Layers of Fear – impressions

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Finished it. It was a just one day experience, but it definitely was a memorable surreal one. We got the game not knowing what to expect, possibly nothing special, but after 1h of play I was so impressed with the quality of the historical elements in the environment that I went and got the addon on the spot (haven’t played it yet). Here’s quick thoughts while the credits are rolling:

+, +, + , +, + some amazing surreal moments of dream and paradox that I think would’ve had both Escher and Dali impressed. And some changes are so subtly and beautifully integrated that it’s amazing, like one moment you’ll be looking around a room and the next seeing it’s got an endless ceiling, but wonder if it was like that before, or turning around a room to find doors where you remembered walls… or things floating, just amazing moments.

+, + interesting mystery atmosphere, told through small things, placements of things, indirect letters, that kind of stuff

– there were also moments however when it felt like it had too many “booo!” scares… though I got quickly immune. The suspense stuff was better though.

+, +, + at times amazing soundtrack

– Though some story was there I wish there was more story and a bit less of the ‘gore’… just a bit, it mostly worked but it could’ve used IMO more monologue or something

+, +, + loved the historical household objects

+, – the classical paintings in the game were a perfect disturbing fit and wonderful in their ways. The only problem was there was too few of them and they repeated breaking a bit the great immersion.

+, + at times it looked technically very impressive, both as engine and at times even in terms of environment asset quality, there were moments I felt I was playing Bioshock, which is an amazing achievement for what I assume is a team/budget that’s much smaller

Overall I’d give this game a grandiose 3.5 on a -5 to 5 scale: a truly unique and extraordinary experience. Had it’s moments when it was harder to push on but overall it surprised and delighted in a way in which games rarely do and tends to be more the domain of movies: a constant journey of change, change in subtle ways, story always advancing almost without failure and failures turning into development and surprise. This game has greatly surprised me.

PS: though lacking that amazing tech this game is I think a worthy inheritor of the title of what P.T. might have been had it actually been developed into a (good) game. I definitely felt Silent Hill echoes in the game and a ton of ton of H.P. Lovecraft influences. What an impressive pedigree!

Battlefield 4 – impressions

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As usual, my thoughts are just for the singleplayer as I don’t care much for the multiplayer (might try it out at some point for 30 minutes, but not what I bought it for). So, here’s my thoughts:

+ decent music

+, -, – Really big open spaces. This is beautiful at times, but most of the times it feels “a little empty”.

– sometimes it lacks direction, easy to get lost in what you’re supposed to do next. At one point I spent many minutes (even in high story tension) trying to figure out what arbitrary thing I’m supposed to do next.

+, +, + some quite fantastic setpiece moments

+, +, +, + great variety of environments

– otherwise feeling a bit generic

+ a bit of a between soldier story

-, -, – I already mentioned how the world feels pretty empty and uninteresting (or rather overstretched), this is reinforced by lots of time spent in lock counter fire, easy to die, you’re forced to advance very slowly.

+ I guess with the right frame of mind (but I only managed to get it sometimes) you can enjoy the realism of slowly advancing

Overall I found it a generic AAA war fps, goes through the expected steps, in a kind of formula, with art assets that are passable but not incredibly memorable Still, decent enough to play and finish it which says something, so I’d give it a 1 on a -5 to 5 scale. The artwork may not be great/incredibly original but it’s consistently good and with some setpiece moments and great engine it sometimes even made me go “wow”, and the other times it was interesting to see all the military equipment which I’m assuming was research based on the real world.


Blighttown Eulogy

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Interesting perspective.

Uncharted 4 – impressions

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Got it like 5 days ago… dooone :D

+, +, +, + quite a decent length for such a linear story. Played every day/evening quite intensively + extended weekend. I was expecting it to finish in half the time, given how we were  constantly advancing, running through the story.

-, + very linear. Occasionally it’s okay/nice to have a game like this (presuming I didn’t pay as much for it as an Oblivion), but this is made okay by the fact that there’s ALWAYS something happening. It’s even hard to talk during this game (unusual), as there’s always some commentary or dialogue happening. I find this is great and relatively new/cutting edge for games which tend to be a lot of repetition.

