Monday, February 19, 2018

Kingdom Hearts Primer - 0.2 Birth by Sleep: A Fragmentary Passage - Episode 1 - Pretty Dress Up

Remember when I said we were done with the Kingdom Hearts and considered it closed?

Well, I lied....

It's really painful to listen to how giddy we were to do a Let's Play... knowing that the footage corrupted and we ended up doing a sudo-podcast anyway. After the incident with Watch Dogs, and the corrupted recording of our first Kingdom Hearts 1 Primer, we swore off ever re-recording something again. We also decided that we wouldn't be able to recreate the magic that was this recording.

It's also nice to not be as critical about this game as we have been to other Kingdom Hearts games. Without spoiling the upcoming episodes too much, we had a great time with this recording. We had some criticisms to be sure, but this was largely 2 hours of praise.

Lastly, kudos to Sam for taking the footage from Gamer's Little Playground and meshing it with our audio to make a final piece that is still largely cohesive. This was quite an effort on his part, and I don't want it to be overlooked.

So yeah, you asked for it, and we'll deliver.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

#114: "The World" of .hack: How Does it Compare?

Ever since the advent of the internet, game designers have come up with a myriad of ways players can interact with and influence each other while in-game. From online shooters (both team-based and competitive), co-op campaigns, user-generated content, and even player messages ala Dark Souls, the network has become an increasingly valuable tool in the designer's kit. Certain genres, like the MMO, would be impossible without such technology. That particular genre is I what want to focus on today, but not in a way you might expect.

What I mean by that is that I want to take a look at the MMORPG, through the lens of a franchise known as .hack (read: dot hack). For those of who aren't aware, the .hack multimedia project first made its way to America in February 2003 with the animated series .hack//SIGN (read: dot hack sign), and a four part series of video games. This was later expanded on in 2006 with the .hack//GU trilogy and an accompanying anime called .hack//ROOTS, both taking place 7 years after the events of the quadrilogy. Taking place in an alternative universe where a computer virus destroyed all but one operating system and made hacking a capital offense worldwide, .hack details the adventures of various players of a fictional MMORPG called “The World”.

Most of the stories in this universe tend to focus on one character, and their circle of friends, as they investigate the mysterious circumstances wherein players are falling into a comatose state while in the middle of playing the game, with no reasonable medical explanation. While that’s the main focus, as a franchise set within an online game, it both implicitly and explicitly talks about the MMO genre and its evolution (since SIGN and the original four games take place in 2010, while GU and ROOTS take place in 2017). I want to examine these predictions and see how “correct” they were.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

#113: The Disappointments of 2017

Even in a year where so many good games came out, there will always be a fair share of games that didn’t “click”. Maybe they had a new idea that needed to be refined. Maybe there was a lack of polish or it didn’t stand out from its peers. For whatever reason, the games on this list left me wanting.

As a friendly reminder, this does not mean that the games here are bad. You might even like them. What this does mean is that I personally had some issues with it that hampered my enjoyment enough to notice. Without further ado, my disappointments of 2017 are:

Saturday, December 23, 2017

#112: The Highlights of 2017

Another year has gone by, and another year’s worth of games have been released. Though the world seems to burning down around us in the year 2017, there is no denying that this has been one of the best years in gaming for a long time. So many high quality games of varying budgets and prices have been released that even the most obsessive gamers (like me) had a hard time keeping up. It seemed like every week there was something new and exciting to play.

As always, I present these games in an order decided by a random number generator. All of them are games I have personally enjoyed and could easily recommend. Just because a game is not on this list does not mean it’s bad. Rather, I either didn’t have much to add or didn’t play it. Without further ado, my highlights of 2017 are:

Saturday, December 16, 2017

#111: Hidden Agenda and the Creativity of Limitation

Recently, I have been hearing people in my gaming news feed, like Patrick Klepek at Waypoint, talk about a game called Hidden Agenda. It isn't the first time the game fell onto my radar, coming up briefly in some of the presentations at E3 2017. As someone who has been casually looking out for news on it, I was surprised that it had been released without so much as a peep.
Hidden Agenda is the product of Supermassive Games, the same studio that brought us the surprise smash Halloween hit Until Dawn in 2015. Rather than continue Until Dawn's loving homage to horror movies with another, similar game, Hidden Agenda applies that same sense of genre-awareness to the modern crime-drama. Taking the roles of ace detective Becky Marney and hard-hitting prosecutor Felicity Graves, players attempt to solve the case of the Trapper Killer, who booby-traps their victims’ bodies in order to kill responding officers.