Archives: I played

I played – Wolfenstein II „The New Colossus“

I am new to Wolfenstein. I have not played any of the games and to be honest, I hadn’t really given Wolfenstein any thought before I heard/read so many good reviews about „The New Colossus“. And then Christmas came. And with it, a beautiful collectors edition of Wolfenstein „The New Colossus“ with a figure of Terror Billy aka Blazkowicz.

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The Swedish developer MachineGames who also created the prequel „The New Order“ (2014) and the standalone „The Old Blood“ (2015), put out a fantastic single player experience with tons of humor and a breathtaking action-driven story. Published by Bethesda Wolfenstein „The New Colossus“ was released in October 2017 on all platforms.

The campaign follows William Blazkowicz, the main character of almost all of the Wolfenstein games and is a direct sequel to the events of „The New Order“. In this alternate history, the Nazi regime has won the war and gained control over large parts of the world. „The New Colossus“ is set in the USA where the regime and the KKK have infested the lands and try to crush the last rebellious group called the Kreisau Circle. Your enemy is the breathtakingly beautiful commander Irene Engel (I am kidding…she is hideous). Your goal is to take ahold of the Ausmerzer, Engel’s massive airship.

Boy, did I have fun with this game! Sometimes I sat there and couldn’t believe what I saw. The freak level is soooo high! If you like weird and a lot of shooting you should most def buy this game. I haven’t had so much fun with a linear single player campaign in a long time.

You start your game with a pretty tough decision that influences your game only regarding the appearance of certain characters. But the tone is set right from the start and you know that you are in for one hell of a ride. The gameplay is simple and nothing new. It’s a shooter, guys. Of course, you can decide to play the game stealthy or big bang (my style). Throughout the levels, you will find commandants that are visualized by a popping radar that indicates how far away they are. You can be sneaky and try to get to them silently or you ignore all that business and run straight in. Most of the times I at least tried to be sneaky and was caught very quickly. Then the guns were blazing and a lot of times I was dead shortly after. The weapons felt very good and there was an adequate amount of variety overall. But what really struck me was the characters and story. The story is entertaining and finds the right tone for the serious theme of the game without being disrespectful. The dialogues are extremely well written and so funny. The graphics are on point. Very colorful and pop art like. Man, I am really impressed as you can tell.

Now to an aspect, I didn’t like, although that has to do with my version of the game. In Germany, you won’t see the Hitler character the way you see him in other countries. His name is Mr. Heiler in the German version and he has no beard. Other than that he looks the same as the real Hitler. I can’t fathom why we can’t see the game and it’s characters the way it was meant to be. I mean, we know it’s supposed to be Hitler. By giving him another name (that sounds an awful lot like Hitler…) and removing his beard, you do nothing but anger the gamer. At least myself. Being German, I am offended when something like this happens. By now, every German has had it’s fair share of guilt and feeling shamed by what has happened in our history. But that’s exactly what it is: History. Stop making me feel like I can’t deal with what happened.

But ok, enough of this.

There is only one scene where you come across Hitler directly and it’s freaking amazing. I loved it and yes, I did the optional part, of course. If you have played the game, I think you know what I mean and if you are still about to play it, you’ll know when the time comes.

I will give this game a 10 out of 10. Play it if you like a good linear campaign with a really good story and beautiful character design.

 

I played – Life is Strange: Before the Storm

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The first episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm came out in late August 2017. There are 3 episodes in total plus a bonus episode which is included only in the Deluxe Edition. Since I enjoyed Life is strange so much, I was looking forward to this prequel. I was a little skeptical about playing as Chloe though. I loved Max as a character and felt ambivalent about Chloe. Her character seemed rude and annoying at times. But I went into this with an open mind and I must say it paid off.

This time Dontnod Entertainment was not involved in creating the game. They are currently working on Life is Strange 2, which is supposed to have a completely new story. They have also signed a publishing contract with Bandai Namco for a brand new story-driven game that we don’t know a lot about yet. I bet it is going to be great. I want story-driven games! Then in early 2018, Vampyr will be released.

But enough of that. Life is Strange: Before the Storm was created by Deck Nine. This American indie developer was founded over 20 years ago. Back then under a different name. Only with the creation and development of Before the Storm, they renamed themselves and started a new direction for the company:

„Meaningful storytelling and rich gameplay“.

The 3 episodes of Before the Storm have just that. A compelling story with deep characters and an entertaining gameplay.

You play as Chloe in the time when Max is still in Seattle. We get to know how painful the separation for Chloe was and how much she tried to stay in contact with Max. You learn that through diary entries which are updated throughout your gaming journey. I recommend doing that because it gives so much more insight into the character of Chloe. The episodes also introduce us to the mysterious character of Rachel Amber. A character we have only heard of in the original Life is Strange. The whole game is about the beginning of their friendship, the many obstacles they encounter and the painful experiences they make. But worry not, I won’t go too deep into the story, in case you haven’t played the game yet.

