Music

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.

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.

Demon’s Crest Speedrun

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Find this game so fascinating, the only SNES game i actually finished. The world, the anti-hero story, the creatures, the superb and varied locations… so much respect for this one.

I remembered it because I saw it today on games done quick:

Holding up surprisingly decently good 22 years after it’s launch in 1994: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demon%27s_Crest

Echochrome Soundtrack

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I never expected such an amazing soundtrack in this little game! I found this better than the AC Syndicate much higher budget game in a similar musical genre. At times it even reminds me of Piazzolla with a touch of Sherlock Holmes movie soundtrack mixed in with some Final Fantasy moods and epic classical awesomeness, which is to say great respect for the composer, Hideki Sakamoto !

Song of Da Day: Jepser Kyd – The Adventures of Batman & Robin

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What a surprising song… it would fit for so many themes, from sci-fi to cyberpunk to psychedelic game worlds. Amazing gem from 1995.

MDK – wonderfully crazy music for an amazing world

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Rating: 4.5/5 (2 votes cast)

What a wonderfully strange surreal world/experience/universe this 1997 game managed to create! And the soundtrack is as crazy and varied as the world, with each piece fitting so well into the moment in the story it was placed in.

“Lordvessel” song

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What a fitting world to extract powerful symbolism from. Too bad the cartoons make it feel a bit silly, but the fitting of great symbolism with the events/story & even gameplay of the game is quite amazing i think.

OC ReMix: Final Fantasy II ‘A Kingdom Fallen’

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What epicness, Nobuo Uematsu music remixed in chiptunes style, and with the epicness of a Dream Theater like symphony. Just awesome incorporated.

CoD: Black Ops 2

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+, +, + the story is always moving forward, with high production values

+, +, – some locations are pretty cool, while others not so much

+, + nice variety of locations

+ good music (they even have Trent Reznor. Good choice)

+ there’s even some choice moments

+, +, – pretty good story, it has it’s cliche moments but overall it dares to even be controversial at points, which is much appreciated

– there’s a not so nice mission with some tanks or something like a strategy element, luckily it can then be avoided

Overall: A surprisingly good game. I enjoyed Black Ops too, and this one manages to continue the trend with some nice story line pickups and more importantly with some new cool Elements. I’d give it a decent 2 on a -5 to 5 scale, so quite a good game, even if now a bit outdated by the new genera.

PS: as usual i’m writing this while the credits are rolling, and man was i rewarded with some cool extra cinematics. Another point for the game. I’m bumping it up to a 2.5, as I was on the edge anyway, making it an excelent game.

Farcry 3 Burning the Fields song

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Rating: 4.0/5 (2 votes cast)

A nice surprise song in the game. Sweeet.

Borderlands musical :))

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:))

Farcry 3: Blood Dragon – quick impressions

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– much much less content than I was hoping for

– the choice of abandoning everything that was beautiful about Farcry 3 (paradise island, sunny days) and turning it into a nighttime retro exagerated sci-fi mood i thought hurt it a lot. I mean it could have been done in a way that it was better but this way the result was simply a visually very boring landscape and even that you’re struggling to see as in this darkness your weapons are blinding you with their glow. I understand the game was trying to make fun of things, but it did that enough in the cinematics and sounds, it could have been much better IMHO if it integrated the gameplay nighttime a bit better

+ pretty funny 80s-90s movie cliches, from phrases to story arcs

+ there were interesting moments, some ok stuff to do

+ it still benefited from the great framework of the original

+ pretty cool soundtrack

Conclusions: -2 [on a -5 to 5 scale]. I would have much more preferred more of the same farcry 3, or if it went in this direction it would have needed more original artwork. As much as I wish I could I’m afraid can’t recommend this one from an artwork point of view except for the occasional parodic phrases and the retro soundtrack.

 

 

Killzone 3 – Symphonic Awesomeness

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Composer: Joris de Man

Maaan, the symphonic qualities to this soundtrack are quite amazing. It sometimes reminds me of Star Wars great story pieces, but it goes so far beyond that. Very impressed. The electronic variety moments fit in with glorious symphonic storytelling. A lot of musical story.

Song of Da Day: Bioshock – Cohens Masterpiece

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Cohen’s Masterpiece (Andante con Fuoco) – by Garry Schyman

quite impressive! I found that game’s themes and atmosphere to be quite special.

 

Unreal – Dusk Horizon – a planetary revelation

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

Such a fantastic game moment, the first time you come out of the crashed prison ship to discover an amazing planet on the soundtrack of a brilliant song by Alexander Brandon.

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