Remasters Losing Art Direction

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I’m not super into the commentary in this video but I wanted to post it as a kickstarter for discussion as I’ve been seeing more and more remasters (will the future Dark Souls one be also?) which in their excitement to bring cutting edge graphics forget the art direction, and sometimes not notice how the old tech sometimes sometimes helps with the mood. I haven’t yet personally gotten to try out the new Red Dead Redemption upres, but there too I have to wonder if sometimes the old tech doesn’t create a “fake mood” which is lost a bit by things being too sharp. I definitely feel sometimes one can miss things. For example in my imagination the old Doom 2 was realistic in attempt, while the first time i played Doom 2016 felt a bit of silliness in the creatures. In retrospect seems fine-ish, but I do see this as an interesting topic.

Ray Tracing near-tech

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Great technical discussion. The way he explains things with screen space is also a great smart perspective. How exciting that we’re finally nearing more serious raytracing!

gameSketch 401

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a game about the difficulties of resisting philadelphians

Usual rules: 3 tries per person. Winner gets to propose a gameSketch. x5 multiplier for first timers. Newcomers: you may ask for 3 freebies even if you didn’t yet guess anything. Outstanding credits: Sebakoner x21, Răzvan T. Coloja, x5, Schkan x6, Firefish x37, Jason Clark 10, Jaco x104, Marius, Radu x45, , 47Crows x19, Ange, PettyX90 x7, Pori x2, Tarpo x5, player347 x9, Diana x6, VideoGamesAsArt x2 , thegazer x9, BiaHawks x7, rsocu x5, Teofil S. Awaiting scenes from you guys.

 

The Traitor of Dark Souls is You

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An interesting theory.

God of War 3 – reimpressions

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Well, I’m as surprised as you are… why would I play it again? I just thought i’d play a bit… but then I realized it was super interesting, and I didn’t remember a lot if not most, and I was always like “what’s around the next corner”… and then I got interesting insights into the depths of the story… and then, before I knew it was over.

Like an interesting movie that is just entertaining at every point (okay, so there’s some slightly frustrating puzzles, but also brilliant ahaaa moments) it was (to my surprise) in some ways better than many new games I have.

Seeing this again made me even more skeptical that the new game, with Kratos as father will fit with this character given all the ways in which he advanced through this story (at least up to 80%). I had forgotten just how ruthlessly goal oriented Kratos was all through the story, stopping for no one, gods or titans in his way.

My original impressions upon finishing it are… hmmm, I can’t find them… they must be somewhere on the website… did I not write them? did I not mention the great artwork, the cinematic experience, the rich greek/roman mythology references, the interesting characters, the wonderful world navigation and anticipation world buildup and then release and secret revelations!??!?? Maybe I’ll find it one day lost somewhere… but until then I’d give this game a 3.5 on a -5 to 5 scale. It’s quite extraordinary even if I wouldn’t have thought i’d like a 3rd person non rpg game so much.

 

PS: a great touch in the story was that it keeps feeling like a 3 way fight, like he’s not just fighting against the gods but in the process betraying his once allies titans also on his personal goals. This introduces a surprising dynamic with multiple opponents from a story perspective and leaves one guessing as to future allies and outcomes.

gameSketch 400 – 3x party

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The flames burn the hunter’s night

The yearly conflict was progressed to 2054

3 hags welcome the one who doesn’t even know why

Woow, it’s been more than 7 years, so on occasion of reaching this nice round number of 400 here’s a little trio guessing party for the nice people who keep guessing. Thanks, you guys & gals!
It’s okay to guess just one of them, no need to get them all right to score a point.

 
Usual rules: 3 tries per person. Winner gets to propose a gameSketch. x5 multiplier for first timers. Newcomers: you may ask for 3 freebies even if you didn’t yet guess anything. Outstanding credits: Sebakoner x21, Răzvan T. Coloja, x5, Schkan x6, Firefish x37, Jason Clark 10, Jaco x101, Marius, Radu x45, , 47Crows x19, Ange, PettyX90 x7, Pori x2, Tarpo x5, player347 x9, Diana x6, VideoGamesAsArt x2 , thegazer x9, BiaHawks x7, rsocu x5, Teofil S. Awaiting scenes from you guys.

 

Homefront: The Revolution

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+, +, +, +, + very brave and interesting story and atmosphere, i’d even call it “courageous” (in that suicidal kind of political sense) in that I wouldn’t be surprised if the edginess of their story cost them investors or maybe even political problems. What’s so strange about a silly “America gets invaded” story? If anything that’s the opposite, you might argue, and indeed that’s how the prequel game sort of felt, but whether through more thinking about it or (as I have come to suspect) through it being a metaphor for something much bigger and much more tabu, this game felt on a much deeper level.