There are some new elements to the game. One being the Back Talk. In this, you have several clever options to say to some person and you are trying to convince them that you are right. You have to listen carefully to what your opponent says and answer accordingly. I failed one time throughout the first 2 episodes and several times in the third episode. I don’t know if I was less attentively while playing the last one. And to my knowledge, nothing serious happens if you fail the Back Talk. The other new element is the Graffiti option. That is a replacement for the photo mode of the original Life is Strange. Also new and very helpful for all you collectors out there is the collector’s mode which is activated once you finish an episode. You can replay sections of the game to try and find missed Graffiti options. Every Graffiti will get you a nice popping achievement.

One of the Highlights of this game was again the music. Maybe it was even a little better than in the first one, which is astounding in itself because the music was perfectly picked there. Throughout the game, I was in tears 2-3 times and I blame that on the music. The British band Daughter created a whole album for this game and they also recorded music for the original Life is Strange. Watch here to see the process of creating this beautiful Soundtrack.

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It feels like Life is Strange is almost like watching a series. And yeah, of course, it’s published in episodes, but also the general feel of it is like watching a good series. Some of the decisions you have to make during the game are damn hard. Especially one in the last episode is super tough and I was thinking about it for a while. And although I am not a teenager anymore I could still relate to the problems and emotions of the characters. The story is really well written and each episode is a good length. I would say 1-2 hours per episode. If you bought or buy the deluxe edition you will have access to the bonus episode ‚Farewell‘ which will see Chloe and Max reunited. You will be able to play as Max for a final time. The episode will release soon, probably around the end of January.

And that’s it. I give Life is Strange: Before the Storm, a big Thumbs Up. Go and experience it yourself.

 

 

 

I played – Valiant Hearts

In 2014 Ubisoft Montpellier released a 2D adventure puzzle that takes place during World War 1. It’s name is Valiant Hearts – The Great War. It is an anti war game and it is truly and I mean truly amazing. I have played this game 2 years ago I think, but just recently I was thinking about it again and how much it moved me. And I thought that if I can bring just one person to play this game I have done good.

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Right from the beginning I knew that Valiant Hearts was that kind of game. The kind that moves you, makes you tear up and leaves you thinking. And that stays with you. After all the other games you have played, you still think about it and feel a sense of melancholy.

So, in this game you play 5 characters: the frenchman Emile, his son in law, the german Karl, the american soldier Freddy, a Belgian nurse named Anna and Walt, a dog. It comprises of four chapters that again are split into sections. The game is about love and the horrors of war. About the strength you receive from love and friendship. It is about a family that is separated by the cruelty of war and pitted against each other.

In the beginning of the game, Karl is deported by the french and put in the german army. His french wife Marie and his son Victor are left behind. Maries father Emile and Karl’s father in law has to join the french army. The two of them are in opposing armies now but the goal of the game is to reunite Karl with his wife and kid. The characters have different skills like using a bone as a makeshift lever or a wire-cutter to get through obstacles. To progress in the game you have to solve puzzles and find your way through a terrifying war landscape with bombs going off nearby and shooting and screaming. I thought that the difficulty of the puzzles was just on point. Not to tough and not to easy.

And then the music! Oh the music!

Listen to it:

I don’t remember how long it took me to finish the game but it’s said to take between 6 to 8 hours for the story. The price is around 15 $.

What I find so appealing in this game is the fact that you play in a historic event but that it doesn’t feel like the boring history class we all had to endure. History comes to life here and as I said it is terrifying, but also beautiful.

I played – 7 Days To Die

This is the first game I will be giving a review on that I played on Playstation 4. I am playing this game with two friends and we are having a blast every single time. It is like Minecraft for older people. And I would never have thought of myself as a Minecraft player.

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7 Days to Die was developed by the Fun Pimps and came out in 2013 on PC. In 2016 it was published by Telltale Publishing on Playstation and Xbox One. It is called „The Survival Horde Crafting Game“.

In 7 Days to Die you build/craft and you fight zombies. During the day the zombies are slow and easy to fight but at night they are pretty fast and numerous. Your goal is to survive as many nights as possible. So you best search for shelter fast or build one yourself.

The three of us play very differently and that is what makes it so extremely funny. I am the gardener and builder. I love to plant potatoes and trees and I want our house to look great. Kathy is a mix of an explorer (most of the time she just runs out into the wilderness without bandages and food) and a builder. She creates explosives and weapons. She sweats a lot in the game. Her character is constantly close to a heat stroke and so she runs around half naked. As does Ben, the thorough and well organized explorer. He never leaves our house without proper gear. Most of the time without saying goodbye as well.

Our first move in the game was to occupy a random house and start to fortify it slowly. It really was so random. I think Kathy said „Oh, look guys, there are a few houses. We should pick one.“ Ben and myself: „Hell yeah.“ But as the game progresses we realized that we need a more advanced fortress. I have to admit that we are not very good at the game. So far we haven’t mastered the art of crafting weapons or more precisely ammunition. We are working on that at the moment. I think our final goal is to finish the new bunker, Ben’s baby. We dug a tunnel that connects our main house with the bunker. And we are very proud of said tunnel. Then we need to craft ammo and shoot the hell out of some zombies. We believe that after we accomplish that, we can call it quits and move on to Wildlands. Recon the shit out of those drug infested cartels.

The trailer below is pretty cool. I first saw it while writing this article. It makes the game look way better than it is though. I still love it. It really is best when playing with a group of friends.

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.

 

 

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