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TheMG42

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  1. TheMG42

    The Dark Pictures

    Having never played through "Until Dawn" since it was a Sony exclusive (settled for watching multiple play throughs on Youtube instead), I was pretty pumped when they announced that this game would be multi-platform. "Until Dawn" was one of the games that convinced me that interactive storytelling games with a branching narrative and choice and consequences was a viable form of video game entertainment. I love the idea of stumbling upon an abandoned WW2 freighter — whilst dealing with modern day pirates trying to rob you — and unravelling the mystery of the ship and what happened to the crew members. I love that the story, at first, seems to have a paranormal undercurrent, combined with navigating through the dark, decrepit, and sometimes claustrophobic environments. It helps create a sense of tension and unrest. As the characters explore the ghost ship, the game initially leads you to believe that something onboard is causing them to all slowly lose their grip on reality and start hallucinating. (I.e. one of the characters pulls back a curtain covering a small shrine and then has a decapitated, rotting human head drop down in front of their face, only for the game to reveal that is was a silver-plated flower pot, or something.) The main characters eventually learn what's actually happening with the ship and it's the Occam's Razor Principle in full effect. The game has replay value, with it being a branching narrative with choice and consequences, along with trying to see how many characters you can keep alive or kill off, depending on your choices. What I disliked about the game is a bit of a longer list. Everything about this game feels like a lesser version of "Until Dawn": Fewer protagonists, less fleshed out character personalities/traits, a less expansive world, a shorter play time and weaker facial animations. The facial animations all have Mass Effect: Andromeda syndrome where it looks like the characters are trying to kill you with their gaze and they don't seem to really emote anything, even in high stress, high danger situations. The frame rate chugs concrete at certain points of the game, even though there never seems to be much going on. There was one instance during the final combat encounter where I got hung up on one frame for a solid 2 seconds before the game proceeded as it should. Some of the textures seemed low quality as well. At one point, I was inspecting a damaged life boat and the texture on it was so blurry, I assumed it just didn't load at all and moved on. This might not be a problem on PC, but it shouldn't be that bad on console hardware either (played this on a vanilla Xbox One). The characters don't seem to really evolve beyond the introductory part of the game, where each character's traits are laid out for you. They can go through some crazy shit, but it doesn't really seem to affect them all that much. The game relies heavily on cheap jump scares (a dead body falls out of a locker or a pipe bursts and starts hissing steam), to the point of being a nuisance. It doesn't add anything scary or horrifying to the game. I feel like if this game was just a "stand alone" title, as oppose to being a part of an Anthology, maybe the developers would've had more time to expand on the story and character arcs as well as fix any optimization issues. At the end of the credits, there's a teaser trailer for the next game in the Anthology: "The Dark Pictures: Little Hope" with a release date of 2020. At this point, I hope it's towards the end of 2020 because it's clear that Man of Medan was a little underdeveloped and could've benefitted from a few more months of polish. I hope the next game can improve on Man of Medan's shortcomings. Overall, I'd give this game a rating of Love/Hate.
  2. TheMG42

    Call of Cthulhu (2018)

    Game would have to go on sale ($79.99 CAD as of this posting) for me to buy it. That being said, it'll definitely be on my "To play" list.
  3. TheMG42

    Oxenfree

    Hands down, I absolutely love this game. I'm not really a huge fan of 2D or "2.5D" style, side-scrolling games, but this game did a lot to change my mind towards appreciating this particular style of game. The art direction is fantastic. It does a fine job of striking a balance between dark and eerie as well as cartoony and stylized. Characters that are illustrated to look as if they belong in a Saturday morning kids cartoon (in reference to the in-game "photos") in contrast with a dark, creepy and uneasy environment just seems to work so well, at least for me. The texturing and lighting in this game does a great job of giving the environment some depth of field, even though it's a "2.5D" game and it really adds to the creepy atmosphere of the game. The story is equal parts awesome and creepy. The occult and supernatural elements are well done (the tuning your radio bits were a nice touch), it made me wish the game went even deeper with these themes. The twist at the end of the story has a nice, subtle impact, enough for an "Oh poop..." moment. Gameplay is rather minimal and there is a lot of walking, with no real sprint function but I was able to overlook that since the story was so well done. I imagine there is some replay value, given the multiple dialogue options and there is a "New Game Plus" option which apparently offers another dialogue option and a different ending. Although past that, I suspect you'll be playing through more-or-less the same scenarios. The teen drama stuff didn't really bother me that much. I didn't feel that it was overdone or that the game put too much of an emphasis on it. I mean, the characters ARE teenagers, so I guess that sort of stuff is to be expected. I managed my expectations on this front. The music is phenomenal, no complaints there. Overall rating: Fantastic.
  4. TheMG42

    The Surge

    More like "The Scourge". Unintuitive level design. Too many "Where the hell do I go?" moments that killed the pacing of the game. Clunky, poorly executed combat mechanics make the game a more tedious and arduous version of Dark Souls. The premise of the game is rather interesting, but it's combat and level design kind of nullify that positive element. Overall rating: Pass
  5. TheMG42

