Sunday, April 29, 2012

Monday Musings - 30th April, 2012

Hey folks. Musings might become a little more cutback in the coming weeks. I've been forced to relocate my living arrangements and have lost most of my gaming possessions. I have this laptop, and my Steam and GoG accounts though (and there's always old console emulation too. *cough cough*), so there will still be gaming talked about, but nothing current and console specific.

With that out of the way, let us muse.

Batman: Arkham City (PS3)

I'm in the museum now. Sure there was that bit where i had to go in the subway systems, and then i've had to rescue frozen undercover police on ice while a shark looms underneath (and me without my trusty bat-shark repellent), but i've found Mr. Freeze and now i'm going to attack The Penguin head on.

One bit i'm less than enthused about is the sections where you have the gargoyles up above and have to scare and incapacitate all the gun totting goons down below. Sure it makes you feel like the Dark Knight, but here's my issue. It's so easy to just glide down when a guy is on his own, put him out, and then zip up and do it again (although one guy was scared enough to take a hostage, which was something new). The thing is then you go down and start exploring, and there's all this potential for traps and cool ways to get rid of the aforementioned goons. I guess it's a way to reward those that take the risk to scope out the area more, but as it happens so often in games, easy trumps rewarding. If there's a simple way to progress (like let's say an exploit), most gamers will always take that way. It seems the more elaborate ways to progress only happen through boredom or subsequent playthroughs of a game when experimentation is more of the focus.

So without my PS3, i won't be playing anymore of this for a while. Perhaps one day i'll grab it for cheap on Steam and continue my play. It's definitely been a fun ride so far.

Spacechem (PC)

I forgot where i heard about this original little puzzler, but i decided to download it and give it a try this week (it had been sitting in my steam collection since that initial discovery). I've definitely never played anything like this. It's one part chemistry lesson, one part programming lesson. You need to program these loops to pick up molecules of certain elements, and fuse them into more complex elements. You have two coloured loops, and a host of commands, but the pick up and drop off point of these molecules is specified by the puzzle. You can pick up, drop off, rotate, and sync up the colours. It definitely takes a couple levels for the concept to really click (and then it gets maddening pretty quickly), but as puzzle games go, it gets a recommend. It might be too obtuse for some players however.

Heh, this turned into more of a mini review than a musing. I stand by what's said however!

Final Thoughts

I want to talk about nostalgia today. Why are the games of our childhood remembered so fondly? They might have glaring faults and outdated gameplay elements but playing them we tend to ignore these. They have the same joy they presented to us at that young age. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. It seems that it's harder and harder as i age to find games that illicit that sense of wonder and joy. The last one to do so was Journey, but for the most part, games fall into the category of "Yeah, it's pretty good. I had fun". That sense of something special is lacking.

Perhaps then we return to the games of our childhood not only because it was a simpler time filled with more innocence when the medium was new and full of possibilities, but with how hectic and depressing life can be, we cling to what made us happy in days of yesteryear. And of course as a gamer, like a junkie, we keep chasing that kick, hoping that the next game will give us those same glorious feelings. Some still do, but as they say, joy is fleeting, so then nostalgic games also become a comfort. We can return to these worlds with their simplistic controls and more abstract graphics, that somehow engage us more. They flare our imaginations and transport us back to that time when all was well with the world, and with gaming.

Well at least that's one way to look at it. What say you?

Let me know your thoughts on gaming nostalgia in the comments, and till next time, happy gaming all.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Musings - 23rd April, 2012

It's another week folks. Things have been going pretty badly lately, but gaming helps to heal the wounds, and yes there was quite a lot of it this week. Let's muse!

Alan Wake (PC)

This is actually an omission from last week. Yes sometimes a game I've played slips my mind. It happens more often than it should, but I'm making amends. I've been waiting years to play this game, but didn't have a 360 when it eventually was released. I still held faith that sooner or later it would get ported to the PC and that's exactly what happened.

