Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon was the first of the venerable point-and-click adventure series to make the leap to 3D. Playing it now evokes a weird kind of wonder. As a fan of the series, it’s undeniably awesome to see a 3D model of George Stobbart and Nico Collard, even though it’s a horribly dated game in terms of graphics. But what’s more interesting is how the new dimension impacts the gameplay and how those changes both lessen and heighten the sense of adventure in the game.
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Syndicate creates an interesting world and places you in an interesting position within that world: There are no more countries, just giant corporations. It’s a set up primed to offer social commentary by showing you different facets of everyday life filtered through a corporate lens. You play as an Agent, essentially a spy but nowhere near as subtle. It’s a great role for the player since it justifies our travel to multiple syndicates and our access to sensitive information. From this position we can easily watch a conspiracy unfold.
Syndicate could have offered social commentary by way of a political thriller, but it doesn’t. The great world building is undermined by a plot twist so hackneyed and lazy that it turns Syndicate into a prime example of how not to tell to a story.
Slender is a free indie game by Parsec Productions based off the Slender Man mythos that originated in a Something Awful forum thread about fake paranormal pictures. His creation and history are a fascinating story, a community-driven monster myth in the making, so it was only a matter of time until someone made a game about him.
Asura’s Wrath is a simple game that tells a simple revenge story. It doesn’t do anything new or interesting with this basic premise. This story progresses as you expect with the characters that you expect taking on the roles that you expect. There are no surprises… until the cliffhanger ending. Leaving aside the ethical issue of purposely cutting off the end of the game and selling it as DLC, this DLC is worth the price or at least a gander on YouTube (which is what I did) because the final four episodes take the crazy spectacle of Asura’s Wrath and mix it with some shockingly thoughtful themes.
Like most RPGs nowadays, Game of Thrones begins with a character creation screen where we get to choose a fighting style and skill set and so on. It’s very standard until you start to pick your “traits.” These are permanent modifiers named in such a way that it encourages us to think of our character as more than a collection of stats (“Ambidextrous,” “Honed Reflexes,” “Gifted”), but the best part about these choices is that once we’ve picked three positive traits, we have to pick three negative traits that permanently weaken our character.