There’s been an accidental trend in my recent posts – I’ve talked a lot about how the player plays the game, why that matters, and designing with that in mind. A big part of WILA Xenoblade was how the game entertained me for quite some time by letting me pick and choose which elements of its expansive world and somewhat varied mechanics I used at any given time. In WIHILA and WILA Deus Ex, I mused on the possibilities of reaching out to a varied audience with genre-bending gameplay choices, and the importance of communicating with the player about these choices, ultimately exemplified by Deus Ex. What better way to put a temporary stopper on the topic than with the game that’s intentionally about style: DmC. Continue reading
I’m both excited and wary as I consider the possibilities contained in the disc case sitting in my room with ‘DmC’ splattered on the front. The Devil May Cry series has a decade (and a bit) long history and an enfranchised fanbase, so, as somebody who just missed that train, I’ve watched from a distance in the past – curious but not too bothered. Now it appears, fresh from the re-imaginings of Ninja Theory, and I get the perfect opportunity, as both gamer and game designer, to find out what all the buzz is about. At the same time, there’s always the possibility that I missed it the first time around simply because it’s not my thing. What if the stuff that fans love about the series (perhaps partially because they’ve put in the time already) just doesn’t translate to me? On top of that, it’s a reboot with a new developer – who’s to say I’ll even be getting the ‘real’ Devil May Cry experience (and how important is that anyways?). Continue reading
Last time (it feels like just moments ago) I used Deus Ex as an example of giving the player choices about how he or she plays the game. If you’ve just tuned in, I recommend going and having a quick read of Part I. Unless you’re the kind of person who reads the last couple chapters of the book first, then you’ve come to the right place. While these layers of gameplay choices can add fun and interesting depth to a game, communicating that there is a choice at all can be equally important. I’m going to start a bit differently than normal just to illustrate the point. Enter: The Hypothetical Game. Continue reading
When I spoke about what I was looking forward to in Deus Ex, it was all about implicit gameplay choices and choosing to play a game the way you want to play it. When it comes down to accomplishing the goals of the game – the ‘get to checkpoint A’, ‘retrieve item B’, or ‘rescue princess C’ – there is value for the player (and therefore the game designer) in being able to choose how he or she gets there. This isn’t a new concept, but it’s no less important now than it has been throughout the history of games. Deus Ex has a few great examples of how the game designer can make this happen. Continue reading
In WIHILA 999, I talked about some of the things a game can do to make a story interesting and relatable, right up to what is probably the most important thing – the interplay between the mechanics of the game and the story. Turns out I wasn’t off the mark when I thought 999 would do this well.
So, what is the relationship between the story and the game? Continue reading
Let’s talk about story and characters in gaming. What’s that? The title says I’ll be talking about my expectations for acclaimed visual novel-style game 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors (999 for short)? The thing is, you can’t really have a great game that’s centred on the plot without (stop me if you see where this is going) a good plot. Continue reading
What did I like about Xenoblade Chronicles? Nearly everything. The sheer scope of the world is deserving of the description ‘epic’, approaching the scale set by games such as Skyrim (and by ‘such as’, I mean ‘the one and only’). If you’ve just come from my WIHILA Xenoblade post, then I can confirm for you that this is a JRPG through and through, but one that shows the genre can keep with the times, evolve and innovate.
But you know what’s really great? I sat and played for upwards of 130 hours and loved every minute of it. I didn’t just explore the nooks and crannies of the world, I wanted to. So let’s talk about what I’m going to call the ‘good pacing’ in Xenoblade Chronicles, which is to say the spread of engaging gameplay throughout the game. Continue reading