People often describe this game’s genre as a “walking simulator,” which sounds tongue-in-cheek. I interpret Firewatch as somewhat of a visual novel — it’s designed to tell a specific story, one that involves the player but doesn’t necessarily allow the player to dictate the trajectory or ultimate message of the story.Read more "The Walking Simulator, or Firewatch and Games of the Everyman"
[I]n X-COM, threats to the project are multidirectional, and the mounting enemy forces are a riptide threatening to pull the player underwater. Every failure piles on and feels like a setback that could ultimately prove to be part of a chain reaction toward the inevitable invasion.Read more "The Long Game: X-COM and the Dread of Slow, Painful Assimilation"
Mad Max is a concentrated shot of video game conventionality; it’s one tiresome video game trope after another alongside uninteresting attempts to gamify the movie series. This is so egregious, in fact, that it’s difficult to lose yourself and forget that you’re playing a video game and lose yourself in George Miller’s incredibly imaginative world.Read more "Mad Max has got it all Almost all Figured Out"
Fallout 4 is a conglomerate of imitations of successful features from video games of the past. Bethesda said that Destiny inspired the shooting mechanics, and the redundant mission structure of Destiny also appears to have slithered its way into Fallout 4. In addition to that, the relationships are obviously stripped from BioWare games like Mass Effect, the building mechanics are a poor man’s version of MineCraft, and of course it tries to do the compelling linear narrative that’s still all the rage in triple-A gaming for some reason.Read more "The Imitation Game and Fallout 4"
Fallout 4 just spreads itself too thin in trying to please everyone. It strives to attract players who want to hit the ground running and jump into the meat of the game as quickly as possible, while also attempting to appease those who are interested in the character and story. Fallout 4 sacrificed the latter for the former, resulting in a rush out the vault.Read more "It’s All Over but the Crying: Grief, Future Shock, and Fallout 4"
But there’s an inherent uneasiness that’s punctuated by the sharp staccato of the jump scares. Every time something pops out of the wall, the scare feels cheap, but it’s weirdly difficult to shield yourself from the rush of adrenaline that floods your system when one of these fake critters jumps out at you. I actively tried to expect these cardboard creatures to pop out of the wall, but no matter how hard I tried, I jumped every time.Read more "Spooky’s House of Jump Scares is Stupid Scary"
Little scraps of diaries on old computers tell us a story of fate — all too often, the Fallout world shows us the diary of a character, only to reveal that character’s untimely demise shortly before or after.Read more "Tuning out the Bad Parts : How Fallout Makes us Forget its Flaws"