Minecraft: Story Mode: Season One Review

376870_20170722131040_1Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Played on: PC
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Time Played (Steam): 13.6 hours
Played with: Mouse & Keyboard and Xbox 360 Controller
Paid: $0 (Key provided for review)

Of all the franchises that Telltale has tackled, Minecraft seems to be the one that was met with the most scepticism. There’s no real plot in the original game; any sense of story comes from the player’s own creativity. The world is randomly-generated, with a distinct lack of memorable landmarks and locales. How can a game that amounts to a digital toy be turned into a linear, narratively-focused adventure? Well, Telltale seems determined to find out, even if it must build a new world from scratch to do it.

Read the full review here [Cubed3]

 

The Long Journey Home Review (Cubed3)

imageDeveloper: Daedalic Studio West
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Played on: PC
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Time Played (Steam): 15.1 hours
Played with: Steam Controller
Paid: $0 (Key provided for review)

Randomness in games is an excellent method of promoting custom story generation. The fact that nearly everyone will have an experience that is at least marginally unique means that there’s always something new and interesting to talk about that many players may have never seen or heard of. That’s the goal with The Long Journey Home, a rogue-lite space game that channels FTL: Faster Than Light and No Man’s Sky into a challenging, galaxy-trotting, survival experience.

Read the full review here.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series – Episode Two: Under Pressure Review (Cubed3)

579950_20170607214221_1.pngDeveloper: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Played on: PC
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Time Played (Steam Total): 8.5 hours
Played with: Mouse & Keyboard
Paid: $0 (Key provided for review)

The titular Guardians aren’t the only thing under pressure in the second episode of the ongoing point-and-click adventure series. Following a painfully average first outing, Under Pressure is tasked not only with continuing the established story, but also with giving players a reason to care. Featuring new characters and locales alongside some far more dramatic emotional beats, is there enough here to help the series claw its way out from mediocrity?

Read the full review here. [Cubed3]

The Count Lucanor Review (Cubed3)

lucanor_poster_02Developer: Baroque Decay
Publisher: Baroque Decay
Played on: PC
Release Date: March 3, 2016
Time Played (Steam): 4.5 hours
Played with: Mouse & Keyboard
Paid: $0 (Key provided for review)

Pulling off good horror with pixel art is difficult. Titles like Lone Survivor come to mind as somewhat recent examples of pixelated horror done right, but such games are far from the household names that Outlast, Amnesia, and even Slender have become. Part of the reason for that may be that it’s difficult to properly set up jump scares when playing from what is generally a pulled-out, third-person view; giving the player so much vision can undercut the effectiveness of such surprises. To combat this, many “bit horror” games choose the same tactic chosen by The Count Lucanor: the horror comes from the imagery and circumstances rather than their sudden presentation.

Read the full review here [Cubed3]

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series – Episode One: Tangled Up in Blue Review (Cubed3)

579950_20170625131045_1Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Played on: PC
Release Date: April 18, 2017
Time Played (Steam): 3.4 hours
Played with: Mouse & Keyboard
Paid: $0 (Key provided for review)

Telltale Games cut their point-and-click teeth on comedy, with Sam & Max and Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People becoming early breakout hits. As time went on, though, they headed in a more drama-focused direction, with the most publicized catalyst being the first season of The Walking Dead. Its focus on life-changing decisions made under tight time constraints created an emotional rollercoaster of an experience, with a plethora of scenarios whose outcomes were a far cry from black and white.

With this pedigree behind it, Guardians of the Galaxy: Tangled Up in Blue feels like a huge step back. That’s not to say that it’s a wholly worthless experience, but it feels like a game that largely ignores the developments made by its predecessors.

Read the full review here [Cubed3]

Standing Still to Move Forward

384190_20170304205607_1“Beware the barrenness of a busy life” is a quote that appeared on my new browser tab this evening.  In a way, it’s appropriate.  Here I am at 10 PM, realizing that I have no games ready to review, and homework that I should really be working on instead of fixing that.  The insanity of the last week has left me feeling at loose ends this weekend, despite knowing full well that I have work to do.  Maybe it’s warranted, though.  Multiple 1-2 AM nights, one 3:30 AM night (is it even considered night at that point?), and probably something like five litres of hot chocolate.  Thinking back, I barely know where half the time went.  There were frustrating university assignments, final classes that seemed to last for an eternity, and the joys of crunch time on a video game development project.  Yet it’s all just a blur.

On the other hand, I feel motivated.  I know that I’ll never truly stop being busy, yet it seems like the worst may be over for the time being.  Coming out of last week, I’ve realized that, aside from three exams and presenting the aforementioned video game, I have very little on my plate, at least from a school standpoint.  In its place is something that I find far more exciting. Continue reading

I’m Not Dead

282140_20160916134549_1I mean, the title really says it all, right?  But seriously, I know that it’s been a while since I last posted.  If you follow me on Twitter (@Olivigarden, for those of you that don’t know…hooray, self-promotion!), you may have seen my tweets about how everything basically went to hell and back.  Well, at this point in my prolific (HA) games journalism career, I feel that it’s probably in my best interests to keep my personal and professional (HAHAHA) lives separate for the most part.  Unfortunately, certain events have a way of making it so that focusing on anything (including being a functional human being) is extremely difficult.  I’ll avoid going into the gory details, but since February 11, I’ve been dealing with some…ahem…distressing personal circumstances.  Don’t worry, nobody died.  But, well, something did. Continue reading