-, +, + normally i dislike vehicle sections, but in this game they were the most open of the whole game, and that was great, to see this level of polish and a bit more open. I fondly remember for example the big riverside muddy terrain, that looked faaantastic

+, +, + the best photography system I’ve yet seen in a game. It has filters and options, but most importantly it allows blending out of all characters to take photos of the environment, loved that. I only wish I could move my camera a bit more

+, +, +, – the world looks a couple of times faaaaaaaantastic. It particularly exploits the wonderful formula of ruins + overgrown vegetation + great sunlight/shadow spots. This looks at times fantastic. My complaint is something harder to put my finger on, … all the plants and many stones felt… I don’t know… plastic/mass produced/somehow cheap. But the formula is still fantastic

+, +, + a bunch of really reeally fantastic interiors, old furniture and many interesting props

– there’s no choices or any meaningful stuff to explore, anything to leave a personal mark on the experience, it’s just a better than movie experience

+ manages to tell a decent pirate story

+, +, + the soundtrack had a couple of quite fantastic moments

+, +, + the story writing is quite good, with nice personal moments (as well as the facial capture) and a nice variety of events, from different moments in time, childhood, adulthood, even… Nice jumping back and forth, even a surprisingly well done prison break

+, + the game was so long and with so many settings and moments it feels like multiple games.

+, +, +, + there’s that one moment… with the pirate village… maaan, that looked goooood.


Overall: I’d give this game a 3.5 on a -5 to 5 scale, making it a great, even excellent game with great overall polish and lots of varied content. It manages to bring to life some amazing places and moments. The reason I wouldn’t go higher is the linearity of the story and the lack of meaningful personal memories. Still, I would say this is for this generation something at least as good as Indiana Jones was for the previous one, so a milestone in entertainment.

Gothic 2 – 6 ways how to get into Khorinis

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A blast from the epic past!

Uncharted 4 section looking scan-realistic

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Got to this area yesterday, I was just amazed how foto-realistic it looked.

While this area

made me think they could totally sell VR postcards of the place for virtual tourists who wouldn’t otherwise play the game just giving them the 3d locations to look around in.

This place reminded me of the amazingly beautifully cluttered streets in AC Unity for which i have the highest respect.


Btw, their foto-mode is the best i’ve seen in the game so far as it enables getting rid of characters and interface (there’s a bit of a bug with some flashlight bits though, but still great)

Lords of the Fallen – impressions

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Well, finally finished it, but only like 1-2 years after starting it, with a big pause due to its difficulty spike(s). Here’s my brief thoughts:


+, +, -They take a lot of the tried and proven mechanics of the Souls games, this gives it some boosts up but also some of its worst sides

+, +, + quite interesting visual art style. Overly ornate and often a bit generic in that, still sometimes beautifully decorative and showing sometimes beautiful vistas, lighting and colour

+, – the ornate decorations of the armours and weapons make them visually memorable and striking but also rather implausible and impractical looking

– , -, – , -, – horrible difficulty spikes, like really horrible. I hated the game many times, and though i was curious to continue it the unreasonableness of some bosses was just too much. I ended up after a lot of trials and frustration in actually selling the game and abandoning it (a very hard thing for me, especially due to curiosity and appreciating some art content) and only recently continued it as it was given ‘free’ on PS+. I think this kind of difficulty is a huge betrayal of the customer, not giving him the choice of having his experience and in fact cheating him out of his money because he never gets to experience the full content. For example by the end of the game i saw by achievements that like 4-7% of people had gotten to the last enemies, meaning all the others never got their money’s worth, and as an artist I’m sad that they missed out on content that was actually pretty good in terms of visual and even some story. As such I judge the developers strongly and find this behaviour inexcusable. Of course people who want to experience a high level of challenge should be given this opportunity, but not at the cost of the others (hmm, how libertarian an idea!).

+, + overall decent music. Maybe not incredibly fantastic top of the line, however always original and in big quantity! Respect

-, – ,- ,- The level design i found to be by far worse than the souls games. Among the problems were also rethreading of old grounds, pretty much absent directions to next objectives, and that kind of self-mutilating “feature” of an open world where respawning enemies combined with lacking directions lead to the openness of the world just leading to a ton of wasted time and cursing in confusion at the waste. This is made particularly bad by their level designs lacking what the Souls games one do: a unique and memorableness to them: they thus feel often like mazes and are hard to remember in clear terms. I think good design should have places that you can easily describe verbally like “and then i went over the bridge and up the castle”, instead of “and then you take a left and then another and the rune that’s similar to the other rune is …. “. Such clear and well thought out level design I think becomes necessary in a game that insists to being so difficult and involve backtracking. The lack of this turns complexity that should occasion joy of discovery into complexity that just makes things unnecessarily difficult.