So was the wait worth it? Well the answer is a resounding "I don't really know". I've only played the first episode to date and have a mixed reaction. The graphics and atmosphere are absolutely amazing. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, the section where you're alone in the forest at night felt very true to life (minus the creepy shadow monsters of course). The story is also intriguing, but more in a listing of horror tropes rather than general interest in what's going on. Lastly the controls and camera absolutely frustrated me to no end. Walking in a straight line seems to be one of those things that requires some acrobatics to execute. I think perhaps it's the odd third person angle the camera takes while behind you (with it being quite close behind you to boot). I get that it's to increase the horror factor by not being able to see behind you, but at least so far, i don't think it works. Maybe it's something you get used to over time, but I'm sceptical at the moment.

Of course my less than stellar reaction to this game could be due to just coming off playing Deadly Premonition; another Twin Peaks-esque horror game set in the Pacific Northwest. It also could be waiting too long and hyping the experience up in my mind (like what happened with Skyward Sword last year). I'll report back if play continues.

Bastion (PC)

This one's been hyped a lot too, and it's one of the final entries off my 'games i must play from last year' list. Aside from the gorgeous colour, the cool shifting landscape, and the novelty of the narrator, i wasn't feeling the love, and i think that's because gameplay wise, it's pretty much just a simple hack and slash dungeon crawler. I fully admit that my negative attitude regarding titles this week could be my state of mind, and in Bastion's case, i will be giving it another chance, but i don't really have too much else to say on this. It didn't leave any sort of impact to tell the truth, either positive or negative. I guess that puts it in Dave's gaming limbo (hmm, that's another game i need to play one of these days).

Batman: Arkham City (PS3)

The final game off last year's list. I thoroughly enjoyed Arkham Asylum (it's the game i bought my PS3 with), so was looking forward to Arkham City giving me the same enjoyable play experience. I'll say this for it, it certainly feels like the same game, just on a larger scale, and i have good and bad things to say about that.

Let's start positively. There's a lot to do in the city. From Riddler trophies to side quests and AR training missions, if the main quest isn't scratching your gaming itch, you can explore. Some of the side quests so far I've found quite interesting, as they flesh out other villains and more of the plot. Oh and i do have to say the first cut-scene interaction between Batman and the Joker is marvellous, and scenes like that are part of what makes me want to keep playing. Finally (especially once you get the grapple boost), flying around the city is just fun. There are lots of nooks and crannies to explore and if you feel like a fight using the always enjoyable combat system, there are plenty of thugs on the street waiting to be pummelled.

But that lack of focus that comes with such a large area to explore is kind of off-putting. Sure you can follow the main quest line, but it feels like there's always something fighting for your attention, and most people know that abundance of choice can sometimes be as bad or worse than no choice at all. Seeing how the Riddler trophies work in this game does depress me. In Arkham Asylum i kept playing after completing the game, to finish everything to do with the Riddler. From what I've seen in my short playtime, doing the same in Arkham City seems unfeasible both from a time and sanity perspective. Due to this I'm ignoring all but the most obvious Riddler collectibles and that lessens my enjoyment of the game somewhat.

X-men Destiny (360)

After finishing Deadly Premonition, Kenneth and I were wondering if we could find another game to enjoy playing together once in a blue moon. We were thinking about Nier as we've both heard good things, but seeing how long it took to complete Deadly Premonition, perhaps a Jrpg wasn't the best idea. Kenneth had the answer. He's a big fan of Silicon Knights and loved Too Human (i guess someone had to... zing). Why not play the X-men game they released last year. The game that had no press behind its release, so much so that game journalists were actually shocked to find it was out on store shelves. As Alberto Del Rio would say, it was our...... destiny!

The game has potential but it's definitely a case of not enough development time. There's checkpoint issues, the graphics are.... yeah, the controls are serviceable, but until you reach level two, and the ability to upgrade your attacks and powers, combat is pretty blah. Soon after though we found an "I win" combo, and that made things amusing, because the game does throw a lot of enemies at you. Sure they're all the same three stock types, but some of the fights we had before calling it quits for the night reminded us of Dynasty Warriors. Our "I win' combo for those interested was the forcefield which stuns and hurts enemies who are in it while recharging your health. We'd pop that puppy and then spam the light attack of energy fireballs till everything died (their deaths recharging both our health and mana).

