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Certainly the issue has been addressed before, but last weekend I had the time to give it some extra thought as I compared my experiences with two games: Limbo and Alice - Madness Returns.
It's safe to say they're both artistic games, meaning the scenarios, character design and maybe even sound offers more than technical prowess, they're also beautiful.
Even if they're of different styles, both games provide an aesthetic satisfaction to the gamer. Sure, it's a game, you want to beat it it, you want challenges, but you also get the extra bonus of artistic creation. It goes without saying that one's allowed not to enjoy those games and not to have any sort of satisfaction from their artistic side, but then one's money would definitely be better spent elsewhere.
I bought both games dirty cheap on a Steam sale, their price did not differ that much. So, in theory, I should expect the same sort of satisfaction. I had a good time playing Alice, the game play is not bad as in the reviews I get to read, but the puzzles and the battles tend to repeat themselves. Even after I've managed to show the game that I've mastered a given puzzle or enemy type, it kept throwing them at me, without mercy. I pressed on because I wanted to see what would happen to Alice, how would the Queen look, not to be given the same enemies to slice or the same puzzles to solve. It felt like padding, as if the game was trying to accomplish the minimum number of hours not to be considered a rip off. After all, it was a released as a $49 game.
Limbo is a three hour journey. Its puzzles rarely repeat themselves and either present a whole new mechanic or build upon a previous one. When it ended, I was sort of surprised and decided to replay it for the Easter eggs.
I do prefer games to be short and intense experiences rather than long journeys and nothing is worse, for me, than boredom while playing a game. Even if I had bought Alice for $49, I would not have desired it to last its long 14 hours and would have been satisfied with maybe half or even a third of this length, because then the game would have been a stream of new mechanics, enemy types and scenarios. I'm not buying a time card, I'm paying to have a great time.
As for Limbo, I was surprised to see it has a lot of programmers, animators etc. A lot of people involved in its simplicity. It's indie but it's by no means a two men project and even though it had the manpower, it did not try to overstay its welcome, to give me "more bang for my buck".
I liked both games but I wish Alice was shorter and presented its content without that much repetition. Sometimes I read on reviews a complaint that some game is short and I'm baffled. What's the problem in having a short ride? Does the $49 or $59 mean at least 25 hours of game play? Is it like the times when we were kids ad had to present a paper of at least 7 pages?
I am alone in my preference?
We don't get a lot of horror games these days. Not survival horror ones at least. We can enjoy the atmosphere of Dark Souls, get a thrill from the excellent combat of Dead Space 2 and experience Lovecraftian horror on Amnesia but the good and old days of the iron pipe, flashlight and shotgun seem to belong to the past.
Until last weekend that is! I bought, installed and started to play Alan Wake on the PC. It was on sale on GOG.com (Good Old Games), bundled with the still unreleased sequel. What a great game. I'm still on the second chapter, having played roughly three hours or so.
It perfectly mixes between its plot - movies and in game items - and the action. It runs smoothly on my PC, the graphics are really nice and the environment, atmosphere and the whole feel of the game are great. I'm playing it in small chunks so I can fully enjoy the experience, lights out and headset.
I do recommend it to horror and survival horror fans. Silent Hill material here.
Last, I do know the new Silent Hill has been released, I just did not have the chance to play it. Who am I kidding... I'm waiting for the game to go to Steam so I can get it for under $20 in a couple of years.
As we're talking about future releases... anyone tried Umbrella Chronicles yet? Dead Island (not that new but I still haven't played).
Oh, this is the new "last", am I the only one excited for the Binding of Isaac update?
I played a few new titles lately and I want to share my impressions with you guys. First, I'd like to recommend Metro 2033 for all PC gamers. It's a first person shooter with a compelling storyline, interesting characters and a very detailed background. Definitely worth checking out, specially considering its current price range. One of the few shooters that focused on the single player experience and did not bother to include a generic death match option.
Still on the PC front, I've been playing a bit of Civilization V. A lot has changed since Civ IV and gone are the Stack of Death (SoD) and the Infinite City Sprawl (ICS) tactics, espionage and the ability to change government at will, along with a few key concepts. Such a major change can't please everyone but the game is worth checking, specially for the new combat and the idea of city states.
Going to consoles but keeping a foot on PC, I had a good time playing Singularity. This FPS was clearly inspired on Bioshock and even though the story is not the best I've experienced, it offersgritty and well presented scenarios, competent shooting mechanics and interesting time bending powers.
Last, for all horror fans that do not mind a bit of crude humour on their zombie slaying fun, I'd recommend Dead Rising 2. I know, it's nothing more than killing hordes of zombies with anything from scissors to chainsaws but it's worth trying. It's not that it fails to provide a horror atmosphere, it doesn't even try. I did not like GS review on the game as it stresses the fact that your character can change clothes and dress like a woman. The game offers way more than a means to satisfy a secret desire to become a cross-dresser or to change your gender.
I'd be happy to talk more about each game should anyone post about it in the comments. I've also written reviews Metro, Dead Rising 2 and Amnesia, even though the latter was not a part of this blog.
My Recent Reviews
Still Life - 5th victim. Forensic analysis of the MO.
Still Life opening movie.
Silent Hill 5 (homecoming) UFO ending. Alex is dressed in hospital ending outfit.
Jun 10, 2013 4:50 pm GMTakhorahill added The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings to their now playing list
Jun 10, 2013 4:48 pm GMTakhorahill gave To the Moon a score of 4.5
Jun 10, 2013 4:48 pm GMTakhorahill gave Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising a score of 6.0
Jun 10, 2013 4:47 pm GMTakhorahill gave Sleeping Dogs a score of 8.0
Jun 10, 2013 4:47 pm GMTakhorahill gave Obscure: The Aftermath a score of 6.5
Jun 10, 2013 4:45 pm GMTakhorahill gave Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 a score of 9.0
Jun 10, 2013 4:45 pm GMTakhorahill gave Gray Matter a score of 3.5
Jun 10, 2013 4:44 pm GMTakhorahill gave Elemental: Fallen Enchantress a score of 6.0
Jun 10, 2013 4:43 pm GMTakhorahill gave Deadlight a score of 6.0
Jun 10, 2013 4:43 pm GMTakhorahill gave Alan Wake's American Nightmare a score of 7.5