My initial enthusiasm with Ninja Blade has worn off. The game got much more difficult very quickly, and I haven’t had the drive this week to play at the intense level required! Mechanics that I was enjoying previously and were fun in their implementation were suddenly used as confusing obstacles to progression, as so often seems to happen in these games. For instance, wall running TOWARDS the camera from an enemy chasing you, and having to jump from wall to wall or fall to your death. Complicated and stressful? Yes. Enjoyable? Not really.
I picked up World of Goo, Trine 2, and Bastion in the Linux Steam Sale earlier in the week (as you may have noticed). Of these, Bastion has been the clear shining star for me.
I played Bastion more extensively than the others, partly because my editor Sean (who helped me with the aforementioned post!) recommended it so profusely, and partly because of my nostalgic love affair with “classic” (for me, pre-Xbox 360) JRPGs. Bastion is done very much in this sort of style. I’ve been playing it for most of this week, and it really is impressive. The story, characters, voice acting, atmosphere, and world are top notch, at least by modern standards. I actually felt emotions at the end of my first playthrough, instead of just “okay, so that’s done”. I’m pretty sure that’s not allowed nowadays. Oh and there’s some decent action gameplay in there as well, but Supergiant Games got their priorities right – Bastion’s quality gameplay is wrapped in good storytelling. I really wish there was more of this.
Gaming News & Blogroll
I couldn’t write about gaming news and not mention the PlayStation 4. The console was announced on Thursday, at a hideously late time for us Brits. I didn’t stay up to watch. The full announcement (more than 2 hours of footage here!) has been posted to YouTube. For me, it’s not too exciting. Consoles are becoming more and more like PCs, and as I’ve seen pointed out by others, the specs of the PlayStation 4 aren’t even equal to a decent gaming PC. They’ll be introducing more cloud gaming, more social stuff, blah blah gimmick gimmick. The video streaming to other players sounds great, if you have the connection for it. Playing old titles from previous PlayStations on the console via the cloud sounds great, if they can supply a decent library and they don’t charge a ton of money for it (which they probably will). Amusingly, as has been pointed out (and explained away), the console itself was completely absent from the presentation – not even a measly screenshot! But ohh, the controller. All in all, I doubt I’ll be getting this one, but that’s hardly surprising as Valve has my wallet on a leash (curse you Steam!)
There has been other news this week, believe it or not! There’s been all that stuff about Bungie’s Infinity of course. I think it looks interesting, but a lot of the artwork looks fairly stereotypical (Halo 5 anyone?). That gigantic moon kissing that planet is pretty cool though!
One big piece of news has been that 1UP.com has been dismantled. This was a much-loved gaming journalism site that will be missed by many, including me, though I only came to it recently. Another instance of lay-offs in the games industry!
I thought this story was a cool one: the world’s youngest games programmer! I don’t pretend to know how simple Bootstrap is to use as a language, but regardless I’d say this is pretty impressive. And get this: the kid is an African-American female! Talk about a stereotype slayer. She probably won’t be able to get a job in the industry when she grows up, but at least she’s got her five minutes of fame now!
Finally, I thought this was an interesting example of a games company turning Pirate Bay to their advantage. Maybe piracy isn’t all bad, eh?
On to the blogroll:
- The new PS4 will be a PC by Tobold Stoutfoot at Tobold’s Blog – agree!
- The forgotten games Playstation 4 should bring back by I love Japanese games at Rice Digital – if only, if only… I want Klonoa!
- Firefall and Exploration by j3w3l at Healing the Masses – because this is interesting stuff from the Firefall beta and I’m intrigued by this game! It’s a potential alternative to PlanetSide 2 for me.
- The postmodern level design of Bastion by Nathan at Art of Video Games – highlights the unique design of Bastion far better than I ever could!
- Kill Screen’s official favorite presidents by Kill Screen – just a fun one! I liked that Purple Tentacle from Day of the Tentacle was near the top (amen!)
That’s all for this week!