Showing results for tags 'bastion'. - Extra Life Community Hub Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'bastion'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Categories

  • Extra Life News
    • Extra Life Updates
    • Best Practices
    • Community Content
    • Why I Extra Life
    • Fundraising
    • Contests
  • Gaming News
  • Features
  • Podcast

Discussions

  • Extra Life Discussions
    • General Extra Life Discussion
    • Local Extra Lifers
    • Fundraising Ideas
    • Live Streaming Tips & Tricks
    • Official Extra Life Stream Team Discussion
    • Extra Life JSON Code Discussion & Sharing
    • Extra Life United
    • Extra Life Q & A
  • Articles & Extra Life Announcements
    • Announcements
  • Official Extra Life Guilds
    • Guild information and Discussion
    • Canada
    • Northeastern US
    • Southeastern US
    • Central US
    • Western US
  • Gaming Discussions
  • Other Stuff
  • Denver Extra Life Guild's Recent Posts

Calendars

  • Extra Life Community Calendar
  • Extra Life Stream Team
  • Akron Guild
  • Albany Guild
  • Albuquerque Guild
  • Anchorage Guild
  • Atlanta Guild
  • Austin Guild
  • Bakersfield Guild
  • Baltimore Guild
  • Birmingham Guild
  • Boston Guild
  • Burlington Guild
  • Buffalo Guild
  • Calgary, AB Guild
  • Morgantown Guild
  • Charlottesville Guild
  • Chicago Guild
  • Cincinnati Guild
  • Cleveland Guild
  • Columbia, MO Guild
  • Columbus, OH Guild
  • Dallas Guild
  • Dayton Guild
  • Denver Guild
  • Des Moines Guild
  • Detroit Guild
  • Edmonton, AB Guild
  • Fargo-Valley City Guild
  • Fresno Guild
  • Ft. Worth Guild
  • Gainesville-Tallahassee Guild
  • Grand Rapids Guild
  • Halifax, NS Guild
  • Hamilton, ON Guild
  • Hartford Guild
  • Hershey Guild
  • Hudson Valley Guild
  • Houston Guild
  • Indianapolis Guild
  • Jacksonville Guild
  • Kansas City Guild
  • Knoxville Guild
  • Lansing Guild
  • London, ON Guild
  • Los Angeles Guild
  • Milwaukee / Madison Guild
  • Minneapolis / Twin Cities Guild
  • Montreal / Quebec City Guild
  • Nashville Guild
  • Newark Guild
  • NYC & Long Island Guild
  • Oakland / San Francisco Guild
  • Omaha Guild
  • Orange County Guild
  • Orlando Guild
  • Ottawa, ON Guild
  • Philadelphia Guild
  • Phoenix Guild
  • Pittsburgh Guild
  • Portland, OR Guild
  • Portland, ME Guild
  • Raleigh-Durham Guild
  • Richmond Guild
  • Sacramento Guild
  • Salt Lake City Guild
  • San Antonio Guild
  • San Diego Guild
  • San Juan, PR Guild
  • Saskatchewan Guild
  • Seattle Guild
  • Spokane Guild
  • Springfield-Champaign, IL Guild
  • Springfield, MA Guild
  • St. Louis Guild
  • Syracuse Guild
  • Tampa / St. Petersburg Guild
  • Toronto, ON Guild
  • Vancouver, BC Guild
  • Washington DC Guild
  • Winnipeg, MB Guild
  • Denver Extra Life Guild's Events
  • Extra Life Akron's Events

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


Hospital


Location


Why I "Extra Life"