What finally made us call it quits for this session was a boss named John Sublime. He injects himself with mutant DNA and then there's a multi part fight. To tell the truth, i blame Kenneth and his horrible playing for failing this segment (oh yeah, i went there!). Anyway, dying on the third form brought us back to the first, and was a good indicator to stop playing for the evening.

Seeing that this is only a five hour game or so, we should finish it off within one or two more play sessions. If you ask me, it can't come soon enough. Sure playing an average to bad game with a good friend has its novelty but that time could be spent playing good games too. For those wondering, Deadly Premonition was an outlier. It jumps from good game to bad game and all the spots in-between, so it's a tough act to follow for any game, let alone a rushed X-men title.

Terraria (PC)

Speaking of playing games with friends, my buddy Cam set up a Terraria server. Our mutual friend Shannon and I joined. They had played the game before (actually it was Shannon who gifted me a copy), but i have never tried it. All i knew is it was like 2D Minecraft.

So after a couple days playing (it being on a server, the world is accessible at all times) I'm starting to get a feel for the game. It seems to me to require a lot of dedication to get something out of it. The feeling of exploration and crafting is pretty alluring however. Our mine is crazy deep. Like past the bowels of the Earth deep... and we haven't even scratched the surface apparently. Also we have a ladder to a sky highway. The sense of vertical scale is quite impressive.

I need to find some copper or iron to craft some better tools and weapons. Other than that, I've just been exploring while Cam and Shannon do all the work (or blow up our houses as Shannon likes to do at times). I have a destructive streak in me too, but for me it's mining holes into lakes to flood our mine tunnel, extinguishing all the torches. Apart from that I've found the game kind of overwhelming. We'll see if that passes or if it can hold my interest.

Oh and because it's required in these games, i made a penis out of stone. On the sign on top of it, i named it "Rock Hard". Wit!

Borderlands - Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot (PC)

The reason we were playing Terraria is i was repairing my copy of Borderlands by downloading some files. I purchased all the DLC separately and for a while now have been unable to access Zombie Island or Mad Moxxi due to the game trying to open up a validation program behind itself, that doesn't work anyway if you access it. Testing the integrity of the game cache caused some files to re-download but sadly this did not solve the problem. Running to Google i found one solution was to run a program deep in the Borderlands directory where i could enter my CD key. The program wouldn't open but funnily enough, running it in compatibility mode with Windows XP Service Pack 3 opened it, and then it registered my Zombie Island DLC key. Even more strangely, this allowed me access to Mad Moxxi as well.

So even though i wanted to play Zombie Island, Cam and Shannon didn't want to, so we played Moxxi's. The idea is fun enough, but i found it kind of unsatisfying. It's an arena where you fight waves upon waves of enemies, culminating in a boss. There are special modifiers for each round (low gravity is amazing!), and even though you get loot after each boss wave (we didn't work that out till the second arena), you get no experience, and i think that alone made the whole thing kind of pointless (well also that it was kind of the same thing over and over again, most of the fights being really easy with my level 42 Siren).

So yes, not really a fan of Mad Moxxi but still, even unsatisfying games can be fun socially... as the last three games discussed have had that theme in common.

Final Thoughts

Oof. After all that, i dunno if i have the energy for much of a final thoughts section this week. I might just use this for a little bit of self promotion. I've started writing over at IGM Retro, and my début piece is on revisiting a game from my childhood, Gobliins 2. Check the link and tell me what you think!

Till next week, happy gaming all!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Monday Musings - 16th April, 2012

It's a Monday, and there was gaming. Let us muse!

Catherine (PS3)

Man what is with Atlus and their end games? I thought starting off the week being at stage 7, it'd take an hour or so to complete the game. Ha! Nope, after a marathon session of 3-4 hours, the credits rolled and Catherine was over (as evidenced by my review last week). The ending i received was quite satisfactory and i'm happy overall with my experience.

