Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Stanley Parable Review

The Stanley Parable Logo Art 
     Hello everyone and happy Halloween.  Now some people would guess that I would do Halloween themed game, but due to my lack of preparation I will not be doing a game fitting that criteria.  Instead I will be reviewing a game that takes place inside a office building- OR DOES IT!!
     This, my friends, is the Stanley Parable, which will be the longest game you will ever play because it doesn't end, you can keep playing it over and over and over again, all with different outcomes.  So its pretty awesome, least to say.  I will now attempt to explain the concept of the Stanley Parable to the best of my extent....BUT FIRST, a word from the developers and composers.  The Stanley Parable was made off the Source Engine like so many other awesome games such as Garry's Mod, Team Fortress 2 and Half Life 2.  The game is a first-person interactive fiction modification, meaning mod, that was developed by Davey Wreden and composed by Blake Robinson the game was released on July 27, 2013 and was remade into a separate actual game on October 17, 2013.  The game doesn't allow any combat sequences, but instead controls the protagonist, through a surreal environment, while being narrated by British actor Keven Brighting.
The "Mind Control Facility" in both the original mod (top)
and remake (bottom).
The mod's environment was primarily created by Wreden
 using default models in the Source engine, but Pugh
helped to significantly improve the game's assets for the remake.
The game takes place in a office building where the player assumes the role of Stanley, an office employee whose job it is to follow commands that appear on his monitor without question.  Then one day his monitor is blank, after waiting quite a while no new orders come in and finally he exits his office to find everyone has disappeared.  From this point the player takes control of Stanley and investigates the mysterious disappearances of all of Stanley's co-workers.  On of the unique concepts of the Stanley Parable is that the player can choose to follow the narrators choices or make their own path.  For example near the start of the game, the player encounters two open doors and the narrator says Stanley goes through the door on the left, now Stanley can either choose to go through the door or take the one on the right, when you do this the narrator will adjust his narration to accommodate to the different choice Stanley has made while sounding slightly annoying that Stanley didn't follow the story.  This is one of the many choices the player can make while going through the game, allowing them to play through the story while varying the game experience depending on the choices the player has made.  This allows for as many playthroughs as the player desires.  Overall, I would give this game a 8.1 for a enjoyable unique experience.  Only fifth-teen dollars for the game on Steam, totally worth it.  I hope you have all enjoyed this review and happy Halloween 2013.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.
The Stanley Parable Launch Trailer
Watch it in full screen and select 720 HD in the 
quality section

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Wolf Among Us Episode 1: Faith Review

