Minimal_Thoughts – August 7, 2014

MinimalThoughtsLet’s not get too excited. Yes, I’ve returned from my self-assigned sabbatical, but for one week only. This week… as in the one we’re currently existing within.

Videogames. I play them, and occasionally hate them. Not because they’re necessarily bad or poorly made, but because they’ve had such a profound effect on my life. Both positively and negatively.

I suppose it’s like alcohol consumption. It’s fun to get shitfaced every-so-often, but all it takes is one bad experience to tarnish all future shitfacings. After a while, you’d rather just consume mass quantities of diet soda until you pass out.

It comes and it goes… the desire to play videogames and/or drink excessive amounts of discount lager. Currently, relaxing my brain with a few beers each night is doing the trick. But as soon as something shitty happens, I’m back on/off/under the wagon again.

As always, three games… reviewed in as few words as possible.

DivinityDivinity: Original Sin

Why do I have to create two characters? Oh, thanks for the heads-up (sarcasm). Top down HARDCORE RPG that throws you to the fucking wolves as soon as you take control of your characters. A straight-up “What now?” simulator. Turn-based strategy action combat could be neat, but these fucking menus and key assignments. Requires at least twenty hours to teach yourself how to play. Devs: “I dunno. Here’s a game. Good luck fuckers.” Level up, collect loot, and struggle through ErnÅ‘ Rubik inspired menus. “Where should I spend this experience point? This acronym looks promising.” Equipping that new shield you just acquired? Better set-aside a half-hour. Game may very well last forever. I’ll never see the end, and I doubt the critics who are praising the hell out of this game will either.
 
RoadRoad Not Taken

Look closely at the above image. That, my friends, is what the sixth circle of Hell looks like. A cute little puzzler on the outside, a ruthless roguelike demonstration of impossibility on the inside. Smart game mechanics, but procedural level layouts kill any desire to experience said mechanics. Save the lost children by reuniting them with parents. But first, you have to get to them. Move objects, combine objects, get attacked by objects, die, get stuck between objects, sacrifice objects, share objects, die, lump objects together to open new paths, learn new object abilities, stare confusingly at the screen, get stuck. “Fuck these kids, I’m out!” I’m no mathematician, but the probability of success on some of these randomly generated grids has to be close to -12. But it’s cool… you can always start over, again and again and again.
 
velvetVelvet Sundown

Quite possibly the best worst idea ever. Online-multiplayer role-playing clusterfuck. Unwillingly assume the role of a character aboard the Velvet Sundown, a massive luxury yacht inhabited by the worst characters ever assembled. You have no choice as to who you’re assigned to. Sometimes you’ll be the stewardess, sometimes the hobbit-like bartender, or the philanthropist, or drug dealer, or the emotionally void Linda. Each character has a motive and goal. The goals are never explained, and the motives are both difficult to perceive and easy to ignore. Each character is controlled by another REAL WORLD HUMAN BEING. That’s right… NO AI. And everyone has unrestricted CHAT PRIVILEGES. Matter of fact, that’s the main mechanic in the game. You’re the puppeteer, voice and conscious of the character you embody. Will you adhere to the brief character introduction you’re given at the start of the each session? No… of course not. You may try, but things will inevitably spiral into sociopathic text-to-speech dialog exchanges riddled with obscenities, witticisms, and over-the-top character portrayals. In other words, THE BEST SHIT EVER. If this cruise had a brochure, it would read “While aboard the Velvet Sundown, spend time drinking imaginary vodka from invisible glasses, adopting orphans and harassing the other passengers. And remember, everyone hates Linda, and Mary’s a basehead.” Experience it once, then walk away slowly. This game deserves/doesn’t deserve your attention.

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