June 30th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel
Games that May have liked passed you by
The Steam Summer Sale has come to invade our wallets. Seeking to give you amazing deals on all of the hottest PC titles, you may find yourself spending hand over fist for games that you’ve always wanted to play, games you might play, and games that you’ll probably never play but you bought them anyway. There are a lot of AAA titles and Indie titles you can choose from, but this list is available to point out all the ones you may have missed for under $10. Get Even was going to be on this list but it disqualified because it’s 10.19 but that one is good too. Anyway…
1) Cradle – $6.49
Cradle is a brilliant but flawed game created by some of the people who made STALKER. But a shooter it is not. Instead, this game is a first-person adventure/puzzle game. Set far into the future, you find yourself traveling back and forth between your yurt and an abandoned amusement park, aided by a female cyborg who guides you along your journey. More importantly, this character lays the foundation for the true star of the game, the story and setting. The game really dives deep into some positively vexing concepts of transhumanism and human nature. Gameplay revolves around solving adventure type puzzles in the real world and completing a challenging block-oriented VR game in the park. The latter is an absolute trash fire of game but thankfully, the game was patched so that if you fail at this block game, you can skip it entirely and move on with the story. The ending may leave you with more questions than answers, the but the journey is better than the destination. Also the graphics are absolutely gorgeous.
2) Antichamber – $4.99
This game was made in 6 months by a AAA game studio. Just kidding, it was made entirely by one person and took 5 years. Self-published under the name Demruth, Alexander Bruce created a fascinating one of a kind experience. Narrative-free, Antichamber is a first-person puzzle game that takes place in a white maze, featuring non-euclidean geometry. What’s that mean? Basically, forget everything you know about physics and logic. Walk down a hallway and turn around and there’s a different room behind you. Find hidden rooms that you can only access by walking backwards while staring at a ring. Cross giant chasms by walking instead of running. Change the room you’re standing in by looking out a window. A true mind bender.
3) 140 – $0.99
An hour-long rhythm platforming game, play with headphones on full blast.
4) Nikopol: Secrets of the Immortals – $0.99
This is a point and click adventure game based on the universe of “The Nikopol Trilogy” a bizarre set of anti-sci-fi graphic novels. The universe built in this game is unlike anything else, it is downright puzzling, as tons and tons of creative liberties were taken with everything. This game is actually the best adaptation to me personally, since it’s a more comprehensible story than the film which was just too weird to follow and the original book which was practically dream logic. You may need a guide to get through this game, don’t feel bad if you do, the puzzles are very hard right out the gate. If you’re one who has experienced P&C adventures at their peak, this is one of them.
5) Quantum Break –$9.99
If you missed this Xbox-exclusive title, now you can get the complete experience at only a fraction of the original cost. This is a game made by the auteur developer Remedy and is another game that defies definition. One part game, one part Netflix TV series, actions you choose in the video game will have an impact on the TV show that comes with it, as well as future levels. If you ever wanted to fall into the pattern of playing a level for about an hour before diving into a 20 minute episode of a show, this might be for you. The combat itself is satisfyingly challenging, making you take good use of your time-shifting powers to get through sections of the game. As for the plot, it’s a time travel story, which as you may know, can get VERY deep.
6) The Vanishing of Ethan Carter – $2.99
In case you haven’t caught on, I like unique sci-fi/fantasy games, and here’s another one. This is a first-person puzzle adventure game where telling you anything about the game is a bit of a spoiler since you’re supposed to figure out what you’re doing by yourself. Just expect to solve murder mysteries and face down some unusual encounters with the story.
7) Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days – $0.99
I think a lot of people missed the point of Kane & Lynch 2, frequently saying that it’s hard to like the titular protagonists, but that’s the point. Those two are awful human beings for the most part and usually deserve everything that happens to them. You don’t need to play the original to play this one. The heavy stylized format of the game’s visuals come from the behavior of the camera, wherein the whole game looks like you’re being followed around by some guy holding a cheap camera he found on eBay for under $100. As you fight in third-person cover-based shooter combat, the camera will never stay put unless you’re aiming. Sprinting causes a heavy shake on the camera and light sources frequently burn out the image. Not for those with nausea issues.
8) Jet Set Radio – $1.19
Play the classic Dreamcast game in HD as you ride around on rollerskates spraying graffiti. Though I greatly prefer the sequel, Jet Set Radio Future. This game became the codifier of what we now know as “cel-shading”. The game is very challenging and will leave you wondering how anybody beat this game in the first place.