Trailer Art advertising The Wolf Among Us
     Hello everyone, I hope you have had good last couple of weeks, sorry about no posts last week, I should have posted a notice but I forgot about it among the crowds of life. But anyway I'm back this week with another review complementing one of the best games I've seen in a long time.  A new game made by the creators of the Walking Dead Game comes a new game called The Wolf Among Us.  The Wolf Among Us is a episodic graphic adventure (added a link for those of you who might be lost to what kind of platform that is) developed and produced by TellTale Games.  Based off the comic book series "Fables" by Bill Willingham, The Wolf Among Us Episode 1 received positive reviews upon its recent release on October 11 of this year.  For those of you viewing this from the future, the year is 2013.  Anyway The Wolf Among Us takes place in a place called Fabletown located in Manhattan where Fables live who have been exiled from their homelands including fables such as Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Icabod Crane, the Woodsman and countless other storybook characters who have been living among mundanes for hundreds of years.  This game really synthesized on the saying "deathless as a fable".  Displaying their near invincible qualities throughout the game such taking an axe in the head, getting shot in the heart, and getting thrown out of three story windows, that sort of thing.  Other than Fabletown, alot of creatures who cant pass for humans such giants, animals and so forth are sent to The Farm located in upstate New York away from mundanes unless they can afford a glamour, a magical spell that can be purchased from which to make the user appear human.  These glamours must be used by any non-human like fables under threat of being sent to
Bigby fighting the Woodsman after getting word of that he was causing
trouble and would not calm down
The Farm, which despite its large space and open areas, it is looked upon as a prison by its inhabitants and the rest of Fabletown. The main protagonist of the game is Bigby Wolf formally known as the Big Bad Wolf who has reformed himself, trying to put his past behind him, and been charged as sheriff of Fabletown to protect these fables from each other.  Hailing from the provinces of the Dark Forest, Bigby was recruited by Snow White to serve as Fabletown's sheriff and using a enchanted dagger in a ritual it granted Bigby the ability to shift from human to wolf form or something in the middle as seen on the cover displayed above.
     The game opens with Bigby riding in a taxi cab in the middle of the night to an apartment complex where he going to take care of a fable who is trashing the place.  Bigby arrives at the complex to find Mr. Toad (a three foot tall toad who owns the complex) standing at the bottom of the stairway.  Bigby tells him the rules in Fabletown is that he needs to be glamoured at all times when stepping out of house.  This is the first contact the player will have with interaction system, where Bigby either can be patient with Mr. Toad or be aggressive and threaten him.  After a conversation with Mr. Toad Bigby heads upstairs to find the Woodsman drunk and beating on a girl.  Bigby intervenes by pinning the Woodsman against the wall followed by a brief discussion involving their past that results in a fight in which Bigby has the option to through the Wooodsman into different objects in the apartment.  About halfway through the fight the Woodsman grabs his ax and attempts to kill Bigby in his drunken rage, Bigby dodges the ax, wrestles it from the Woodsman grip, and uses the handle to stun the Woodsman, breaking his jaw.  Bigby goes to talk to the girl the Woodsman was beating on and asking her what happened, after doing so the Woodsman causes frequently at Bigby while cracking his jaw into place.  He rants on about he saved Red Riding Hood, cut the wolf's belly open and filled it with stones, indicating the rough past these two shared.  Bigby asks the girl to excuse him a minute and lunges at the Woodsman.
Bigby lying on Toad's crushed car
The two crash through the wall out of the three story building resulting in Bigby crushing Toad's car and the Woodsman lands on the sidewalk next to the car.  Bigby blacks out for a moment before coming to and taking note of the Woodsman unconscious beside him and Mr. Toad standing next to his car with a horrified look on his face, he comments that even when Bigby shows up, things end up even more f*cked up than they started, he then turns and regards the Woodsman as not being dead as he grabs Bigby and pulls him off the crushed car.  He pins him against a bus stop to try chocking Bigby to death, saying he knows the beast is in there, as Bigby loses air his eyes turn yellow and teeth start to protrude right as the girl from earlier cops the ax into the Woodsman's head, causing him to fall to the ground.  Bigby thanks the girl for her help as she searches the Woodsman, only to come up with a few lose coins.  Cursing she throws them on the ground, Bigby asks whats wrong, she replies by saying that he owed her money, a hundred dollars.  After pulling the ax out of the Woodsman's head, the player can choose to give her some money or to say he wish he could help.  He then turns around to discover the Woodsman and his ax are gone, he sets out to catch him as the girl lays her hand on him and says not to make a big deal out, he asks her if shes sure and she nods, he then proceeds to question her about what happened.  After multiple attempts at getting her name, she continues to say "these lips are sealed", Bigby drops the matter as she makes her leave after saying she'll meet him at his apartment after he asks her to come down to his office to talk about what happened.  As she is leaving she whispers "your not as bad as everyone thinks you are" giving him a light kiss on the cheek and walking away.  Bigby goes back to his
Bigby lighting the mysterious girl's cigarette 
apartment and gets a little sleep before being roused by a knocking at his door.  He rises, walks to the door, straightens his tie, and opens the door to find Snow White with a scared look on her face.  He asks her what is wrong as she paces quickly through the hallway to the elevator and into the small courtyard outside the main entrance.  He finds a sheriffs coat with a lump under it, he lifts the coat to discover a fable's head.  Now for obvious reasons I'm not going to spoil the rest of the episode other than to say it is up to Bigby to find the killer and stop him before he strikes again, which is what Episode 1 is about and presumably the rest of the series in which Bigby is determined to find the killer at all costs.  It is up to you if he will be reasonable, kind, and caring for the fables that fear him because of his past or will you be the monster of the storybooks and be the fearful beast you are depicted as.  That decision is up to you.  Also bear in mind the story of the game is based on how I played through it, the experience can differ for everyone, the game is tailored by how you play and the choices you make.  It is an awesome game that I would recommend to any person, and shows great promise in future episodes.  I give it a 9.8 out of 10.  I hope you enjoyed and I will see you all next week.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.

