Posts Tagged ‘The Joy Of’

The Joy of Oxenfree’s natural dialogue system


Few games nail the ebb and flow of conversations like Oxenfree, the supernatural drama about a group of teenagers on a deserted island. The cast speak over one another, cut their friends off mid-sentence and leave realistic gaps of silence that stretch on awkwardly until somebody says “so…”, and moves on. Read the rest of this entry »

The Joy of Far From Noise’s transcendental sunset


Far from Noise‘s protagonist has gotten herself in a bit of predicament. She is stuck in a car that is delicately balanced on the side of a steep cliff. To make things worse, the car’s engine has flooded and it needs all night to cool down. Now staring death in the face, and with a long night ahead, she starts to question aspects of her life and her past decisions. It’s a narrative-driven game where the player gets to pick dialogue options and participate in light but thoughtful conversations in a visual novel style.

These conversations take place in front of a beautiful setting sun, which is used as both an atmospheric and symbolic icon in service of conveying ideas of transcendentalism. Read the rest of this entry »

The Joy Of Subnautica’s Sea Treaders

Subnautica is remarkable for a great many reasons, and one of them is a particular creature discovered at about 300m deep, stomping their way in long processions across a well worn path of the seabed. The Sea Treaders. These titanic crustaceans(?) are a herd of complete joy. Read the rest of this entry »

The Joy of self-determination in Monolith


If you’ve ever played The Binding of Isaac or Enter The Gungeon, then Monolith is immediately familiar stuff. A comforting blend of twin-stick shooter and dungeon-crawl wherein you navigate mazes, hoard loot, upgrade your character (cute little spaceship-people in Pop n’ Twinbee fashion), fight menacing-looking bosses, and then do it all again with even more stuff unlocked in the dungeon generator. What sets Monolith apart from its peers, and what has earned it a near-perfect user review score on Steam, is just how little all of that progression means.

Weapons are ammo-limited and ephemeral, upgrades tend not to be especially dramatic, and progression is rewarded by an ever-increasing difficulty level. In Monolith, the most important weapon you’ll ever use is the starting pea-shooter. Your default, unlimited-ammo machine-gun may not spit out quite as much damage as the fancier weapons, but it’ll still do the job if you’re able to dodge bullets for just a couple seconds longer. There is nothing in Monolith that you cannot defeat with raw reflexes and knowledge of enemy patterns alone, and knowing that makes every victory sweeter, and every defeat sting just that little bit more.

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The Joy of not talking to other people in Destiny 2


Destiny 2 has had a rough time of late, what with players discovering that late-game grinding may very well be a gigantic waste of time, and the general hostility to microtransactions going around these days. Since its launch on PC in October, players have also groused about its strict communication rules: there’s no in-game chat lobby, text or voice, in which to find fireteam members for that Nightfall strike or Leviathan raid. And no public matchmaking for these activities, which yield the game’s most exclusive and powerful gear. Me, though? I love that about it.

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The Joy of Figment’s dynamic soundtrack


There is a lot going on in Figment. It’s a ‘musical action-adventure game’ with combat, puzzle elements, cut scenes, voice acting and several musical boss battles. It’s visually busy, full of strange, warped objects and surrealist structures from Dali’s clocks to Magritte’s apples – the world of Figment is bright and lively.

But beneath all this, there’s the soundtrack, and Figment does something quite wonderful with it.

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The Joy of Chell’s design in Portal


The Orange Box turned 10 years old this year, and by extension Portal celebrated its anniversary too. Sitting alongside continuations of well-loved games, the short puzzle adventure could have been quickly forgotten. Tacked on to bulk up the box. It was, however, a surprise hit, winning over players with its smart spatial puzzles and writing that fans continue to quote. And while I can list lines off with the best of them (don’t even get me started on that cake), this classic’s hold on my heart comes from a person who never speaks one.

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The joy of Danganronpa’s Monokuma Theatre


Villain monologues: forever a trope to make the eyes roll. I tend to skip through them as quickly as I can, waiting my inevitable escape. I don’t enjoy self-aware villain monologues either; they’re even worse because the villains know that they’re clichéd yet they do it anyway. I’d prefer it if they just immediately murdered me instead.

Danganronpa, a visual novel/detective adventure in which a sadistic cyber-bear drives teenagers to murder each other, takes this trope and spins it on its head. Ursine villain Monokuma’s monologue doesn’t occur during the climactic scene of the game; instead, it occurs throughout, in segments known as “Monokuma Theater”. Ever wanted to know what chatting with a psychopath over drinks would be like? Monokuma Theater is for you. Read the rest of this entry »

The Joy of The Norwood Suite’s otherworldly hotel


Around an hour into The Norwood Suite, I was nestled so snugly into my comfort zone that it would have taken heavy machinery to shift me. That’s despite the fact that this is a game that makes me suspect something sinister is lurking just out of view, that the edges of my vision aren’t to be trusted. It’s a very discomforting comfort zone.