+, +, +, +, – amazing length and depth. The game is huge, much bigger than I was expecting, and one of those rare gems that actually keeps some of its best content to spread it all over the story, even for the later parts. This is also a tiny negative because maybe the team might’ve been overly ambitious for their budget as maybe this is the reason why some regions might feel a bit thinner than what might’ve been needed to make a huge impact masterpiece

– there were small moments of being confused or unclear as to where to go next. I hear there were even bugs initially but by the time I played it the bugs were mostly gone and for anybody giving it a try now I’d say it’s overall a great game. The little moments of problem that might still remain are because you have to look around a bit more than might be comfortable

-, +, +, +, + this is not a “light” or clearly “fun” game, not just because of the great immersive storytelling, but in the sense of the atmosphere, the whole immersion. This was a minus even for me as it does for this kind of game what I would think maybe the difference is between a Gran Turismo car simulation and an arcade car show game like maybe some Need for Speeds. What I mean to say by that is that while most games about a revolution do little to get you into the mood of the place, but you feel like you’re always winning, this game is oppressive, sometimes even hard to bear. The propaganda you hear on the radios and everywhere is almost realistic, it’s almost convincing at times and certainly oppressive as opposed to caricatural. But I still count this as an overall positive because IF you’re willing to put up with it even if, like myself, with breaks of weeks, then you get something much more to a “simulation”. This is even stronger because:

-, -, +, +, + in terms of gameplay complemented by atmosphere also it’s the same: i’ve experienced quite a bit of frustration because I kept approaching this game like (in the above metaphor) a “Call of Duty” type hero game… this was frustrating. It’s only when i realized that this is NOT that, that this is a guerrilla, a behind enemy lines and always losing, a they’re in superiority and you’re weak, you’re lucky if you make a tiny difference, only when i started to accept that I started to do better and enjoy the game and also started to better get the story it was telling

+, +, + maybe i’m reading too much into this, but I had the impression that the game at times is trying to tell even bigger stories, the kinds of stories that you can only tell in history or scifi, because they’d be rejected about contemporary times by those in power and the well controlled public point of view. That sometimes in not being able to tell the contemporary stories it flips them so hard that it becomes ridiculous and I couldn’t help but wonder if the story it’s trying to tell is about something else than what it says it is. Hints that made me think like that (and if so I can imagine why the minds behind this were unloved/unfunded) is for example the great villain, and how it’s presented, it’s nothing half credible, it’s not even developed South Korea but poor starving North Korea, and yet here in the game they do all the things that America might’ve done in other countries. There’s a lot of references how in the game the americans loved initially the NKorean humanitarian aid, but then found themselves trapped and controlled, how they became dependent and loved NKorean technology but then lost their political and social freedoms, about their debts. There’s even cinematics of presentations from NKorea that look eerily like a Steve Jobs type presenting a new tablet to a cheering crowd… I got the feeling that the game tried to tell more than it could.

– sure the game is sometimes a bit rough around the corners, could’ve used more money for polish, though for the reasons above I’m not surprised they didn’t get it, what does surprise me is that it was made, and as well as it has

+, +, +, + great environmental love, attention to details. It’s not that it always looks beautiful, though there’s moments of that too, it’s more the touches, the uniqueness, the personality

– the gameplay does seem to be occasionally a bit stale/repetitive, yet at the same times it builds consistency and familiarity in going to the different zones with similar patterns, each having a certain flair

+ good music

+, +, + a great variety of gameplay tricks. There’s even a great implemented remote controlled car

-, -, +, + the game does little handholding. This can be a repeated source of frustration as you don’t know what to do, but then as you’re forced to actually look around, to really observe, you feel a big reward when you actually notice how to use a secondary side building to get the the building you were actually trying to go to through a circuitous route

+, +, +, +, + some extraordinary acting segments, great acting, great story, including wonderfully imperfect and flawed characters. Great motion capture, even for background characters that set the scene for a location.

