Sunday, 27 December 2015

Life Is Strange: "The Ideal Ending"

I've been thinking about Life Is Strange a lot lately.  And not just the last episode, which made Sonic Boom look like a finished product.  The world and the characters and the details still swim in my headspace.  I have good memories of it.  There are things I would have preferred to do differently, but I'm also weirdly proud of a lot of the decisions I made in it.  While this series does absolutely crap the bed in its' finale, I must begrudgingly admit that it doesn't kill the entire project.  It doesn't retroactively make the entire game that came before it pointless and stupid, like The Walking Dead games did.

But I do find myself wondering what I would change about the game itself.  The first episode feels like it was written by martians trying to impersonate humans, based only on descriptions they heard over their space phones.  The last episode is malfunctioning filler.  And the reveal of the Big Bad Guy is spoiled so early in the game, I resented the characters not figuring it out sooner.

And then there's the last big choice in the game.  As it is, it's fine. It stopped me in my tracks, the way that Geth mission choice in Mass Effect 2 did.  But I think the options I wanted weren't there.

End-Game Spoilers below the break:  You've been warned.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Life Is Strange: Episode 5

I'm having trouble thinking of anything to put in my annual list of Cool Things and Stuff. It might not even be a Top 10 this year. So I decided to finish Life is Strange, and I hoped that it would at least present enough worth mentioning favourably in one paragraph.

Well, I've finished it, and... my list is still incomplete. I won't review it, but I'm going to talk about the last episode in the series in particular:

I think I would have chosen the more selfless of the endings, but I was too frustrated by how the game repeatedly made me fail. Not “I failed”. Not “this game was hard”. Those would have been my fault. But what’s not my fault is when a game is broken and not finished.

It obviously wanted me to do certain things, and then... didn’t show me they even existed as an option. And then it judged/punished me for it not telling me what I was supposed to do. Even when I explored every inch of every environment, multiple times. There is something humiliating and enraging about being treated like a failure, but especially so when all of the necessary resources are withheld from you. Does it even matter if it was deliberate?

At that point, my sympathy for everyone in that dumbass town was gone. If I could have killed Max and Chloe and that dog too, that would have been the ultimate justice. Just to spite the writers and the designers and even the artists. Even the people whose music was licensed for this turd.

It didn’t need to be this way. It had potential to be great. I think it wanted to be great when it started out.

I didn’t want to hate Life is Strange, but apparently the people who made it did.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Xbox: Year In Review

So THAT'S where 2015 went. I thought nothing happened this year. Turns out I was too busy playing Xbox to notice.

These stats are from's "year in review" thingy.

Also, here's something interesting these stats revealed, but they speak more about Microsoft than anything else:

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Bloodborne: "The Old Hunters"

The standalone DLC pack for Bloodborne came out, and to my surprise it seems like it was built around my criticisms of the main game. It has interesting environments, better enemy variety and placement, a bigger focus on level hazards, and a greater amount of player expression through new and unique weapons and armour. Now everyone doesn't look like the same character. There's even a voiced narrator that actually tries to explain what the fuck is happening and why. It's still all balderdash, it's obvious From Software creates art assets in a vacuum, separate from any context or reason. But flimsy, half-hearted exposition near the end by a throwaway, nameless NPC is better than what Bloodborne offered before, which was literally nothing.


Thursday, 15 October 2015

Bloodborne: "Chalice Dungeons"

Bloodborne is two games:

The first is a generic 3D brawler. You mash the attack button at every enemy, and then you do the same thing. And then you do it again. You do this for nine million years, and it never becomes exciting or interesting. The world is drab and lifeless, all of the levels are forgettable, there are no meaningful interactions and there's too much damned level grinding. There are obstacles that have solutions so obtuse, so nonsensically beyond what any sane person would ever think to do, I'd swear it was made by Tim Schaefer.

Basically, it's Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest.


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Grand Jury Prize 2014

In December, I went to see The Hobbit: BotFA with my best friend, her husband and my mom. After it was over, I caught up with my sister from a different mister and gave her a letter. A sentiment I'd been holding onto for 12 years. An apology.

I did some stupid, insensitive things when I was younger... well, more stupid and insensitive than is par for the course.

I wanna show you folks something important to me below the break:

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Fave Things Of 2014: Part II

Part 1 of the list can be found HERE. This will conclude the main list, and then after this is the Grand Jury Prize.

Brace yourself: the nerd levels get critical from here on out:


2014 in gaming was... Sonic Boom. It was Rambo. It was the clueless, lazy design of Assassin's Creed Unity. The disgraceful sound-design of Thief. The unplayable, unplaytested Master Chief Collection. The hollowed-out husk of a game that Destiny was supposed to be. The embarrassment of the Elder Scrolls Online. The toxic cynicism and entitlement of Watch_Dogs. The contempt for the human race that was The Walking Dead: Season 2.

2014 was Duck Dynasty: The Game.

We're not just talking about games that didn't live up to their hype; This is the year where the entire industry stopped trying. We've reached an event horizon where we're lucky if a game is barely functioning after a year and six patches.

And how did gamers react to this? And to the clear corruption and ineptitude infecting game reviews and news coverage that gives rave reviews and coverage to garbage? They saw all of these problems, and their solution was to... send threats to women. An actual conclusion reached by a frightening number of people is that everything wrong with games can be traced back to vaginas.

This hobby has never been uglier, emptier and more insulting to the people who keep it alive. This is as low as video games have been since the industry crashed. Roger Ebert and Jack Thompson were wrong about video games, but by God did we ever try to prove them right last year.

Anyway, I just think there's an irony to the fact that a Dark Souls game didn't hate its' audience as much as everything else last year.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Fave Things Of 2014: Part I

Here are some things I thought didn't suck last year. 3 parts, Top 10 format, with one special "Grand Jury" prize synonymous with first place.

Sorry it took so long:



I liked it. Could've been better, could've been worse. Great soundtrack and characters, though. I'm glad summer blockbusters can still have a heart.

I never thought I'd come close to crying over a tree and a raccoon.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

"Bloodborne" Review

by Alex Hill


There is something inherently wrong with Bloodborne's design philosophy. It is an inelegant, lopsided creature. It limps in the foosteps of the Dark Souls series, capturing little of their spark of genius. It throws away many of the conveniences and accomplishments of its' predecessors, in exchange for time-wasting nonsense.

You play as whoever, you go to some place or whatever, and then you're a squid. That's the entire plot of Bloodborne. There's no room for role-playing or head-canons. I never really felt like a part of the world it presented, the way Dark Souls allowed. You show up, you kill a bunch of things, you kill some more things, The End. There's no investment, there's no intrigue, there's no significant or interesting lore. Doom offered a richer narrative in its' between-stages loading screens. The people who tell you to read between the lines think that seeing something others can't will somehow make it profound. In that sense, Bloodborne is about its' own fans.


Thursday, 12 March 2015


I am not well. Not physically, not mentally or emotionally or psychologically or anything. I'm having an identity crisis, I don't know who I am, what I should be or even what the world will allow me to be. All or most of the things I believed in throughout my life have soured and I feel more than a little betrayed my own species. I no longer have the energy to pretend that everything is okay or that I'm hanging on.