Adventure games enable developers to guide their audience on an incredibly focused journey. Completely scripted -- with little variation or user input that impacts the outcome -- they rely on the quality of their storytelli...
My life's earnings are stashed away in my vault. Well, half of it. As an added security measure, I've given my wife half to hold on to and protect with her life. I've built my house in such a way that I feel pretty confident that my belongings are safe. At the very least, my wife and kids will be safe behind the protection of my pit bull, Tiny.
I come back later in the day to find that a few vagabonds tried, and failed, to steal my money. Their loss, my gain. They died, I thrived. I come back the next day and find that my walls have been sawed through, and my money stolen. I check on Tiny: drugged. My family? All dead, no, murdered. I have nothing left. I check the security tapes, though I'm not really sure why. I don't care for revenge, though I can't say the thought is absent in my mind. Standing in what's left of my house, I take it all in and kill myself.
Right click. Left click. Right click. Left click. The old one-two. Jab and then...jab again. Or are they hooks? I can't tell in first-person. Regardless, I was wandering around the spaceship, punching aimlessly, until I heard, "Buon pomeriggio, Bishop."
The voice was warm. It came from a handsome man with whom I engaged in conversation, learning a little bit more about the ship I was dumped in. I stopped punching.
Consortium has guns and it has first-person punching, but it's a talkie. Following in the vein of Deus Ex, System Shock, and the non-shooty bits of Mass Effect, you're tossed aboard a ship and things start to go awry. You have to find out why. Or not, I guess.
Describing Jazzpunk is pretty damn hard. It's billed as a "comedy adventure game," but it's so much more (and sometimes less) than that. It's packed full of references, oddball minigames, and voicework that will make you laugh more often than not.
For those reasons alone, it's not going to be for everyone. Unless you really like the idea of squirting a can of Cheez Whiz on Jim Sterling.
It's difficult to have a unique idea in a genre that's as over-saturated as 'first-person shooter' is. With Call of Duty, Halo, and Battlefield already out there year after year, making a multiplayer game enticing while offering something fresh and unseen is becoming harder and harder for developers to accomplish.
The makers of Rekoil: Liberator are proof of that.
Bigby the Wolf has the weight of the world on his shoulders. He's just stumbled upon two murders, everyone is judging him based on his past, and all of it is starting to take its toll. In the second episode of Wolf Among Us, Telltale does an amazing job of unloading some of that burden off to the player.
Whereas Faith showed us Bigby from afar, we've now become him in Smoke and Mirrors. This is going to be one wild ride that even Toad might not be able to handle.
Laika was a female Soviet dog, and the first mutt in space and to orbit the Earth. Laika was never intended to return. She died during her orbit, and her remains burnt up as the Sputnik 2 re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated.
Fable and I have a history together. Ever since I learned of its existence in an official Xbox Magazine under the codename "Project Ego," I was enthralled by the promises of Peter Molyneux. Back then, he basically could do no wrong, creating masterpiece after masterpiece at Bullfrog Productions.
But in 1997 he left and founded Lionhead Studios, eventually crafting the very first game in the Fable franchise. The first entry didn't really follow up with any of the promises Molyneux made, but despite that fact, it ended up being a serviceable little action-adventure romp.
Not much has changed with the updated Fable Anniversary, for better or for worse.
With the amount of role-playing adventures I’ve journeyed through in my life that culminate in apocalyptic showdowns, I’m a little tired. Save the world, rinse, and repeat. It’s so rare that a Japanese RPG deviates from this path. Perhaps it is why I mostly enjoyed last year’s critically panned Time and Eternity. The game was a mess -- both in gameplay and with its unnecessarily perverted sidekick -- yet amidst its troubles I found its overall theme refreshing.
We live in a world full of problems: some big and some small. And while they may all not be the most altruistic, it doesn't change the fact they still may be important or, at the very least, interesting subject matter to us. This is what Time and Eternity excelled at, and it’s something Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God does even better.
Bullfrog's 1997 strategy game Dungeon Keeper is a bona fide classic. It took the typical simulation conventions of the time and added some attitude, some horns, and a whole lot of charm to warp it into something truly special.
Leave it to EA then to come in and take a demonic dump on the franchise by creating a freemium "re-imagining" with timers and microtransactions.
An interesting exercise in game design is to identify assumptions about the genre or medium in general, then question those assumptions. One such assumption that most make is that control should feel natural and unobtrusive as the player's interface with the game. Octodad: Dadliest Catch challenges that idea, making awkward control central to the gameplay.
While the tasks in Octodad would be mundane in almost any other setting with a typical control scheme, they can be challenging or thought-provoking to an octopus dressed up as a human. By requiring a certain amount of care and effort, things like mowing the lawn or visiting the grocery store are made fun, though they can dip into the realm of frustration at times.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is one of the most disappointing games in the series' history. Although I didn't dislike it as much as Jim did, there's certainly something missing that made past games in the franchise appealing, and it's not just because the formula is getting stale.
The campaign was a bore, multiplayer didn't really bring much to the table, and worst of all, the highly anticipated "Extinction" mode was grossly underutilized. While the new map pack doesn't fundamentally fix the core problems of Ghosts, it does make it a little more interesting as a whole.
I'm not sure when it happened, but we've now fully moved away from the type of Japanese role-playing game we loved for three or four console generations.
What happened? Did we change? Did we stop liking this kind of game? Maybe we can blame that stretch of nearly-constant complaints of tired tropes and linear storylines there toward the end of it all. Maybe game makers just got tired of making these kinds of games.
Now we have RPGs that seem to go out of their way to avoid anything that would remind us of these games we used to love. But what's funny to me is that the more they seem to try to innovate, the less gamers seem to like them.
Me? I never became tired of what we would call an old-school RPG. In fact, I've been waiting for someone to make another.
Bravely Default is exactly that: an old-school RPG.
Ouya users have not had a lot to be excited about for a while now. Excepting a few titles like Towerfall, there is not much worth owning on the microconsole, and especially few games that are not available elsewhere. As one of the more hyped titles, Airtight Games' Soul Fjord was looking like it could be a good reason to own an Ouya.
The elevator pitch is great. Soul Fjord is a rhythm-based, hack-and-slash roguelike with a truly unique setting that crosses 1970s funk and 13th Century Norse mythology. Protagonist Magnus Jones has to fight for his right to party after being denied access to Valhalla. Unfortunately, unlike Jones's expertly coiffed afro, Soul Fjord falls flat in its execution.
Dead Rising 3 was a very welcome surprise. It was not only my favorite launch game between the Xbox One and PS4, but it was a killer co-op experience, and had a lot more personality than I thought it would based on early trailers.
Leave it to DLC to not only take out multiplayer, but jettison some of that personality as well.
The game formerly known as "Double Fine Adventure" has finally made its debut -- or should I say, half-debut. Broken Age: Act 1 is the culmination of almost 100,000 backers, over 3.5 million dollars, and nearly two years of waiting. The project, once asking for a mere $400,000, broke Kickstarter history and subsequently forged high expectations for Tim Schafer and his team.
Broken Age follows the lives of Shay and Vella, two young teenagers yearning to escape from their predestined paths. Although the description sounds coming-of-age generic, the stories and puzzles are anything but. Broken Age follows its point-and-click adventure predecessors while forging its own path -- and what a compelling path it is.