Overall I’d give it a -1 on a -5 to 5 scale. They took a very risky path of actually believing the short-line descriptions of why people like dark souls/bloodborne “because they’re hard” and missed the subtlety that people are only willing to put up with the difficulty if the quality of your product is truly amazingly unique and fantastic, thereby they lifted their standards to be judged on to impossible measures. Though I liked the artwork the pain I had to go through to enjoy it was too much for me to recommend this game to anybody else to actually buy it.

Indiana Jones: Fate of Atlantis Special Edition (work in progress)

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Remember LucasArts and their cool point ‘n click video games? While all of them had an overall cool storyline and feel, this one stood out throughout the years. For some, it was the classic character and the puzzles you had to go though, for others, the otherworldly design of Atlantis.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is being (unofficially) fan remade by a 3rd party, featuring a modern-ish look and feel. Let’s hope all goes well and they don’t get the axe from Disney. Also, let’s hope for a Day of the Tentacle remake as well.

For more videos go here, and for updates, there’s a facebook page, and a developer’s twitter.

Aztec style in Dark Souls 2

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I was surprised and delighted to see this architectural style in DS2 expansion, way back then, and now too.

Little Big Planet Vita – impressions

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Well, it only took me like 3-4 years, but i finished it.

–  took so long because after the initial enjoyment it did what many games do which is have an unreasonable difficulty spike at the end so i just dropped it

+, + Great art assets, always with great character

+, +  nice music with a variety as big as the visual themes

+, +, + a great and surprising variety in gameplay designs. Didn’t expect so much variety and inovation

+, – decent story. Might not have loved it but at least it had character

Overall: i’d give it a 2 on a -5 to 5 scale, very high production values, great entertainment and variety, even for somebody like me with a natural avoidance of everything that has childish themes, yet i still enjoyed it quite a lot due to it’s great and and abundant content in every corner.

Environmental Showcasing [Just Cause 3]

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I find that this game has taken a brilliant game design choice to invite the players to admire the good looking environments, which are at times quite beautiful. Often times I see games which have in fact fantastic art assets, but because they have no gameplay associated to seeing them many twitch players miss them. This simple gampley (could just as well have been collecting points) combined with the challenge of gliding invites me to go close and go into a mood of calm and observation paying attention to the surroundings.


Star Wars – Knights of The Old Republic (Apeiron HD Remake)

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Are all these video game (and movie) reboots making you feel left out? Don’t worry! Chances are you’ve enjoyed the first two games set in The Old Republic times, and maybe even had a daydream about them being remade.

Dream no more; a small, independent team decided to step up, and treat KOTOR to a nice shine and polish, featuring modern models and shaders, and a first-person mode, among many other goodies.

Don’t forget to check their progress over here.


At the time of writing (August, 2016), Apeiron has not yet received a cease & desist. Good for them.

Surreal Waterway

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I still find it amazing that this whole world is generated and yet it can produce such interesting places with pretty believable placing of plantlife on surprisingly non-flat geometry landscape.

History of the Elder Scrolls

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Interesting stuff. Didn’t know 1 & 2 had so much procedural stuff and such a big size. A Morrowind or Oblivion remake would’ve been great though instead of the Skyrim remaster to celebrate the old ones.

Aladdin on GoG

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AAaa, the old Aladdin game, still a gem. Now on Good Old Games:
Played it a bit with my wife alternating on dying (great fun) and we got to level 3 or so on the 2nd try. Exciting. Still great artwork in there. The only problem is the screen tearing, could use some v-sync, there must be a way to enable that in dosbox, or maybe it’s from the rendering somehow? Anyway, warmly recommending it. I still remember many years ago when I took my old 386 to the village and via win 3.11 virtual memory got it running despite 4mb ram requirements when i only had 2. Finished it I think 3 times in the village :P
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