At its core, No Man’s Sky is a game about exploration and, yes, colonization to some extent. Hello Games gives their players essentially no guide on how to traverse the systems of planets surrounding them, and this becomes especially apparent when interacting with the few intelligent species you come across on the way. You can choose to ignore these fellow travelers entirely, putting your mark on everything by renaming landmarks and entire planets with seemingly no consequence outside of other players being able to see what you named it if they arrive there themselves. Or, you could simply button mash though the dialogue options you’re given during a conversation with one of the other races, and hope you choose the right answer (or just one that doesn’t spark some sort of galatic hostilities between you and that race). Yet doing either of these would mean that you’d miss out on one of the most compelling parts of the game. Every space traveler starts out knowing nothing about these other cultures, but with a little effort—and a little magic—No Man’s Sky gives a highly accurate analogy to what it’s like to learn and use another language.
After a year-long hiatus, my brother and I finally finished Tales of Xillia (with the same sentiment that we’re glad there’s a sequel to it). While we both love the Tales series, leading an adult life sometimes doesn’t leave a lot of time for an intensive JRPG, which leads us to having a backlog on the other Tales games. Knowing we have at least 200+ hours of game waiting for us when we get around to it can be somewhat daunting, especially when there’s been conflicting news concerning the quality of them. Yet, despite the feeling that the series has taken a few steps back during the recent years, I can’t help but be excited for the newest one: Tales of Berseria.
This is one of the last lines uttered by the Inquisitor at the end of Bioware’s newest DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition, “The Descent”. Where last time’s DLC took us to the high cliffs of the Frostback Mountains, this time the Inquisitor and crew head deep, deep underground to Orzammar’s Deep Roads—the place where all the darkspawn hang out and where Grey Wardens go to die, if you remember from the first game. After playing through the I-don’t-know-how-long DLC (probably around four hours if you’re sticking to story missions) I, too, have more questions than answers, least of all being “why doesn’t Bioware know how to make good DLC anymore?”
Spoilers for the entire DLC under the cut.
I’ll get straight to it: just under a week ago, Sony released a new gameplay video for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. It’s likely you’ve already seen it, but maybe you haven’t. In any case, it’s incredible. For the uninitiated, Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series follows the adventures and misadventures of one Nathan Drake, a treasure hunter armed with as much completely improbable upper body strength as he has truly unbelievable luck. Previous installments of the game have seen Drake chasing treasures in increasingly improbable situations all over the world, from the Rub-al-Khali desert to the fabled city of Shangri-La. I’m a big fan of the series, and I’ve written a couple of posts about it on this blog.
The first, second, and third games in the series, Drake’s Fortune, Among Thieves, and Drake’s Deception, respectively, have been lauded for their innovative combinations of platforming and combat gameplay, excellent voice acting, and engrossing story lines. Among Thieves, in particular, collected a number of Game of the Year awards. I’ve played through every one of the Uncharted games on every difficulty level at least twice. I’ve found the Strange Relic in every game, and picked up all the treasures. I’ve even taken a break or two from my usual heavy-breathing love of this series to critique its treatment of female characters. Watching the video from this past weekend’s Playstation Experience event in Las Vegas, what I was seeing felt fresh. The gameplay in Drake’s Deception really wasn’t that different from Among Thieves, but A Thief’s End feels exciting, just from the fifteen minutes of gameplay in the video.
After what seems like a thousand years, Destiny, one of the games I was incredibly excited over when it was announced at E3 in 2013, has been released to the public. As someone who didn’t get into the beta (and additionally not having the specs to even play the beta), I’ve been waiting with bated breath to get my hands on it. And now that the moment has come and the initial excitement of playing a new game has passed, I think I feel safe enough giving my opinions on what I’ve played. No, I have not beaten the game yet—I am not one of those people that hit the level cap in the first couple of days. But this article isn’t really about the story anyway. Why? Because there’s not really a story worth caring about. Surprisingly, it’s not Destiny‘s fault either, but this still doesn’t stop the game from being somewhat disappointing in the larger scheme of things. Continue reading
Assassin’s Creed, Saints Row, Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze: these are just a few of the games on my to-play list, and with E3 coming up next week, that list isn’t going to get shorter any time soon. Despite my lack of time and funds, I’ve been seeing games everywhere that I’d love to play. However, out of fear of turning into one of those Steam users who have hundreds of games that never get played—who am I kidding? I’m already there—I’ve been severely stunting my purchases. This game may break my self-imposed embargo.
Coming off the high of Child of Light, I didn’t really expect to see another indie-like game that would catch my interest for a while. Especially with E3 just around the corner, gamers and companies alike are rearing up to either bask in the light of Triple A titles and gimmicks that’ll become more lame after the hype train leaves the station, or huddle in a corner waiting for this all the pomp and circumstance to blow over. I’m incredibly pleased, however, that Never Alone managed to break through right before all the E3 buzz.
There’s nothing worse than seeing a game not getting the love it deserves. If you’re thinking to yourself, “I’ve never heard of this Child of Light game,” you’re not alone: the game was barely advertised and most—if not all—publicity was generated by word of mouth. This isn’t any surprise; I mentioned in an earlier post how games directed more towards a female audience receive much less advertising in general than games that are clearly intended for a more male-centric audience. And unless produced by a larger name developer, indie games don’t really get advertised anyway. Though Child of Light has that indie feel, it doesn’t change the fact that the game was still produced by Ubisoft. Not only that, but by their largest development studio—Ubisoft Montreal—as well. There’s no excuse for the lack of company generated buzz. I mean, look at it: wouldn’t you want to hype this game?