Monthly Archives: März 2017

I played – Virginia

I heard about Virginia on the Girl Tribe Gaming podcast (Great listen if you are looking for a game review podcast).

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I had not been playing a lot of Indie games until recently. After games like Valiant Hearts or Child of Light I was certainly interested, but now I am hooked. Virginia helped a lot to fuel my enthusiasm.

It was released in 2016, developed by Variable State and published by 505 Games. It is available on all platforms.

It took maybe four hours of gameplay to finish the game. It is hard to tell though because I could not finish it in one sitting. If I remember correctly I played it on three different nights. So maybe around four to five hours.

Because I cannot, for the love of god, create a tight summary of a game, I went to Major Nelson to get a nice short tease for Virginia:

Virginia is a single-player first-person thriller set in a small town with a secret. Experience a missing person investigation through the eyes of graduate FBI agent Anne Tarver. Together with your partner, seasoned investigator Maria Halperin, you’ll take a trip to idyllic Burgess County and the secluded town of Kingdom, Virginia, where a young boy has vanished and nobody seems to know why.“

The game is really weird. It is not like any other game. You hardly act as a player in it, you rather lay back and experience it. For the most part you can not interact a lot. If you can interact with a person or an object you see a circle forming on the screen where you look. That way you know you can do something. The game is mysterious and confusing and to me it seemed like a trip. As the gamer I was hopping on a train and took a ride. I got off and was very confused and happy. Happy, because I love mysterious things. I love when you don’t quite know what the hell is going on. Like in a Kafka book.

Lyndon Holland’s  music helps create a mystifying atmosphere. It is really beautiful music! Especially „Sojourner’s Truth“ is hauntingly beautiful and reminds me of Twin Peaks. Lyndon Holland is also the co-writer of the screenplay.

I don’t want to tell you more about this game because I feel it probably plays best if you know as little as possible. I can only recommend that you play it with an open mind and a bit of time on your hand. I wish I could have played it in one sitting. Afterwards you will have many questions. But there is help for that. There are a lot of answers/interpretations in several game reviews I found. The only question is…do you want answers and interpretations? Or is it sometimes best to let your mind spin for a while?

Next up in „I played“: 7 Days To Die.

 

 

New Narrative Director at 343i?

Brian Reed might no longer be the narrative director at 343i. 2 days ago they posted a job advertisement for the position of narrative director. Brian Reeds LinkedIn and Twitter accounts have also been deleted. I really hope that he is doing ok. cfbrianreedh5gi-a94275f0040c4e1595e9c955c9ab4dcbAt this point I don’t know if he decided to go or if he was let go. Both possibilities would make sense, seeing that he was subject to extreme harassment and didn’t have much fans in the community. His work as a narrative director was criticized a lot, so much so, that 343 shut down most threads concerning him on the Waypoint forums. I personally don’t like the storytelling of Halo 5. I think that it is the worst campaign of all the Halo titles. So yeah, I would not mind if someone else took the position of narrative director. What I don’t like at all is bullying and harassment though. And Brian Reed has definitely been a target of both. Some fans have been real assholes.

Despite all this I am quite excited to see how this unfolds. I wish for Halo and all the lore fans that they find someone capable of this huge task. I would not ever want to fill such a position and be watched and judged so closely. But it’s Halo. We care. Sometimes too much I guess.

If you want read more about Brian Reeds role at 343 and his backstory visit Halo Monitor. Kind of an old article but very relevant right now.

I played – Life is strange

What a game! I had only heard great things about Life is Strange and when I saw a good deal on Xbox I immediately bought it. I have to say I have never before played a game like this. Right from the start I was captured by the music. The atmosphere created by it is beautiful, dreamy and sad. I was intrigued.

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You play 18 year old Max Caulfield, an aspiring photographer who attends Blackwell Academy in the fictional small town Arcadia Bay. Max spent her childhood there and then moved to Seattle for 5 years. After her return things have changed and friendships have suffered.

Life is strange is an interactive, story based adventure game. Throughout the game you are given choices that impact the game and often you have to look for clues and objects to trigger the next sequence. The game consists of 5 episodes. The first came out in January 2015, the last one in October 2015. The studio behind Life is strange is Dontnod Entertainment, a french studio established in 2008. Before Life is strange they did Remember me (2013). Their future project „Vampyr“ is coming out this year. Life is strange is available on all platforms.

So back to the game itself. Right at the beginning of the game Max discovers that she can rewind time, which becomes a well used feature as you can imagine. The gameplay overall is good, not super intuitive (at least for me), but ok. I think the most fascinating part of the game is the amount of emotion generated in the player. I had tears in my eyes not once but definitely up to 3-4 times. The choices you have to make are pretty huge at times. And with huge I mean in a philosophical/moral way. The game puts you in a spot you might not have been before, raises questions you may not have thought about before; in a way it’s a game about life ethics. And maybe the grand „What if“? Is there more than one life? Can I change lives (if given the chance of time travel) or is everything destined to happen one way or the other?

Life is strange is also pretty dark at times. Topics like suicide, bullying, murder, euthanasia and general teen angst are all in the game. At least the latter applies or applied at some point, for a lot of people. And I, although I am in my 30’s, can still remember what it felt like to be a teenager.

I really, really enjoyed the game and I can only recommend it. I am not sure about the upcoming Vampyr game though. It is hard to tell at the moment with only the trailer. Maybe it is the setting that bothers me. But anyway, go play Life is strange.

Next up in „I played“: Virginia.

 

 

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