    Firewatch

    After doing some initial research on the game... Wow, I didn't realize just how divisive this game was amongst fans and critics alike. Ultimately, I can respect a game that garners pretty passionate opinions about it, positively or negatively. My experience with the game was rather positive: I love the colourful, heavily stylized art direction of the game; it really helps make the environments look beautiful and vibrant. I enjoyed the conversations between the two main characters; it's funny, clever and believable. It helped get me more immersed into the game world since it makes their behaviour seem believable. One detail that I did appreciate within the game, without wishing to spoil much of anything: as the story devolves and becomes more cloudy and hazy, with the main characters becoming more unsure of what's happening to them, the environment around them also becomes more cloudy and hazy as well. The environment become less clear and colourful, instead becoming more muddy and disorienting. Maybe that's a bit too simplistic for some players, but I thought it was a bit clever. The melodramatic stuff I can take or leave. It doesn't really help the story, but I don't feel that it harms it either. It was just sort of "there" for me. Without going into spoiler territory again, about two thirds of the way in, I found myself rather enraptured by the direction of the story. I was all Gung-ho for the story to take a rather darker and more "sinister" (for lack of a better word) turn, but the game throws a bucket of cold water on that potential plot thread and it left me feeling a little bit empty by the end of the game. Perhaps it's a subversion of expectations, but it didn't really jive with me. My main gripe with this game is that for an interactive storytelling experience, the choice and consequences within the game don't seem to amount to much of anything. Since there really isn't much in terms of traditional gameplay, this seems like an area that could have been far more developed and could have bolstered the overall story. In the end, it comes up quite short. This is a game that you can really only experience once, since a lot of the intrigue of the game is lost on a second play through. I think that's fine, it's still one of the better games I've come across this year and I'm glad it popped up on Ross's list, since I'm not sure I would've played this game otherwise. Overall, I'd give this game a rating of Good/Great.
  6. TheMG42

    Remnant: From the Ashes

    The game is definitely out now. Seems pretty promising. Looks like a combination of Dark Souls and Gears of War. Putting this one on my "To Play" list.
  7. TheMG42

    Vanishing of Ethan Carter

    Right off the bat, this is one of the most beautiful games I've played in quite a while. You can easily get some beautiful desktop wallpapers from this game. I was running this game on the Xbox One and had no issues with the frame rate or graphics quality of the environment, so thumbs up all around here. I wish I could say the same thing about the character models, though. They're decidedly "last-gen" in terms of graphics quality and it creates a rather eerie effect in contrast to the beautiful scenery. Like most other comments on here, yes, the game is quite short. Even if you're achievement hunting, you can finish it in about 2 hours. To me, that's fine. The game still accomplishes what it set out to do anyway. I respect that the game doesn't hold your hand through it all and there's no invasive HUD elements that pull me out of the immersion. I'm not quite sure how to feel about the ending; it left me wondering what the story was about and how it all ties together. Perhaps another play through and/or some more research on the game is needed. Overall, I'd give it a rating of Good/Great.
  8. TheMG42

    Vampyr

    Having bought the game on sale for $20 CAD a few months ago, seeing this game pop up on the list was pretty much the impetus for me to finally play it and see what's up. The setting of early 20th Century alternative London I thought was well done. The art direction does a decent job of giving the player that feeling of being in a dark, depressing and gloomy world being ravaged by a plague with almost no hope in sight. Abandoned buildings, dead bodies wrapped up and pilled onto carts and vigilante patrols give a sense of dread and unease. There's a few interesting Sin City-esque scenes that I also enjoyed. The story and concept I think are fine; it's a branching story with choice and consequences. You play as Dr. Jonathan Reid who returns home to London from the frontlines of World War 1 only to discover he's turned into a vampire and has to figure out why and what impact it has on the world around him. The NPC backstories of each district are presented well enough and there's a motivation to get to know them as well. The more you unearth about them, the more desirable their blood becomes, which results in a huge bump in XP should you choose suck their blood. This is valuable for stat upgrades. You also have to craft them medicine if they begin to feel sick; their sickness decreases the value of their blood. If you choose to feed on any of the NPCs, their death will have rippling effects on the health of the district, particularly if one of the district "pillars" goes down. However, I though the execution of all of this came up a bit short. As easy as it would be to just munch on a bunch of the NPCs for the giant XP boosts, I got by well enough with out having to kill anyone. Since you also get XP boosts from completing story missions, side quests, healing NPCs when they're sick and murdering thugs in standard combat. It left me a little bit under-leveled throughout the game, particularly in boss fights, but attack pattern recognition and a lot of patience are the keys to victory in that scenario. The combat is very Dark Souls-like: melee-centric with light attacks (one hand/off hand weapons), heavy attacks (two-handed weapons), stun damage, parrying, dodging and stamina management, instead of resting at bonfires, you rest in a bed in a hideout which you need to seek out and enemies comeback if you rest or die. However it's not as fluid or as tightly designed as Dark Souls. There's also special vampire attacks that rely on your "blood capacity". Some of them I found effective such as "Blood Cauldron" or "Claws", other I didn't even touch like "Shadow Mist" or "Coagulation". The dialogue flows a bit weird at times (Tell me more your job, tell me more about this city, tell me more about your relationship with... etc) and it sometimes makes it feel like a bit of drag knowing that this will the help the player get to know the NPC's backstories a little better. It also felt just plain drawn out at other times, especially after boss fights and towards the end of the game. There is a romance aspect of the story, but it feels rather forced and just seems to spring up out of left field. Overall, I think Vampyr straddles the line between "Hazy" and "Good/Great".
  9. TheMG42

    Close to the Sun

    The game is definitely out now; it's available on Microsoft Windows. Not a lot of exciting moments in this game except for some chase sequences. It's more or less a Bioshock-themed walking simulator.
  10. TheMG42

    Lords Of The Fallen

    Ultimately, this game just made me want to play more Dark Souls. Pass.
  11. TheMG42

    What Remains of Edith Finch

    I can certainly recommend this game. For me, It's got a great and interesting story and I dig the art direction. It is quite short; I beat the game in about 2 hours, but there is some replay-ability in this game, since there are details you'll likely miss the first time around.
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