Death in Games – Narrative/Mechanical Synergy

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Video games hold a unique position in media by being directly driven by the actions of its audience. Chose your own adventure type books and interactive movies have tried to achieve this to varying success but are held back by being limited to set outcomes.

Character death has been traditionally a big deal. When the protagonist dies, it is a monumental moment that often marks the end of the narrative. It is emotional and it has meaning. Games are the first medium where death just happens. Sure, narrative death in games holds true to its movie and book counterparts but mechanical death is treated in a very different way.

In early games, death was there as a fail state. The player lost and couldn’t experience the full game. Since each attempt meant another coin into the arcade machine, failure and death were a very common thing. Continue reading

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Loot Boxes in Shadow of War

God Damn it, Warner Brothers Games. How many times do we have to watch the triple A gaming industry try to shoot itself in the feet to try and bleed out more cash from its customers? How many bad business practices and anti-consumer moves do we have to see before enough is enough. Will it ever be enough? Increasingly I doubt it.

*sigh* So, the incident that has sparked this is the announcement that WB Games will be adding loot boxes to Shadow of War. Loot boxes are shady enough at the best of times, but for a single player game that is full retail price and has paid DLC, it is simply shameless. Continue reading

Great games to play with non-gamers (that isn’t Nintendo).

Gaming is increasingly becoming a more mainstream hobby but there are still those who, for whatever reason, don’t play games. Maybe you want to involve family members in your passion, kill time with a non-gaming friend or introduce a romantic interest into your world. With so many games out there, which are the best for introducing new players to games while being enjoyable for all parties involved?

I am only including multi-platform games here. All of them will also be focused on local play too rather than online. Continue reading

Bethesda’s Creation Club – Are paid mods the future?

As a struggling writer pumping hours of hard work and passion into my craft, I can certainly understand wanting to get paid for that effort. I don’t think there is anyone out there who doesn’t think that certain game modders release work to a high standard. Many games are near unplayable without mod patches while other games are given a wealth of post release content, often offering a better experience than what the developers managed, that keeps a game’s community thriving for years.

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Yet the topic of paying mod creators never fails to put people on edge. We can all remember the catastrophe that marked Bethesda’s fist attempt at monetising mods. In a rare win for consumers, two giant corporations backed down on making easy money due to how unpopular and flawed the system was. But now Bethesda has cut out Steam and is back for a second attempt. Continue reading

Dark Souls 2 – Is it really a souls game?

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Dark Souls 2 is an interesting game. It was the first ‘main-steam’ Souls game to release after DS1 rose to become a beloved title after its launch. Initially there was a consensus that it was a letdown. Now though the tide has turned and a large section of the fanbase will crucify anyone that criticises the game. I’ve watched Youtube videos that analyse the game with massive dislike bars just for explaining why they felt that it didn’t live up to its reputation while much of that fan hate has turned to Dark Souls 3.

I am a big fan of the original Dark Souls. It easily tops my list of favourite games. As such I was very excited to play the sequel. I didn’t expect it to quite live up to the first because, how could it? DS1 is like lightning in a bottle. The planets aligned and a damn near perfect game was released. The chances of another game living up to that was slim so I tempered my expectation. Hype is a gamer’s worst enemy after all. Continue reading

Nier Automata – Final Thoughts (Updated Review)

Image result for nier automataHaving had a few weeks to mull over Nier Automata since completing it and taking the time to read/watch several reviews, I’d like to layout my final thoughts on the game and offer a closing review that coves the game’s whole scope rather than my first impressions review. Obviously there are spoilers ahead.

I’m not planning to retread old grown. My more general thoughts haven changed so for mechanics and the like you can read though my original review here, and for my feelings after Ending E that cover a major theme of the game then you can check out this.

My original score for Nier Automata was an 8, which in my system is a god score. Too much hyperbole exists within reviews now with many looking at anything less than a 9 as somehow bad. But for me, some of my all time favourite games I would score as low as 7 because to me a score should include mechanics, scope, characters, story and enjoyment. Something that I absolutely loved could be clunky and sparse of content while something I personally hate could be a masterpiece. In my head, an 8 is a great game that I would recommend to everyone. Continue reading

Review – Dark Souls 3: The Ringed City DLC.

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The final ever piece of Dark Souls content has been release for a few weeks now, giving fans plenty of time to fight through the fresh terrors and study the obscure clues to piece together some semblance of lore. But how does this final bit of content compare with the grand legacy that the Dark Souls series has created?

Well, it is certainly more Dark Souls. The enemies, the level designs and everything else feel like they belong with the rest of the game. They got the tone right and produced more great content which is really all that most fans want. We got more weapons, spells and armour to play with and new challenges to overcome. And boy were there some challenges. Continue reading