15 for Portal if it didn't come in The Orange Box?" If the answer is "yes," then shelling out $15 for Braid should be a no-brainer.
Jim: I replayed last night and some of the puzzles that had me stuck the day before suddenly seemed to click last night. I don't know why that is, but I'm going to test that theory tonight and see if it works again :)
Have you all seen the official Braid walkthrough?
It starts off looking like a normal walkthrough, but the moment it gets into the second world, where the game really starts, the walkthrough stops and says....
... once you get into the actual puzzles, solve them for yourself and do not use a walkthrough!
All the puzzles in Braid are reasonable.
They don't require you to do anything random; they don't require guessing. They don't require trial and error. The solutions tend to be simple and natural. They flow directly from the rules of game play in each world.
If you are having problems solving a puzzle, don't give up!
Some of the puzzles will be hard. But when you manage to solve those hard puzzles, you will feel very good about it. The game will feel very rewarding. Don't rob yourself of that feeling by reading a walkthrough!
Please do not use a walkthrough.
Braid does not have a linear story the way most games do, so Getting To The End is not necessarily what you would expect. The idea of "beating the game" does not apply so much, here. Braid is about the journey, not the destination. If you use a walkthrough to bypass some of the puzzles, you will be robbing yourself of that journey.
Don't give up.
All the puzzles can be solved. Some of them might take an hour or two, but you will get it. If you try. And you will feel cool and smart. If you read a walkthrough (or get spoilers from a forum), you can never un-read it. You can never un-spoiler yourself! So don't spoiler yourself.
Yeah, I am going to avoid talking about Braid too much since I am in on the upcoming review, but I have a few quick comments:
1. The game is amazing.
2. It has given me a giant erection on several occasions.
I haven't beaten the game yet, but I did hear the ending was incredible. PLEASE NO SPOILERS! :)
If Braid were a puppy, I would pet it and give it a treat. And then I would have it compete on best show ever Greatest American Dog and have it win me $250,000. And then I would take that quarter of a million dollars and buy everyone in the community Braid.
That would have to include buying me a 360.
With that much money, you could purchase Braid 16,666 times.
Actually, it's 16,636...if you account for buying me an Elite.
Can I suggest a 60GB instead? If your 360 playing time really will be that limited, an Elite wouldn't be necessary.
That way, Chad could buy 16,646 copies!!! That means power-glove could get a copy, too!
360s available for less than $200 on the Qais awesome thing.
I vote that we officially refer to it as "the Qais awesome thing" from now on.
[This has to do with something that Qais hooked up us with. But like I said, nothing gets edited.]
Destructoid is officially the #1 Google search result for "Qais pr0n"...
I downloaded this game off of PartnerNet a month or so ago, but I only played it for about twenty minutes. I didn't really get anything out of those twenty minutes to make me turn it back on. I'm just saying that because it was my experience, not a condemnation of the game.
Ha! I think Rev and the rest of the fans will appreciate this.
I can't wait for PAX ...
Hamza CTZ Aziz
PA also linked to one of our Braid stories today too :D
I think there is only one rational reason to not buy Braid because of the heightened price tag, and that's because you disagree with Microsoft's testing their audiences to see how much we'll shell out for games we're looking forward to. I know of some people who are refusing to buy the XBLA version but are holding out for the Steam one in a few months, simply because they want to give more money to Jon Blow and, perhaps more importantly, less to Microsoft. I can definitely understand this sentiment.
I do think, however, that if people are refusing to spend an extra $5 simply because they think all XBLA games should be 800 points no matter WHAT, they're just assholes. How do you honestly go from "Yes, I will pay ten dollars for a decent game" to "No, I will NOT, under any circumstances, pay fifteen dollars for Braid, a game people are calling incredible, simply because I refuse to relinquish an extra five dollars no matter what because all XBLA games should be 800 points and not a cent more."?
Unless you're living in a country where MS Points translate to much more than five dollars, THAT attitude is just demented.
Not that that this signals the death of digital distribution, but this type of mentality is, in my eyes, a sign that physical media may have a few tricks up its sleeve yet. The value of physical media depreciates over time, but there's no digital bargain bin when it comes to XBLA downloads. People see digital media as somehow inherently less valuable.
Conversely, physical media prices seem to be more or less regulated -- all new games are $60, and Greatest Hits are $20. Period. Even shitty games are $60. I don't know when or where or why Microsoft decided to depart from standardized pricing schemes, but it's causing problems.
