Posts Tagged ‘Kentucky Route Zero’

In their haste to make “soulslikes”, devs have forgotten what makes Dark Souls unique – its level design

I finally completed Dark Souls III [official site] last week, a world that I have been dipping in and out of between bouts of listlessness since its release in April last year. It didn’t grip me like the first revered Dark Souls, but it still made me sad to know it was all over. Where could I go now for my Souls fix? The answer, it turns out, is loads of places. The games industry is quietly reverberating with the series’ influence. From small games boasting “souls-like” combat, to bigger games doing weird things with death and player messages. Meanwhile, our PlayStation brethren got Nioh, which took the “pocket full o’ souls” idea and simply renamed them “Amrita”. There is a popular complaint that everything in the industry is now being compared to Dark Souls, and it’s easy to forget that games embraced difficulty and strangeness long before the Bed of Chaos made you weep with frustration. Nevertheless, the mechanics and the tone of Miyazaki’s magnum opus is leaking into games everywhere.

That there’s an influx of Soulsian disciples out there isn’t a problem to me. My problem is that they are learning all the wrong lessons. At least, they are neglecting the most important one. But first let’s look at what sly tricks are being lifted from the series, and who is lifting them. Read the rest of this entry »

Kentucky Route Zero, Fez on sale fundraising for ACLU

Kentucky Route Zero, the game so good we declared it our game of the year back when only two of its episodes were out, is currently half-price. That’s always worth pointing out, that. Sales from this latest sale will go to the American Civil Liberties Union, joining similar fundraisers with other cracking games. Also joining in are the delightful Fez, frightful treasures from Kitty Horrorshow, and the next game from Tetrageddon dev Nathalie Lawhead. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Kentucky Route Zero?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I don’t want to say too much – the power of offbeat road trip adventure Kentucky Route Zero is in discovering its twisting tale and flabbergasting sights for yourself. Instead, I wish to make a plea.
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Wot I Think: Kentucky Route Zero Act IV

I don’t think I could name a more beautiful game. I don’t use ‘beauty’ in the straightforward sense of Kentucky Route Zero [official site]’s appearance, although its bold geometric shapes and flat-wash colour absolutely qualifies, as does its wonderful architecture – Americana infused with magic realism. There is the soundtrack and the sounds too, ambience and steel guitar and the lonely sound of engines – gentle sonic beauty, but again that is on the surface.

In fact there is beauty woven through the core of KRZ: its love of images, its love of words, its love of the American landscape, and perhaps most of all in its preoccupation with the warmer side of the human mind. Whether that be conviviality and the coming together of sympathetic souls, or pulling solace from solitude and from the road. This has been a theme, of sorts, throughout KRZ’s first three acts, but the fourth arguably pushes it more to the fore, consciously slowing down and allowing its expanding cast to idle, to find themselves in idyllic rather than unsettling locales. This could be a good life, if they wanted it.

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Finally! Kentucky Route Zero Act IV Released

Act IV of Kentucky Route Zero [official site] is finally here, continuing the magical realist journey through subterranean Americana. It’s a pretty flipping special game. We declared the first two episodes our favourites of 2013 and 2014’s Act III was just as lovely but the wait for IV has been long. But doesn’t KRZ teach patience, to enjoy slowness and quiet? It’s here now, and that’s just fine. Settle down with a bottle of Wild Turkey for a lovely evening.

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Our Steam Sale Picks, Round 3!

We’re coming to the end of the Summer Steam Sale so chances are you’ve picked up the things you’d already got your eye on, but there are always games that sneak under the radar or come from genres you might usually ignore. That’s why we’ve put together our final recommendation list. Here’s a whole list of things we love and why we think they’re worth your time! (Don’t forget to check out our earlier picks and the comments, though – I picked up a bunch of games that had escaped my own notice through reader enthusiasm…)

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What Makes Kentucky Route Zero’s Dialogue So Good?

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Kentucky Route Zero [official site].

I haven’t a lot of patience for dialogue in games. Weighted by exposition and lumpen characterisation, it tends to lumber, but I love the dialogue in Kentucky Route Zero. Telling a story which balances the bizarre with the everyday, it communicates so much with so few words. And the technology that lies behind them is ancient, wielded by games pretty much since their advent. But Kentucky Route Zero employs a twist of design that makes a world of difference:

THE MECHANIC: Multiple choice
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