The Wolf Among Us launch trailer

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Walking Dead Review

Walking Dead Cover
     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, today we are going to review one of my favorite zombie games ever: The Walking Dead.  I am not talking about Walking Dead: Survival Instincts, which if you look, I did a angry review on that game last year.  During that time period I felt like blowing off steam, but in general that game really suck.  So don't buy that game, buy this game, it is a million times better, literally.  Though I could go talking crap about Survival Instincts, but were here talk about a good game. Developed and published by Telltale Games, the Walking Dead is game composed of five episodes that where released between April 24 and December 11 of 2012.  The game is a third-person five part episodic graphic adventure, meaning displayed as one huge cinematic game.  I know it sounds dull, but it is actually really fun, but tread carefully, just about anything and everything you do will affect the story. There is a warning before each episode begins saying the game is tailored by the decisions you make throughout the game, kind in mind I mean everything, from decisions to kill someone to giving a little boy a candy bar.
     So anyway the game revolves around the protagonist of season one, Lee Everett, an ex-convict as seen on the cover.  The game begins with Lee being driven out of Atlanta, Georgia in a police car to prison.  The police officer say he knows you didn't do it (to what crime you committed is vague at the time), and you engage in conversation with the officer.  As you are talking to him you notice police helicopters and SWAT cars passing you going in and cluttered radio chatter on the car's radio.  You get to the point in the discussion where he turns around for a moment to tell you something when he hits a walker and the car crashes through the road barrier into the forest below.  Lee slowly wakes up half conscious hearing screams from the officer and gun shots being fired, Lee then blacks out again only to awake to find his leg which is badly injured and the police officer dead or unconscious outside the flipped car.  This is the first time you get to use interactive system of the game which allows you to look around, observe or interact with objects, letting you break thing, open door, pick up objects and so forth.  So Lee looks around until he see the cracked window which he proceeds to break the glass and exits the car.  Stumbling onto the ground, feeling intense pain in his leg, which has been badly cut open, Lee rights himself up and limps towards the officer.  Once over him you once again ask the officer if he is all right before taking the keys from him to unlock his cuffs.  As he finishes taking them off, the officer appears to stir before he lunges at Lee, making him fall back.  Lee crawls backward until he against the half flipped car, he cries out "what are you" as the officer, who is now a zombie, crawls towards Lee grunting and his leg apparently broken.   Lee looks around frantically, spotting the officer shotgun next to him, he grabs it and it's empty.  Seeing a shotshell next to him, he quickly grabs it, loads it into the action, and pumps the shell into the gun.  Lee says "don't make me do this" and then shoots the officer, killing it. You see a little girl standing on the hill and yell to her to get help.
A screenshot showing dialog choices. At certain points in the game's
conversation trees, the player will have a limited amount of time to respond,
shown at the bottom of this screen. If they don't respond in time,
the game will default to the "no statement" Source: Wikipedia 
Then walkers begin to emerge from the forest, attracted by the noise of the gunshot, Lee rights himself up and stumbles through the forest as more walkers appear, Lee then hops a fence into someone's backyard.  The walkers bang on the fence but are drawn off by distant gunshots.  Lee sits there for a moment before pulling himself up and walks through the house's back door into the wrecked house.  Lee plays the voice-mail on a answering machine to find some disturbing messages before hearing a voice on a radio.  He looks around in the kitchen drawers before finding a walky-talkie, he speaks to the girl who was on the hill asking her if shes alright, her name is Clementine. You talk to her a little more before being attacked by a walker from behind, Lee forces it off him before he runs out of the kitchen only to slip on a blood puddle in the kitchen and knock his head good on the counter.  Lee backs up into the sliding glass door kicking back the walker where Clementine hands Lee a hammer that he uses to kill it.  After asking Clementine a few questions, Lee decides he will take care of her until her parents return, by the messages Lee heard, he knows there not coming back and can't just leave her.  They walk through a small gate onto a road where two guys are pushing a car, trying to get unlodged from the rest of the cars on the road.  Lee calls to them and after some dialogue, helps them move the car that's blocking their car's path out of town.  They finish moving the car just as walkers are closing in.
     With this Lee and Clementine embark on a journey that will change both their lives.  Throughout the story you will meet character from the TV series like Hershel and Glen. You encounter a lot of situations both good and bad, but as Lee tries to hold the group together, things only get worse.  I think my favorite take on this game is that it shows the dark side of a zombie apocalypse, that it's not just bullets and America moments, that it is dangerous and heartbreaking.  The game shows the dark side of human nature, but shows the strength of a group of survivors banning together during undefined times of hardships.  This is a great game any gamer should have, 10 of 10.  I hope you have enjoyed this review and I will see you all next week.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.
Episode 1 trailer

Episode 2 trailer

Episode 3 Trailer 
Episode 4 Trailer
Episode 5 Trailer