One thing i'm a little disappointed with is that around stage 7 i finally got stuck and succumbed to a video walkthrough on youtube. Those who use hints when stuck will know that once you break that barrier, the urge to go to the walkthrough again when you get stuck is so much stronger, and sadly that did happen. Funnily enough though the game kind of weaned me off the walkthrough. It was all due to the monster blocks.

Monster blocks are blocks that move of their own accord, and can lick you off the front of them. Due to their random nature, the video walkthroughs became kind of useless. I mean you could kind of see how you were supposed to get up, but all it took was one block to move, and the whole thing fell apart (and often enough, more than one block would move). Thus i fell back on my old ways of climbing and experimentation and that led me all the way to the final boss.

The final boss appears in two forms. The first form was actually kind of easy. No problem at all. I cleared it in one go if i recall. It was the second form that drove me up the wall. It was close to controller throwing. I had thought those rage days behind me, but it is amazing how some sequences can bring it all flooding back. The problem was with the randomness of it all. The boss is able to randomly change blocks as you climb so suddenly a stairway starts to crumble or becomes a bomb, destroying your tower work. Suddenly ice appears and whisks you into a portal block. Oh and the fire that rained down can pick you off if you happen to be pulling a block out at an inopportune time. After wasting about 30 retries i finally scaled to the top and was treated to my ending. Phew!

My review can be found here - >

Portal 2 (PC)

Another game session with my friend Em as we made our way through the aperture science labs. We completed Lab 2 easily enough, got through all of Lab 3, and started our way through Lab 4 before the lack of food started to affect my brain power and we called it quits.

Lab 3 was nuts because of the bridges. Our teamwork really shined and that final level gave me the most awesome dawning of realisation when i worked out what we had to do. Am i the only one that uses the high five gesture once a fiendish puzzle has been solved?

Lab 4 is full of... i guess i'll call them gravity wells. We're only on room 2 but already i wish we were back with the bridges. I don't like these wells at all. Hopefully this week we get another chance to play and can put the wells behind us. I can't wait till we get to the gels!

Fallout: New Vegas - Old World Blues (PC)

Like Borderlands and The Secret Armoury of General Knoxx, i had heard many good things about the DLC Old World Blues for Fallout: New Vegas. I didn't like my time with Dead Money (i didn't return after all), but within the first 15 minutes of Old World Blues, i knew this was gonna be a blast. It was.

Yup, i started on Wednesday and completed it yesterday. Well i completed the main quest. There's so much more to explore and so many more functions of the house to activate. One of the main focuses of this expansion was giving you your own house. One of the things that was kind of missing from the main game that was a highlight of my time in Fallout 3. Oh sure i had the hotel rooms in Novac and the Casino, but they didn't feel like home. At least not to the extent The Sink does in Old World Blues. Every part of the house talks and has personality too (and they get their own epilogues when the game ends). I have quite a few left to obtain (my thought is that following this quest chain takes you to every research facility in Big Mountain so it's a good way to explore).

The story itself is just pure science fiction cheese. Experimental surgery, mad scientists, experimental technology, robo-scorpions, giant robo-scorpions... it has it all! The final showdown between yourself and Dr. Möbius is one of the more enjoyable parts of the entire Fallout universe. I think it's because this whole expansion is completely tongue in cheek yet so much is dangerous and there is a sense of foreboding and danger as you make your way through this scientific dystopia that time forgot.

I say to myself i need to finish off my house and explore the rest of Big Mountain, but i do have so many other games to play. It's definitely a reason to return to the Mojave in the future though.

Final Thoughts

You probably know all about The Minibosses, and their rock medleys of famous nintendo tunes. If not, check out their site because they're offering their album 'Brass 1' for free!

It's a damn good listen. For example, here is their Megaman 2 medley (some of my favourite videogame music ever).

