Brave

on June 28, 2011


Brave will be released in 2012 by Pixar. Its visuals look to be a huge step up in animation and hopefully its unique story matches them. I’m looking forward to seeing some officially released renders and of course the movie. View the teaser trailer here.


Portal 2 Single Player Review

, , on April 22, 2011


Portal 2 shares very little in common with the first Portal, mostly just the same gun. GLaDOS is also back, but her role and personality this time around are rather different. Portal 2 is more story driven, loud, not at all minimalistic, and in some ways quicker than the first game. Portal 2 is polished, but it is not surprising. That said, I love the portal gun!
 
Like:

  • The new game mechanics really stand out, although they are rarely combined and take away from the complexity that emerges after exploring a few simple concepts (as in the first Portal).
  • The credit song– surprising how much it grows on you.
  • Moral ambiguity, an intelligent script, and the voice acting. At times the game is very funny (all due to the amazing Wheatley), at times it is rather serious, and most of the time it is somewhere in between.
  • Of course the fact that despite my complaining, this game is a lot less frustrating than it could have easily been. Go obsessive Valve playtesting!

Dislike:

  • The music is not only bad, it is a letdown compared to the cold, atmospheric music of the first game and the music featured in the Portal 2 trailers (of which they took only the best few second samples). Blah blah blah, the change in music reflects the change in environment between the games; sterility vs fecundity. Great, I’m excited for some liveliness, although only the first half of Portal 2 really maintains this and the second devolves into a bunch of boring warehouses. Which leads me onto…
  • Clutter. The game certainly looks great, whether there are vines all over the place or metal railings, but all these visual feats detract from the clarity that is necessary to solve the puzzles. Almost every time I was confused while playing stemmed from the fact that I had no idea where I should be going or looking. I dreaded the start of a new puzzle because it meant a few minutes of surveying my surroundings and picking out the four or five actually useful puzzle solving components present in the immense rooms. I do appreciate the attention to detail and the look of the game (I spent plenty of time exploring the environment), and I understand the levels need to be physically larger to accommodate the new game mechanics.
  • The repetitive atmosphere and pacing of the game (solve some puzzles, listen to some quips, step into an elevator).
  • There were some story inconsistencies, lame moments, and abrupt plot changes. Also a bit too much tangential narrative while solving puzzles. Chell is boring, which is a shame because she could have been cool and a nice foil to the AIs, silent protagonist or not.
  • Tons of loading screens which made the game feel choppy.

 
I am excited to see the mods that people come up with. I think people will combine the best of Portal 2 (the new game mechanics) and Portal 1 (the minimalism) to create some brand new ways of doing science.
 
For a better written review that I heartily agree with, head to ars technica. If you are looking for spoilers and some story speculation, try this hub. For a beautiful Portal related experience, go here. Tevis Thompson has a nice essay on the game as well.
 


Flurry

on April 19, 2011


Kilian Eng Artwork (pictured)
Doctor Who actress Elisabeth Sladen dies
Extra Credits: True Female Characters
Proun’s Abstract Landscapes trailer
Portal 2 Soundtrack – GLaDOS Awakens
Magnum (ice cream) Pleasure Hunt
Symmetry (video)

The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.

– Abraham Lincoln


Alice: Madness Returns – Teaser 3

, on February 16, 2011


I don’t know if the game will be able to live up to these trailers, as we haven’t seen any gameplay yet, but woo.
Youtube made it so that you can no longer change the quality of an embedded video. What the heck?


Proun

, , , on October 22, 2010


Definitely view this in HD. I don’t think the gameplay will be too fun, but the style is fantastic. The developer said he started by looking at “abstract art from the first half of the 20th century”; Kandinsky, Mondriaan, Rietveld, van Dongen (not mentioned, but sort of similar, Miró). A 3D version would be perfect.
The game is supposed to come out before the end of the year and its website has an “old beta” available for download.
[Proun via Indie Games]


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