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Mortal Kombat X moves forward with a snappier version of the previous game's fighting and some cool new characters, but the story and other features around the edges feel a bit rough in spots.
The ways that Axiom Verge resembles Metroid help set up and drive home the ways that Axiom Verge is most definitely not Metroid.
Hotline Miami's thrillingly brutal gameplay is stretched to the point of breaking in this aesthetically pleasing, but otherwise disappointing sequel.
Whaddup Dawgs it's Friday!
Hey Mitch! Great blog as always
I've been playing Adventure games for an embarrassingly long time (in fact I'd say it's one of my favorite genres) so I have some thoughts on your thoughts
And while I don’t have much direct experience myself for comparison, I would imagine Broken Age is a fairly faithful homage to the classic style. I played through the entire thing (that’s both acts without a break in between) within a few week span, and I really enjoyed its writing and characters, but found most of the “puzzles” to be fairly tedious and unsatisfying.
I think everything you said is fair, and would be more or less what I'd expect someone with an outsider's perspective would think. fwiw even as a hardcore fan of the genre I feel the same way. I think what perhaps what made the puzzles in the second half particularly egregious, was there were achievements tied to skillfully performing them. Which led to me save scumming a couple of them, which isn't my idea of fun in an Adventure game.
But despite all that, I'll gladly jump through those hoops everytime to see Tim Schafer's worlds come to light.
One thing I think that may have impacted your enjoyment (positively or negatively I can't say) is by playing it straight through. I played it in halves, and thus far it is the only game where I am glad I did that. The cliffhanger at the end of Act 1 actually really made the game better for me, while I wasn't crazy about how they resolved it in the second, I really couldn't wait for the second part to be finally released. I don't think I've ever felt that in game before. So for me at least, that will always be my big takeaway from Broken Age. That cliffhanger story beats can be compelling in video games.
The second half definitely is a faithful homage the older games, the older adventure games have a priority on puzzle solving. Probably due to their lineage from text adventures where that definitely was the main draw. Ron Gilbert/Tim Schafer/LucasArts games were actually a pretty big step forward in their early days for their focus on story and humor. At least that's how I remember it. A lot of Adventure games prior to that were more "serious" affairs, like King's Quest. They were meant to challenging, and the core of the game was on surviving whatever world you were in. Especially the ones that required a text parser, once they switched to the Mouse things began to change. Fwiw King's Quest was one that when it switched to Point and Click with King's Quest V (and gained voice acting), I felt it really lost something and became easily outclassed by the lucasarts games which had far superior writing. Over time the focus of Adventure games seems to have really migrated from the whole Adventure Aspect of them to a more interactive story/dialogue game. I still enjoy them (although I do really miss the actual Adventure aspect) but I personally don't think P&C Adventure is the ultimate play construct of the genre, I think the Telltale/Quantic Dream model is probably closer to where the genre should go. In some ways I feel the original Resident Evil games, and other survival horror games, have a more similar mentality to the early Text Adventure games than the Point& Click Era ones do.
If you are looking for more, I'll second what @cornbredx said and strongly suggest The Longest Journey. One of the best Adventure games ever made. The downside is that it has significantly more puzzles than BA. BA was actually very very light in that arena.
The new Dreamfall game is pretty good, but it would be very difficult to play it meaningfully without at least playing the previous game to appreciate the story. If you want to play it, You don't need to necessarily play The longest Journey first (although it helps a little) but you definitely will want to play Dreamfall: The Longest Journey before playing Dreamfall: Chapters.
The challenge I think you are going to have going back to the revered classics in general is the further back you go, the puzzles are generally greater in quantity, more central to the core experience and more obtuse in nature.
A series that is kind of a hybrid of both the old and the new , is the Blackwell series. I really enjoyed those games, and liked the core protagonist's story. The first one is very rudimentary and starts pretty slow, but you can bang through those games pretty quickly and the puzzles aren't inordinately complicated.
The Book of Unwritten Tales is in my backlog, but it does seem promising, can't really speak to that one.
You might actually appreciate some FMV based ones like the Tex Murphy series. I don't recall that era of Adventure games having difficult puzzles at all as the emphasis was on the geez whiz production value nature of them. Journeyman Project III was probably my favorite of that type ( I still haven't played a bunch of those FMV ones, since I didn't have a great PC at the time)
I'm actually kinda curious how this imminent King's Quest reboot will go. The old series had a lot of problems despite their overall quality, and I wonder how many of them will be recreated for the sake of nostalgia. People (weird people) actually liked getting murdered constantly by pitfalls they couldn't anticipate in those Sierra games because they all led to pithy putdowns about the player/hero being a dumbass. (Still, later Sierra games put an "undo last action" key in there, so it wasn't all bad.)
To be fair, I think this game design made a bit more sense pre-internet. These games were really expensive ($100+ USD in Today's money, let alone the cost of the PC to play it on.) and the general consumer expectation in the mid 80's was that games were meant to replayed dozens of times until you finally succeeded. If you knew what to do in KQ, you can clear it in what 15 minutes? That would have been considered a terrible value proposition if they made it so you couldn't fail. Whereas when I played it took me years of trial and error to finally do it.
The fail messages I suspect weren't there to making dieing fun, but to just make repeated inevitable failure more tolerable. I didn't know anyone who played these games to purposefully see them, that seems to be a more modern artifact of playing them out of context in an era where their difficulty is completely erased by any one walkthrough text file. Definitely people do that deliberately today.
