Sunday, July 6, 2014
Saturday, July 5, 2014
|It almost looks like a dream. A dream that is a lie.|
|The first clue that this might not be my calling in my life. I didn't listen.|
|Whoopsy Daisy! No seriously. I feel awful.|
|Somehow this has all gone so wrong. |
I crashed in no fewer than five cars getting out of this mess.
In my defense the other drivers were idiots.
So ... this MAY not be my calling in life. I just have that feeling. Not sure why. Just do. pic.twitter.com/9WwVD6Jket— Photographer Leia (@photoleia) July 5, 2014
I successfully made a delivery! #EuroTruckSimulator2 said my employer covered the cost of gas. WHY would someone hire me? WHY? WHY?— Photographer Leia (@photoleia) July 5, 2014
@photoleia Also, don't be such a wimp, truck. I only ran over like 5 guard rails & caused 5 car wrecks."Engine malfunction"? Puhleeze.— Photographer Leia (@photoleia) July 5, 2014
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
|This man just ticked of Dracula! We're screwed!|
Taking place seven years after the end of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Mina has begun to feel the pull of Dracula's castle. She departs in the middle of the the night, and mere hours later a frantic Jonathon Harker goes in search of her. Using a series of logic puzzles and NPC conversations, players guide Jonathon on his search to find his wife. At this point, I feel that there are two things that should be clarified. Firstly, this is 7 years after Dracula the book and not that Coppola film from 1992. (Though since the in game Jonathan has the same hair as Keanu Reeves' Jonathan, I can see were confusion could arise.) Secondly, this game was released in 2000. The year 2000 doesn't seem like all that long ago ... until I look at games from then. That was 14 years ago folks. Wow, graphics sure have changed.
|Ghosts of pictures past|
- Sound Design: Sound design is clearly low budget (one or two short sound clips per location), but the atmospheric effects are well chosen. It's clear that they are looping, but the loop blends together well. If it weren't for a small "pop" at the end of each clip, I might not even notice the loop all that much. Sound clips are appropriate, and they give the game a lot of atmosphere. The inn felt sufficiently creaky. The cemetery gave me goosebumps. A feeling of suspense certainly surrounded me while in game world, even if I was not all that worried about dying. The few stand along musical tracks that are heard during significant cut scenes were also very well done.
Overall Score: A
- Voice Acting: I normally make a point of playing France Telecom, Canal+, Microïds, etc titles in French. Not only is it a good linguistic workout, but their French localization (without fail) is always heads and shoulders above the English language option. The thing is though, I also like to play these games with French language subtitles on. This ensures that I'm not missing any important spoken cues. With no subtitle option available for any of the languages, I opted to use English localization this one time. And ... the voice acting is not bad. We've all heard worse. Resurrection's actors sound properly surprised, properly outraged, properly spooky ... but was all a little bit off. I was left with the impression that the developers pulled people from their offices or maybe even called up friends to play these parts. Voices aren't bad enough to distract from the game's overall mood, but they aren't good enough to be memorable either. They're unoffensively average. Overall Score: C
- Basic Visual Design: I mentioned above that Resurrection looks dated, and since it's 14 years old ... well that's kind of a "duh". I would still argue though that the game is still graphically well done and artistically tight. Overall Score: A+
Colors and Lighting - Colors are appropriately muted. The world outside Dracula's castle has a lot of grey, grey-blue, and brown. Meanwhile, the inside of Dracula's castle was grey (as one would expect) with the exception of Dracula's personal domain. For instance, Dracula's bedroom was predominantly decorated with faded, but undeniably rich, red fabrics. His personal effects (books, paintings, etc) were similarly colored with rich greens, purples, and blues. Even with these jeweled tones though, the developers were conscious of the game's overall atmosphere. Everything was lit or aged in such away that the environment remained sufficiently dreary.
Scenery Detail - Detail was included for atmosphere sake. The walls of Dracula's bedroom showed where pictures had once hung. Stained glass windows were set castle into walls. Ruined architecture wasn't just a collection of the same cut and pasted model for stone blocks or broken boards - at least three or four different shapes existed. As with any game it was obvious that object models were reused here and there, but it was clear that the developers took pains to make the places look unique. For example, one would not mistake the inside of Broken Down Building A for the inside of Broken Down Building B.
Cutscenes - One of the pitfalls of late 90s/Early 00s titles is that they can be a bit too enamored with 3D technology. This can potentially result in unnecessary cutscenes. The large number of cutscenes then, in turn, can results in cumbersome gameplay. Resurrection, thankfully, is rather conservative with it's use. Chapter transitions or major location changes featured some rather elaborate scenes that must have been breathtaking at one time. NPC conversations featured cutscenes when questions were asked/answered (otherwise NPCs were image stills). I'd like to note that the NPS conversations were very expressive, and that their uncomfortably close camera resulted in a very unsettling atmosphere. Scenes were also used when mounting and descending most stairs. I am especially fan of this, because it minimizes the number of clicks the player must make.
