Backlog 2015 #1: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

CoverI’ve had a massive backlog of Gen 7 games since pretty much halfway through Gen 7. I’ve tried to get through them a few times and started a separate blog to try to track it. All of these attempts have failed. Now I’m trying again. This time, I have all of my Gen 7 consoles with me in London, but my PS4 (with my Great Love Battlefield) is back in Belfast and I’m not bringing it over until this backlog is cleared; I actually want to play these games. Last year I think I only managed Bayonetta (which I loved to a criminal degree) and FarCry 3 (which I despised; it was like listening to a 14yo lecture you about the nature of humanity after they’d seen Apocalypse Now for the first time). The first game of 2015 was Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

General Impressions

I really liked this game. Reductively, the game’s USP is its control scheme. You spend the entire game controlling the two eponymous brothers (or sons, I guess), one with each analogue stick, with the only action button being a context-sensitive “Interact” mapped to the corresponding shoulder. It works incredibly well, particularly keeping the interaction pared down to one button, allowing the player to focus on the meat of the puzzles rather than execution.. The older brother’s movement is mapped to the left stick, where movement is usually mapped in video games at large. The younger brother’s is mapped to the right stick and I tended to lose track of him. I think the designers were aware of this and used it to make the big brother seem more solid and leader-like. Brothers is fundamentally a puzzle-platformer where each new section has you manipulating the unique control scheme in an interesting way. The game is almost completely linear (not a bad thing) and I enjoyed all of my time with it. I was never bored; the game introduces many unique events that keep the gameplay fresh but they’re all based around the central idea of having two characters so I never found them token. Much of the platforming reminded me of Sands of Time; always a good thing. The game is paced such that the relaxed puzzle sections are infrequently punctuated by more thrilling, pressured sections and it’s judged perfectly to give those sections a welcome sense of tension. Continue reading

Shadow Complex Impressions

Shadow Complex

This art seems to be eliciting Soviet Russia. You would think that might be a major theme…

Shadow Complex is a game from Chair Entertainment using the Epic Unreal Engine in the style of a classic Metroid game with full 3D graphics but planar gameplay.  You go spelunking with some girl you met in a club then become a supersoldier and save the world.  Or some bollocks.

***SPOILERS…of a sort.  I would argue that it’s difficult to “spoil” a story this fucking incoherent, since none of the “reveals” have any weight when your only reaction to ANY development is “Wha?”*** Continue reading

Battlestar Galactica Final Season Impressions

Just in case those parallels weren’t skull-smashingly obvious enough…

I think the ultimate finale of Battlestar Galactica deserves its own post, but that won’t be up for a while since I want to talk to some friends about it a bit more before I put my thoughts online.  There’s a line of dialogue towards the end of it that I need to sort out that is pretty crucial in my interpretation.  So here I’m just going to be discussing the season proper up until the thing with the console happens during the finale.  I think my TV reviews are going to be spoilery, but I’ll keep the movie reviews spoiler-free, so

***MAMMOTH SPOILERS*** Continue reading

Batman: Arkham Asylum Impressions

Liked

Everything – The review isn’t going to be this glib but in essence this was how the game felt.  I can’t remember the last time I was so awed by every facet of a game that I just wanted to tell everyone and, more importantly, keep playing.  I played until I had found all of the Riddler challenges and gotten golds in all of the challenges.  That gave me 100% completion for the file.  I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that in a game before.  Damn you, 499/500 agility orbs in Crackdown!

***minor spoilers follow*** Continue reading

Submerged Impressions

A disappointing percentage of this movie actually happens underwater.

Preliminary reports on Submerged were bad.  In fact, when we were buying up the DVDs initially there were some gaps (and we still don’t have Ticker) but one of the first gaps filled was Submerged.  It was bought to be an example of the very worst we could expect from Steven Seagal’s straight-to-DVD fare.  However, Pod and I both found it to be enjoyable nonsense, definitely better than either The Glimmer Man or The Foreigner and I’m sorry to say I think we actually enjoyed it more than Into the Sun on that particular evening. Continue reading

Into the Sun Impressions

Interesting how Seagal is doing the OPPOSITE of what the title states.

Chronologically (as we’ve been proceeding apart from when I forgot Out For a Kill) the next film is supposed to be Out of Reach.  But the way the box sets worked out we ended up with two copies of that particular film so Pod and I are going to try to liveblog it from either side of the Irish Sea.  So we skipped on to the next film, Into the Sun.

Vern gave this one a pretty good review and the fact that it was released theatrically in Japan, that I knew it had sword fights and that it has that hilariously awesome cover were all pointing towards this being another favourite, but I’m sorry to say it fell very short of the mark.  Continue reading

Belly of the Beast Impressions

Look at this fucking mess

So when I went round to Pod’s for our usual 4-movie sitting I ended up forgetting to bring Out For a Kill, the movie that’s mentioned in the other posts here as the one I was going to talk about first.  Unfortunately, this website is only operated by two people so I don’t have the resources for a Ministry of Truth and won’t be retconning the previous posts.

Be warned that in this and every other post there will be spoilers in the classical sense.  I know I don’t watch these films to see how the story unfolds so I don’t know if I would technically consider them “spoilers” because they don’t actually detract from my enjoyment. Continue reading