Till next week, happy gaming all!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Quick Review: Catherine

Developed by: Atlus
Published by: Atlus
Released: July, 2011 on PS3, 360
Played on: PS3

Story: Good

Catherine starts off with Vincent Brooks not wanting to further his relationship with long time girlfriend Katherine. After a strange nightmare, he finds himself cheating on Katherine with a girl he meets at his local bar named Catherine. The rest of the game is spent surviving the nightmare, and managing his deception while not really having the spine to say what would solve his problems quickly. Vincent also continues to grow and helps a bunch of other characters come to a realization about their lives that he eventually comes to (depending on how you've been answering the moral questions the whole game). With an element of the supernatural and a bit of a tongue in cheek tone, this is certainly one of the more unique narratives to play out in a videogame.

Mechanics: Good

The main gameplay is in the nightmare realm climbing up the towers of blocks. Vincent can pull and push blocks, and as long as they connect to an edge will not fall into the ether. The tower constantly is losing ground as well so you need to climb quickly and think on the fly (especially in the boss stages). This can become frustrating since you don't really have much time to tackle a section that's giving you issues (and pausing the game blurs the screen so you can't work out the problem visually in safety). It does flex your brain in a good way however, and the restarts and pillows (which grant you retries) will make sure you're never outright failing. The safety spaces between tower climbs allow you to rest and learn new climbing techniques. Finally each tower and night adds new types of blocks and new ways of climbing. As a puzzle game, it's immensely fun and satisfying.

Aesthetics: Great

This may be biased, but i am a huge fan of cel-shaded art styles, and Catherine makes great use of it. The characters are all distinct and well designed, and the in-game cut-scenes look almost up to par stylistically as the animated cut-scenes. The voice acting is all top notch and adds that feeling of attachment to the character's plight, and the music during the climb is a great selection of classical tunes that really fit the mood (even if they should be on longer loops).

Technology: Average

The one section that really made Catherine frustrating to play, especially in the later stages were the controls, or more specifically the direction of controls. When hanging on a block or trying to push or pull a block, so many times Vincent would push the other block reachable in his position. The hanging controls were especially maddening with shimmying left and right switching positions based on the camera or based on if you held the button down or let go of it for a split second. These issues only really came into light near the end of the game, with the more complex blocks and techniques needed but they reached an apex on the final boss. I think though in that case, there was some system lag with everything going on, and that caused confusion with the controls, as many times during that fight death was due to moving to an area i had no intention on moving to.

Overall: Good

Atlus have cemented their reputation in making polished and unique games with great stories and presentation. If you're looking for something a little different, enjoy puzzle games, or an interesting tale of infidelity, i recommend giving Catherine a try.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Monday Musings - 9th April, 2012

This week i did something that i haven't done in a while (and used to be a staple of my gaming habits)... i downloaded and played some demos. Extra Credits was responsible with their most recent episode of 'Games you might not have tried'. I recommend you give it a watch as there are some very interesting titles in this edition (and if you don't watch Extra Credits, i recommend you go back and check out their archives cause the work they do is absolutely amazing in terms of looking at games analytically and making the medium better).

Now, let us muse!

Catherine (PS3)

Having jarred my ankle something chronic early on in the week, i had a lot of time where i was resting it. Aside from watching movies, and checking out some of the local television stations that have on demand services through my PS3, i played a bit more of Catherine. I also played some last night, but being near the end of the game and playing at night is not the smartest idea. I was stuck on stage 7-2 and for the first time in the game, i looked up a video walkthrough on youtube. Of course the solution made me feel stupid as it was pretty obvious, i just didn't see it (isn't that usually the way though?).

I touched on this before, but while earlier i found Catherine's formulaic progression kind of quaint, now it's gotten a little disappointing. The whole cycle of nightmare, cut-scenes during the day, and then the bar in the evening works well to breed familiarity and what to expect, but in that familiarity, the lack of surprise for new gameplay is extinguished somewhat. I mean you expect a new twist on the climbing each night and that does make for interesting gameplay, but really the only surprise comes from the progression of the story, and as that section of the game is not interactive (except for influencing the morality dial in other sections of the game), as a player, this sense of just going through the motions starts to set in.

