Emotional Simplicity in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

In the last few years, some of the most striking, emotional experiences I’ve had in games have come from stripped down, simple titles. Titles like Journey or Bastion, which give the player one simple goal, and execute the carrying out of that goal in a skillful, artful manner.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a new title from Starbreeze Studios which does just that. The best way to describe Brothers is that it’s a single player co-op game, one in which you control two brothers simultaneously, with each analog stick on a controller, along with its triggers. While it sounds simple enough, trying to solve puzzles with two characters at the same time can be a decent enough challenge of your dexterity and brainpower.

But the more striking thing is how much the game conveys with no dialogue whatsoever, just gameplay. Continue reading Emotional Simplicity in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

PAX Prime 2013 Round-Up

pax prime 2013

I’m back from four days of video games, panels and D&D down in Seattle, the home of PAX Prime. My shoulders are sore, my eyes are aching because of expose to dim lighting and bright neon and I can’t feel my feet, but I had an awesome time checking out some unreleased games.

Here’s a quick rundown of what I saw, I what I thought of it! Continue reading PAX Prime 2013 Round-Up

Roll Call: Saint’s Row IV

Saint's Row 4

This last week saw the release of Saint’s Row IV, the sequel to the irreverent, goofy, completely ridiculous sandbox crime series that lets you blow up just about anything in just about anyway possible. As if the games weren’t already insane enough, this version of the series has added in superpowers with which to visit havoc upon the citizens of Steelport, in addition to its new alien overlords.

While the first few missions of SR4 took me a bit of getting used to (the game makes you waddle through quite a bit of set-up in order to get to the first open world gameplay), once it unleashes you in the digital, Matrix-style Steelport, where you’re constantly testing the world’s parameters— things kick up quite a few notches. I’m already in love with the power glitches, a gameplay element quite similar to Crackdown’s agility orbs, which beckon you to jump to new heights to get stronger and faster. We’ll see how the rest of the game unfolds.

So what about the rest of you? Who else picked up Saint’s Row IV this last week? What are your thoughts on the game so far? What’s your character like? And did you choose the Nolan North voice? Sound off, Sushians!

The Confusing Heists of Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine

monaco coop

There’s something sad about looking forward to playing a game with friends only to have that hope crushed in front of your very eyes. Such was the case last Friday when four of the GamerSushi crew sat down in front of our PCs to play Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine, the recently-released top-down heist game by Pocketwatch Games.

After navigating through the game’s menu, which included having to disable Big Picture so Jeff could actually invite us to the game, we attempted to play Monaco for about a half an hour before giving it up. Between the small levels that aren’t really built for more than one person, the vague goals and the confusing visuals, we were rather disappointed with our experience.

I suppose that it can be said that we didn’t give the game a fair shake, but to be honest I have no interest in going back to it. I’m sure Monaco appeals to a certain person, but that just isn’t me.

Has anyone else played Monaco? What did you think of it?

Lessons in Efficiency from Walking Dead: 400 Days

Walking Dead 400 Days

I’ll be honest, when I heard that Telltale was releasing 400 Days, The Walking Dead’s first official DLC (excluding the episodes, of course), I may have squeed a little. OK, maybe a lot. Even though I was a little saddened that we were seeing the world through the eyes of a handful of new characters, I was still happy to be stepping back into Kirkman’s zombie-verse, as depicted by Telltale. And once I played it, I wasn’t disappointed.

For any of you that loved The Walking Dead, do yourself a favor and pick up 400 Days. It’s a handful of stories of brand new characters, including a long-haired stoner, an escaped convict, a former drug addict, a young kid on the run and a big sister trying to soften a hard world for her younger sibling. And while the DLC might only be a few hours long, Telltale shows that they’re as efficient as ever in crafting memorable, fully realized characters in such a short span of time.

What amazed me most about 400 Days is just how invested I was in brand new characters, even though you really only spend about half an hour (or less) with each of them. It makes me wish that other studios would start taking notes about how to craft characters, how to introduce them to us right when their lives change, and how to make us identify with them right off the bat. At just $5, the game will easily return what you spend.

Have any of you played 400 Days yet? Thoughts? Go!

The Addictiveness of Animal Crossing: New Leaf

animal crossing new leaf

Very few games compel me to play them every day. Sure, there are times when I’m obsessed with a game for a few days, but rarely do I log on every day consecutively for weeks at a time.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is one such game. This is my first experience with Nintendo’s long-running life-simuilator, and it’s got me hooked. For Animal Crossing veterans, some of the experience will be familiar: you collect fruit, seashells and various flora and fauna in your attempt to accrue enough bells to stay out of debt with Tom Nook.

The kicker this time around is that you’re the mayor, and as such you can build public works and enact ordinances to change how your town functions. I typically play Animal Crossing on the bus to work at 8:00 am, but the shops don’t open until 9. With the “early riser” ordinance, I can force the shops to open at 8. The only downside is they close a little earlier, but it’s better than having to wait until lunch to sell my pockets full of goodies.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf isn’t typically the sort of game I play. It’s cutesy and there’s no combat, but it’s deep, addictive and a heck of a lot of fun. Because the game keeps track of the clock (a long-running feature of Animal Crossing) this is a title you can play for years on end if you want. In terms of value for your money, there’s few games that can offer that.

Who else is playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf? What did you name your town? Does anyone want to come visit Assville?

Going Through the Motions with Blood Dragon

Blood Dragon

I’ve got a confession to make: I don’t love Blood Dragon.

After being so excited about Far Cry 3’s far-out DLC with a cheesy sci-fi bent, it turns out I’m just not that into it. The atmosphere of the game, full of reds, purples and neon colors, actually makes it kind of hard to pull of Far Cry 3’s refined, excellent gameplay. You can’t see enemies very well, you’re so superpowered that stealth barely matters, and with all the colors you rarely have any idea of where enemy fire is coming from.

But more than anything it just makes me want more of the real game. I’m not sad that I purchased it — I think DLC like this should be made more often — it’s just not really floating my cyber-boat. I find that I’m having to force myself to play the game, even after bumping it down to Easy to make it pass more quickly.

With gaming, I tend to muscle through most of the time and finish titles, even if I’m not 100 percent feeling them. But sometimes, I run into a Blood Dragon, where I legitimately do not even want to play it anymore, but feel like I should. So my question for you guys is this: when do you decide to cut the cord on a game? And what’s the last game you decided to stop playing? Go!