Mini reviews: Because I’ve been busy.

Posted: July 8, 2013 by ryanlecocq in Uncategorized

Been a very trying couple of months for me.  I had a few games that I either was almost finished with before it all started or have been pecking away at throughout.  I still don’t have time to write up full reviews, but I can at least give them some press since they were all great.

 

State of Decay:

1_14Alright honey, I think you’re right, the panhandlers in this city are out of line.

State of Decay is by far the best zombie survivor sim so far.  Incorporating many different resources and stats to manage, this game truly puts the survival in survival-horror.  Not only will you have to maintain the supplies, safety and mental state of your group of survivors, you will have to frequently switch between them as no person can fight off zombies for days without rest.  Add into the mix serious injuries and infection that can make playable characters unplayable until healed or cured and you have a pretty realistic imagining of what it would really be like.  Character development involves over a dozen stats including cardio and leadership, so every playable character you lose is a huge loss of time invested and all of them can die.  Fortunately it is still a game and these features are arranged in gameplay systems that should be familiar to most.  Healing from broken ribs only requires a few days bed rest and that you build an infirmary, while unlike most zombie fictional worlds, people can recover from bites with some luck.  Overall the sandbox world strikes an excellent balance of realism vs. fun gameplay.  For example there are a limited number of total vehicles and lootable structures in the world, but your base can be upgraded to repair vehicles and produce previously limited resources from generic harvested materials.  The gameplay itself is pretty solid, for an independent game of this magnitude especially.  Running, fighting, shooting and driving all perform mostly as expected.  The biggest fault with this game is uneven performance.  The game engine tends to stutter when loading, especially when driving quickly, much like older open world games.  Somebody from Rockstar should head over to Undead Labs and spend an afternoon teaching them some tricks, because with a few small engine tweaks, this could be a very polished game.  Considering this is an independently developed game that only costs $20, I’m willing to overlook some small rough edges.  In general State of Decay is the game many of us have been waiting for all these years.  A game that puts the narrative and experience in our hands during a zombie apocalypse.

 

Dead Space 3

Dead-Space-3-preview-1You come over to my house, you eat my food, you leave dishes in my sink… NO MORE!

I know I’m way late on this one and there are already hundreds of reviews out there.  I just wanted to add something about this game that I haven’t seen mentioned.  Dead Space 3 does something that appeals to me personally a great deal.  It takes place mostly in old and decrepit scifi environments.  I love the concept of space ships and technology that have been abandoned for as long as possible and are potentially “haunted.”  Dead Space 3 takes place first in a fleet of 200 year old abandoned space hulks filled with necromorphs and then on an old abandoned colony that is very reminiscent of the sets from The Thing.  That pretty much hits all of my scifi setting fetishes in one big go, so I loved this game more than most.  It was also a very entertaining action romp with more free-roaming than the previous games in the series.  Combine that with a pretty interesting (though somewhat predictable) origin to the necromorph threat and you have a grade A science fiction game.

 

Remember Me

remember-me-game-e1344959569452Ahh, finally a French game that takes place in France, rather than awkwardly trying to recreate America.

Oh yeah, it’s another French game.  I don’t want anyone saying it’s just because my ancestors hail from there that I love these games.  Remember Me is a truly original action game that really does a lot to shake up the genre.  Taking some cues from Assassin’s Creed, but not too many, Remember Me has a lot of it’s own story to tell.  I don’t know if anybody else ever played David Cage’s old game Omikron: The Nomad Soul, but I know that both I and the people at DontNod did.  Remember Me, although different in concept, has a lot of similarities to that game.  Although you play as the protagonist, a large part of the game involved paying attention to other people’s perceptions and trying to manipulate them.  The main gameplay element involves your ability to alter people’s memories to suit your needs.  This can be as simple as making a guard forget seeing you and as complex as changing people’s attitudes towards you in the plot.  Although it sounds intimidating, it is handled by gameplay systems you will grasp pretty immediately.  With a few presses of a button and twists of the control sticks, you can easily make that unpleasant thing like it never happened.  You can also “steal” memories so that you can relive them in small sequences that are almost like minigames.  It’s an interesting combination of the time concept in the Prince of Persia games and the stealth elements of Assassin’s Creed or Hitman.  Round it out with a pretty enjoyable create-a-combo fighting system and it’s a solid package.  Overall Remember Me is a refreshing new look at a genre that has become mostly sequels.

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