Something I didn’t notice until I was writing descriptions for the screenshots at the end of this review was just how much I wanted to call the main character “Geron” instead of his actual name, “Cairon.” I made that mistake several times, Geron of course being the main character of terrible adventure game The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav (which takes place in the same universe), and it became apparent just how similar both games are in how utterly unlikable they manage to be. Satinav sees Geron taking advantage of the naivety of his companion in order to use her to his own ends, whereas Demonicon is centered around a group of siblings of various relations who are suddenly thrust into a Highlander-esque series of confrontations with one another between bouts of incoherent dialogue. Oh, and the magic that necessitates fighting also causes these maybe-blood-siblings of Cairon to find him absolutely irresistible, leading to some truly stomach-churning moments. That’s to say nothing of the mechanics, which are equally appalling and prone to all kinds of glitches that can force you to restart from an earlier save, something that would be less of a problem if the game didn’t rely on autosaves as its sole saving mechanism. Put simply, Demonicon has almost no redeeming elements. Read more →
If the store page is to be believed, Demonicon is a charming little action-RPG full of choices and consequences. You shouldn’t believe the store page; in reality, this is a game with combat that’s every bit as clunky as it is slow, terrible writing full of incoherent fantasy jargon, fetch quests galore, choices that change virtually nothing and the “consequences” of which are disregarded minutes after making them, and all kinds of stomach-churning gross stuff like constantly being hit on by relatives. No, really—while the game muddies the circumstances of your births to the point where you’re not sure who’s actually blood-related by the end of the game, there’s a significant (66%) chance that you get hit on by a blood relative at least once in the game, and the flirting is so unabashedly straightforward despite that probability that it manages to be even more gross than it sounds. Read more →
I don’t have a huge amount of experience with these types of episodic games, but Life Is Strange was made by the people who made Remember Me (probably one of my favorite games of 2013), so I knew I had to give it a shot. For months upon months I waited for it to be completed, dodging spoilers like some kind of internet ninja so that I could play through the whole thing in one go once all its episodes were released, and it was totally worth it. That’s not to say that everything turned out to be as incredible as I had heard, of course; when the early episodes released, I heard a lot about how even small things seemed to have consequences, right down to whether you water your plant or not. Now that the entire game is available, it’s apparent that the only actual consequences many of these things have are small dialogue changes that don’t end up mattering. However, unlike The Wolf Among Us, which annoyed me with its lies about reactivity, Life Is Strange does change a bit in the middle of the game depending on whether a certain character is alive or dead. It’s also completely devoid of QTE sections, and includes little touches like the need to occasionally piece together clues or sneak around someone in a stealth section. Even without all of that, though, the writing is more than enough to make this a must-play title. Read more →
Life Is Strange is a great game, and DONTNOD’s character designs are every bit as great as they were in Remember Me. Arguably even better, in fact, because while the graphics in general aren’t quite as realistic, the characters all have their own style that’s uniquely memorable. That’s not a small thing, either; since the story takes place in a high school/small town setting, a lot of what the characters are doing turns out to be unremarkable normal-people stuff that would be easily forgettable in most games. Their uniqueness makes it that much easier to remember tiny details about them that you saw hours earlier while snooping around, though, and that can go a long way (and even save a character’s life).
The game has a pretty serious problem with color banding and some occasionally-blocky shadows, but the writing and characters more than make up for any small graphical blemishes. Most of the time, the game is stunning, with the composition of many scenes mirroring the game’s focus on photography and the edges of the screen being blurred ever-so-slightly (and given a little chromatic aberration) so that they’re out of focus and reminiscent of a photograph. Read more →
Life Is Strange is the last game I’ve played as of this writing, and I loved it. I can’t remember another game that’s allowed me to become so totally invested in its characters, and that’s saying a lot considering how many of those characters are of the “dumb insecure teenager” type that so often manages to be little more than grating. Even my cold, unfeeling heart was sporadically moved to feel twinges of emotion over the course of the game’s five episodes. That said, there are a number of niggling story details that didn’t add up to me. Are they plot holes left there to slowly drive me mad? I suppose that’s always a possibility, but I still can’t help but believe that a lot of the stuff in the game is purposeful and hinting at the truth behind the events in the game being more complex than it first appears. Oh, and in case it’s not painfully apparent yet, this post will be full of hella spoilers, shaka brah, so stop reading unless you’ve finished the game or just don’t care. Read more →
Pirates! is a game I’ve had installed for an absurd amount of time, and its long period of neglect was largely due to my worry that I didn’t have enough time for it; not only do the Civilization games bearing Sid’s name manage to be a black hole of a time sink, but the Pirates! series includes two other games in the original DOS version and its Gold remake that I felt obligated to play through in order to get a feel for how the games have evolved over time before reviewing the 2004 incarnation. Lately I’ve been working on playing through the depressing number of games I’ve installed and ignored, however, so I braced myself and finally began to play through all three games. Read more →