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Rayman Legends - Year in Gaming Part 4

Posted by Ektris , in Video Games Dec 11 2015 · 360 views
Rayman, Ubisoft
I wanted to take a break from episode point-and-clicks to get the stink of Game of Thrones out of my mind before talking about the last one I played this year. So let's go to another Games With Gold title.

Rayman is a twenty year old series and this is only the second game I played in it. There was this GBC title I had that I can't even remember the title of, but I know I was never very good at it and thus never had interest in trying it out again.

Then a few years ago I saw some friends in college playing Rayman Origins and thought it looked really fun and the owner insisted it was. Only played a level a few times myself, so didn't get much of an impression though. When Rayman Legends was put up for free for Xbox Gold members, I figured it was finally time I tried it out again. Plus I hadn't played a platformer in a while.

My friend was right - it was really fun. Some of the later levels were a little challenging, as was collecting every single Teensie (better believe I did though). It was a colorful platformer with some pretty wacky characters to spice things up. My favorite levels were by far the music ones. Those were really creative and tons of fun to replay.

That's about all I have to say on this title. Rayman Legends is pretty straithfroward as far as platformers go, but it was a fun one. If you like them, give it a shot.



Game of Thrones - Year in Gaming Part 3

Posted by Ektris , in Video Games Dec 09 2015 · 420 views
Game of Thrones, ASOIAF, Telltale
This year marked the first time I played an episodic game that wasn't yet complete. Two, in fact. I didn't start either when they first released, but still got to experience the wait for about half of the episodes to release. Telltale's Game of Thrones left me wanting to never do that again ever.

I understood going into this that it would take time to complete this game. That was fine. From the titles I had already completed, I knew they were relatively quick games anyways so was okay with a bit of fun spread out through the year as a taste of a different style of game inbetween all the others I play. But man, Telltale's inability to maintaint a consistent release schedule compared to, say, Dontnod, was really aggravating. Especially with just how short the Game of Thrones episodes felt when isolated. Unless it's a title I'm really interested in, I'll probably just wait for seasons to complete in the future.

Which puts me in a bit of a predicament. This past year I finally really got into A Song of Ice and Fire. I'm caught up on the show and have read the first few books. So this side story game seemed perfect given how much I was enjoying the other content. It also means I'll probably ineveitibly still get Game of Thrones season 2, as I want to finish what I started. As this game left nothing finished.

No choices mattered here. That's the impressiong many share and I will strongly echo. No matter who you are playing as (character diversity here was a nice thing I'll admit), you all fail. Miserably. Some might try to argue that "that's just how Game of Thrones is," but I disagree. Even if it's not who you're rooting for, some character does succeed. And with how many we got to control here - plus just it being a game, not a book or a television show - the fact that not one makes it out with their head held high is a little unbelievable and simply not much fun.

I suppose Gared didn't really fail, but the loss of his friends along the way sucked. Plus given what you see with Rodrick/Asher, he's too late anyway. Even if his enthralled forces can remove the Whitehills in the next season, you're not saving much. The Wall and the north are my favorite parts about the series, so I did like playing Gared the most. I just felt disappointed by the end because of everything happening he doesn't know about.

Asher or Rodrick... I played them very differently so that was nice while it lasted, to see and live these very different lives. Asher is the surviving heir in my game for what it's worth.

Ugh, then Mira... I thought it'd be cool to see some politics at first, but ultimately no matter how you played the game, Telltale decided in the end that nope, she was actually horrible at it all along and the rest of her life is either going to be horrible or... she's... dead?? Wow. Huh. So basically she won't be a playable character next season or they'll kill her somehow anyway to make the storytelling easier. Because there's no real choices, everything gets funneled to the same ending with just minor events along the way changed.

That's how this game felt. Like nothing mattered. You were leading to... nothing. Literally! As the season didn't tell a full story. That's my biggest gripe here. At least with The Walking Dead, each season so far felt like it did a good job telling a whole story while still leaving an open road for the future. Here, too much was left unresolved

Oh and the art... Plus the game engine... Ugh. They wanted this game to look like an oil painting. I do not feel like they succeeded. The backgrounds early on (before I learned what their intent was) had me thinking the game was just being glitchy and not rendering things properly as everything has this blur to it that's incredibly distracting. I also finally felt Telltale's engine woes where critical scenes would load slowly or stutter, making me miss quick time events.

Game of Thrones is the first game that I'm not going to recommend. Not unless you're a diehard fan of the franchise and are interested in side stories at all. It was frustrating seeing your machinations not matter and annoying to realize going into the final episode that there would be no resolve just so they could push a second season. By the end, I just wasn't enjoying it as much and only going through the motions.