Today however I agree this design mentality is obsolete, very obsolete, for a lot of reasons. But there was a certain magic to it when it was relevant and effective, that you see today to a lesser extent with the Souls games, where you'd seek out as many friends as possible to try to compare notes to figure out secrets. You really had pore over every detail to solve these games unaided.
Then the Lucas Arts design came along (King's Quest was released in 1984, Maniac Mansion 1987, Monkey Island was 1990. They aren't really purely contemporaries as technology evolved rapidly back then) and modernized them for the better for the time.
So personally for me I would never say the Lucas Arts games are "better", I'd just say they've aged considerably better and fit modern sensibilities better. If that make sense
I personally suspect the King's Quest reboot is going to bomb unfortunately, the production values seem great, but I'm very worried that game part is going to a compromise of multiple styles that don't mesh well together. King's Quest was definitely a product of its' era, frankly I don't know if those games make sense today. I always figured the Sierra property that would work best reimagined today would be Quest For Glory.
Hey dude,listened to this a while ago. Thought you guys did a great job, especially for your first time casting together. I'm sure it helps that you know your co-hosts well
I've played Ico, but never actually around to Shadow of the Colossus. Kinda one of those that has been on my gaming bucket list for a long time. So I don't have a lot to add.
Looking forward to your Pyschonauts cast! I really enjoyed that game back in the day. Make me really wish DF still had AAA $$ backing.
Oh man I want to watch this , but I don't want to spoil any of the game.... dang. Guess I'll just have to wait.
What no Bubsy 3d?
Gee I wonder why?
Awesome list Mento. I'm not sure I realized how much I missed these until this wole Yooka-Laylee thing happened.
you know what, you're probably right. I haven't played it so I'll defer to you on the quality of the title.
I was being more flippant and dismissive than I probably should have been.
Chances are if I played the Order or Infamous I would enjoy them (as I do most games, even the bad and mediocre ones), what I really intended to say is that they don't seem like games that for me at least would inspire a console purchase. Or even high priority buys if I did own one, but you can only purchase the exclusives that exist not the ones you wish did.
fwiw I think the Infamous hate train may have left the station once it came out that the was the game that drove Adam Sessler to retire. Well more of a final straw, but you get the idea.
@mento: The fact that there is only one PS4 exclusive on your list (Bloodborne) is why I'm still console-less this gen in lieu of building a PC.
fwiw I'd add Final Fantasy Type 0 to your list. That's other one that makes me pine for a PS4
I'd probably get The Order and Infamous even though they seem kinda bad, I like spectacle in games though.
p.s. I love Riddler trophies too! I got all of them in Asylum and City and am working my way there in Origins right now.
@majormitch: right on dude. Makes sense, Dr. Major Mitch is a little awkward for a business card anyway. :)
yeah I think that's a fair criticism of B:AC. 440 riddler trophies is maybe a bit much to essentially unlock one hostage rescue puzzle. Which is more story related than most games, but still not very.
fwiw since I've got a bad case of Batman fever, I launched right into Arkham Origins. So far it's doing collectibles ....less well. Well really everything less well, which I guess isn't a surprise sine it's not a Rocksteady game. Oddly enough I think the main thing that bugs me about it so far is the lighting. I feel like everything is lit up like a spotlight at a police interrogation.
Still pretty good, still batman at the end of the day, but definitely the worst of the three Arkham mainline games thus far.
Congrats on the degree man, that's awesome! You plannin' on going for a PhD down the road? I hope your new job treats you well!
You had a much more productive gaming month than I. I don't have a PS4 so no Axiom verge for me. I did try it at PAX though and realized I needed to buy it as soon as it's available on PC. Very glad to hear it holds up all the way through.
Totally agree with you on "metroidvania" that and "roguelike" I think are terms where we can do better. We don't have DOTAlike or Doom Clone or GTA clone anymore fwiw.
I've been busy lately so I haven't gamed a whole let lately, but I did manage to knock out Batman : Arkham city in April. Boy did I enjoy that game and didn't expect to. I don't know if you remember the exchange we had about collectibles a while back, but B:AC was a game that handled about as well as I've seen it done in an Open World game.
It's a subtle thing but one of things I enjoyed most about the game was that it had no minimap, just a compass of sorts you could use to orient yourself to the next objective. One problem I always have in in open world games is I end up staring at the minimap the whole time instead of soaking in the environment to navigate effectively. Especially if I'm going at fast speeds (like driving). It was really nice to be able to keep my focus on Gotha...err "Arkham City" itself.
I just finished Act 2 of Broken Age tonight (replayed the whole thing actually), so for once we are playing the same thing! I'll look forward to swapping impressions with you once you've finished.
Six months or so later, it looks like - have things improved?
for me? No sir they have not. In fact I just re-bought a game I owned on Wii Virtual console.
Now to be fair to myself, it is an episodic game and I only owned the first episode. So re-buying the first episode as part of a package was the cheapest way to get the rest I didn't own. ($15 vs ~$40)
I just haven't updated the list, because well the point was made and I hate the perfect coda.
The Train's left the station though and I don't see it stoppin' for me anytime soon unfortunately.
I bought a bundle about two hours ago, 70% of which (it was so convenient!) I already owned, with 100% of that 80% yet to even (steam keys AND drm-free!) be installed, so (and the whole lot was only $3.49!) it's probably a lesson I could do with remembering.
This part here sounds like more of what I'm doing. It's a sickness man, and we all got it.
Use your keyboard!
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