A common theme explored throughout the visual novel medium in general is the idea of people not being quite what they appear at first glance.
The reason for this is mostly a practical one: the very nature of the visual novel medium makes deep dives into multifaceted, layered characters a viable thing for creators to explore. Enthusiasts of visual novels are already accustomed to the medium’s slow pace and relatively limited interactivity compared to games with a stronger emphasis on their mechanical components, so writers and developers are more than happy to allow us the opportunity to get to know the main cast extremely intimately.
That doesn’t mean those first impressions the characters set don’t matter, mind you. On the contrary, they are extremely important for setting expectations as to how those characters will behave and interact — and then, in some cases, subverting rather than confirming those expectations. Let’s take a look at how Our World is Ended’s cast presents itself in the early hours of the game as the narrative is getting underway.
Continue reading Our World is Ended: First Impressions are Lasting Impressions
Remember back when we explored Sonic 2006 and I suggested that game was an attempt to provide a “big-budget movie” type of Sonic experience? It’s hard not to see Sonic Forces as Sonic Team having another crack at that.
All the major components of “big-budget movie adaptation of popular series” are here: recognisable but somewhat different setting; established characters in unconventional situations; brand-new, original characters designed for newcomers in the audience to attach themselves to; and significantly higher stakes than seen elsewhere in the series as a whole.
If you’re a “once and done” kind of player, you can also probably add “done and dusted in two hours” to that list, too, but rest assured, if you’re the sort of person who likes collectibles, secret levels and objectives, there’s significantly more than that here. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog: Take 2
In 2011, Sonic turned 20. 1991 was a big year for the blue blur: he had his first ever public appearance in Sega’s arcade title Rad Mobile, then later in the year thrilled console gamers on both 8- and 16-bit Sega platforms with his first full adventures.
Naturally, such a significant anniversary needed to be celebrated — particularly since poor old Sonic had put up with plenty of resistance from press, public and even his own fans over the years. But how to go about it in a way that would please as many people as possible — or at least attempt to?
By acknowledging both his past and present, of course. Enter Sonic Generations.
Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog: Old Meets New
While there’s much to be said for a traditional shoot ’em up in which you simply blast everything while trying not to get blasted in return, sometimes it’s nice to enjoy something a bit different.
Triangle Service’s Minus Zero, part of the Shooting Love. 200X collection, is a great example. Consisting entirely of “lock-on” shooting and a nifty invincibility gimmick, it’s a highly enjoyable game that is great for a quick fix of making things explode should you feel the need — a single game is done and dusted in a matter of minutes, even if you can clear the whole thing!
Today, you can enjoy it either as part of the Shooting Love. 200X compilation on Xbox 360 (which is not region-free in its physical incarnation, but is available via the Games On Demand download platform in North America and Europe) or on PC via its Steam release.
Summer’s drawing to a close in Arland just as it’s starting to get nice and warm for springtime here in the UK.
Today our brave little alchemist takes on her toughest challenge yet: dealing with a comic misunderstanding involving a gentleman friend and her parents! Oh no!
She also does a bit of alchemy and indulges in the usual Puni abuse. She does still have a job to do, after all…
Prejudice is an ugly thing, but it’s important to acknowledge it when you allow it to affect you.
Consequently, dear reader, I don’t mind admitting that when I was presented with the opportunity to take a look at a new Switch game called OMG Zombies that, at its launch, cost just 99p (it’s now £3.99 after the initial discount) I was… shall we say, a little skeptical about whether or not this would be a worthwhile experience.
Internet slang in the title? Check. Use of zombies, arguably the most overused foe in all of video gaming history? Check. A distinctly “mobile-tier” price point? Check. This game would certainly have an uphill struggle to impress me.
Continue reading OMG Zombies: In The Middle of a Chain Reaction
After beating Split/Second, I thought it might be nice to take a little break from arcade racers and explore another of my passions: shoot ’em ups.
And so we have Sunday Shooting, a new series in which I’ll do an incompetent playthrough of a different shoot ’em up each week, perhaps revisiting some later if my skills improve down the line.
We’re kicking off with a longstanding favourite of mine, and one which you can get on both Xbox 360 and PC. It’s Eschatos!
Continue reading Sunday Shooting: Eschatos