Interests


Twitter


Instagram


Twitch


Mixer


Discord


Blizzard Battletag


Nintendo ID


PSN ID


Steam


Origin


Xbox Gamertag

Found 10 results

  1. Supergiant Games announced that an overhauled version of Bastion, their highly acclaimed isometric action RPG, is now available on Xbox One. The new version runs in 1080p, an improvement over the 720p resolution of the original. It also includes the Stranger's Dream DLC, which was added to Bastion post-launch and builds on Rucks' backstory. The Xbox One version isn't a mere port. Supergiant Games claims that the new iteration was built from the ground up to feel natural to the Xbox One. Since Supergiant Games is working on their 2017 title Pyre, the job of rebuilding Bastion fell to the Barcelona development studio Blitworks. If you own Bastion for Xbox 360 already, good news! The title is free on Xbox One for everyone who owns the 360 version until January 1, 2017. Those who are looking to pick up Bastion on console for the first time will have to shell out $14.99. The original Bastion launched on July 20, 2011. To date, the indie darling has sold over four million copies and garnered hundreds of awards for its art direction, music, voice work, and tight gameplay. Seriously, it might even be one of the best games of all-time. Due to its popularity, Bastion became the face of the indie game revolution for several years and made its way to almost every possible platform.
  2. Supergiant Games announced that an overhauled version of Bastion, their highly acclaimed isometric action RPG, is now available on Xbox One. The new version runs in 1080p, an improvement over the 720p resolution of the original. It also includes the Stranger's Dream DLC, which was added to Bastion post-launch and builds on Rucks' backstory. The Xbox One version isn't a mere port. Supergiant Games claims that the new iteration was built from the ground up to feel natural to the Xbox One. Since Supergiant Games is working on their 2017 title Pyre, the job of rebuilding Bastion fell to the Barcelona development studio Blitworks. If you own Bastion for Xbox 360 already, good news! The title is free on Xbox One for everyone who owns the 360 version until January 1, 2017. Those who are looking to pick up Bastion on console for the first time will have to shell out $14.99. The original Bastion launched on July 20, 2011. To date, the indie darling has sold over four million copies and garnered hundreds of awards for its art direction, music, voice work, and tight gameplay. Seriously, it might even be one of the best games of all-time. Due to its popularity, Bastion became the face of the indie game revolution for several years and made its way to almost every possible platform. View full article
  3. Blizzard definitely took some notes from WALL-E while crafting their first animated short since shortly before the release of Overwatch. Titled 'The Last Bastion,' the new animation spans over seven minutes and conveys its story with no dialogue whatsoever. The short delves into the backstory of everyone's favorite turret-based robot, Bastion. And honestly? This might be Blizzard's best Overwatch short to date. It's gorgeous and might just make you feel some feelings. 'The Last Bastion' tells the story of Bastion waking up over a decade after the great Omnic Crisis that threatened to overwhelm the world with army of robots controlled by rogue AIs. For unknown reasons, Bastion had gone dormant during that time and seemingly would have remained that way. However, Ganymede, Bastion's little bird friend, seems to reactivate the robot while building a nest on its shoulder. Retaining its orders from over a decade ago, Bastion sets out to fulfill its programming. I'm not going to say that Blizzard should just make a division dedicated to cranking out animated movies, but I'd throw my money at them if they did.
  4. Blizzard definitely took some notes from WALL-E while crafting their first animated short since shortly before the release of Overwatch. Titled 'The Last Bastion,' the new animation spans over seven minutes and conveys its story with no dialogue whatsoever. The short delves into the backstory of everyone's favorite turret-based robot, Bastion. And honestly? This might be Blizzard's best Overwatch short to date. It's gorgeous and might just make you feel some feelings. 'The Last Bastion' tells the story of Bastion waking up over a decade after the great Omnic Crisis that threatened to overwhelm the world with army of robots controlled by rogue AIs. For unknown reasons, Bastion had gone dormant during that time and seemingly would have remained that way. However, Ganymede, Bastion's little bird friend, seems to reactivate the robot while building a nest on its shoulder. Retaining its orders from over a decade ago, Bastion sets out to fulfill its programming. I'm not going to say that Blizzard should just make a division dedicated to cranking out animated movies, but I'd throw my money at them if they did. View full article
  5. I believe that Transistor would classify as one of the few genuine video game tragedies, though such classification could doubtless be debated to death. Transistor is a game of paradoxes and mysteries. It is a tragedy, but it is also a tale of revenge. It focuses on the end of the world and the beginning of a new one. It is about an eloquent singer without a voice. Supergiant Games designed almost everything in Transistor with multiple purposes in mind. While this might seem confusing at first, it is really a dazzling testament to the talent at Supergiant Games. All the individual pieces of Transistor click together to create a cohesive and interesting whole that is shocking, beautiful, and full of silent rage. Inevitably people will compare Transistor with Supergiant Games’ first project, Bastion. On a purely surface level, Transistor shares a similar sense of style and world-building with its predecessor. It is highly stylized, played from an isometric perspective, and there is a constant voice helping to clarify the narrative and objectives. However, in almost every other respect it is an entirely different sort of beast. Nothing in Transistor is straightforward. The story begins with a murder gone wrong and a stolen voice. Red, the protagonist, was a famous and influential singer in the city of Cloudbank, until a group of individuals known as the Camerata attempted to silence her permanently. They only half succeeded. Though they stole her voice and managed to kill the mysterious man who was with her at the time, Red finds herself armed with the assassins’ weapon: the sword-like Transistor. Rather than run and escape Cloudbank, Red decides to take the fight to the Camerata just as a strange mass of creatures known as The Process begin to tear the world apart. Most of the talking done in the game is done by the Transistor itself which has absorbed the soul of the unknown man who was killed instead of Red. Red herself can only communicate back by typing on the various terminals scattered throughout Cloudbank. Because of her lack of voice, Red’s motivations and intentions are left to the player to interpret and aren’t necessarily clear until the final moments of Transistor. The narrative takes some strange turns and brings up a lot of questions that it doesn’t completely answer, at least not after