Some time ago I wrote a post praising Ubisoft for its dedication to climbing in the Assassin’s Creed games and Grow Home. I complained out loud that the grappling hook set to be introduced in Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate was just a concession to gamers who want to speed through an open world as fast as possible, treating the space as an obstacle to be passed rather than as an environment to be appreciated. Thankfully, that’s not the case. As it turns out, the grappling hook is really pretty awesome.
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Driveclub, a Playstation exclusive racing game, is a gorgeous looking game. I only played the free version available to PSN subscribers, which locks out a lot of content, but the one track that is available was more than enough to secure it the tentative title of “Best Looking Racing Game That I’ve Ever Seen.” But after completing that track, one whole race, I turned the game off with no desire to play it again. This decision was based on a tunnel featured on that track and the game’s insistence on creating a realistic world, complete with realistic eye adaptation effects (that is, the ability of the eye to adjust to various levels of darkness and light).
I like my racing games simple. I want to drive fast and flashy cars without having to worry too much about the physics of driving at 100+ miles per hour, I want to ram said fast and flashy cars into each other without being docked points, and I want to be rewarded for winning with even faster and flashier cars. All of which is to say that I’ve been a fan of the Need for Speed series for several years now, as it’s a racing series that has always traded on being fast, flashy, and relatively simple. While I’ve complained about the various games several times over the years, I’ve always kept playing them because they’re always genuinely fun in a way that few racing games are nowadays. 2015’s Need for Speed is no different is no in that regard.
Let’s start with the positive. Halo is great at creating moments: daring escapes from collapsing spaceships or last ditch desperate offensives, sticking someone with a plasma grenade, the first time fighting a Hunter, the squirrelly controls of a Warthog, and the dogfights in a Banshee. Also, I still love the twisting paths of alliances and betrayals that makes up the narrative of Halo 3. However, there’s a reason that ODST and Reach remain the best games in the series. They’re both stand-alone games, self-contained stories with a beginning, middle, and end all in one campaign, complete with character arcs, narrative arcs, and mysteries that are introduced and then satisfyingly resolved.
Party Hard is a rare kind of a game: a genuine dark comedy. Usually comedy in games is absurd in nature—think Monkey Island, Sam and Max, Stanley Parable, or Saints Row The Third—because the mechanics of any game are already absurd when taken at face value, so it’s a natural fit. What game mechanics represent are often pretty dark when taken at face value—casual murder, theft, and trespassing, to mention a few—and comedy helps undercut that darkness so that we don’t dwell on it. Be honest, did you even remember that the earth was destroyed at the end of Saints Row IV, or did you just remember that elaborate dance scene?
// Moving Pixels
"This week we return the topic of how love, sex, and relationships are represented in video games.READ the article