Mafia series has come a long way in, actually, well, becoming a “series”. And that way wasn’t all what people wanted. After ignoring Mafia III for a year, I decided to give it a chance. There’re regrets involved.
Had a chance to play 3 first person adventure titles, all with different “adventuring” approach. Two of which dealt with questions of AI and morality and I wanted to end there, but then I also played Valley and couldn’t bring myself to play more of The Solus Project, due to all the “survival” elements in it, which I tend to not like. So, 3 is a pretty good number.
I’ve long been interested in checking Way of the Samurai titles, since they all looked like very curious attempts at mixing open world design which promises that you can “be whomever you want to be” with action adventure and choose your own adventure type non-linear storytelling. And they are. And turned out I wasn’t really in the mood for how exactly they implemented these ideas. But they are certainly a curious beast I want to write a bit about.
Last year I was finishing up reading A song of Ice and Fire series (the published books, I mean) and went on to read The Witcher books. And something about that experience felt… off. Something that made me think about how I “consume” art/entertainment, what I look for in it. And it struck me then – The Witcher book series didn’t have simple stories, or simple characters, but something about how different layers of stories and events connected was too… simple. I started looking at other books I like, movies, games, music, food even and it often led down to this simple word – layers. And how well they connect, of course.
It’s been just about 3 years since I’ve first played an Ys game. Yet, ever since playing Ys Origin and the first two games I constantly had irresistible urge to play ever other title in the series that slowly roll out on PC. And I’m constantly interested in checking out other Nihon Falcom titles as well. Ys SEVEN is yet another rather old release, finally re-released in English on PC. What does it bring this time?
It’s been quite a while since I wrote anything about the bands and music I wish more people were aware of. Last time I wrote anything about music was when I wrote about 2015 videogame soundtracks last year, but, apart from that, it’s been 5 years since I wrote about 2 really interesting bands – Floater and Soul Coughing. This time I want to write a couple of words about a Saint Petersburg-based project, which is, sadly, technically not existing anymore. The masters of haunting, dark and yet hopeful melancholic ambient – Anthesteria.
Story-driven titles, be they based around simple text or visual based interactions or on top of fleshed out other genres/mixes of genres, always have to consider the dangers of being story-driven – does the story focus enhance with the gameplay, is something done at the expense of something else, are the stories written and/or told in a good enough way for the game to have a story focus? Let’s look at some good examples among the titles where story is almost all there is: Orwell, Emily is Away Too and The Banner Saga 2.
Pop culture reference filled parody games were never really my cup of tea. And they haven’t really been popular lately either, feeling more reserved to the 90s era. Let me write about games a lot of you will probably not enjoy: Red Comrades Save the Galaxy: Reloaded, Red Comrades 2: For the Great Justice. Reloaded and Blue Estate.
Is it the future
When the next season of Twin Peaks was announced as a thing that will definitely happen I… didn’t know how to react. So I rewatched the original and Fire Walk with Me (and The Missing Pieces). And I knew that the first Season is still an amazing achievement, with the Pilot being a fantastic thriller, a slowly unfolding other side of a seemingly normal quiet city. I knew that the second season was a slow descent into pointless mediocrity, with ridiculous Moriarty-like villains and nonsensical events, but which ended on the, probably, most infamous cliffhanger in history. And I knew that Fire Walk with Me was a fantastic and horrifying movie, a true evolution of the ideas with the other side of the town, of people being shown in all its ugly abusive and horrifying glory.
And then I knew that the only way the continuation can work is if it goes further down and away.
And it does.
Three open-ended exploratory story-driven games, all using unconventional approach to the genre they would usually be in. Let me write a few things on Neverending Nightmares, Dropsy and OneShot.