The first thing you see upon starting The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a quote: “This game is a narrative experience that does not hold your hand.” It’s a bold, self-confident statement, and it’s emblematic of the game itself; there’s a refreshing degree of trust given to the player in Ethan Carter, especially compared to many other adventure games of the modern age. The decision also manages to avoid unnecessary frustration due to Ethan Carter‘s relatively limited interactivity. It also serves as a bit of a snobbish remark, one of the few indications The Astronauts give that links them to their past work at People Can Fly (a studio known for it’s gonzo, high-intensity shooters Painkiller and Bulletstorm). The quote is an almost comical juxtaposition of “hardcore-gamer” sensibilities, for a game that shares a lot in common with so-called walking simulators, but Ethan Carter proves itself with its extremely effective use of world-building.
At the heart of Turtle Sandbox’s Cannon Brawl is, well, a ton of heart. This 2D action-strategy hybrid employs just as much charm as it does deep, strategic, fast-paced gameplay. Cannon Brawl mashes together concepts from Worms and StarCraft and manages to create something entirely unique on its own.
Swery created something of a flawed masterpiece with Deadly Premonition. Despite being difficult to control, Deadly Premonition excelled in its weird and goofy storytelling with plenty of homage to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Swery’s newest project, D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die, attempts to reach those same bonkers highs of Deadly Premonition while under the guise of a Kinect game. He pretty much succeeded.
All of the pieces are there to make Destiny a great game. The world is gorgeous, with some of the best art and design in a game to date. The combat is fun and fluid with weighty weapons and clever abilities. The music is beautiful and the sound design screams perfection. Yet Bungie doesn’t do enough to tie together all of Destiny’s fragments, leaving behind a hollow husk of what might have been.
It’s been a long time coming, but we finally have new information on the new Doom game from id Software, now formally titled Doom. I attended QuakeCon in Dallas, Texas and saw the first public footage of the game, tailor-made for fans of the series. They didn’t allow any kind of photography or video, but at least allow me to paint you a word picture.
“There are plenty of targets worthy of a bullet; men who need to die. Time for find more work.”
The final lines of Rebellion’s newest release resemble an apt view of the game as a whole. It is a power fantasy of the highest order; a hyper violent, marginally fun trek through orange and brown landscapes of Africa, looking for Nazis to kill. There are plenty of targets for you to shoot; plenty of men who die by your hand. But, Sniper Elite 3 is a one-note gimmick that will leave you longing for different work.
Children are generally thought to be happy and carefree; they see the world through imagination and wonder. Krillbite Studios takes a different approach. With a compelling narrative and dark atmosphere, Among the Sleep reveals the hidden horrors of a developing mind warped by abuse and divorce. Yet the game relies too heavily on overused mechanics and doesn’t produce enough consistent tension, dulling the impact of its larger themes.
To say I enjoyed High Moon’s take on the Transformer’s franchise would be an understatement. Having played Fall of Cybertron in preparation for this game, my expectations were heightened by just how much I truly enjoyed that game. It looked good, played well, and told and interesting story. Edge of Reality’s Rise of the Dark Spark, on the other hand, tries to do everything Fall did, but does it much worse from every angle.
War never changes, especially in video games. Countless number of games set you in the heat of battle, gunning down hundreds of enemies with reckless abandon. We never understand the pathos of those stories; we never hear of their struggles; all we ever see are moments plucked from action movies. Valiant Hearts: The Great War tells a touching story of a handful of soldiers in the midst of World War I — it’s just a shame this story needs to be a video game too.