a preliminary playthrough. What starts out seeming like a simple, little story ends up asking huge questions that feel relevant to our rapidly advancing, digital society. After having a few days to mull it over, I think I have a firm grasp on what Transistor was all about, what it meant. I’ve been trying to think of a less pretentious way of saying this, but I haven’t been able to come up with one: Transistor’s narrative doesn’t stoop to accommodate everyone. It requires a bit of effort on the part of the player to understand and piece together what happened over the course of the game. It isn’t a grand mystery, but it is an exercise in interpretation (which I think is bloody fantastic to see in a video game). Many games feel the need to spell themselves out, but Transistor understands that you don’t need to spell everything out and that sometimes conclusions that players reach themselves feel all the more valuable because they had to reach for them alone. There are going to be a fair number of people who won’t feel like delving into the narrative of Transistor and that’s fine. However, those people will be missing out on part of what makes this game truly great. The Transistor can absorb the fragments a person leaves behind after their death and make use of their power in combat. While the gameplay of Transistor initially feels very similar to the action-oriented gameplay of Bastion, a major addition changes everything. The Transistor allows the player to stop time and plan out a certain number of actions, which then unfold within the span of a half-second. This lends the game an almost turn-based feel as the time-stopping mechanic takes several seconds to recharge after being expended, during which the player is left vulnerable and unable to use (most) abilities. There are four ability slots that are open at any given time, each with one open augment slot (which can be upgraded to two augment slots), and later in the game there are unlockable passive skill slots. There are tons of different ability combinations for players to explore and discover what configurations they prefer. However, for those curious about the world and characters of Cloudbank, no combination will be satisfactory for long. Every person that the Transistor absorbs has a story and you unlock different pieces of their story by using their power as a main ability, and augmentation, or as a passive. If you want to discover everything about Transistor, you’ll be constantly forced to incorporate new abilities in different ways and adapt your strategies accordingly. While background information might not be enough of a motivation for some players to experiment with their preferred abilities, I found it to be very effective at getting me out of comfortable ruts with tried and true strategies. Right up until the end of the game I continued to acquire new soul fragments; only reverting to what I found to be my most powerful ability configuration for the final, climactic battle. While I found Transistor to be at a well-balanced difficulty, players looking for more of a challenge will be able to use unlockable limiters to give themselves combat restrictions in order to get more experience points. While the meat of Transistor revolves around its combat, there are many small, caring touches that make the game world feel a bit more human. These little things range from a button that allows Red to hold the Transistor tightly and hum along with the background music to a short pizza party sequence that results from interacting with a certain terminal. Those two examples might not seem like much, but they make the characters feel like people rather than pawns. Those slight moments inform and reinforce the rest of the game while simultaneously serving to briefly lighten the mood. Heavy topics arose throughout my time of Transistor and having some breaks, however short they might be, from looming catastrophe was welcome. Transistor’s world is dramatic, bold, and beautiful largely due to the work of art director Jen Zee and composer Darren Korb. Transistor is doubtlessly some of the finest work that either of them have ever done. You could take a screenshot from just about any portion of Transistor, crop out the UI elements, slap a frame on it and it would look right at home in an art exhibit. Seriously, I cannot emphasize how gorgeous I found Transistor. The lovely visuals are likewise complimented by an amazing techno-jazz-electronica-noir soundtrack that seemed to insistently pull me forward, giving me a sense of urgency. The few tracks that make use of Ashley Barrett’s incredible voice serve as a reminder of what Red has lost. For all of the energy present in the Korb’s excellent soundtrack, many of the pieces contain hints of sadness and loss, heralding the direction events are destined to take. (Warning: The Transistor soundtrack contains some light spoilers) Conclusion: Transistor is not a game to play if you are looking to turn your brain off. The combat asks for tactics and the story requires some thought. It isn’t a long game, easily finished in two or three sittings, but it needs a certain level of engagement. It tells a tale of heartbreaking reprisal and presents moral questions to its audience. Some players might be dismayed at the lack of choices and exploration. However, Transistor is largely an on-rails sort of experience; not having a large degree of player choice or exploration aren’t bad things, they are simply different ways to make a game. As a game, Transistor is a deep and thoroughly enjoyable experience. As a narrative, Transistor sits as one of the best video game tragedies of all time. Transistor was reviewed on PC. It is currently also available on PlayStation 4
  6. I believe that Transistor would classify as one of the few genuine video game tragedies, though such classification could doubtless be debated to death. Transistor is a game of paradoxes and mysteries. It is a tragedy, but it is also a tale of revenge. It focuses on the end of the world and the beginning of a new one. It is about an eloquent singer without a voice. Supergiant Games designed almost everything in Transistor with multiple purposes in mind. While this might seem confusing at first, it is really a dazzling testament to the talent at Supergiant Games. All the individual pieces of Transistor click together to create a cohesive and interesting whole that is shocking, beautiful, and full of silent rage. Inevitably people will compare Transistor with Supergiant Games’ first project, Bastion. On a purely surface level, Transistor shares a similar sense of style and world-building with its predecessor. It is highly stylized, played from an isometric perspective, and there is a constant voice helping to clarify the narrative and objectives. However, in almost every other respect it is an entirely different sort of beast. Nothing in Transistor is straightforward. The story begins with a murder gone wrong and a stolen voice. Red, the protagonist, was a famous and influential singer in the city of Cloudbank, until a group of individuals known as the Camerata attempted to silence her permanently. They only half succeeded. Though they stole her voice and managed to kill the mysterious man who was with her at the time, Red finds herself armed with the assassins’ weapon: the sword-like Transistor. Rather