Archive for adventure

The Stanley Parable

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2013 by caseystorton

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-Huh, well, this is different. Remember back when I reviewed Katawa Shoujo and I said that I was having trouble committing to really calling it a game? While it had all of the basic features of a game (animation, input from a controller of some kind, an options menu, a save function, ect.) it was lacking in any kind of real “gameplay” in the traditional sense, and thus had been classified as a visual novel. Conversely, while The Stanley Parable does include “gameplay,” the lack of any sort of real way to fail at the game makes me question whether or not it can actually be classified as a game. I’m not really sure what it is, but I’m having trouble accepting it being a video game in the sense that we think of today.

-I’m really not sure what to say in terms of backstory here, so I think I’ll take the easy way out and let somebody else do it for me. The description on the Steam page reads: “The Stanley Parable is a first person exploration game. You will play as Stanley, and you will not play as Stanley. You will follow a story, you will not follow a story. You will have a choice, you will have no choice. The game will end, the game will never end.” Are you confused? Feel free to stay that way, as the actual “game” only gets more and more weird. At its core, The Stanley Parable is a deconstruction of everything from narrative structure to the very nature of interactive fiction. Every moment in the game is an excuse for you to [attempt to] assert your control over the rules of the game, and for the game’s quirky narrator to [attempt to] assert his control over you, and even when it’s you that wins out, you’re never really sure if that’s what you wanted.

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-It’s very interesting the way that the game approaches the concept of failure. Yes, you will be presented with opportunities to kill yourself, but doing so doesn’t result in failure, it’s just a way of seeing a different ending, after which the game loads back up and restarts you in Stanley’s office to have another go at it. By the way, you will absolutely want to have another go at it, as there’s so many endings, each incredibly different from the last, that there’s basically no way to accurately predict what will happen next.

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-You really owe it to yourself to experience The Stanley Parable for yourself. While there are tons of videos of it you can watch on Youtube, it’s not nearly as effective if you aren’t in direct control of the action. It’s only 15$ on Steam, and the system requirements are low enough that it can run on just about anything. Enjoy.

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Far Cry 3

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2013 by caseystorton

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-This right here is the reason that I didn’t finish Bioshock Infinite sooner. You see, I was on Spring Break last week, and I was scheduled to work 38 hours that week at my old job. However, I only had this game at home, and I couldn’t take it back to college with me, so it got most of my attention even after Infinite came out. But was it worth it?

-You play as Jason Brody, one of a group of 7 kids right out of college who are on a sky diving trip or something out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean somewhere. Basically, you get captured by some crazy pirate slaver named Vaas. After a bit of intense scenes with Vaas, you and your older brother Grant manage to escape from your cage. After a bit of stealthing around the camp followed by Grant’s death at the hands of Vaas, you escape and wash up in a nearby village run by a resistance group that’s fighting Vaas’s organization. You and the village leader Dennis start working to get your friends back, but as time goes on, it becomes increasingly clear that Jason will have to lose a big part of himself in order to get his friends back and destroy Vaas’s organization once and for all. For a game like this, there’s a surprising amount of weight to Jason’s character development. It’s clear that he knows he’s slowly turning into a bloodthirsty monster, but thinks that maybe this is the only way he can get what he wants.

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-On the gameplay side, Far Cry 3 is a lot of fun to play around with. There are a lot of RPG elements to the game’s progression, but they feel very central to the design, so it makes sense that they have the opportunity to take up so much of your time. A big part of the game’s progression involves hunting animals in order to acquire the  skins necessary to upgrade all of your various holsters for ammo, weapons, syringes, ect. On the note of the syringes, a big thing about Jason’s character is that, while he’s always been a bit of a daredevil, all of this stuff has him very much scared out of his mind from the beginning, and he must eventually grow into his role as action hero by way of constant, life threatening danger and taking a whole lot of drugs. Yes, really.

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-While the story progression never really stops, you’ll want to take a break from it every now and again in order to make progress in other ways. Areas on your map aren’t visible until you’ve activated a radio tower in the vicinity, so it pays to run around and just activate all the radio towers pretty early on so the entire map is visible. There’s also the continuing mechanic of liberating outposts from enemy control by killing all of the inhabitants. While it is possible to eventually win by simply running in and shooting everything in sight, you get a significant XP bonus for clearing it out before the enemy sees you. Sometimes, though, this can lead to some rather strange occurrences. On at least two separate occasions, I was crouch-walking around outside of an outpost, marking all of the enemies so I could keep track of them, and just when I was about the move in a freaking tiger strolls on in and murders everyone in sight. It is a little weird, but the random, uncontrolled nature of this sort of thing is a nice change from the over-orchestrated set-pieces of games like Call of Duty and Battlefield.

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-Overall, Far Cry 3 is a great game. It’s got plenty of fun, open-world action and randomness and a surprisingly personal and engaging main-character arc for Jason Brody. It’s a great value for what you’re getting, and the open world means plenty of collectibles for those that desire them. 89/100

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