- Resident Evil 4
- Bushido Blade
Everything just works so well in unison. The soundtrack is delightful and odd, at times reminiscent of Paprika’s parade fanfare with its lively horns. The world, put together in paper scraps, is unbelievable in its artistry and function. Tearaway’s paper water and ripples as you walk through it are more impressive than any realistic water graphics I’ve ever seen. The level of unique detail in the world is staggering. Every moment spent immersed in it is heartwarming. Fittingly, it feels positively handcrafted.
Simply running about the ship, crawling through its underbelly, and chatting up the fully-voiced (mostly well) crew make up the bulk of Consortium. It's a nice change of pace for anyone who wants that older style of RPG where you learn about someone's mom who is suffering from Alzheimer's, argue whether or not videogames are insulting "murder simulators," and are exposed to suspicious organized religion.
Instead, there's a merchant shop in every major location so you can get a charm that confers 4% faster running and you can't dig certain items out of the ground until you find a shovel way late in the game. I'd much rather see my character, in first-person, manically clawing at rocks, fingernails tearing off, punctuating lines of blood like the dot on an exclamation point. It would at least fit with the tone the rest of Betrayer is trying to set.
Cloudbuilt is frustrating. It's frustrating to play and frustrating to recommend. I like the style, I like the parkour mechanics overall, but there's a lot of junk to contend with. The antagonistic design (minefields everywhere) is one thing, but the unforgiving checkpoints and limited lives lead to a lot of repetition. Meanwhile, the combat ends up about as unsatisfying as Mirror's Edge, with worse enemies that either absorb too many bullets or deflect them with shields anyway. If you want something that is going to fight you every step of the way as you shave seconds off of run times (and you have a strong pinky finger), this is for you.
Ether One nails its puzzles, atmosphere, and sound (ambient and voice acting). It also nails its story -- whether or not you decide to fully unravel its world and its mysteries -- culminating in a, well, refreshing, smart finale that will stay on my mind for years to come.
CounterSpy nails its style. The angular art, the tight animation. Even the 2.5D cover mechanic stuff, the over-the-shoulder shooting, looks cool. But there is a weird tonal inconsistency to the whole thing that leaves it feeling unfinished despite the polish. The absurdist premise meant to invoke Dr. Strangelove is half-heartedly written with laziness that pretends at deadpan while the stealth is undercut by the stitched-together rooms used instead of careful design.
Madden NFL 15 brought to you by the NFL's classist, uncaring, voracious appetite for profit and general moral failure as a multi-billion dollar business built on the backs of broken, mostly forgotten workers™ takes its existing defensive framework and makes it not suck. This lets me hit quarterbacks more and release the aggression that wells up when I see any of the in-game advertisements. The rest is Madden 25, but less hideous.
There's also an amusing two- to four-player competitive multiplayer mode that pits robot Pixs against once another. You collect eggs to use as single-shot ammo to stun your opponents and make a point by dashing into them. The Arena rounds out a varied package that, some looseness to the controls aside, manages to be fun in a few different ways.
S: That's it. This is fun because Forza Horizon is fun and it is nice that it's free (until April 10), glorified demo that it is, but it makes me yearn for an actual Fast & Furious game with a "Press F to drink a Corona" prompt and a Han lives retcon.