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The joy of Assassin’s Creed Origins’ costumes

Assassin’s Creed clothes are some of the best clothes in all games. Those layers, all those flowing, flapping, swinging layers: cloth and leather and swords and knives and pouches and harnesses. I often idly wonder, as I watch an Assassin’s Creed loading screen, how many people – how many studios! – produce Assassin’s Creed’s clothes? They’re a wonder of code and art coming together, of layers of beautiful fabric flapping just right. And Ubisoft knocked Assassin’s Creed Origins’ clothes out of the goddamn park.

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The Joy Of Edith Finch’s hidden details


What Remains of Edith Finch is the kind of game that makes the phrase ‘visual feast’ feel appropriate again, as opposed to just breathless enthusiasm for CGI battle scenes in quoted four-star reviews on superhero movie posters. There is so much wonderful and surprising detail, both ostentatious and subtle, in the rooms that make up its impossible, wonderful house of dreams and death.

So much that it’s very easy to miss things that tell extra stories – the sweetest and most powerful stories, and also the stories that the Finch family told each other.

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The Joy Of Absolver’s social fight clubs

My career in Street Fighter was a painfully short-lived experience. For a long time, I’d been trying to find a fighting game to really get into and to help me understand a genre I’d always been quietly interested in but entirely apart from. After being gifted Ultra Street Fighter 4 back in 2014, I was quickly hooked on the technical mastery and quick action – a few runs of Arcade, and I was even starting to feel competent. But getting good at Street Fighter, or any traditional fighting game, requires a strong level of commitment: lonely hours spent mastering frame data, grinding against opponents and the local competition. After a disastrous showing at a Dundee tournament, I was out.

Fighting games, I figured, just weren’t for me – until Absolver came around.

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The joy of tomb raiding in Assassin’s Creed Origins


Weirdly, none of my favourite Assassin’s Creed Origins moments so far relate to assassinating. Then again, they never really did in the previous games. Instead they’re about buildings, specifically climbing them and going into them. So it’s appropriate that my absolute second favourite thing to do in Assassin’s Creed: Origins is tombs. Read the rest of this entry »

The Joy Of swimming in Assassin’s Creed Origins

My three year old rates games based on whether the character goes into water, and if they do, do they swim underneath. My personal rating systems are a little more nuanced, but it turns out that Assassin’s Creed Origins‘ swimming is so astoundingly atmospheric I’m willing to forgive it a dozen other foibles. In all of gaming, water has never felt wetter. Read the rest of this entry »

The Joy of belonging in ABZÛ

In ABZÛ, you play as a diver who is exploring the sublime and vibrant depths of the ocean. As you dive further down you heal and restore areas that have mysteriously decayed and help bring back their natural beauty. It’s a wonderful and emotional game that can turn even the clunkiest of players into a graceful aqua-dancer. Yet while moving through ABZÛ’s world makes you familiar with it, it is when you stop and absorb the surroundings that you start to get a sense of belonging. Read the rest of this entry »

The Joy of eavesdropping in Grand Theft Auto V


I hear her before I see her. The young brunette sporting head-to-toe white Vinewood chic, her voice high as she seethes over the phone at a man I assume is her husband. He can barely get a word in through her accusations; he’s been sleeping with the nanny (again), she has proof this time, she’ll take his ass to court. Finally, something he says stuns her quiet.

“Who the hell told you about Raul?” she screeches. Read the rest of this entry »

The Joy of becoming a better person in Wuppo


When Wuppo [official site] begins you are gigantic and barely able to run. That is because your lazy character loved watching television so much that he ate one. As you progress, you learn to run and jump and fight, but most importantly you learn to help the people around you rather than being a jerk. Like Undertale and Chulip, this is a game about good citizenship.

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The Joy Of cruising in Burnout Paradise


In most cases, driving, and this is true of both real life and games, is about the act of getting from point A to point B with your car. It’s about doing it efficiently, safely, and in as little time as possible. In games, your vehicle of choice might be a car with a jet engine under the hood and even a drive from place to place might be somewhat risky, but the point remains – just get from here to there, usually before your rivals.

One of Burnout Paradise’s greatest achievements is allowing you to do something else entirely. You can, and are encouraged to, just get behind the wheel and drive, without enemies, timers, or competition.

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The Joy of a brand new undiscovered world

At first glance, it’s a canvas of green or yellow rather than the blue planet it will eventually become in the estimation of generations to come. Eventually, if progress isn’t halted, it’ll become nothing more than a dot.

In between that early vibrant canvas and the final departure, Earth is going to get a whole lot more cluttered though, and a whole lot uglier. I recently returned to Civilization VI [official site] and quickly realised that I had no desire to build or settle. All I wanted was to explore the untouched world.

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The Joy Of Football Manager’s sparse crowds


We’re poised in the drop zone, hanging on by a thread, and nobody seems to care if we cling on by the skin of our teeth or tumble into oblivion.

I am the manager of Bury FC and the terrible results aren’t the worst thing about this season. The truly heartbreaking thing is the apparent demise of a small club and its generations-old local support base. If a last minute goal condemns a team to relegation and nobody is around to see the ball hit the net, does it even matter? In Football Manager [official site], they only sing when you’re winning.

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