The first four Blackwell games went on sale on Steam this week for around 50¢ each. These games have been on my radar ever since I saw this Mattchat interview with Wadjet Eye company founder Dave Gilbert. Basically, he was a hobbyist using the Adventure Game Studio to create Lucasarts style point-and-click adventures. He decided to make a go at transforming his hobby into a business and some dozen or so games later the company has survived.
Video Game Reviews
Here's where I keep track of video games I have played. I rate the games on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being "highly recommended" and 1 being "forget this game and go read a book or something."
Have you ever wanted to be the star of your very own nihilistic, anti-war fever dream? Well, look no further than Spec Ops: The Line. This game is, for the most part, a standard cover-based third-person shooter. The mechanics are solid, but nothing out of the ordinary. Where this game separates itself from others is in its dark story that owes a lot to Apocalypse Now and its progenitor, Heart of Darkness. Instead of taking a boat up the river, you are making your way through a sand storm engulfed Dubai on a quest to find Colonel Konrad (Conrad, get it?) and his rogue 33th brigade.
Hotline Miami is an ultraviolent, fast-paced arcade-style game that owes a lot to Smash T.V. and Berzerk. Although it uses both analog sticks, I wouldn't quite call it a twin stick shooter since you are using the shoulder buttons to fire and swing weapons. These controls are not easy to get used to, but eventually I got a handle on them. Yet even near the end I was still dying because I would accidentally throw my weapon rather than target an enemy.
I really wanted to like Brütal Legend. but once again Doublefine has created a game that is a triumph of style over substance. The story concept is there: Jack Black as a concert roadie who saves heavy metal music from obsolescence through the power of rock. There are so many great ways that this tale could have been told. How about a parable about commercial, corporate entities are watering down great music? Or how with so many entertainment choices, kids just don't care about being in bands any more? Nope. Instead we are taken to what amounts to your standard D & D fantasy world with a sheen of Eighties metal album cover art direction laid on top.
In the above scene from Memento Mori you are supposed to trick a little, abused girl into thinking she's your friend. The only thing that's missing is the white panel van and sick puppy dog. Fortunately, the rest of the game isn't quite this creepy.
I understand that this game was originally a Nintendo 3DS launch title. So, by the standards of portable gaming, this is not a bad game at all. However, here on the PC it seems a little behind the times and blah. This criticism is mostly about cosmetics. Unlike the bright and diverse levels of Resident Evils 4 & 5 the game seems really limited to the samey-looking hallways of a dingy cruise ship's interior. While you would think that they could use this environment for all its worth by, say, including the listing of the ship, bursting portholes, and other aquatic mayhem. Instead it's your standard FPS hallway levels with a little swimming here and there.
Billed as a first person shooter RPG, Borderlands focuses on collecting loot over story. There a lot of superficial similarity with the recent Fallout games: large open world to explore, quest-based goals and a little bit of humor thrown in. But the world of Borderlands is barren and devoid of interesting people and stories.
Over the past few years I have had a love/hate relationship with The Walking Dead T.V. show. Unlike most of the trash in the zombie sub-genre being released these days, the pilot episode was simply one of the best zombie stories ever filmed. However, as the series progressed, it has sunk in quality where at times it just feels like a bad soap opera filled with characters who make the most unrealistic and stupid decisions. The fact that there is a zombie apocalypse going on has little or no bearing on the plot most of the time (you can just replace "zombies" with "earthquake" or another major disaster and you would have the same show).
Clocking in at 31 gigabytes of disk space needed, Max Payne 3 is a monster of a game. I would have bought it at launch, but my old computer just would not be able to run it. The Max Payne series has been one of my favorites for a long time. I love the cheesy noir narration, gritty environments and, of course, the insane slow motion gun battles. The third installment retains all of these elements and gives the game a beautiful audio-visual overhaul. Most notably, the comic panel storytelling device has been replaced with your standard in-game cut scenes. Lots and lots of cut scenes that, at times, interrupt the flow of the game play. You just want to burst through that door guns blazing but then you're forced to watch Max slowly creep his way into cover while explaining that the room was "full of goons."