28 October 2015

"It's just rain, I smile, brushing my tears away"

In this day and age when most of the games are just odorless, flavorless, mass-marketed AAA-drivel shoveled one after another from the conveyor belt, players like us who have been playing video games over 30 years are starting to lose their faith in gaming. Along comes Dontnod Entertainment with Life is Strange, an episodic, narrative-driven, choice and consequence adventure.

Most of the time we take games as they are, just games, like we take most of the movies, books, comics or music. They are what they are. But once in a while there comes an exceptionally good game, movie, book, comic or music which breaks boundaries of its media. Life is Strange is such a case. It goes under your skin and touches something deep inside of you, and leaves a lasting impression. The last two games to achieve the same were ICO and Journey. Both touched with their sparse, wordless story-telling but Life is Strange is the first game to achieve it with a rich, multi-layered narrative.

Thank you Dontnod for showing us there's still hope, for making something very special. Life is Strange is a game with a true soul and a heart. You have dared to touch serious real-life issues, most of which are familiar to each and everyone of us. You have told us the value of friendship. You have shown us that sometimes you just have to let go of something which is dear to us. Or go the distance and sacrifice everything for it.

At the same time you haven't forgotten put a game in there too, with adventure game -like gameplay mechanics, whereas much applauded Telltale's games are in comparison even more shallow, emotionally distant, quasi-interactive picture books than they were before.

We feel privileged to have been able to spend 10 months with Max and co. in a quaint town of Arcadia Bay, a bitter autumn breeze blowing over glowing picturesque scenes, like sweet and fleeting childhood memories.

Thank you Dontnod for making us believe again.

20 October 2015

The beautiful game

It's strange how this year the gaming media favors Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 over FIFA 16. They claim PES is the most realistic soccer game ever while FIFA is just yet another FIFA. Sorry but we beg to differ. In fact it's the other way around. In PES 16 all you need to do is through pass, sprint to the box and score. Simple as that. In this year's FIFA you have to grind for goals. It's a whole different ball game than previous incarnations. It's way more satisfactory when you need to work for your success. Of course the media favors spectacular goal fest while they more or less cunningly cover it with empty claims of realism.

FIFA 16 wins over PES also by including women's international teams. Female players aren't just re-skinned males either. They look, feel and play differently, thanks to unique mo-cap and realistic gameplay. Games with women teams are not as physical or fast-paced as men's but they are more tactical. And that's how we like our soccer.

19 October 2015

Next generation Inky

The first game we bought for Xbox One was Dragon Age: Inquisition. Having just recently completed the PS3 version (clocking over 117 hours in game time) we were a bit suspicious if we had the stamina for another run through Thedas so soon. We were wrong. The game sucked us in right from the start. As has been the custom with Bioware's games in this blog, we will post images of the epic journey in several updates. Let's start from the beginning:

I like my Xbox One!

Bright, shiny and sexy, only on Xbox One!

Time to get the act together and start actually writing updates for Lost Planet. Let's begin with the most important gaming step for us Lost Planeteers.

Back in April we had an extraordinary opportunity to buy a next-gen console. It was crucial to keep up with the gaming. Between Xbox One and PS4 we eventually chose the former. "Why!?" I hear all the PS4 fanboys crying. It came down to four reasons:

1: Xbox One is considerably cheaper than over-priced PS4.
2: Rise of the Tomb Raider is released on Xbox One a good year ahead of PS4 version. A crucial factor considering Tomb Raider 2013 was one of the best, if not the best, games of the last generation.
3: Two years ago we visited a local electronics expo and Xbox One booth made a better impression. The staff was super-friendly and professional and games on display were promising. PS4 booth on the hand left a very cold feel. The staff there was indifferent to the visitors, the display was plain and yeah, the exclusives... not impressive to put it mildly.
4: We hate Sony's attitude "we are the best, fuck the rest". They don't honor their competition which is odd for a Japanese company. Then again, PS4 isn't exactly a Japanese console anymore.