than run and escape Cloudbank, Red decides to take the fight to the Camerata just as a strange mass of creatures known as The Process begin to tear the world apart. Most of the talking done in the game is done by the Transistor itself which has absorbed the soul of the unknown man who was killed instead of Red. Red herself can only communicate back by typing on the various terminals scattered throughout Cloudbank. Because of her lack of voice, Red’s motivations and intentions are left to the player to interpret and aren’t necessarily clear until the final moments of Transistor. The narrative takes some strange turns and brings up a lot of questions that it doesn’t completely answer, at least not after a preliminary playthrough. What starts out seeming like a simple, little story ends up asking huge questions that feel relevant to our rapidly advancing, digital society. After having a few days to mull it over, I think I have a firm grasp on what Transistor was all about, what it meant. I’ve been trying to think of a less pretentious way of saying this, but I haven’t been able to come up with one: Transistor’s narrative doesn’t stoop to accommodate everyone. It requires a bit of effort on the part of the player to understand and piece together what happened over the course of the game. It isn’t a grand mystery, but it is an exercise in interpretation (which I think is bloody fantastic to see in a video game). Many games feel the need to spell themselves out, but Transistor understands that you don’t need to spell everything out and that sometimes conclusions that players reach themselves feel all the more valuable because they had to reach for them alone. There are going to be a fair number of people who won’t feel like delving into the narrative of Transistor and that’s fine. However, those people will be missing out on part of what makes this game truly great. The Transistor can absorb the fragments a person leaves behind after their death and make use of their power in combat. While the gameplay of Transistor initially feels very similar to the action-oriented gameplay of Bastion, a major addition changes everything. The Transistor allows the player to stop time and plan out a certain number of actions, which then unfold within the span of a half-second. This lends the game an almost turn-based feel as the time-stopping mechanic takes several seconds to recharge after being expended, during which the player is left vulnerable and unable to use (most) abilities. There are four ability slots that are open at any given time, each with one open augment slot (which can be upgraded to two augment slots), and later in the game there are unlockable passive skill slots. There are tons of different ability combinations for players to explore and discover what configurations they prefer. However, for those curious about the world and characters of Cloudbank, no combination will be satisfactory for long. Every person that the Transistor absorbs has a story and you unlock different pieces of their story by using their power as a main ability, and augmentation, or as a passive. If you want to discover everything about Transistor, you’ll be constantly forced to incorporate new abilities in different ways and adapt your strategies accordingly. While background information might not be enough of a motivation for some players to experiment with their preferred abilities, I found it to be very effective at getting me out of comfortable ruts with tried and true strategies. Right up until the end of the game I continued to acquire new soul fragments; only reverting to what I found to be my most powerful ability configuration for the final, climactic battle. While I found Transistor to be at a well-balanced difficulty, players looking for more of a challenge will be able to use unlockable limiters to give themselves combat restrictions in order to get more experience points. While the meat of Transistor revolves around its combat, there are many small, caring touches that make the game world feel a bit more human. These little things range from a button that allows Red to hold the Transistor tightly and hum along with the background music to a short pizza party sequence that results from interacting with a certain terminal. Those two examples might not seem like much, but they make the characters feel like people rather than pawns. Those slight moments inform and reinforce the rest of the game while simultaneously serving to briefly lighten the mood. Heavy topics arose throughout my time of Transistor and having some breaks, however short they might be, from looming catastrophe was welcome. Transistor’s world is dramatic, bold, and beautiful largely due to the work of art director Jen Zee and composer Darren Korb. Transistor is doubtlessly some of the finest work that either of them have ever done. You could take a screenshot from just about any portion of Transistor, crop out the UI elements, slap a frame on it and it would look right at home in an art exhibit. Seriously, I cannot emphasize how gorgeous I found Transistor. The lovely visuals are likewise complimented by an amazing techno-jazz-electronica-noir soundtrack that seemed to insistently pull me forward, giving me a sense of urgency. The few tracks that make use of Ashley Barrett’s incredible voice serve as a reminder of what Red has lost. For all of the energy present in the Korb’s excellent soundtrack, many of the pieces contain hints of sadness and loss, heralding the direction events are destined to take. (Warning: The Transistor soundtrack contains some light spoilers) Conclusion: Transistor is not a game to play if you are looking to turn your brain off. The combat asks for tactics and the story requires some thought. It isn’t a long game, easily finished in two or three sittings, but it needs a certain level of engagement. It tells a tale of heartbreaking reprisal and presents moral questions to its audience. Some players might be dismayed at the lack of choices and exploration. However, Transistor is largely an on-rails sort of experience; not having a large degree of player choice or exploration aren’t bad things, they are simply different ways to make a game. As a game, Transistor is a deep and thoroughly enjoyable experience. As a narrative, Transistor sits as one of the best video game tragedies of all time. Transistor was reviewed on PC. It is currently also available on PlayStation 4 View full article