I will end by saying that the climbing stages are quite clever in how they progress, and you genuinely feel intelligent for working your way passed a problem. Puzzle games that make you feel smart are definitely doing something right.

Portal 2 (PC)

It's been close to a year since i played the game (i never did finish it), and the reason i returned is i had an opportunity to try the co-op with a special lady friend. We played through the majority of the first two lab sections, stopping on this one puzzle with a laser cube and crushing spiked walls.

I must say that there were many circumstances where the urge to play a prank on my companion resulting in their unfortunate demise overtook, but in self interest i used my willpower to overcome these feelings.

Perhaps it's due to time or just that the co-op experience is more of a pure puzzler like the first game, but i got that feeling of solving the puzzles making me feel smart again (I think my issue with the single player of Portal 2 is that the story and humorous dialogue overshadowed the feeling of solving the puzzles). It could be sharing the experience as well, or at least solving puzzles with another mind (for instance i've always enjoyed playing through adventure games with friends as a second mind brings greater enjoyment, and less hitting that brick wall that the genre is famous for creating).

I am definitely looking forward to continuing the experience.

Xotic Demo (PC)

The first game i checked out from the Extra Credits vid. It's kind of like what The Club tried to do, but instead of chain killing, you're terra-forming the land (so essentially switching the theme of this type of play from death to life). Well there are enemies to destroy too, and it is one of the completion icons at the top of the screen, but the majority of the game is shooting plants to cause chain reactions to areas, and jumping to collect these coloured DNA-strandy type things. There's a time bonus, so quick completion is rewarded, and at the end of a level, a five star rating is possible (and then experience is gained to upgrade your character).

While i found the gameplay fun and intriguing, the lengthy tutorial and the vague areas and reasoning for play left me a little cold, as did the plethora of game options when choosing a level (as well as the strange restrictions on upgrading my character which i think were imposed by the demo).

I recommend people give the demo a go, especially if you were one of those who liked what The Club tried to do (i was for the record).

Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale Demo (PC)

I've heard good things about this game for a while and after it was mentioned in the video i grabbed the demo. I've actually put quite a bit of time into it so far. My first play i fell quite short of making the weekly payment that acts as the game's checkpoint barrier. I started reading tips and tricks online and so far my second playthrough has me in no danger of missing the payment. Having figured out the best way to make money though, i'm a little disappointed with how the game plays.

The hook is that it's a management sim. You're controlling the item shop in a town full of adventurers, and each day you need to buy stock, display it, and then sell it for an optimal price (which fluctuates depending on customers). The funny thing is that to level up your market skill, which opens up more options for selling, you need to chain sales together (which means not selling an item at a rate where the customer asks you to lower your price). The best way to do this is to sell at base price, which if you have bought your merchandise, will not net you any profit whatsoever.

This leads to the best way to make money, which is to hire an adventurer and go dungeon crawling. Everything you find in the dungeons sells for one hundred percent profit, and within three days of opening the store, i had almost reached the weekly payment goal. My problem with this is that in essence it becomes like every other Jrpg with a fun little side addition of selling everything you find as the manager of your own shop (kind of like playing the auction house in an MMO).

It's still a good game and i'll probably sink more time into the demo, but seeing that the hook of the game was a bit of a façade dampened my enthusiasm for the title.

Final Thoughts

It's not videogames but board games i want to talk briefly about here this week. For starters my Saturday night was spent with friends, Easter chocolate, alcohol, and The Simpsons Game of Life. Not only was our game immensely fun (because of the company and mood of course), but most of our conversations were recorded by one of the players on her phone and there might be some animating and youtube uploading in my future to share some of the more hilarious moments with the world.

But speaking of youtube and board games, i encourage you to check out Wil Wheaton's new show Table Top in which him and some of his nerdy celebrity friends play interesting table top games as the cameras roll (and the game is explained as they play). Episode 1 is on a game called Small Worlds, and it looks like episode 2 which is being released later this month is Settlers of Catan. The link is below.

