Category Archives: Reviews
Around a week or so ago, I was approached by Pirrip, who helps make the weekly comic called GamesRBad4U. At first I wasn’t sure if I should take a look at it, but I decided to trust that the email was legitimate, and found myself laughing at some of the comics they had for readers.
The description of the GamesRBad4U Tumblr is as follows:
As everyone knows, not only do video games rot children’s minds, but they eventually turn all children into malicious serial killers.
This is the story of one such gamer.
As such, you can probably see that this is a pretty satirical look at the influence of video games on the young or the easily manipulated.
The comic takes a very serious approach to the situation, wherein the main character of the comics, Thomas Maximilian Jenkins, uses video game logic in real-life situations causing havoc or embarrassment to his parents and sister. The video game references aren’t subtle, but the humor lies in the lack of subtlety and the deadpan way in which Jenkins sees everything as a threat or an opportunity to be exploited.
In my opinion, there is one thing that detracts from each comic as a whole. That’s in the attempts to reinforce the humor by having a public service announcement-slash-explanation at the end of each comic. The problem with this is that I feel the comics stand on their own without the need for explanation, or if an explanation appears to be warranted, then it can be put on the post as the first comment for those who don’t get the jokes at first glance.
I’d recommend this comic for folks who are tired of the anti-gaming rhetoric and want to see it turned over into something funny instead. Definitely not recommended for folks who dislike games, do not play them, or who may take this comic strip as a serious example of the degradation of the youth.
So I’ve been on a bit of a Star Wars gaming binge lately thanks to the big Star Wars package recently offered on Steam. I’ve played through Knights of the Old Republic, some of the Jedi Knight series, and have even been giving Star Wars Galaxies a try. I’m definitely starting to feel more than a little burned out though, not on Star Wars mind you, rather I’m getting tired of lackluster games and frustrating bugs. I’ll say it right now, the ports for some of these games, especially for the Jedi Knight games, have been pretty abysmal.
But let’s start with the good: KotOR. This game well deserves its sterling reputation, it is just an enjoyable experience through and through. Oh sure, it’s not perfect, but it does a great job of capturing that Star Wars feel that so many other games have failed at. This was not my first playthrough of this classic RPG, though it was the first time I went full on Dark Side. I have tried to go through KotOR as a Dark Jedi many times in the past but I always ran into a host of technical issues that impeded my progress, fortunately I was able to get through the entire game this time though my experience was hardly bug free.
Now, many people complain about good and evil systems in games today with the chief complaint being that you just don’t feel evil at all, you feel more like a complete sociopathic asshole as opposed to some terrifying villain. I will say this for KotOR’s alignment system though, it’s damn fun being bad. More than once I found myself letting out an evil cackle as events found themselves transpiring against those around me. It really makes me interested in seeing how Bioware handles alignment in their upcoming MMO.
It’s been a while since I’ve written anything on this blog but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been playing any games. So, in the spirit of this past week of E3 and all the big news bombshells that got dropped I am going to review a game that came out months ago. What game is that you ask? Why none other than the interactive drama Heavy Rain.
Heavy Rain is a very polarizing title. I’m not speaking in terms of the split between its fanbase and those who loathe the title’s very existence, rather I’m referring to just how engaging an experience Heavy Rain manages to be while at the same time existing as an extremely bad game. Now whenever a game like this comes out and naysayers attempt to bring it down those who love it tend to defend their obsession with the accusation that “You just don’t get it.” And maybe that’s true, maybe I don’t “get it”, but I don’t think that is the case with Heavy Rain because I can certainly appreciate what David Cage and the rest of the folk over at Quantic Dream tried to pull off here. Unfortunately, that appreciation does not mean that I can overlook some of the truly abysmal design decisions and implementations in Heavy Rain.
Let’s start with the good however, with a bit of a backhanded compliment. Once you complete the first major sequence of the game you unlock a trophy. This trophy’s description thanks you for supporting interactive drama. Needless to say, it came across as horribly pretentious and made me gag. That being said however, Quantic Dream really did succeed at creating an interactive drama. Heavy Rain was, at times, incredibly suspenseful, emotionally gripping, and thoroughly immersive. There are moments in this game that make you feel like you’re watching an episode of 24 or actively participating in one of the Saw movies and those moments truly make this game worth trying out at least once. They even did a good job of making you really care about the characters and what they’re going through and what could happen to them if you don’t make the right decision (assuming you let yourself care about them in the first place that is, something many people might have a hard time doing).