[Game: Portal, Valve, 2007]
Thinking, with Portals:

Why Portal‘s Campaign is Superior to Portal 2‘s Campaign (in Tone and Design)

 

Introduction:

I think it’s fairly trivial to say that Portal is a significant and influential franchise, and that both titles in the series are excellent experiences well worth the time of any player. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the original Portal is such a cohesive and nearly flawless gaming experience that it should be remembered alongside such other towering encapsulations of solid game design and execution as Shadow of the Colossus, the original Half-Life, and the first entry of the Dark Souls trilogy.

But my praise for Portal 2, while still extensive and enthusiastic, is simply nowhere near as unmitigated or unending as my praise for Portal. In terms of its narrative, Portal 2 opted for a lighter tone, with a heavy emphasis on blatant comedy which marred the established atmosphere of Portal and the established character of GLaDOS. Meanwhile, in terms of gameplay, Portal 2‘s single-player campaign opted for easier puzzles overflowing with a large number of lightly utilized new mechanics.

Portal screenshot with companion cube incinerator - Why Portal is better than Portal 2 - Valve Continue reading

[Game: Portal, Valve, 2007]
Thinking, with Portals:

Why Portal‘s Campaign is Superior to Portal 2‘s Campaign (in Tone and Design)

was last modified: December 2nd, 2016 by Daniel Podgorski

{Guest Post} [Game: SOUND VOLTEX III GRAVITY WARS, KONAMI, 2014]

Blasting into Arcade Rhythm Games:

My Adventures with Sound Voltex and the Church of Rasis

 

Part 1 – Arcade Rhythm Gaming and Sound Voltex Intro:

SOUND VOLTEX Rasis logo image - SOUND VOLTEX III GRAVITY WARS - SDVX - KONAMI - beginner's guideI find it hard to come to terms with my love of rhythm games from time to time. On one hand, I am drawn to the flashy lights and giant LCD screens with loud music booming from the uniquely shaped machines in the arcade. On the other hand, showing a level of play that is far below those who have been drawing the attentive eyes of the general public hinders my willingness to try something I am not as familiar with. Nonetheless, I can now say with certainty that I can truly enjoy this elusive genre with its seemingly high barrier to entry, thanks to my most recent addiction: Sound Voltex.

Before I continue, I want to give some more background to skeptics of the rhythm game genre that might label me as already part of the target demographic and therefore disregard some of my analysis as not applicable to those that are not familiar with the arcade rhythm gaming scene at all. It is true that before Voltex, I have decent experience with rhythm games in arcades such as Jubeat and Dance Dance Revolution.

However, my first impressions of Sound Voltex were just like anyone else with an aversion to the genre. “This game looks too hard for me,” “There are too many things going on; this is confusing,” “I think I’ll stick to the easy stuff I am used to:” these are the thoughts that raced through my mind while I stood awestruck as one of the spectators of the pros playing before me. Though the main reason I picked up the game was that none of my regular rhythm game fixes existed in the new arcade that opened in my area, a strong grasp of the fundamentals of rhythm games as well as a control scheme that only seems hard on the surface helped to ease me into the intricacies of Voltex, a game that has a lot more depth than what I initially made it out to have.

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{Guest Post} [Game: SOUND VOLTEX III GRAVITY WARS, KONAMI, 2014]

Blasting into Arcade Rhythm Games:

My Adventures with Sound Voltex and the Church of Rasis

was last modified: July 9th, 2016 by Kevin Su

{Guest Post} [Game: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, CD Projekt RED, 2015]

The Witcher 3’s Worst-written Characters

or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Enjoy the Game

 

Introduction:

Let me get this out of the way to start with, The Witcher 3The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - CD Projekt RED is undoubtedly going to be the best game of 2015 for me. CD Project RED definitely succeeded in creating a western-style RPG that delivered greatly on all fronts, especially in terms of the character development. It is the standard to which new RPGs will be held against.

I am a huge fan boy and like all huge fan boys I am now going to be overly critical. The very heights they achieved with their well-crafted characters only lend to highlight all the ones that fell short. This is evident in more than just the side or one-off characters; this problem extends into the main cast as well, particularly the villains.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt bad characters - CD Projekt RED

Fig. 1: Bad characters

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{Guest Post} [Game: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, CD Projekt RED, 2015]

The Witcher 3’s Worst-written Characters

or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Enjoy the Game

was last modified: April 6th, 2017 by Alec Brouillette

[Game: Dead Space, Visceral Games, 2008]
AAA Horror that Works:

How the Original Dead Space Maintains a Tense Atmosphere

 

For those of you who didn’t have enough horror over the Halloween weekend, I recommend checking out a great game which just turned seven years old, Dead Space. I decided that Your Mid-week Mission series, which is now two months old, is long overdue for something besides a 2-D, pixel art, indie PC game (as much as I obviously enjoy those). So I’m getting about as far from that as possible with this article about a AAA action horror third-person shooter.

In particular, this article will explore what makes Dead Space succeed as a horror game, which is a genre with a disproportionate number of failures. I intend to encourage any fans of the horror or third-person shooter genres to play the first part of the Dead Space trilogy as soon as possible, so let’s get to why.

Dead Space screenshot - horror game - Visceral Games

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[Game: Dead Space, Visceral Games, 2008]
AAA Horror that Works:

How the Original Dead Space Maintains a Tense Atmosphere

was last modified: January 2nd, 2016 by Daniel Podgorski