Thoughts on: Dragon Age: Inquisition

[Russian version] 

You know that feel when you’ve invested yourself in a story that has multiple parts and then the newest one comes out and everything points out that it’s going to be terrible, but you feel like you have to check it out anyway? Dragon Age: Inquisition is a bit like that.

Dragon Age: Origins, and a much better Awakening, were games that I enjoyed, but at the same time found rather boring. They’re attempts at being tactical didn’t feel like classic Infinity Engine RPGs, and were more like Neverwinter Nights aRPG-ish boring fights. But the game had a really good world, a lot of interesting characters and stories. Even the usual framework BioWare story about visiting different places to get allies and then fight some great evil had some curious changes to it, that made it so much better. Dragon Age 2 had extremely simplistic, but very cool to look at and experience combat, a lot of copypasted locations and some other issues. But at the same time was a fantastic story with very memorable characters, being, probably, the best story BioWare ever made.

You’d think Dragon Age: Inquisition will be the combination of the best elements of the above. A game that will finally make Dragon Age as good as it always deserved to be. You’d think.

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Thoughts on: Night in the Woods

[Russian version] 

When the Night in the Woods Kickstarter popped up back in 2013, I backed it immediately. Without even fully understanding what the game is going to be like. I always admired projects Alec Holowka was involved in, and this one seemed to be another one I shouldn’t miss. And as the time went by, I still never really knew what the game would be. After completing the game a few times I finally understand why that was — it’s really not about how it plays and all about what it tells and how it does it.

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Thoughts on: Dear Esther. Landmark Edition

[Russian version] 

By now, there’s not much to add on Dear Esther, really. Cleverly named «Landmark edition» already casually mentions how important the original mod and 2012 commercial release were in showing that games can be all about story and still find an audience. The main goal of this particular re-release, really, was to just make sure bigger audience can experience the game, since the original Source remake couldn’t work on consoles and additionally locked the developers into specific legal restrictions. So let’s quickly check what’s been changed.

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Thoughts on: Rise of the Tomb Raider

[Russian version] 

Tomb Raider used to be one of the biggest most important, most influential franchises. Then it started becoming stale, although, to be fair, with strong, refined games like The Last Revelations. So it got updated. Unsuccessfully. I feel like the fear of creating another Angel of Darkness still clings to the series with every next part that tries to change things. Maybe that’s why Rise of the Tomb Raider tried to avoid the change at all costs?

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Thoughts on: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

[Russian version] 

Anyone who’s known me for a while knows that Resident Evil is one of my absolute favorite game series. I’ve played most of the games that were ever released, excluding some rare terrible ones, like Game.com version of RE2, or a mobile port of RE4. And I like the vast majority of them, even if they’re not very good games. That said, I’m also always the harshest critic, wishing these games to be the very best they can be. And lately the series weren’t feeling all that well, with me liking a lot of parts of Resident Evil 6 despite the fact that it’s a pretty bad game, or wanting to love Revelations sub-series, even when they made one mistake after another.

Yet, Capcom released Remasters of 2 Gamecube classics and were promising to truly review their stance on what the next main entry in the series would be. With each new interview, each video, playable teaser-demo I was becoming more and more hopeful that Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (or, in Japan, Biohazard 7: Resident Evil) will be great. A true return to form and yet some new direction for the series. Were my hopes in vain?

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Thoughts on: Quantum Break

[Russian version] 

Remedy Entertainment are well known for their cinematic action titles. But ever since Max Payne was released almost 16 years ago, they could never really recapture the fantastic balance between the amazing cinematic storytelling and fun gameplay that went so well in their classic. Max Payne 2 felt a bit too boring to play, Alan Wake was really boring to play with it’s spin-off semi-sequel being slightly more fun. So, where does this leave Quantum Break?

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Revisiting Batman: Arkham Knight with DLCs

[Russian version] 

It’s been a year and a half since Batman: The Batmobile Adventure was released. A lot of positive and mixed reviews, a huge controversy around the PC port that was so broken that it was taken off Steam until more or less fixed. A lot of horrible attitude from Warner Brothers. A lot of separate DLCs most people might’ve ignored, because they were either tired with the main game, or refunded it on PC. I didn’t, though. Despite not liking the game much. And recently bought the Season Pass and decided to check the game again, complete the DLCs and finish up all the things in the main game on PC. Did my opinion change? A bit. Just a bit.

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Revisiting Dragon Age 2 with DLCs

[Russian version] 

I love Dragon Age 2. I love it much more than Origins. It still seems to be a controversial opinion to have, even past the point where the series were relevant or where some expected them to be «new Baldur’s Gate» (something Origins never was). Before playing Dragon Age: Inquisition I wanted to revisit the second one, to check on 3 story-driven DLCs I’ve missed originally: a character and two small stories. And since I’ve replayed DA:O so much back in 2011 that I can’t bring myself to playing it again even now, when it’s finally DRM-free on GOG, I decided to skip it. So, back to Kirkwall of copy paste dungeons we go.

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Thoughts on: Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

[Russian version] 

I seem to be a bit slow with Wolfenstein series in general. Played almost every game in the series a year or two after they got released. Have I ever told that my first ever FPS experience was with the Spear of Destiny? Dad brought me along to his friends’ office in October Palace in Kyiv, and they had a 486 IBM PC there with that standalone new episode to Wolfenstein 3D installed. Doom already was out, but I didn’t experience that one yet. Funny, I’ve even played Corridor 7 before I’ve played Doom…

So here I am again, just finishing a standalone DLC/expansion to Wolfenstein: The New Order almost two years late on an old dirty MX518 that I really need to update to some newer cleaner mouse. Thinking about how Old Blood reminds me of things that remind me of other things that remind me of other things. A perfect end of the year game to play, I suppose.

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Thoughts on: DreadOut and Keepers of the Dark

[Russian version] 

Ever since the original teaser demo in 2013, I consciously avoided DreadOut. Back then it felt like an unoptimized complete lack of understanding of what actually made Fatal Frame an interesting game, an attempt to cash in with the jump scare linear horror-themed titles that got extremely popular back then due to the scarecam craze. But recently, I decided to give it, and it’s standalone DLC Keepers of the Dark, a try. I mean. What if I was wrong?

I wasn’t.

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