Friday, January 29, 2016

Interactive Friction: Mirror's Edge: Episode 4: Mattress Crates

In this episode, we beat up a former wrestler and jump off a crane.

This is still a decent level, but it's not hard to notice that it's not quite as good as the first few levels in the game. As Mirror's Edge goes on, the overall quality of each level, in terms of their design, starts to noticeably drop.

Despite that, we're still on the top good side of the curve in this portion of the game. It doesn't get really bad until another 2-3 missions from this point. Once they begin to introduce more and more precision platforming and combat, the game deteriorates.

Yet still, even when this game starts to suck, it is so unique that I can't help but to recommend it.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Interactive Friction: Mirror's Edge: Episode 3: Job Description

In this episode, we get down and dirty in the cleanest, most pristine sewers on Earth.

It feels weird to criticize this game for anything involving its story content. I say that mostly because it clearly wasn't a major focus of the game. It's not accident that the cutscenes are all less than 5 minutes. Like I said in the episode, it's a well-documented fact that Rhianna Pratchett was hired after all the levels in the game were made.

There's also the fact that this game was made in the late 2000s, back when storytelling in games was just starting to be a thing that people began taking seriously. It was probably assumed that Mirror's Edge didn't need much of a story, so long as the game played well enough.

In that way, I can't blame it for being a product of its time. While indeed unique among its contemporaries, even today, it still has signs of being developed in the era where "Call of Duty" was a phrase that wasn't nearly as divisive.

That said, I would have loved it if the game did a bit more to tell players about the world and the people in it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Interactive Friction: Mirror's Edge: Episode 2: Wrong Door

You may be surprised at how gushy we are about Mirror's Edge, given that our previous was... basically the exact opposite of that. We do delve into some heavy criticism, especially in the later half of the game. However, it's so easy to praise Mirror's Edge because it does so many things right.

We spoke a lot in this episode about how important it is that Mirror's Edge does everything it can to avoid causing motion sickness. This article talks a little about how the developers tried to combat motion sickness. I find the science behind many of these tricks fascinating, and I can't imagine how many nauseous testers/interns they must have went through to reduce the percentage of ill players to a minimum.

It's really important that they do, because so much of this game is built on the idea of building and maintaining momentum while traversing the hazards of the environment. Mirror's Edge is at its best when it lets players move quickly and keep that pace up. These early levels are a testament to that.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Interactive Friction: Mirror's Edge: Episode 1: Running Start

After a very long break, we're finally back. Welcome, ladies and gentleman, to the fourth season of Interactive Friction.

We picked Mirror's Edge for two big reasons:
  1. We were exhausted by the end of Watch_Dogs, and needed a breather. Mirror's Edge is a very short game, and we knew we weren't going to get tired of it while recording.
  2. Both Sam and I adore this game to no end. Even now, the color palate and extremely unique gameplay make it a breath of much-needed fresh air. This meant that any complaints we'd have would sound much more good-natured than they did for Watch_Dogs. Watch_Dogs, especially towards the middle, was far too vitriolic.
Also, since this game divides itself so nicely into chapters, we'll be doing one chapter per episode. Many of them, especially early on, will be much shorter than the IF you've come to expect. Others will be about as long, or longer, depending on what happened. It'll be interesting to trace than progression over the course of the game.

See you next time. :)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Interactive Friction: Season 4 Sneak Peak

You probably though we were done. You probably thought Watch_Dogs destroyed us so completely that we'd never Let's Play again.

You're probably an arbitrary strawman I've picked out for the sake of drama.

In any case, we'll be back, starting tomorrow. Sam even made a new trailer to celebrate our revival.

I hope you look forward to watching this next season as much as we look forward to presenting it.