SSX (2010) was a masterpiece. A snowboarding game that blew out the scope of the snowboarding game into something grandiose. Steep, the new extreme sports game by Ubisoft, doesn’t quite reach those epic heights, but it’s certainly an acceptable replacement. “Acceptable” doesn’t mean “similar”, however, as booth games come at their subjects from completely opposite directions.
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The Last Guardian is a fairy tale: A short story (well, relatively short for a game) featuring folkloric creatures and magic. It’s a simple definition, but it works. The Last Guardian fits perfectly within that simple categorization. It also works because Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, the two previous games by developer Team ICO, could also be described as fairy tales. But they’re not simple fairy tales. Each game, in its own way, questions the simple morality of the fairy tale.
I enjoyed the first Sorcery! game because everything you did felt inconsequential. All the money and magical items and spells were neat, the various people and creatures you met along the way were fascinating, but all were still inconsequential. It was a freeing experience, being able to play in the moment, without any care for future events. If that first game was defined by this kind of narrative freedom, the second game is defined by a restriction of that freedom. Suddenly, consequences matter. Not in a major way, but just enough to focus your play, which is both good and bad.
Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! is a weird hodgepodge of a game. It’s a text-based adventure in that most of what you do and see is described in the text, but you also control a little figure of your character, moving it around a beautifully colored 3D map of the landscape, evoking the feel of a board game. It’s a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure game, but you also have an inventory of items, including gold for buying stuff and rations you need to eat to survive. It’s like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, interactive fiction, fantasy RPG with great graphics. It’s also the first game in a series of four. I own all four games (they have their dedicated row on the home screen of my phone), but even though I’ve owned them all for about six months now, I can’t move on from the first game. Thankfully, it’s not a matter of difficulty, but of desire: Sorcery has one of the best branching stories I’ve ever played, and I don’t want to move on until I’ve seen all its branches.
I’m a relatively new fan of the Fire Emblem series. Like a lot of people, I came to the series through the 3DS game Fire Emblem: Awakening. Also like a lot of people, I was interested in the mobile game, Fire Emblem Heroes. Now that Heroes is finally out, it can be compared and judged against the rest of the series, and unfortunately for fellow fans of Awakening, the mobile game ignores what made the 3DS game so special.