Subnautica: brings some cool new twists to the now familiar survival craft-me-do formula. Normal mode makes death apparently consequence free, and the game much easier to approach than The Long Dark, at the same time pulling the rug from under the feet of the whole survival aspect.
While the setting feels certainly fresh enough (no pun), what I played seemed to foreshadow quite heavily the build-craft-upgrade gerbil wheel of Addictive-ness, not sure yet whether it will turn hollow as many games that also rely on that brain chemistry exercise.
Whereas The Long Dark managed to feel almost like an immersive sim, where the player sets the goal and stories simply emerge from gameplay, Subnautica so far looks like the immersive sim melts like snow in the sun into a pool pf gamey-game-is-linear.
Note to self: did anybody make a good survival clicker?
ABZU. The WIT by Pip is a perfect example of why nobody should never let Pip review this kind of games. Not that she’s actually wrong, but the balance of the review is so skewed that you can envision a parallel reality in which the brains of John pitch’n’forkers have been hacked so they meant to harass Pip instead.
No, wait, let’s try that again. A game that looks fantastic and has a great atmosphere, but does feel somewhat like Disney’s Fantasia, with some very game-specific rough edges.
AER lovely game except when it tries to force on me some narrative about shattered worlds and gods and stuff that I cannot for the life of me pay attention to, and thus make heads or tails of. Weirdly, it makes me want to play Grow Home: perhaps slightly too much freedom makes me pine for some structure that doesn’t come from the weak narrative component?
Tokyo 42. My first impression was is this one of those “wouldn’t it be neat to make a game inspired by this and that (classics)” and everybody goes YEAHHHH! Then it materializes, and nobody bothers to play it because they didn’t actually MISS the classics, they just had fond memories of playing those classics. Meanwhile gaming has moved on and there are fresher fruits to sink one teeth’s in.
Tomb Raider is stupid blockbuster writing dialed up to 11. The opening hour or so, is turn your brain or at least your critical sense off to avoid an aneurysm. I think like maybe I could enjoy the theme park levels if only the camera wasn’t constantly shaking and some idiotic plot thing was getting in the way. Maybe, if I finish story mode, maybe.
John has written extensively about TR and is, rough estimate, absolutely spot on at least 90% of the time.
Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth feels so claustrophobically railroaded that you could be excused, if you thought The Walking Dead naysayers were actually talking about this game but a spell had been put on them so their lips say “The Walking Dead” every time they want to point at the shortcomings of “The Pillars of the Earth”.
It’s so bad that I can hardly keep playing because I’m just “well it doesn’t really matter, anyway, right?”: You’re going to be prior, anyway. The abbey is going to burn, anyway. Someone’s going to pay for a new one, anyway. It doesn’t really matter, anyway.
It feels like in German “Choices Have Consequences” is written “Visual Novel” and “agonizing over gut-wrenching decisions” translates to “my hot water tastes exactly like yesterday’s hot water; I am hot water; everything’s hot water”.
The Pillars of the Earth makes no compelling case for games to stop weaving their own narrative in the cones of shadow in the source material, like Cyanide’s and Telltale’s GoT, and start to make straight adaptations instead.
SUPERHOT is a really neat concept and I should love it for turning first person bullet-time shooting almost into a real-time-with-pause puzzle game, except as one it feels more like those collections of levels, they used to make: like, I can perfectly enjoy my time, then leave at any point, and feel no desire to actually go back, ever. I guess that means, not hooked.