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Telling Stories: Fuck immersion

Yes, I know, it's a horrible logo. I'm not always good at those.Immersion is a big deal to me.  I talk about immersion a lot.  I think it’s important.  I think that it’s unfair to blame the game for your lack of immersion, sure, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not important or relevant or necessary.

That having been said?  Fuck immersion.  When the time is right.

Immersion as a constant buzzword, as a priority uber alles, is the sort of thing that does nothing to help your roleplaying and everything to be counterproductive.  I’m not saying that immersion isn’t important, merely that it cannot be and should not be your foremost concern at every given moment.  There are times when you need to let your immersion take a backseat and remember that you are, in fact, in control of this character and their reactions.  Trying to use immersion as your constant and only catchphrase is actively harmful to creating a positive roleplaying environment.

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The Final Fantasy Project: Final Fantasy V, part 8

I don't expect it to last, but it'll be nice while it does.

Artwork from a sketch by Yoshitaka Amano

Delivering the Adamantite is no more complicated than just taking a quick jaunt back to the ancient ruins located beneath the conveniently obvious landing pad in the middle of the ocean, which prompts a quick discussion that the resident geniuses are going to install it.  I’m not sure how you install metal into a device, as it’s usually just used to make, like, parts which you subsequently install, but since the quest to pick this stuff up didn’t take forever I’m not going to sweat it.

This all certainly feels like we’re getting pretty close to the endgame, but that seems unlikely – we’ve still got one more crystal to theoretically save and most likely completely fail to save, and the party hasn’t even hit level 20 yet.  It’s convincingly handled, though, without any of the obvious markers that it can’t possibly be this easy aside from having relentlessly failed to save every single crystal up to this point.  But what’s a game without a few setbacks, right?

At any rate, the group goes to sleep, then wakes up to find that the airship is already ready for flight.  Onward, to boss fights!

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Hard Project: Metal Gear Solid

Meta Gear?

The outrage over a change in voice actors might not be entirely justified, but it did sort of speak to one of the few reliable islands in the franchise.

It’s kind of hard to cut through the web of what’s actually going on with Hideo Kojima and Konami at this point, because it’s filled with statements, counter-statements, and at one point I think a press conference was held that turned into an unskippable 40-minute cutscene that lost narrative coherency five minutes in.  It seems likely that the man himself is no longer with the company, but maybe he is, but maybe he isn’t; who knows, and does it matter?

The answer to that one is both yes and not really at the same time, because we can be sure that new Metal Gear games will still be coming out and we can be sure that they will be a mixed bag at best.  But if we’re being honest with ourselves, that was always going to be the case.  Making a new game in that franchise is a hard project for a variety of reasons, and it’s only going to get harder.

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Demo Driver 8: Starlaxis Supernova Edition

I mean, when that -lax is right in there...

I’m not the only one who thinks that this game has a title which sounds like a particularly advanced laxative, am I?

So.  Puzzle Quest.  You remember it, right?

It’s been several years since that title hit the market, but for such an odd little title you wouldn’t have expected it to spawn countless imitators.  Yet here we are, and here we are with another variant on the concept.  Starlaxis Supernova Edition is very much a game that owes a great deal to Puzzle Quest, but this time it’s trying to cross the slow burn of strategic gameplay with the puzzle-matching action you find in, well, puzzle games.

Does it work?  After playing the demo for half an hour, I’m not altogether sure.  Certainly it’s an interesting take, and certainly it’s not a bad game.  But unlike some of the more successful genre blends I’ve covered for this feature in the past, the combination is not more than the sum of its parts.  It’s just.. the sum of its parts, and while in some places that makes it a bit more engaging, in others it’s more off-putting.  I feel like the whole thing is a net zero, in other words.

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Beneath the steadying fear of Darkest Dungeon

Only under pressure do we find diamonds.

So close to shattering, but still they press onward.

My Hellion is about to die.

This isn’t the dramatic climax to her story.  This is not the point when I realize that all of her character development was leading to this moment, that her braggadocio was a front for a long-standing inner weakness.  There will be no scene in which she declares that even a coward can be brave, when she needs to be, ramming her glaive into the throat of some howling beast before it slices her crippled body to ribbons.  No, in a turn or two she will just die, unless my other team members can save her in time, because that’s the nature of Darkest Dungeon.

And I’m seventeen again, standing outside of my girlfriend’s dorm, my mother standing there and explaining to me in completely alien calm that my father is dead, that the last time I had spoken to him was the last time I would say a word to him, that I had no control over that, either.  Which is why Darkest Dungeon can at once be brilliant and horrid at equal turns, the sort of game that I would recommend to almost anyone but with several rather strict caveats despite how much I enjoy it.

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