As recently as yesterday, I finished my first play through of Remedy Entertainment’s Alan Wake. For those who may not be familiar with the game, it’s a psychological thriller with elements of horror that place it in the same arena as the works of Stephen King (who is referenced more than once in the game). It follows Alan, a writer, and his wife, Alice, who arrive on vacation in the small town of Bright Falls, Washington, and suddenly find themselves trapped in the middle of a decades-old struggle between light and darkness. You play exclusively as Alan as he fights to save his wife for the dark presence that has begun consuming the entire town.
Being trapped in a conflict between light and dark, you learn quickly that you need to use any and all light to your advantage. Flashlights, flares, fireworks and the like are all tools mandatory to your survival. Each enemy that appears in your path is shrouded in a darkness that must be burned away with light before they can be dispatched. The lighting effects are one of the high points of the game as your flashlight pierces through the darkness to illuminate your way in addition to being a source of defense. As you progress, you will find upgrades to both your flashlight and firepower in the form of industrial strength lanterns and pump-action shotguns. The villains that chase you in the darkness, the “Taken,” also gain strength, speed and weapon upgrades that start out as axes and thrown knives, before advancing to things like chainsaws.
Something can be said for the physics in this game as well, as the game unfolds, the Dark Presence begins getting stronger and is able to throw things at you. These start small, barrels, crates, wheelbarrows and so on, but then as the “Dark Presence grows stronger” it takes over heavy machinery and tries to run you over as well as dropping things like trees, train cars, and boats in your path. One particularly memorable example of this in the game was when you had to combat the Dark Presence throwing a full-size tractor and some mine cars at you repeatedly.
Read the rest and check out one of the weirder examples of product placement in recent memory after the break.
When I first picked up Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony in the Humble Indie Bundle 4, I had no clue what to expect. Having only seen the trailer I knew that it was a vertical scrolling aircraft shooter with a story set in an alternate history where the “New World” was not America, but Mars. An hour later, I was still playing, completely enthralled. Everything from the pixelated graphics and quasi-historical storyline, to the incredible soundtrack which rivals the music of the Halo series drew me in. The levels, though short, were frantic; and while there is a run and gun element early on, as you raise the difficulty you need to take a more planned approach. Out of the four ships you can unlock from the in-game store, each has it’s own unique weapon set which caused me to change my tactics accordingly.
Here’s the trailer.
Read the rest of the review below the break. (more…)
Jenova Chen first gained attention in the game industry with his experimental thesis project, flOw. The game, which you can play online in its original form, and on the Playstation Network in a more extensive build, is a beautiful experiment in ambience and minimalism. It offers no instructions and does not tell you which buttons serve which purpose. The game itself is very intuitive, even for non-gamers. That’s really part of the fun and addicting nature of the game, learning what you’re supposed to do and how you travel through the levels of flOw.
Flower is for the PS3 exclusively, much to the dismay of those who don’t have a PS3 (me). It is considered a natural successor to flOw in that both games share the same minimalistic style and sense of beauty while also exploring the “tension between urban bustle and natural serenity.”
In Journey, once again, there are no instructions, no clearly stated mission objective, only a lone figure in the midst of a vast desert and a shining mountain in the distance. Journey seeks to be a game like no other. In a market where games are designed to empower the player by giving them bigger weapons and power-ups, Journey seeks to elicit the emotion of wonder by showing us how small we are compared to the world and universe we live in. One can draw comparisons to the pale blue dot speech by Carl Sagan. [via Indie Games]
Below, I’ve embedded a video of Jenova Chen discussing his inspiration for Journey which goes so much deeper than an idea. In the interview, set to Claude Debussy’s Claire de Lune, he makes some keen observations on the nature of the gaming industry and the world as a whole that are simply fascinating. After you watch the interview, check out the trailers for each of thatgamecompany’s projects, including Chen’s original game, Cloud, after the jump.
See more from thatgamecompany after the break. (more…)
For those of you out there who love first-person shooter games, and I’m including myself in that category, the Call of Duty series has continually stepped up the genre in terms of single and multiplayer gameplay.
The most recent offering is a live-action film called Find Makarov.
Those of you who have played through the single-player campaign of either or both of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare games, will not only recognize certain characters in the embedded video, but also a few of the game’s defining moments and cutscenes. Watch the trailer below to see what I mean then check out the behind-the-scenes after the break.
Hit the jump for the VFX breakdown of the helicopter sequence. (more…)
Wes Anderson is one of my favorite filmmakers. His movies have a very whimsical air about them.
Even this commercial that he co-directed with Roman Coppola pays tribute to his trademark style and sensibilities.
Now…on the other side of this…
Star Fox is a popular video game character and series, first appearing in 1993 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and then later on the Nintendo 64.
The video, from CollegeHumor, that you are about to watch combines both of these great things into…well…something fantastic.