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.