  7. If there is one thing that I’ve learned from writing in the video game industry it is that people go bananas for top ten lists. Since console generations don’t come along every day, I thought I would take this opportunity to reminisce on the past few years of gaming history and write a list. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I present to you the top ten video games of the previous console age. 10. The Stanley Parable The strength of The Stanley Parable isn’t in its gameplay, which consists only of movement, or aesthetic, which is that of a bland office building. No, the strength of The Stanley Parable lies in the high-caliber writing and the fantastic voice acting by Kevan Brighting as the Narrator. The Stanley Parable explores the issues of game design in a hilarious fashion and makes its points by responding to whatever the player does. The difficulties of creating for an interactive medium are so clearly illustrated by what players decide to do that it is hard, or even impossible, to imagine The Stanley Parable in any other medium because so much of what it has to say is told through a player’s interaction with it. And that is something that I have never experienced to such a degree with anything else in this medium. 9. Sid Meier’s Civilization V It is by no means an overstatement to say that Civilization is one of the best turn-based 4X strategy franchises on the market. While Civilization IV also came out during this generation, the dramatic shift away from squares in favor of hexagons and the elimination of unit stacking opened up more interesting combat scenarios and paths to victory. The end result of revising these mechanics was a much more fluid and exciting game relatively free of massive stacks of units entrenched against each other. Smaller empires became more viable and more mechanics were added later through hefty expansions that deepened the gameplay and added unique paths to victory such as espionage and faith. Civilization V strikes a great balance between the various methods of victory: combat, culture, diplomacy, and science. Other turn-based 4X games that follow in Civ V’s footsteps will surely be taking cues from this shining example of strategy for the foreseeable future, which earns Civilization V a place on this list. 8. Red Dead Redemption One of the biggest problems inherent to the design of open world games has always been effectively conveying impactful stories. Allowing players to goof off or pursue side quests between important plot points often diminishes the effectiveness of an open world game’s storytelling. Red Dead Redemption seems to be the exception to the rule. While there are sidequests and plenty of distractions to keep the completionists busy for years, the main focus of Red Dead Redemption never wavers from protagonist John Marston’s quest to escape the specters of his checkered past and save his family. That dedication to story eventually pays off with what ranks as one of the best video game endings ever that is shocking, sad, anger-inducing, and ultimately satisfying all at once. The ending alone would be enough to elevate red Dead Redemption to a position on this list, but toss in solid third-person shooting mechanics and leaving it out would be a crime. 7. BioShock Infinite I’m just going to come out and say it: BioShock Infinite had the most interesting narrative of any first-person shooter released this generation. Some people might argue that the first BioShock was better in some respects, but Infinite had so much more to offer on a narrative level that it makes the original look like a pale reflection. Themes of racism, isolationism, overzealous nationalism, religious persecution, predestination, and more pervade the game and open it up for interpretation on numerous levels. Furthermore, carrying on BioShock’s tradition of meta-comments on gaming and gamers, the ending of Infinite not only takes into account all of the players of BioShock Infinite, but also retroactively the players of the first BioShock and provides a new perspective on the material in both games. On top of that, Infinite’s city in the clouds was astoundingly beautiful which provided a great contrasted with the horrific violence and bigotry that lurked just beneath the surface of Columbia. Remember, there is always a lighthouse. 6. Mass Effect 3 The culmination of the Mass Effect trilogy was the ultimate payoff for players who had spent years of their lives, two games, and several packs of DLC building up to the final conclusion of a galaxy in peril. After carrying over the same Commander Shepard from game to game along with the baggage of all the difficult decisions made along the way, the finale carried so much meaning for players. Mass Effect 3 was better for all the time spent developing the characters in Mass Effect 1 and 2. The ending left people so vehemently divided because they cared so deeply about the universe of the series and the ending wasn’t what they expected. Was it bad? Personally, I enjoyed the game before the extended ending was released and I enjoyed it afterward. The game was more than its ending, though. Mass Effect 3 was a vast improvement over the first and second entries in the series: the story was more focused, the sidequests were more interesting, and combat was drastically improved to the point that an enjoyable multiplayer could be built around it. More than any of that, though, I loved Mass Effect 3 because after all of the choices I made as a player over the course of five years, the story came to feel personal, like it belonged to me. And, well, that was special. 5. Braid Jonathan Blow’s masterpiece was one of the first big indie hits and became a symbol for what indie developers could achieve in a modern market via digital distribution. What many people found appealing about Braid isn’t hard to see: fantastic art design, interesting time warping mechanics, and an abundance of clever puzzles. At first glance, Braid appears to be a traditional 2D platformer in the vein of Super Mario Bros. However, anyone who believes Braid to be nothing more than a pretty game with cunning mechanics is sorely mistaken. Tim, Braid’s protagonist, becomes the most interesting element of the game by shrewdly playing with the commonly accepted conventions of the platforming genre. By the time the credits roll, Braid has introduced the concept of the unreliable narrator to video games (or would that be the unreliable avatar?) and left a feeling of uncertainty. I’ve played through Braid multiple times and I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand it, but I am sure that it is one of the most influential games of this generation. 4. Portal Portal is the textbook example of near perfect game design in the modern era of video gaming. Its simple-yet-complex gameplay slowly escalates in difficulty along with a gradually revealed antagonist who is delightfully sadistic and entertaining. The game world similarly reflects the gameplay design by going with a deceptively simple aesthetic. Sterile environments surround the player initially, but eventually cryptic warnings in nooks and crannies start to peel away the benign façade. One of the best parts about Portal is that it knows not to overstay its welcome. The game is long enough to be satisfying and feel like an adventure, but short enough so that the mechanics of the portal gun don’t start to feel overused or gimmicky. Portal isn’t just one of the best games of this generation, but it can hold its own as one of the best video games ever made. 3. Journey The minimalistic, “less is more” approach to game design has always appealed to me since Ico made waves back in 2001. Thatgamecompany has taken a similar design philosophy to heart with fantastic titles like Flow, Flower, and ultimately in their Opus, Journey. Journey is a simple platformer with some minor points of open exploration and only the barest hints of online play, yet its sophistication and subtlety set it so far ahead of most games that it feels transcendent. The animations and art direction are so well crafted that every time you jump you can feel the joy radiating from your character or the tense fear of being hunted. The musical score of Journey can touch even the stoniest of hearts and dredge up considerable emotion. All of these are great, but one of the most remarkable aspects of Journey is the inclusion of drop-in online co-op. Other players online can walk into and out of your game, drastically altering the experience with their presence. Some people are friendly and helpful, others lone wolves with no time to spare. Journey can be funny, sad, angry, lonely, and joyful all at once. Quite simply, Journey is a beautiful game in every sense of the word; a game that everyone should play at least once in their lives. 