I'm interested, is anyone else a fan of all games, and not just the electronic variety? I'm always on the lookout for fun new board and card games. I think part of it is that these games force local multiplayer, which readers will know is my favourite type of multiplayer, having your friends on the same couch or in the same room. It creates a much more enjoyable gaming experience in my opinion. Some of my favourite non-videogames from the last few years are Munchkin, Carcassone, and Gin Rummy (i've also been planning to run a Shadowrun game for what seems like forever now).

So if you do play other games, what are some of your favourites? Let me and others know in the comments!

And til next week, happy gaming all!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Musings - 2nd April, 2012

Man what a day. Wrestlemania in the morning, intense bass lessons in the afternoon, and i somehow sprained or twisted my ankle during the day. Forgiveness if musings is a little lite this week.

Mass Effect (PC)

I finished off my third playthrough of Mass Effect last Monday night. While it was kinda cool to burn through the game, this run-through felt a little empty. I'm not quite sure why. I think it wasn't the renegade options but more just running through the main story, avoiding all character interaction and all side quests. I imagine half the fun of renegade is the way you approach some side quests and just playing the main story just felt kind of empty. I think when i finally get around to playing Mass Effect 2, i'll be using the character from my 2nd run-through in which i went full paragon and did every side quest in the game (excluding the collection fetch quests... though i get close to completing them due to other things).

Left 4 Dead 2 (PC)

I usually find myself playing a couple games of this each year, and each time i load it up again, i say the same thing. "Why don't i play more of this?". I mean yes, it's kind of annoying when you have iffy team-mates (like this suicidal japanese guy in our game), but there's a lot of fun to be had in the campaigns, most of which i haven't really played through.

And on top of that, they seem to have added a metric ton of new campaigns to the game. I picked Swamp Fever as i cannot remember playing it (my favourite out of those i have played is Hard Rain). After the third restart on chapter three, dying when you lower that tiny bridge in the bungalows i decided to call it quits. Well it was midnight and i was yawning up a storm. Why don't i play more of this?

Catherine (PS3)

Aside from yawning up a storm playing an action game, one should definitely not tackle a puzzle game when one is sleepy. I did finally best the first chapter of the clock tower eventually, but i knew that continuing would be a folly.

I will say the moral system in this game confuses the hell outta me. The first playthrough of a game with moral choices, i always answer how i would truthfully answer if i was the player character. In Catherine, this practise has kept me around the middle of the moral barometer. I'll answer one person and the dial will move a great chunk towards the angelic side, then i answer the next question, and it'll fly back towards neutral territory. Maybe this is an indicator of things not being so clear cut in the choices the game offers, but as a player, i find it utterly confusing and a little disheartening. The game apparently has eight endings (i wonder if one is a clown ending. Bonus points for getting the reference there), and after overcoming all this fiendish puzzlement, i'd like a satisfying conclusion, and i'm afraid i might not get that.

Time will tell i guess.

Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery EP (IoS)

I picked this up when it was on sale a couple weeks ago for two dollars. You know, most games that recommend you use headphones to enhance the experience i ignore the suggestion, but there was something about this game that made me grab a set and plug them into my iphone. I am glad i did. If nothing else, the sound design and music cues in this game are amazing. It's a good thing i find the visuals engrossing and having played the first session, the gameplay and story are very intriguing.

Coolest part by far... so far is turning the iphone into portrait mode fluidly changes to your attack mode. It's a great use of turning the phone and so far it has been used sparingly. It seems mostly a game of exploration and mood rather than action or combat, but in session one, there were definitely tense and foreboding moments. The gameplay being broken into sessions that have an estimated time to complete really helps sell it as a game designed for a portable device as well. if you have 15 - 30 mins to spare, you can pop the headphones on, site down and have a complete experience that's part of a larger whole.

I'm very interested to see what the rest of the game is like.

Final Thoughts

Since i wish to go lay down i will forego any lengthy discussion and instead offer you some awesome videogame music. Music from a game that would probably be in my top 10 (i do need to create that list one of these days).

Till next week, happy gaming all!