+, +, + Like WOOOW, this game had the biggest secret I have ever found in a game, and I’ve seen many amazing easter eggs, but this game (and shockingly late in the game) had an arcade machine which when I started I couldn’t believe my eyes, it had whole levels out of the game Timesplitters 2 which was for me one of the more remarkable games of the ps2. It’s one thing to have games which emulate some old DOS games, which while I appreciated in Wolfenstein, but this is on a whole new level in size… we’re talking here about a game with full on scripted moments and true 3d. I’m afraid it’s just a few maps, but still, very very impressive. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Overall I’d call this a diamond in the rough. Maybe at release it was much more buggy then I experienced it, and maybe that’s why i see the hugely overwhelming negative press around this game, or maybe it was simply its serious tone, whatever the reason I think this is a huge gem that undeservedly got a super bad press. I’ve just bought the DLCs also and look forward to them and am genuinely sad for all the bad reviews it got and am fearful the studio will be killed off by this, which is sad because I could feel a lot of love behind this game, and despite the fact that it could’ve used some more polish I’d give this game a 3.4 on a -5 to 5 scale. I think this is an extraordinary and remarkable game, a one of a kind story and atmosphere that you’d miss something in life on to never have experienced as a gamer. I think of these developers with this game as people who had the flaw of being overly ambitious, but hey, if that’s a sin, may more developers have this sin that they may make such great masterpieces. It saddens me that they may pay the price but gamers across the world and posterity got a fantastic gem as a reward.

Supaplex

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This was a quite remarkable DOS game. In case you haven’t played it I found more than one surprisingly good Android ports for it. Quite the brain and reflex teasers in this game. Didn’t manage to get very far, but had a lot of respect for this.

Wolfenstein 2 – impressions

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+, +, + very high production values

-, -, – the main character has been wimpified, in accordance to the trend of our times. Although he’s doing amazing and heroic things a large part of the game he’s annoying whiny and bringing the whole mood down

+, +, +, + some really great cinematics, with great cinematography, entertaining mood, interesting touches and moments, subtle and well done from the tragic to the humorous, quite impressive (even in the moments I didn’t quite agree with the message I was impressed by the quality)

-, – felt, i don’t know how to put it, somehow weirdly linear/cluttered, a bunch of times I’d get lost, not feeling like i’m exploring, but rather that I’m hitting walls and working my way through a maze. It would sometimes trick my brain that it’s a bit open, which would then get me into even more trouble as it turned out to be linear or i had to figure out some contrived way to advance that I had trouble figuring out

+, + nice energetic sountrack

+, + nice variety of locations

+ pretty interesting story and a steady pace of progressing through story

– a bit censored here in germany unfortunately

+, + even has an arcade with the whole / multiple episodes of Wolfenstein 3d, that was very impressive. Unfortunately again here in germany it’s heavily censored and they also took a IMO bad decision to present the screen at a funny angle.

+, +, +, + there’s some really amazing environments at time, both in the superb, nay, even fantastic at time set design and prop placement as well as

+, + good rendering engine making everything pretty looking

Overall I’d give this one a 1,5 on a -5 to 5 scale. It was a solid AAA game, with great production values. It brought the mood down a bit by being so in tune with our times from the wimpifying of the main hero (there’s even a scene where he literally cries in his mother’s lap if i remember right) to the tendency to a bit reverse discriminate, but hey, all in all a very well done game with high production values, and hey, maybe that will help it sell better as intended even with the compromises. I can’t say the story blew me away (again typical modern stuff, including the complaining about abusive parents blaming), but it was professionally done and the gameplay was also decent, if at times unreasonably hard in a “repeat this section until you get it right” kind of non fun way. Still, I’d call this a good game, well done, entertaining and high quality even if it didn’t blow me away.

The Council E1 [ACG review]

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Until I have time to post a review, I just wanted to mention this fresh game which i found pretty remarkable.

Darkness 2 free on Humble Bundle

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For the next 5 hours the game is free on Humble Bundle. Comes with key that can be activated on Steam.

I found it to be quite a great game, here’s my review of it http://artsygamer.com/darkness-2-quick-impressions/

 

Morrowind Tomb Raiding

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This guy has an entertaining playstyle, and I like how he reads the texts of this great classic game.

Anno 1404 [QwertyReview]

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This is a genre of games I keep wanting to get back into, a tablet would be perfect for this, but the typical modern style of monetization/bad design/silliness for these games makes me not find something like this so now i’m looking for oldies in the hopes I can make them run on a less powerful windows tablet. Crossing fingers. Have you played any of these games? What do you think? Any advice?

gameSketch 399

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Amidst aristocratic luxury, murderers for… equality?

Usual rules: 3 tries per person. Winner gets to propose a gameSketch. x5 multiplier for first timers. Newcomers: you may ask for 3 freebies even if you didn’t yet guess anything. Outstanding credits: Răzvan T. Coloja, x5, Schkan x6, Firefish x37, Jason Clark 10, Jaco x101, Marius, SebastianKErben x20, Radu x45, , 47Crows x19, Ange, PettyX90 x7, Pori x2, Tarpo x5, player347 x9, Diana x6, VideoGamesAsArt x2 , thegazer x9, BiaHawks x7, rsocu x5, Teofil S. Awaiting scenes from you guys.

 

Darkness used as a game design element

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An interesting analysis with insightful big picture points.

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