2. Bastion Developer Supergiant Games is one of the most amazing developers to spring into being this generation. They have a knack for crafting amazing games with a signature artistic and musical flair. Bastion’s quality is obvious from the first minute of gameplay. Playing through the shattered fragments of Bastion’s world is like stepping into a fantastical storybook unlike anything you’ve ever read. The similarities to a story book are further reinforced by the compelling narration that follows players’ every move, emphasizing the simultaneously wonderful and sad fairy tale feel. The amazing soundtrack by Darren Korb is a huge credit to Bastion and works with the other audiovisual components to enthrall players. The story takes unpredictable turns as it gradually unfolds and ultimately leaves players with a heartbreaking choice. Bastion is a fairy tale that spellbinds players and doesn’t let go until the credits roll. 1. Minecraft The sheer genius of Minecraft is that it gives players a set of tools and then unleashes them within a world that is practically infinite. That world, and by extension the game, can become pretty much anything the player wants it to be. Feel like building something without having to worry about pesky things like deadly monsters or dangerous falls? You can play in a creative world where you have the ability to fly and have access to infinite resources. Do you want a more adventurous experience? Start a survival world and brave the horrors of night and Nether to find the gateway to The End. Content update after content update have been added to the game for free since its release, leading to more blocks, more monsters, more… everything. While offline Minecraft certainly shines, playing online with friends and tackling a colossal project or deciding to journey together into the unknown begets a spirit of camaraderie and excitement unrivaled by many triple-A releases. On top of that, Minecraft’s simplistic aesthetic strikes me as incredibly beautiful, to say nothing of the endless supply of texture packs which add new visual effects. The massive popularity of Minecraft speaks to how much it resonates with its players, and while popularity doesn’t necessarily indicate quality in any form of media, in this case it is not hard to see why so many people have fallen in love with the title. No other games this generation come remotely close to what Minecraft offers its audience: The chance to unlock pure imagination. Feel free to tell me how wrong I am, agree with me, or even better share your own lists in the comments. View full article
  8. If there is one thing that I’ve learned from writing in the video game industry it is that people go bananas for top ten lists. Since console generations don’t come along every day, I thought I would take this opportunity to reminisce on the past few years of gaming history and write a list. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I present to you the top ten video games of the previous console age. 10. The Stanley Parable The strength of The Stanley Parable isn’t in its gameplay, which consists only of movement, or aesthetic, which is that of a bland office building. No, the strength of The Stanley Parable lies in the high-caliber writing and the fantastic voice acting by Kevan Brighting as the Narrator. The Stanley Parable explores the issues of game design in a hilarious fashion and makes its points by responding to whatever the player does. The difficulties of creating for an interactive medium are so clearly illustrated by what players decide to do that it is hard, or even impossible, to imagine The Stanley Parable in any other medium because so much of what it has to say is told through a player’s interaction with it. And that is something that I have never experienced to such a degree with anything else in this medium. 9. Sid Meier’s Civilization V It is by no means an overstatement to say that Civilization is one of the best turn-based 4X strategy franchises on the market. While Civilization IV also came out during this generation, the dramatic shift away from squares in favor of hexagons and the elimination of unit stacking opened up more interesting combat scenarios and paths to victory. The end result of revising these mechanics was a much more fluid and exciting game relatively free of massive stacks of units entrenched against each other. Smaller empires became more viable and more mechanics were added later through hefty expansions that deepened the gameplay and added unique paths to victory such as espionage and faith. Civilization V strikes a great balance between the various methods of victory: combat, culture, diplomacy, and science. Other turn-based 4X games that follow in Civ V’s footsteps will surely be taking cues from this shining example of strategy for the foreseeable future, which earns Civilization V a place on this list. 8. Red Dead Redemption One of the biggest problems inherent to the design of open world games has always been effectively conveying impactful stories. Allowing players to goof off or pursue side quests between important plot points often diminishes the effectiveness of an open world game’s storytelling. Red Dead Redemption seems to be the exception to the rule. While there are sidequests and plenty of distractions to keep the completionists busy for years, the main focus of Red Dead Redemption never wavers from protagonist John Marston’s quest to escape the specters of his checkered past and save his family. That dedication to story eventually pays off with what ranks as one of the best video game endings ever that is shocking, sad, anger-inducing, and ultimately satisfying all at once. The ending alone would be enough to elevate red Dead Redemption to a position on this list, but toss in solid third-person shooting mechanics and leaving it out would be a crime. 7. BioShock Infinite I’m just going to come out and say it: BioShock Infinite had the most interesting narrative of any first-person shooter released this generation. Some people might argue that the first BioShock was better in some respects, but Infinite had so much more to offer on a narrative level that it makes the original look like a pale reflection. Themes of racism, isolationism, overzealous nationalism, religious persecution, predestination, and more pervade the game and open it up for interpretation on numerous levels. Furthermore, carrying on BioShock’s tradition of meta-comments on gaming and gamers, the ending of Infinite not only takes into account all of the players of BioShock Infinite, but also retroactively the players of the first BioShock and provides a new perspective on the material in both games. On top of that, Infinite’s city in the clouds was astoundingly beautiful which provided a great contrasted with the horrific violence and bigotry that lurked just beneath the surface of Columbia. Remember, there is always a lighthouse. 