Do I think Braid is worth $15? A resounding yes. Do I think it's fair for Microsoft to artificially and arbitrarily raise the prices for a game? No, not really. If Microsoft is willing to charge more for good games (which is sketchy logic to begin with), then we should expect to buy sloppy XBLA ports and shovelware for 400 points, no?
Lastly, the Penny Arcade game was $20, and it was the fastest selling XBLA title or whatever the hell. What gives?
Let's face it, anyone who might quibble over $5 for a game here or there doesn't really want the game.
I'd pay $50 for a game like Braid if it were good.
I'd like to preface this by saying I hate platformers. Playing them makes me feel like a retarded child trying to play with mittens on, because no matter what I do, I can't seem to make the god damn character jump from one spot to another without dying 37 times and having to restart the level.
That being said, I love Braid. Right off the bat, it made me grin from ear to ear because of how incredibly pretty it is. I've found myself just walking around in certain stages simply because of the atmosphere. The time travel functionality takes care of my mitten-tard hands, and like Joe said, being able to take my time and actually analyze the puzzle is great. Knowing that I don't have to rush headlong into something that's just going to result in having to start all over again is all I've ever wanted out of a platformer.
The vast majority of people bitching about the price of Braid need to ask themselves if they'd think twice about paying double (or more) what the game actually costs if it'd come out on hard copy. A lot of folks just seem to have a disconnect between a tangible product and an intangible product that's been reinforced by the standard point values of XBL releases. It comes down to a really basic fact: mediocrity is usually cheap, and quality is usually more expensive than mediocrity.
And yet in this case, quality is cheap!
Buy Braid, motherfuckers!
I like how Anthony reduced all Qais's eloquent words down to one simple sentiment. STFU BUY IT
As an aside (I was laughing so much at the last email I temporarily forgot what I wanted to say), Braid is the most elegant game I've played in a while. ELEGANT. How often can you use that word to describe a game? Nowhere near as often as I wish I could. Part of its elegance is the simplicity, part of it is the beauty of the levels, and part of it is that the experience is uninterrupted by the irritation that comes with dying and having to wait though the game over screen to give it another go. I think I love that last tidbit the most of all -- it gives the rhythm of the game play a flow that's going to stick with me a long time after I actually complete it.
I just finished Braid and I don't know how to feel.
That was me just the other day, Chad. I've been mulling it over practically non-stop since I finished and that feeling remains.
It's very hard to talk about Braid without giving in to the urge to use superlatives. I'll do the best I can, but no promises. It's also very difficult for me to discuss without venturing into the ending, which, in a game that manipulates time and plays with you as much as you play with it, is even difficult to actually pinpoint (the climax, on the other hand, is not, and I shall not discuss it other than to say that I consider it to have an equal impact as the revelations in the second act of BioShock in terms of pure storytelling excellence).
So, I'll put it this way: The best thing about Braid is that it's as complex as you want it to be. If you want a clever puzzle game wrapped in platformer elements and nothing else, I defy you to find a better example. If you desire ... no, that's it, really. That sentence had an ending once, but I realized that it didn't actually need one. If you have desire, that singularly human trait, play Braid.
Did anybody view the credits, by the way? One of the things that struck me most about the game is how well everything fits together, like a completed jigsaw puzzle. Every element feels as though it's a perfect fit for every other and is integrated together seamlessly. The credits, so often an afterthought in games, are just as beautiful as the rest of it.
Yeah, I am still thinking about the way Braid affected me.
Last night, Rev Anthony and I talked on Skype for nearly an hour about what the game meant to us. The fact that we had very different takes just proves how incredible an experience Braid really is.
I was so engrossed that I actually put of watching the Puppy Games 2008 to play the game all over again.
I chose Braid over puppies.
Seriously, the game is that good.
Dtoiders own the top 2 spots on the Braid world leaderboard right now!!!!!
Rev Anthony is #1.
Asian Joe is #2.
Additionally, ShadowTrooperX is #8.
3 out of the top 10 are Dtoiders!
Well, what a difference a week makes. Or is it the fact that Braid is, supposedly, a pretty awesome game? Just last night, I had someone who had heard that I work in video games ask me if I had played it. I had to give the same answer as I did above, but with all the Braid love going around I may have to go back and see some more.
What about you guys? Love it more than pancakes, or is it just another game? Do you think that the price tag was too high? I'm thinking that if the news hadn't made a big deal out of it, then we'd all be paying $15 for this game without thinking. Then again, $15 does buy you a lot of pizza rolls!