9) The Void – $1.99
A game where you… okay this game is just really hard to explain in general but you’re in the afterlife and you have to collect colors and draw diagrams onto naked women and trees while also using the color to make sure your internal organs are healthy or something. I died 3 times in the tutorial in this maddeningly hard game, but I intend to play it again with cheats on just to fully experience the rest of this unfathomable game.
10) Remember Me – $5.99
Playing like an even lower budget version of a Platinum Games game, DONTNOD’s first game is a great melee brawler with a plot that is equal parts amazing and horrifying. In this sci-fi world, memories are shared as currency. Yeah, try wrapping your head around how that came to pass. Protagonist Nilin is a character whose memories have recently been wiped and must now put everything back together on what you did and why you did it. She can also do something others can’t. She can remix other people’s own memories in a very good puzzle minigame that deserves it’s own game entirely. Make someone remember something the wrong way in order to help you is all kinds of fucked up, and you’ll be shocked to do some of the things you do.
Posted in Articles Tagged with: 140, antichamber, cradle, games, jet set radio, kane & lynch 2, nikopol, quantum break, remember me, steam, steam sale, the void
April 5th, 2016 by Kurt "Chet" Christel
Quantum Break is an action game and web series created by Remedy Entertainment and published by Microsoft Studios. When an experiment in time travel endangers the very fabric of time itself, Jack Joyce must fight against the Monarch Corporation to save everyone. It is the only one of two videogames that I distinctly remember in my head as a movie instead of a game (the other being Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: Tactical Espionage Action). I don’t know if studio Remedy wants to be making movies or not, but this ground breaking-game feels like a hybrid of a Netflix Series and a great video game.
This game is as “cinematic” as cinematic games are going to get. A lot of work was put into trying to make this a film experience. The graphics were technically remarkable in some almost true-to-life technical design. The show itself was filmed in glorious HD and has a lot of footage since the show’s own outcome is affected by choices in the game. The game actually streams these episodes so an internet connection is required but if you’re worried about being connected you could always download the whole series to your Xbox One. It’s only 75 gigabytes to download. Plus the installation of the disc brings that to 120GB on your hard drive.
Real motion-captured and fully voiced digital renditions of Shawn Ashmore, Dominic Monahgan, Aiden Gillen, and Lanze Reddick really brought the game to life. As these actors appear in the TV Series and the game, you’ll finish the game forgetting which parts you remember as the show and what you remember as a gameplay section. The performances weren’t a big stretch for the characters as most of the actors were playing to their type for the most part. There are also actors that are just in the show that which, while one-dimensional, really hold their own it what is essentially a 4-episode miniseries. The story itself goes balls deep into some great time traveling story that feels at some times lifted right out of the film “Primer”.
While the game’s OST itself isn’t particularly special, the game makes up for it by having the music react to you when you use abilities. This really brings your powers to life when the music starts jumping around in tune with your warp-dashing and time-freezing antics. The mastery of space in the sound is great too. Sound effects like screams that get frozen into time when you take down an enemy is something that really enhances your gaming experience. This really sets it apart from other third person shooter games by giving your attacks a lot of visceral impact.
There’s a lot of story to be had in the game, and structurally the game’s combat sections almost seem like intermissions between plot developments. But in a game like this, it manages to keep you interested. All of the fights and locations are fairly unique and the sheer level of awesome you can pull off during a section are a sight to behold. Each encounter feels like a new set piece as you battle your way through unique locations. Between these set pieces, you have almost the exact same plot delivery method used as Alan Wake, wherein NPCs will walk around and talk to you or you are alone navigating a location where time has frozen for a moment. This does break up the action, but serves up as a well-paced interlude between fights.
The biggest problem with the game is that after I finished it, I didn’t have any desire to play the game again, despite knowing that you can change your choices to change the series. It was a thrill ride but I was sufficiently satisfied by the end. Also, the final boss was maddeningly hard compared to the content of the rest of the game, and some of that frustration led me to leaving the game after I was done. I enjoyed my experience, but that one playthrough felt sufficient. I might revisit it again sometime. Maybe force someone else to play it since the game is so damn c i n e m a t i c.
Quantum Break was a fun ride and a good foray into changing up the formula for game making in a way that has never been tested before. It’s a great experience to check out, but if you crave gameplay over plot, this game is not for you. That said, if Remedy wants to make a TV show so bad, they should just go ahead and do it.
Posted in Reviews Tagged with: alan wake, chocolate shake, large fry, quantum break, review, video games