Posts Tagged ‘The Joy Of’

The joy of Danganronpa’s Monokuma Theatre

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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The Joy Of creating citizen stories in Cities: Skylines

Cities: Skylines [official site] is a game in which every single citizen has a name, home and (if you’re playing it reasonably effectively) job, but nobody matters in the slightest. For a game with such a chummy, chipper tone, it’s weirdly cold. Dozens of people might leave town in protest at your mayoral ineptitude, or tens of thousands of people might die in a freak sewage accident, and not only does the game not care, it doesn’t even try to make you care either.

There are eight million stories in the reasonably well-developed city, but if I want a human connection to any of them, I have to build it myself.
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The Joy of Shadow Of Mordor’s combat

Shadow of Mordor [official site] has one of the most satisfying combat moves in gaming. It’s a simple double counter, performed by tapping the counter button twice when separate enemies attack you at the same time. You, the ranger Talion, block one attack. To deal with the other you summon an undead elvish Lord called Celebrimbor, who springs out of your body in wraith form to parry the shocked orc’s sword and pummels them into the ground. Every time it happens part of me wants to jump from my seat and whoop.

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The Joy of Saints Row’s Johnny Gat

A friend of mine started the Saints Row [official site] series with the fourth one. She loved having superpowers and trashing a virtual city, but she did wonder what the deal was with Johnny Gat. Even though he’s not in half the game – spoilers for the third and fourth Saints Rows, but Johnny Gat dies and then comes back to life – his absence is felt. Characters talk about how his loss changed them. The dude with the sunglasses and neck tattoos who seems like a generic video game badass is treated like he matters.

Gat’s a mascot for Saints Row, whether cameoing in games outside the series or within them. You start Saints Row: The Third with every member of the gang wearing an oversized Gat mask during a bank robbery – even Gat himself has one, pointless as that makes the disguise. Everybody wants to be Johnny Gat. To understand why he has that reputation, why fans love him while outsiders roll their eyes, we have to go back to Saints Row 2.

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The joy of The Witcher 3’s great outdoors

A secret for you: I have not finished The Witcher 3, even though I think very highly of it. I do not believe that I will ever finish it, and the reason for that is the weather.

I’ve never uninstalled the game from my hard drive, but though I fire it up once every couple of months, I don’t progress. Read the rest of this entry »

The joy of making pitchers cry in Super Mega Baseball

I like baseball, but I don’t really understand it. I know it’s good when a batter smacks it out of the park and bad if they get struck out. But I couldn’t tell you what RBI means, or what an ERA is, or what constitutes an ‘Error’, all of which are officially tallied throughout matches.

So Super Mega Baseball‘s pitch is just about perfect for someone like me. It strips the game back into its most fundamental components – pitching and batting – and makes them just deep enough to be addictive without bogging you down in any boring details. Read the rest of this entry »

The Joy Of Arkham Asylum’s broken Batman

A few hours into Arkham Asylum [official site], I thought Batman’s cape was glitching. It does occasionally catch on railings if you brood-squat at an odd angle, but this was different; an occasional flash of colour in the gloom of the garment* caught my eye and I thought Bats’ big old utility belt was glitching through the cape. But, no, the cape had been torn and as the long night in Arkham continued, Batman’s beatings would make marks all over his suit.

More importantly, he gets a heck of a five o’clock shadow.

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The Joy of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic’s kick

I’ve amassed an arsenal of weapons that would make any medieval fantasy army jealous. Shiny daggers, magic staffs, elven bows, orcish cleavers – my inventory is full to bursting. But the weapon I’ve used the most in Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is somewhat less flashy: my right shoe.

It’s a first-person action game with role-playing elements. Or maybe it’s a kicking simulator, and a brilliant one at that. At its core it’s a game about booting baddies into spikes, into open fires, and off the tops of tall buildings to land with a crunch and a spray of red on the stones below.

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