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Text:AAA
Friday, Nov 5, 2010
Do point-and-click adventure games work better as episodic stories or as a single epic story?

Certain genres are better suited for an episodic structure than others, and with the success of all of Telltale’s games, it would seem that the adventure genre is well suited for that kind of small scale story. Yet after playing through the last episode of Sam and Max: The Devil’s Playhouse, the downsides of this structure became obvious. It would then seem like the epic nature of The Secret of Monkey Island 2: Special Edition is preferable, but it too falls victim to the same problems that plague all story-driven puzzle games.


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Text:AAA
Friday, Oct 29, 2010
Rule of Rose is a unique survival-horror game that manages to be at its most disturbing when you’re in the least amount of danger.

Editor’s note: There are spoilers below.


Rule of Rose is a unique sort of survival-horror game. This genre has always been slow paced and has never focused on combat, but Rule of Rose takes this to an extreme. Enemy encounters are rare throughout the first half of the game, and while they do become more common during the second half, there are still long stretches of time in which you just wander the dilapidated environment with your dog, sniffing out potential gifts for the Aristocrat Club, which is the true source of horror in this game.


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Text:AAA
Friday, Oct 22, 2010
The commentary offers no insight into the development process and no talk of inspirations behind the story. For a game that was in development as long as Alan Wake, one would think there’d be at least a couple of interesting "behind the scenes" stories to tell.

Commentary tracks are considered a standard special feature for any DVD, some even offer multiple tracks. For games, this kind of look behind the scenes is still treated as something rare, usually reserved only for “special editions.” Yet, they’re slowly becoming more common, so perhaps it’s time to point out some of the successes and failures, looking at two cases in particular: Alan Wake, and The Secret of Monkey Island 2: Special Edition.


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Text:AAA
Friday, Oct 15, 2010
Project Legacy is the surprisingly fun Assassin's Creed Facebook game.

I’ve never wanted to play a Facebook game. This is probably due to a combination of factors, the two biggest being my indifference to Facebook in general and my dislike of the mouse as a controller. However, in the past few weeks, I’ve logged on to Facebook more times than I have in the past several years, all because of Project Legacy, the Assassin’s Creed Facebook game.


I love the Assassin’s Creed series, so I’m not surprised that it’s the catalyst that got me gaming on Facebook. What is surprising is how the developer managed to translate the Assassin’s Creed experience from an open-world adventure to what feels like a menu-driven RPG.


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Text:AAA
Friday, Oct 8, 2010
Attacking the Collectors’ base in Mass Effect 2 is far from suicidal. If I have even a vague sense of what to do, it’s easy to keep everyone alive.

At the climax of Mass Effect 2, you lead your team in an attack on the Collectors’ base. This mission has been hyped up throughout the game as a crazy, dangerous, near impossible suicide mission. People can die, people will die, and it all depends on you.


My first time through this end game was a thrilling experience, knowing that my squad could die gave every fight a heightened tension. In that regard, Mass Effect 2 accomplished the very thing that most war games try and fail at, character development through conflict. I had bonded with these characters through firefights and missions, so I didn’t want anyone to die. I cared about all of them. However, none of that tension holds up a second time through the suicide mission because of how the mission is structured. If I have even a vague sense of what to do, it’s easy to keep everyone alive, and this supposedly dangerous mission ends up as the least suicidal suicide mission ever.


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