- Character Placement and Movement - Resurrection is one of those titles where you stand in one place and use the mouse to look around or interact with the environment. When you want to move forward, your mouse turns into an arrow, you click, and you find yourself standing still in another location. In my experience, titles like this have a few common pitfalls. The first of these would be figuring out where you can and cannot go. In this game, where you can/can't go is very easy to find. Not only does the environments clearly delineate where paths are/aren't, but the hitbox for the directional mouse cursor is of a significant size. No pixel hunting here. The second of these is the environment's composition. One of the most annoying things about this type of game is that their environments are often designed to elicit the maximum amount of clickage. (They may not actually be dsigned that way, but it sure does feel like it some times!) In order to navigate a mere hotel room, players may have to click six times just to navigate the small space. If these environments were better planned out, and more was accessible to the player each time they moved, clicks could be reduced. Resurrection did an excellent job of making your clicks matter. A large amount of each location is available to players each time they move. Each move covers a significant (but not disorientatingly large) space. More importantly, most "dead end" areas are not there "just because". Dead ends either serve to direct player movement (i.e. you can't go in this door, so the one down there should be your focus) or to signify a puzzle location. Backtracking is minimized, and I thank the heavens for it. As a side note, I also love the fact that the player's means of entering/exiting spaces is always logical. You never "phase" in and out of locations. Descending or ascending a well? There's a ladder built into the wall. Climbing up through a hole? You'd better have a rope on hand for that. Overall Score: A
- Puzzle Design - Finally, the puzzle design in this game is fantastic. 1) Puzzles are logical. There are no rubber duckys here. 2) Puzzle pieces are easy to locate. They aren't highlighted to show you can interact with them, but they aren't hidden in the scenery either. In truth they look pretty much like anything else in the game. I don't know how it is so clear what you can/can't pick up, but I won't question it. If it works, it works. 3) The environment naturally dictates puzzles. Lighting is important. Did you walk to a dark corner with nothing in it? It's probably a puzzle. 4) Puzzles are easy to find. As with movement, the hitbox for "action", "action with inventory item", and "look closer" moments are of significant size. No pixel hunting. 5) Progression is not game breaking. Puzzles are designed so that you cannot advance to Area B, get locked out of Area A, and then find you missed a puzzle back in Area A that you must have in order to move forward. It's impossible to skip ahead of yourself. Let's breath a sign of relief for that. Overall Score: A+
|Not sure if this place is evil or not ...|
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
|The Zelda Principle in action|
Friday, October 25, 2013
|callaid-bhròin means "funeral wail" or "elegy"|
Problem 1: Monthly subscription fees.
Solution 1: They don't have them.
Problem 2: Other gamers constantly encroach upon your gaming space. This messes with the experience and ruins suspension of disbelief and/or immersion.
Solution 2: Guild Wars 2 promotes the fact that one can successfully traverse the world in single player without untoward interference from others. Interaction with others is for the most part voluntary.
Problem 3: Gamers can spend months and years paying for a subscription based model, only to have the title turn Free to Play (and generally Pay to Win).
Solution 3: There doesn't appear to be any real danger of the Guild Wars series turning F2P since there are no subscription fees to begin with. You buy the game/expansions and you are done. While there is a system in place where items can be purchased with IRL money (the Gem Store), participation doesn't appear to be necessary for one to fully enjoy the experience. (That could be different in PvP). This seemingly prevents it from joining the P2W camp.
In the past, I have come this close to purchasing Guild Wars (and subsequently Guild Wars 2). Having been single player for so long though, taking that final step and actually committing to a MMO was a pretty scary concept. I'm not going to lie. Until I created my first GW2 character and actually started playing, there was a significant amount of anxiety present. Having shared game worlds with only NPCs, entering a realm where other sentient beings roamed (who can talk to you!) was a weird prospect. After all, I knew that I had developed idiosyncrasies over the years and that I wasn't always the most deft person around ... but did everyone else have to know too? I'd get laughed right out of Tyria.
Last weekend, a friend unexpectedly gifted me Guild Wars 2. With a copy in my possession, I had no other choice but to jump in both feet first. Provided my dinosaur of a computer actually ran it (which it does!) there were really no excuses left. The end result? So far .... it's been a pretty darn good ride.
Stay tuned for adventures to come. You can also follow my experience on twitter @photoleia.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
"Been sworn to secrecy - sorry! Maybe if you ask for the culprit to show their face via a blog or two ... that's all you're getting from me!"So here you go. I'm posting a "thank you" everywhere I can in hopes that whoever sent this my way knows that I'm thankful for the gift. What a delightfully delicious way to end the week. Cheers!
Sunday, May 26, 2013
|"I suppose nothing ever goes as we plan, does it"|
(Pretty much the story of this chick's life.)