6. Mass Effect 3 The culmination of the Mass Effect trilogy was the ultimate payoff for players who had spent years of their lives, two games, and several packs of DLC building up to the final conclusion of a galaxy in peril. After carrying over the same Commander Shepard from game to game along with the baggage of all the difficult decisions made along the way, the finale carried so much meaning for players. Mass Effect 3 was better for all the time spent developing the characters in Mass Effect 1 and 2. The ending left people so vehemently divided because they cared so deeply about the universe of the series and the ending wasn’t what they expected. Was it bad? Personally, I enjoyed the game before the extended ending was released and I enjoyed it afterward. The game was more than its ending, though. Mass Effect 3 was a vast improvement over the first and second entries in the series: the story was more focused, the sidequests were more interesting, and combat was drastically improved to the point that an enjoyable multiplayer could be built around it. More than any of that, though, I loved Mass Effect 3 because after all of the choices I made as a player over the course of five years, the story came to feel personal, like it belonged to me. And, well, that was special. 5. Braid Jonathan Blow’s masterpiece was one of the first big indie hits and became a symbol for what indie developers could achieve in a modern market via digital distribution. What many people found appealing about Braid isn’t hard to see: fantastic art design, interesting time warping mechanics, and an abundance of clever puzzles. At first glance, Braid appears to be a traditional 2D platformer in the vein of Super Mario Bros. However, anyone who believes Braid to be nothing more than a pretty game with cunning mechanics is sorely mistaken. Tim, Braid’s protagonist, becomes the most interesting element of the game by shrewdly playing with the commonly accepted conventions of the platforming genre. By the time the credits roll, Braid has introduced the concept of the unreliable narrator to video games (or would that be the unreliable avatar?) and left a feeling of uncertainty. I’ve played through Braid multiple times and I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand it, but I am sure that it is one of the most influential games of this generation. 4. Portal Portal is the textbook example of near perfect game design in the modern era of video gaming. Its simple-yet-complex gameplay slowly escalates in difficulty along with a gradually revealed antagonist who is delightfully sadistic and entertaining. The game world similarly reflects the gameplay design by going with a deceptively simple aesthetic. Sterile environments surround the player initially, but eventually cryptic warnings in nooks and crannies start to peel away the benign façade. One of the best parts about Portal is that it knows not to overstay its welcome. The game is long enough to be satisfying and feel like an adventure, but short enough so that the mechanics of the portal gun don’t start to feel overused or gimmicky. Portal isn’t just one of the best games of this generation, but it can hold its own as one of the best video games ever made. 3. Journey The minimalistic, “less is more” approach to game design has always appealed to me since Ico made waves back in 2001. Thatgamecompany has taken a similar design philosophy to heart with fantastic titles like Flow, Flower, and ultimately in their Opus, Journey. Journey is a simple platformer with some minor points of open exploration and only the barest hints of online play, yet its sophistication and subtlety set it so far ahead of most games that it feels transcendent. The animations and art direction are so well crafted that every time you jump you can feel the joy radiating from your character or the tense fear of being hunted. The musical score of Journey can touch even the stoniest of hearts and dredge up considerable emotion. All of these are great, but one of the most remarkable aspects of Journey is the inclusion of drop-in online co-op. Other players online can walk into and out of your game, drastically altering the experience with their presence. Some people are friendly and helpful, others lone wolves with no time to spare. Journey can be funny, sad, angry, lonely, and joyful all at once. Quite simply, Journey is a beautiful game in every sense of the word; a game that everyone should play at least once in their lives. 2. Bastion Developer Supergiant Games is one of the most amazing developers to spring into being this generation. They have a knack for crafting amazing games with a signature artistic and musical flair. Bastion’s quality is obvious from the first minute of gameplay. Playing through the shattered fragments of Bastion’s world is like stepping into a fantastical storybook unlike anything you’ve ever read. The similarities to a story book are further reinforced by the compelling narration that follows players’ every move, emphasizing the simultaneously wonderful and sad fairy tale feel. The amazing soundtrack by Darren Korb is a huge credit to Bastion and works with the other audiovisual components to enthrall players. The story takes unpredictable turns as it gradually unfolds and ultimately leaves players with a heartbreaking choice. Bastion is a fairy tale that spellbinds players and doesn’t let go until the credits roll. 1. Minecraft The sheer genius of Minecraft is that it gives players a set of tools and then unleashes them within a world that is practically infinite. That world, and by extension the game, can become pretty much anything the player wants it to be. Feel like building something without having to worry about pesky things like deadly monsters or dangerous falls? You can play in a creative world where you have the ability to fly and have access to infinite resources. Do you want a more adventurous experience? Start a survival world and brave the horrors of night and Nether to find the gateway to The End. Content update after content update have been added to the game for free since its release, leading to more blocks, more monsters, more… everything. While offline Minecraft certainly shines, playing online with friends and tackling a colossal project or deciding to journey together into the unknown begets a spirit of camaraderie and excitement unrivaled by many triple-A releases. On top of that, Minecraft’s simplistic aesthetic strikes me as incredibly beautiful, to say nothing of the endless supply of texture packs which add new visual effects. The massive popularity of Minecraft speaks to how much it resonates with its players, and while popularity doesn’t necessarily indicate quality in any form of media, in this case it is not hard to see why so many people have fallen in love with the title. No other games this generation come remotely close to what Minecraft offers its audience: The chance to unlock pure imagination. Feel free to tell me how wrong I am, agree with me, or even better share your own lists in the comments.
