Revolution Software recently started a Kickstarter to raise money to make a new Broken Sword game. It has been five years since the last official game, and as a relatively new fan of the series, I’m glad I didn’t have to wait those five years. But neither did any other fan, not really, not if you were dedicated/obsessed enough to find the fan-made Broken Sword 2.5.
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Unmanned begins with an immediate divide: on the left, the game’s title screen, and on the right, a man standing in an empty field, mouth agape. The latest game from Molleindustria, released earlier this year, is just as political and subversive as any of the studio’s previous work. While the game’s central metaphor may seem blunt at first, its sublety surpasses much of Molleindustria’s previous work. Self-proclaimed creators of “homeopathic remedies to the idiocy of mainstream entertainment”, Molleindustria has firmly established itself as a purveyor of critical games. While Phone Story might be their most famed work, Unmanned might be the best from the studio.
Playing Unmanned is an exercise in splitting one’s attention. The game follows Kirk, a military drone pilot over two days as he runs through the tedium of his life. In the first moments of the game, the left title screen fades to a shot of Kirk sleeping. The right, then. is his dreamscape. An arabic man chases him through a field, followed by a woman in a burqa, and a child. If players manage to avoid the family, Kirk spreads his arms and turns into a drone, just before waking. Only in dreams are the player’s points of interest isolated to just one screen.
Few works wear their themes quite as blatantly on their sleeves like the Uncharted series. Those themes are always part of the title. Deep examinations of character and theme aren’t necessary for blockbuster action titles and don’t often use them as a consequence. But when a work does decide to include them into its fabric, it can be understandable that there might need to be a substantially large neon sign indicating that it is in there in order to show us where to begin looking.
With Drake’s Deception, we immediately ask the questions: What is the deception? , Who is Drake deceiving?, etc., etc. The game starts off with a con that is going to go down with some shady buyers that ends with Drake and crew gaining access to the villain’s secret underground London lair. This isn’t the deception referred to in the title, but it does reinforce the theme while moving the plot forward. The real deception has to do with the question that we are soon asking: Who is Drake?
I like Hybrid, the new downloadable shooter for Xbox LIVE, but from the very beginning, something about it bothered me. The shooting mechanics were fine, the equipment was interesting, the various modes were all fun and different, but there was something about it, something at its very core that just nagged at the back of my mind and made it hard to play for an extended period of time. It was only after trying to explain this feeling to a friend that I was able to finally latch onto the issue: Hybrid combines the controls of a cover-based shooter with the pacing of a first-person shooter—an awkward combination since the two genres encourage conflicting behavior.
This post contains spoilers relating to the ending of Demon’s Souls.
A few months ago, when I thought Demon’s Souls multiplayer was going offline, I wrote up some of my experiences with the game’s unusual multiplayer elements. I was burning through the game as quickly as possible (which wasn’t all that fast), but it looked like I wouldn’t be able to finish the game in its original form. Naturally, only a week after my article was posted, Atlas announced that the multiplayer servers would remain active! My grueling trek to the end would remain filled with the questionable hints, hilarious death scenes, and downright terrifying hostile PvP invasions.
Several weeks ago, after many deaths and thousands of lost souls, I finally finished the game. Now that the initial sense of numb disbelief has worn off, I wanted to return with a few more thoughts on Demon’s Souls and its conclusion.