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Monday 20 January 2020

Review : Her Story - A Detective Video Telling Game

There were questionable choice back when I was pumped to collect more video game back log on my Steam account, my mark set towards some “good indie” and affordable cheap game first before piling up into AAA games title. And About Her was my pick when I read this game was won from many awards. Ofcourse my pet peeve when picking title I don’t watch the gameplay for not spoling the fun. Just see the store page, it has 90% off and then bought the game while I almost forgot the existence.

So playing Her Story is not like demanding effort to do, all the gameplay offer you just have this simulated old crt monitor computer, there are bunch of one minute interrogation videos that shows a suspected women that becomes the objective to finish the game because she is accused as murderer her husband while she denied the accusation and stated that he lost him.

So the focus gameplay is watching and listening anything she said and then if player where we play as detective investigator finding new word about people and location, type on search bar and there are new videos to see. Pretty neat idea but the game just revolves around watching the entire video that takes couple of hours to solve the mystery of case. Its one game that no need particular focus on anything picking any button, there is no challenging to do. Its basically video game movie. Did I mention that this game is kind of revival FMV genre? It is where video games use real life footage to set the setting and framework. 

There are multiple reasons maybe this game has won over AAA titles in best dialogue but I think the most particular one that this game has the writing as the movie that there are multiple award for its kind of genre particularly indie genre. And that’s all to sum up the game summary. 

My impression after finishing the game that after two session of sitting, it’s a decent game for people who just enjoy the narrative without working on the understanding how the game works. A pen and paper is necessary but if you are good catching any clue in each words in each video, its easy peasy game with little element surprise till the end if you figure what is this game about. 

Rating 5/10 
Written : 19 Januari 2020 
Finished : 19 Januari 2019

Review : AER Memories of Old - Yawnfest Cubism Indie Adventure Game

Somewhere in the dev office when this game idea was pitched : Yo dude, how about we make a game about fantasy world without even trying to mesh the game character in 3D with open-world illusion and leave it with polygon shape as art direction style to make a difference than similar game, add elementary school puzzle tier with long backtracking plus make our main character can travel around the world by shape-shifting into a bird while the music consist of sleepy ambient and half-baked chillwave music being played randomly, meanwhile we dont really have too much assets for many characters and care enough about the world building story by putting the main character should save the world because her ancestor did something wrong. Also, dont put any combat, score, item collecting. And make our game as walking and flying simulator. 

And that is shortest summary of the game I played that consumes 3 hours for a game that you can play before sleep to experience the greatness of yawning I have got from this game. A potential great indie game but ruined with just simple walking and flying simulator in fantasy world that reminds me of 3D Legend of Zelda game where main objective to finish all floating island in the sky that is pretty cool concept but there are not many things to do after reaching the island except solving the basic puzzle to reveal the plotline about how dark creature will take over the world except main character visiting all the shrine and got the power. The lame thing about getting the power that there is no power at all to use in combat because there is no enemy to face except in the cut scene for each completing puzzle. 

I think it’s not fair though to judge an indie game having combat element and its become full player exploration experience, but the thing game don’t give too much instruction what to do or simple quest tracker is pretty off. There countable NPC in your base that gives the clue what to visit but considering this game is meant to play as chilling session, I end up wandering back and forth and almost made me quit. 

Note : I got this game for free years back on Steam

Rating : 5/10 
Difficulty : Elementary school tier level
Finished : 22 December 2019 
Written : 20 January 2020

Sunday 19 January 2020

Review : Street of Rage 1 - A Start-up for Classic Beat em Up

Street of Rage is the one old-school beat em up you may not miss even though its the weakest the franchise when it comes in minimalistic game play mechanic and the game was the early of selling product in Sega Genesis console which there were many beat em ups spawned in home console era. I was the one who saw how this game popular around my neighborhood back in mid 90s, back in the day there is no save button and how one game made people to keep playing without finishing the final boss because the difficulty of game itself its ridiculously hard and difficult. 

I re-played and bought the game in Sega Mega Drive collection on my PC, considering Sega gives their player base with emulation version, the emulation version is the saving grace how I can finally played and finished the game till the end. In the emulation version, save state and re-wind button is my savior to beat the game with many trials and error.