  9. At E3 2013, Sony went out of its way to demonstrate its support of indie titles and developers, dedicating a large section of their booth area specifically to independent games. One of the games on display was Supergiant Games’ Transistor which I was able to play for a sizable chunk of time. The demo of Transistor began with text, explaining that assassins had been silencing the important voices of Cloudbank one by one and that Red, one of the most famous and beloved singers in the city, was next. These assassins, who belong to a group known as “The Process,” fail to kill Red, but succeed in taking her voice. Red is saved by clutching onto the Transistor, a sword-like device that contains a sentient intelligence and can absorb other minds into its own. The Transistor whisks Red to safety on the other side of Cloudbank, where it explains to her what it is and who The Process are. Red sheds her impractical singer’s garb and takes off on the run from the homicidal machines of The Process. As I progressed through the level, I encountered people who had recently died or were dying. The Transistor was able to communicate with them and convince their souls to come along on the adventure, absorbing them into itself. Each time this occurred, a new ability was unlocked to use in battle. After unlocking all the abilities in the demo, I was able to attack with a short-range shockwave, a long-range piercing laser, a devastating cluster bomb attack, and teleport dash through obstacles and enemies to use sneak attacks. Much like Supergiant Games’ critically acclaimed Bastion, combat occurs in real-time. However, players can now freeze time and plan out their next few moves in advance before executing them in quick succession. This adds a very enjoyable layer of strategy to engaging enemies in combat. Players won’t be able to use this ability continuously. A bar at the top of the screen depletes after each usage, and players will need to wait until it fills back up again to unleash their strategic fury upon their foes. There are light RPG elements to the combat, as well. You can see how much life enemies have and how much damage you do to them. After a combo done in strategic mode, a small message will appear next to an enemy which tells you how well you did against it. I actually laughed out loud after I unleashed a flurry of attacks against a boss creature and the message progressed from “Great!” to “Overkill” to “Seriously, can’t you read?” Transistor felt really at home on the PS4. The Supergiant team did a great job mapping the controls to appropriate and natural feeling buttons and creating a pretty self-explanatory HUD. Each attack was mapped to one of the controller’s face buttons, while R2 controlled the time freeze ability. There was just something intangibly satisfying about destroying enemies in both real-time and in the lightning strikes following the time freeze. Given that Red has lost her voice, the Transistor becomes her voice. It talks constantly, explaining the world and monologue-ing about the state of affairs in which the two find themselves. The demo ends with the Transistor urging her to escape, but Red silently riding her motorcycle back into the heart of Cloudbank with the amazed Transistor in tow. I honestly couldn't wait to see what happened next and how abilities would be expanded and improved further along in the game. Visually and audibly, Transistor impressed me. I even heard that someone (i.e. me) put the trailer for Supergiant Games’ next hit on loop in a YouTube playlist, just to hear its music and see the visuals. But don’t just take my word for it. You can watch the trailer below: Transistor will release in early 2014 on PS4 and PC.
  10. At E3 2013, Sony went out of its way to demonstrate its support of indie titles and developers, dedicating a large section of their booth area specifically to independent games. One of the games on display was Supergiant Games’ Transistor which I was able to play for a sizable chunk of time. The demo of Transistor began with text, explaining that assassins had been silencing the important voices of Cloudbank one by one and that Red, one of the most famous and beloved singers in the city, was next. These assassins, who belong to a group known as “The Process,” fail to kill Red, but succeed in taking her voice. Red is saved by clutching onto the Transistor, a sword-like device that contains a sentient intelligence and can absorb other minds into its own. The Transistor whisks Red to safety on the other side of Cloudbank, where it explains to her what it is and who The Process are. Red sheds her impractical singer’s garb and takes off on the run from the homicidal machines of The Process. As I progressed through the level, I encountered people who had recently died or were dying. The Transistor was able to communicate with them and convince their souls to come along on the adventure, absorbing them into itself. Each time this occurred, a new ability was unlocked to use in battle. After unlocking all the abilities in the demo, I was able to attack with a short-range shockwave, a long-range piercing laser, a devastating cluster bomb attack, and teleport dash through obstacles and enemies to use sneak attacks. Much like Supergiant Games’ critically acclaimed Bastion, combat occurs in real-time. However, players can now freeze time and plan out their next few moves in advance before executing them in quick succession. This adds a very enjoyable layer of strategy to engaging enemies in combat. Players won’t be able to use this ability continuously. A bar at the top of the screen depletes after each usage, and players will need to wait until it fills back up again to unleash their strategic fury upon their foes. There are light RPG elements to the combat, as well. You can see how much life enemies have and how much damage you do to them. After a combo done in strategic mode, a small message will appear next to an enemy which tells you how well you did against it. I actually laughed out loud after I unleashed a flurry of attacks against a boss creature and the message progressed from “Great!” to “Overkill” to “Seriously, can’t you read?” Transistor felt really at home on the PS4. The Supergiant team did a great job mapping the controls to appropriate and natural feeling buttons and creating a pretty self-explanatory HUD. Each attack was mapped to one of the controller’s face buttons, while R2 controlled the time freeze ability. There was just something intangibly satisfying about destroying enemies in both real-time and in the lightning strikes following the time freeze. Given that Red has lost her voice, the Transistor becomes her voice. It talks constantly, explaining the world and monologue-ing about the state of affairs in which the two find themselves. The demo ends with the Transistor urging her to escape, but Red silently riding her motorcycle back into the heart of Cloudbank with the amazed Transistor in tow. I honestly couldn't wait to see what happened next and how abilities would be expanded and improved further along in the game. Visually and audibly, Transistor impressed me. I even heard that someone (i.e. me) put the trailer for Supergiant Games’ next hit on loop in a YouTube playlist, just to hear its music and see the visuals. But don’t just take my word for it. You can watch the trailer below: Transistor will release in early 2014 on PS4 and PC. View full article
×
×
  • Create New...