The Wolf Among Us - Year in Gaming Part 2

Posted by Ektris , in Video Games Dec 07 2015 · 332 views
Telltale, Fables
This was the very first new game that I played this year. It's also the game that I can say hooked me on the Telltale episodic formula, for better or for worse (...more on that in a later installment).

I mentioned last time my nostalgia for classic fairy tales helping me enjoy the art of Child of Light. This game obviously fueled that fire into an inferno in a different way.

For those of you who may not have heard of the game before, The Wolf Among Us is a prequel story to the comic book Fables. I really need to read that now that it's finished. Anyway, it's about, well, fables. All those classic characters and their secret immortal lives among us.

For a good point-and-click game, I feel you really need a solid story to make a successful game. I have some good news then! The story of The Wolf Among Us is definitively what hooked me.

Bigby was a fun character to play and I really got invested in his investigation and struggles. I tried to play a very neutral Bigby that didn't want to give in to his true self. I cared about all the other characters and their losses. I remember feeling particularly bad about sending the Toads to the Farm, even though I knew it was my job and it was needed to keep everyone safe.

This is also incidentally my favorite art style used in the Telltale titles I've played. It's appropriately evocative of a comic book while conveying the darker, grittier world you're experiencing.

Since it's been almost a year, I can't recall any performance issues I experienced playing this game, although will acknowledge that that's kind of a known issue with Telltale's games (and a preview of my opinions for the aforementioned next entry). So just be aware of that, and sorry if you do have any problems.

Overall, I simply recall really liking The Wolf Among Us as I played it. It was fun and I'd definitely recommend it (note it does have some pretty mature content though). Shame there's no second season on the horizon.



Child of Light - Year in Gaming Part 1

Posted by Ektris , in Video Games Dec 04 2015 · 369 views
This is it. This is actually the game that I've been wanting to talk about since I played it months ago, so why not just start with it?

Many friends whom I've gamed with before have probably heard of my disinterest for turn-based RPGs. There's no particular reason for it either. I've not even played a whole lot of them (particularly the heavy hitters like Final Fantasy), excluding Pokemon if one wants to count it. I'm just always saying I don't like them. Maybe it's the pacing or the grinding, but whenever I hear of or talk about one there's usually the voice in my head saying I probably wouldn't like it that much. It's generally an irrational disdain, but meh, people like what they like and don't like what they don't like for entertainment. Don't always have to justify it. With that in mind, I don't really remember why I gave Child of Light a look. Easy Achievements and being free at the time most likely.

I sure am glad I did.

I absolutely loved this game! The art style was wonderful, exploring the world was fun but not too difficult, and combat not as much of a bore as I feared.

Let's talk about that last one first. It's all time-based which kept battles generally faster paced. I think that helped. Skill trees took time to iron out (meaning except for Aurora I stuck with the comanions I got later in the game once I got them because I knew what I was doing at that point and might have made mistakes earlier one leaving some weaker), but everyone had a clear role in the party that made strategizing easier. I really, really liked the mechanics Igniculus introduced and used him extensively. You probably have to. The timing and using him did mean you had to constantly be watching all characters and enemies to make sure you succeed, which personally helped in keeping me interested.

The story is not anything earthshatteringly deep or complex. It's simple, but that doesn't hurt the game. I'd say it benefits from it, by making it easy to get attached to and root for the members of your party as they struggle against the clearly evil hold your stepmother has over the world. There were definitely some touching moments thrown in there with Aurora's family, and conversely Norah's betrayel definitely stung. I hadn't been expecting that at all, so really felt the hurt.

The art is probably what won me over most in Child of Light. The entier game genuinely felt like I was reading an older classic fairy tale. I think it's great. There's a definite whimisical flair to everything, with enough twist to the darkness to make a clear divide from the light. It made me feel nostalgic for those old stories, so kudos there Ubisoft.

Child of Light is a short, inexpensive, and incredibly fun game. I liked it a lot more than expected going into it. Of all the games I played this year, even amongst the AAA titles, it really stands out as one of my favorites.



Coming Soon: My Year in Gaming

Posted by Ektris , in Video Games Dec 01 2015 · 342 views

With no new Pokemon game this year (that I picked up), my blog was rather lacking in any gaming action. Sure, I picked up a good number, but I never really talked about them. All year long I kept wanting to write out more of my thoughts on various titles yet never got around to it.

Luckily I kept a spreadsheet of all the games I played and beat this year to pick from! Because I'm a nerd like that. Just first need to double check that I didn't end up making entries for some that I forgot about haha.

So we'll have a few Halos and Assassin's Creeds of course, but also really got into episodic games this year and dipped into a few things via Games with Gold I might not have otherwise considered. One in particular I keep thinking about whenever I want to write about a game. Plus it'll get me active here again, so that'll be cool. I plan to write the first entry some time this week.

Until then-



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