Archive for game

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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Saints Row The Third (for real this time)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2012 by caseystorton

-Yes, I know I sort-of reviewed this already back in January, but at that time, I was too busy plowing through the game as fast as I could, still working on figuring out how to use the PS3 controller I was playing on, and dealing with my cousin’s dog to really get a good look at what I was playing. Also I only finished about half of the game, which I feel is a little lacking. Feel free to write that little adventure off as a first impressions, and consider this one the full review.

-Basically the Third Street Saints have become massive celebrity media whores, and mostly just sign autographs and make movie deals because they can. Eventually, though, a new gang moves into their native Stillwater and forces them out, forcing what’s left of the Saints to regroup in the city of Steelport. While it initially seems as though you’ll have to start from the bottom and slowly work your way up to get anywhere in this town, in about five missions you go from a shitty apartment and a starting pistol to a massive penthouse and a full arsenal of weapons, so the game makes sure that the audience isn’t bored, which fits with the game’s tone pretty well.

-The thing about Saints Row The Third is that given the absolute stupidity the game puts on display, I really shouldn’t like it as much as I do. To counterbalance the overly serious story about taking control of the city and avenging your dead friends and stuff, everything in-between is down-right insane. There’s a ton of different things to do as the game goes on, and it’s a genuine pleasure to see what ridiculous new thing the game will tell you to do next. You might have to cause mayhem from a tank, drive around some prostitutes, protect your tech-savvy ally on a run to some hacking spots, or shooting up mascots in “Professor Genki’s Super Ethical Reality Climax.”

-The thing that keeps it all flowing is consistent variety. Mission types rarely repeat, and even when they do, you typically have plenty of other options to keep yourself busy if you don’t want to do those missions just yet. The fact that the developers could make a game this absurd and still be able to make the rest of it work as well as it did is actually pretty amazing, and it makes for a very entertaining experience. Side-note, I didn’t really appreciate this as much when I first played this game, but it’s something that I’ve been craving for a long time. In Saints Row The Third, your character has their own voice in both gameplay and cut-scenes, and has some sharply written dialogue that varies based on which gender your character is. With games like Borderlands 2 where your character is pretty much just told what to with no option to argue about it or even voice anything resembling an opinion, and games like Mass Effect providing little to no incentive to customize your character when they’ll just say the same lines in their same voice anyway, it’s incredibly refreshing to see a mainstream action game take this step and make the player an integral part of the experience.

-Overall, Saints Row The Third is much better than I initially gave it credit for. It’s fun, it’s interesting, and it’s chock full of all kinds of juvenile humor that most other outlets won’t allow you to indulge in.  It’s currently on sale for $15 on Steam. So yeah, go for it. 86/100

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Saints Row the Third

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2012 by caseystorton

-Skip to the second paragraph for those of you that don’t care how I’m reviewing a game that I hadn’t ever played until yesterday. Still here? Okay. My cousin and his girlfriend went out of town for a night and needed me to stay at their house to look after their dog. My cousin has a PS3 and he just so happened to have this game for it. So I decided “hell, I heard it’s not that long of a game, and it’s about time I played a PS3.” So yeah, on with the review.

-The setup has the Third Street Saints, the gang from the first two games (which I haven’t played) as high profile celebrities. All the members sign autographs all over the place, Johnny Gat has his own line of bobble heads, they have their own energy drink, laughably called “Saints Flow,”  and there’s even a movie being made about them. After a bank robbery goes wrong by way of a new gang called the Syndicate. Some really awesome set-pieces later, the Saints flee from their native Stilwater to the new city of Steelport to start back from square one. I never really bought into the whole “square one” business though, as literally the first mission after you land in Steelport has you backed up by several attack helicopters as you steal a bunch of weapons from the army.

-So yeah, it’s a sandbox crime game about a gang acquiring resources and allies before deciding that they have enough to turn all of the other gangs into smoldering piles of dust. Although it has to be said that it certainly doesn’t do so seriously at all. After the crazy opening scene you discover some funny, if immature, thing located around Steelport. Here’s one; the vehicle repair/upgrade shop? It’s called Rim Jobs. Get it? Also, check out this impossibly silly melee weapon:

it’s exactly what you think it is.

-But silly jokes aside, how’s the game itself?  Well, it’s pretty good. The story is pretty lame, as all of the rival gangs introduced at the beginning just end up teaming up with each-other, effectively making them one gang with a few different outfits. While there are police in the city, they’re not nearly as much of a threat to you as any of the gangs, which are only a threat if you get your notoriety up to 4 stars, so the police are pretty redundant. The story has you following a linear path of missions accessed through your phone, many of which become available for replay after doing them once. The activities include mayhem  (do $X0,000 worth of property damage in X amount of time), guardian angel (helicopter rocket launcher escort mission with some sniping thrown in), as well as others that have you covering for merchandise sales, transporting prostitutes, or driving people around the city. Even though they are unlocked in freeplay after you complete them, you end up having to repeat some of them with different new recruits of the Saints, which gets old if you don’t like one or two of the missions.

-While the missions are one way to get money, you can also buy up property around the city that pays out an hourly income to your bank account, which you can transfer to your pocket from your cell phone. With this added in, I found I had more money that I knew what to do with, and started  upgrading all my weapons, vehicles, and abilities just because I could, which felt a little silly. There was also an option to use you money to effectively buy experience point with your cash, which felt a bit odd to me, but I never used it.

-Overall, Saints Row the Third is a pretty fun game. It’s not as much fun to explore and dick around in as say Prototype or Just Cause 2, but the story is more fun than what I’ve played of GTA4, which isn’t bad. Worth a look, by no means great, but worth a look. 7/10 luckshotpro@gmail.com