The story is simply about three fighter that player can choose with different basic stats where there are 8 levels to beat in facing thugs and bosses that took over the city. The control has three only button, remember when I mention this  installment is the weakest and probably worst version, its because you can only jump, attack and doing special move (where you call a car that shoot missile in the area) once without any dodging button or slide away from attacking enemy instantly, 

The control is really stiff and literally you are controlling a tank here, dodging enemy is kind of impossible and enemy always find the spot how to punch you mercilessly, even the boss consume half of your life bar once they touch you. Glad there is rewind button in this version so the game becomes a turn-based strategy for me instead beat em up. Literally, players need to know what timing to punch or attack first before enemies attacking you from any direction.  

There are some pick ups such health and weapon like throw-able knife or pipe that damage twice as your punch, doing aerial attack is stronger attack than punching any enemies who can counter by grappling you instantly. There are also some money to collect that adding your score which in certain point give you a life bonus and that is a crucial to keep yourself from dying in the stage because each boss in any stage literally can insta-kill players with their own move, some are really difficult to counter and some are easy to beat if players how to pick a spot in the area.

One thing I observe in each level, the more you progress you are basically facing with same enemies but with different color, the enemies are basically have double and triple life for the next level, but if you know handle each of their own it would not be a problem.  

I think the music is the most awesome thing to listen, its techno music that surpasses the possibility of the console. Also, the music is considered for something that is ahead of its time. And that makes me adding one points for this game. I always coming back to listen the original soundtrack on Youtube because personally I think its one of electronic music that covers in video game that has been made particularly.

So, if you like playing really difficult old-school beat em up game while adoring the music, Street of Rage is what you can get. As for my recommendation, play with emulation and use rewind and save state as many as possible, its not cheating because the game cheats with you. 

Side Note : Played as Adam and finished the game in one sitting (1 hours) with frustrating trial and error beating each boss.

Rating : 7/10
Difficulty : Normal (with Rewind feature)
Finished : 19 Januari 2020
Written : 19 Januari 2020

Saturday 11 January 2020

Review : SimCity 4 Revisited - The GOAT of City Builder on PC

Sim City 4 is probably the greatest city building simulator game I ever played. Its a game in the early era of decent 3D visual that spawned in 2000 where some games are bit out-dated and hard to run in newer system, this game runs well with some bugs that for me as saving grace to stop me keep playing. Its a game when you understand how things work, you probably can't stop zoning and micro managing the dream city you want. 

There is no ending for this kind of simulation game and there are some maps to work with based on biggest cities but players can create their own map with terraforming's feature, there are many mods to try to fix the game that is for me leaving the challenge making a balance and well-made financially the city. Literally things that players have to do make balance zoning between housing, office and factories that needs to be carefully taken to maximize the profit through the tax players get during the game. The challenging part when it comes the city starts growing and needs public services like education, security and health building that consumes the expenses. Transportation is crucial important to grow the wealthy residents where in game visual show as the building looks clean and pleasing to see. 

In age of tap to win games in order finish the building process and DLC, this game is pure perfection with its bug that sometimes occur whenever you start outsmart the financial system and become the richest mayor. And there is no auto-save feature discovered yet, so playing this game needs to save often whenever you are done zoning or city starts growing become more complex. 

I think the easiest trick to play this game is making zones based on each city where there are multiple lands to pick, one particular need to be build the industry, and besides the city the residential where office is really hard to build in big scale since it needs proper public service available to boost the demand. Demand is the key factor to know what games to progress winning the game. 

As my personal note, for me Sim City is kind of my dream game back when in elementary school I like drawing buildings of city map in my notebook and there is a neighbor Playstation 1 video game rental had a game called Sim City 2000. Its the moment there was a game built for me. Of course since its on console, the game apparently existed since the dawn of early computer video game. And yeah, computer was expensive in the late 90s so I just found the pc version on high-school. 

Rating 9/10 
Written in 10 January 2020

Friday 10 January 2020

Review : Metro: Last Light - A Better Sequel for Post Nuclear Russia Game

After finishing Fallout 3, I am interested to play games with post-apocalyptic nuclear blast theme. And my attention for my next playlist for the genre is Metro franchise. I finished the first installment and got mediocre opinion about the game and not expecting too much considering and comparing this game as par Fallout which probably have similarity theme fallout and its fps type game, the core storyline is different while the game play is linear not dont have RPG element.

Metro Last Light is kind of example how a sequel game improved slightly in the game play that hooked me to keep playing with its interesting new story line about what's left from first installment where this game is based on the novel which there is too many thing to explore about the lore. Its basically Russian people who lived underground in the metro bunker-like where they have to survive from mutants, bandit and militia faction. And our character is just simply got involved for the politic while the bigger threat resides outside their residence.

