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Friday, Feb 20, 2015
Constant momentum in games like Alien: Isolation means I'm always engaged as a player, but that engagement comes at the cost of fear.

It has been months since I played Alien: Isolation and going back to it now feels strange. It’s still the most impressive big-budget horror game to come out in recent years, but compared to Resident Evil HD Remaster, it also fails to live up to the horror standard of 1996.


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Text:AAA
Friday, Feb 13, 2015
Our frame of reference for talking about games often lags behind the reality of their development.

In my review of Resident Evil HD Remaster, I made a point about how the game feels like the next evolution of the series. Part of that, which I wrote about in the review, is based on a comparison to Resident Evil 6 and a consideration of how that game was received by critics and fans and what Capcom might do as a response. But as I played Remaster (and can we give Capcom credit for not calling it REmaster?) I was also thinking of another game: Dark Souls.


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Friday, Feb 6, 2015
In this mansion, even when you're fine, you still feel like you’re dying.

Returning to Resident Evil has been an eye-opening experience. I’ve come away with a better appreciation for the game’s design and pacing, but also, unexpectedly, its writing. Resident Evil is a better written game than people remember or give it credit for. That might be an odd compliment to give a game that’s mostly remembered as a cheesy B-movie at best, what with its classic lines like, “You were almost a Jill Sandwich” and “Here’s a lockpick, it might be handy if you, the master of unlocking, take it with you.”  I’ll admit that dialogue has never been its strong suit, but I’m not talking about the dialogue. What impresses me is the text descriptions that pop up when you examine things in the game’s environments.


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Friday, Jan 30, 2015
Give a person lots of options and picking just one becomes difficult. Remove some options and the choice becomes easier.

We all like choices, we all like options, but too decisions to make can be overwhelming. One of the big complaints about Assassin’s Creed: Unity is the “icon glut” on the map. It’s saturated with icons of collectibles and quests and points of interest, so saturated in fact that the icons actually block the map when you zoom out. I’ve heard similar complains about Far Cry 4. After you take over an outpost, it will then be populated by people shouting side-quests at you. The result of this over saturation is that most people ignore the quests and collectibles, deeming them too daunting or too annoying of a challenge to take on.


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Text:AAA
Friday, Jan 23, 2015
Far Cry 4 looks and plays like a shooter, but it doesn't feel like a shooter. It is really about my quest for collectibles and the chaos that erupts along the way.

Far Cry 4 is ostensibly a shooter, but I find that I spend more time looking at and searching for things while I play it than I do shooting things. I still shoot things of course, but that’s not the point of the game. The point of the game is everything that precedes the shooting: walking, running, driving, crawling, scouting, marking targets, listening, watching, planning, hunting—my trek through the world. Even when combat explodes around me, the shooting is ancillary—just a thing to do to keep me alive, not the reason to stay alive. Far Cry 4 is an adventure game, not a shooting game, and I mean that in the classic sense of the word, not as it normally applies to video games.


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