The game is simply fps with little bit upgrading the weapon by bartering ammo, surviving out-world with gas mask with limited time, walking simulator for each chapter break while enjoying the atmosphere that is probably a nightmare for claustrophobic. And its wrapped in the linear story-telling that is the world building is the key factor why player bother with the story line.

Even though I expected this game as RPG game. I like with its simple fps game trope, the combat is challenging and unexpectedly fun where the game difficult setting can be choose as stealth game or just shooter blaster. The enemies are varied from human to mutant, the environment sometimes pain in the ass to figure for progressing the game (oddly its linear game but players must have to figure something for rooms to access).

I think Metro Last Light just leave me an impression that this game has stunning graphic that made by Non Hollywood studio but they just follow the action type of movie tropes in story telling, its not the problem. The problem is ending I don't expect since this is not a movie with single ending, but a game where its has different ending and players don't have the idea to get proper ending except replaying the game and read how stupid the requirements to get better ending. But I am satisfied with the ending I have got.

Rating 8/10
Difficulty : Normal (Spartan Mode)
Finished : 9 Januari 2020
Written : 9 Januari 2020

Thursday 2 January 2020

Review : Bionic Commando - A Bland of Remake of Old-School Franchise

Bionic Commando 2009 is flesh-out of long sequel from long 8 bit franchise from NES console that turned into 3D video games in the sequel. A simple action action game where our MC has bionic arm that can be use to swing around facing against soldier and robot mecha in the waste-land city where he explore and want to find about his wife fate meanwhile doing task for a government.

To be honest, this game is conceptually want to follow the serious tone that happened in many games around the time where every video game needs to be have realistic story-line and it fails the deliver because based on the story in the making, this game is intended to be have more humouristic that blends with brainless action story, this is why I found some part of line in the game looks supposed to be comedic rather being serious. 

The story it self is kind of typical action movie tier where characters have to explore linear world that involves using swinging. For the most of game play is just consisting of going to the spot object, hack it to read some info about story and later then progress into same object with different location. 

The difficulty of enemy sometimes is challenging and literally satisfying to face by using the throwing stuff using the bionic arm into enemies, there are some basic weapon to use but its just fun killer. Oddly enough, you don't have to bother some minion to kill to progress, just ignore and swing into the end of destination, and that;s all. Some boss requires stuff to open Youtube walkthrough because it has no guide how to beat the boss so player may stuck facing the boss because its so ambiguous to figure how to do the damage. 

And I think the fatal mistake of this game even though it has short game play, it has no level progressing, weapon and item to buy ( to upgrade), and reward to kill the enemies. The game is just offering advancing the level through simple game play (maybe this kind of resemblance NES version type), but still I really enjoy the game especially the swinging part through location. 

Rating : 7/10
Difficulty : Normal
Finished in : 2 January 2020 

Review : 1979 Revolution Black Friday - A Piece of History that made into Tell-tale Game

Video game is one of greatest medium as learning tool in the digital age, whether it can be as history re-imagining in many fantasy video games or history revisionist based on the company agenda to re-write a piece of history for pandering. 1979 Revolution Black Friday is nor any of them. Its a tell-tale type of video games that shows the experience of the Iranian Revolution in 1979 based on real character and the history book. 

There are not many things to do in Tell-tale video game except watching each chapters about the plot line where players play as civilian who happened being involved the mass protest who use his camera to capture the condition of Iranian society at the time, so players require to do bit exploring and take some snap-shot of pictures that resembles of real life photography. There are also minor action involving quick-time event in action sequence. The game is mostly presented through dialogue and many characters, some items are also becomes an additional fun fact about the background history. So, if you are interested in learning history especially Iranian revolution, you may check the game. 

The game also have a choice of dialogue that is mostly makes the difference outcome but it will be intertwined into the final ending that somehow a cliff-hanger but still I can learn some stuffs after playing the game and reading some texts related to the event and listening audio log. 

I think this game is made for sake of history learning and its clearly there is no bias of propaganda that mostly happen from "woke" video game company today. Its just kind of an interactive story-line that set in Iranian revolution and made by Iranian for gamer who love learning history. 

Rating : 7/10
Difficulty : None (Just playing along with the narrative)
Finished in : 31 December 2019