Remedy is at it Again!

GAMING, at its finest.

For those of you who follow the world of gaming, Gamescom just came to a close last week and brought some very wonderful news. My one key takeaway that sparked tremendous excitement was: Quantum Break. That’s right…my beloved Remedy is at it again! Remedy is the studio that brought you Max Payne and Alan Wake…both of which are a couple of my favorite games. Ever.

Maxpayne

The story of Max Payne — refraining from too many spoilers, is the tragic tale of a broken man who was torn from everything to nothing in the blink of an eye. After his promotion at the precinct, Payne returns home to find his wife and child attacked and eventually killed at the hands of junkies, high on a new street drug called Valkyr. It’s a downward spiral from there, and the deep, gravelly voice of James McCaffrey narrates the game in a stylized fashion, inspired by graphic novels and film noir, bringing the gritty world to life. Over the course of the first 2 games in the trilogy, the player ultimately experiences experiences the fall of Max as he tumbles farther and father down the rabbit hole, fending off mobsters, soothing his own physical and mental suffering with painkillers, and fighting for his life. Max Payne was released in 2008 by Remedy and Rockstar, which was one of the very first games to feature the bullet time mechanic, for which the series is very well-known.

Two years later, Remedy released Alan Wake, a writer on the cusp of finishing his ultimate masterpiece. The story to me was reminiscent of “The Secret Window” by Stephen King, as well as other works from Neil Gaiman to Brent Easton Ellis (American Psycho). The game even gave slight nod to the shows Twin Peaks and Twilight Zone. Throughout the journey of Alan Wake, the writer’s internal monologue is the gloomy overlay to his fall into restlessness and madness.The woods of Bright Falls, Washington was a very creepy and intriguing backdrop, providing the beautiful scenery in this psychological thriller.

alanwwake

Everything about both of these titles captivated me from beginning to the very end. That being said, I have not yet finished Max Payne 3 to it’s very end but I hear that I have come very close as of my last save file — which shall be resurrected with The Unfinished Gamer. The beautiful part to me, as a writer, is the hints of Norse mythology influencing themes in both games; i.e.: Valkyr and Ragna Rock nightclub in Max Payne, as well as the band Old Gods of Asgard and their members Odin and Tor in Alan Wake.

Now for the main event…

From what we have seen, the theme of Quantum Break shows us the great power, consequence, and sacrifice when a time travel experiment goes wrong — leaving three victims with strange, time bending abilities in the process. Quantum Break is going to be told in two ways: The game, which follows the character Jack Joyce played by Shawn Ashmore (The Following, X-Men) will show the player the side of the heroes, while the skillfully paired live-action digital series is going to be seen from the “enemy camp”, which follows the character Paul Serene, played by Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones). After the incident, both men are being pursued by Monarch Solutions. It looks to be a star-studded cast, including the two gentlemen listed above as well as Dominic Monaghan (LOST, Lord of the Rings) and Lance Reddick (Fringe, John Wick), Courtney Hope (Prowl) and more.

Choices in the game will influence the episode of the show that you unlock, and vice versa. The concept of game/tv running in tandem isn’t new, however — as I took part in the launch of DEFIANCE the game and its Syfy Network counterpart. Though reception of that MMO interaction was mildly received, from what I have seen of Remedy’s new game so far and the efforts put in by not only development studio and show producers, but the cast as well– I can only hope that this release will be as compelling as the last two Sam Lake/Remedy games I played and fell in love with.

Remedy wowed the gamers at E3 in 2013 where they debuted the new IP in a trailer that has since been changed, due to the new cast, notably the lead actors, and offered more information on the story and the full concept of the game. This was by far, my favorite announcement from Gamescom.

The fact that this is Sam Lake and Remedy has already got me on the hook.

Come April, we finally get to see the final products, and I cannot wait.. 🙂

R.I.P. Silent Hills…??

I was so so so very excited to see two masterminds, Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro, come together to create a new game in one of my all-time favorite series: Silent Hill.  Announcing their collaborative work during Gamescom of last year, Konami released a demo under the title “P.T.” In fact, I wrote a bit about the playable teaser and all of its mysterious, eerie and memorable glory HERE, so feel free to click on the link to read my reaction to one of the scariest experiences I have had with a horror game to date. (AND I DIDN’T EVEN PLAY IT!)

Continue reading “R.I.P. Silent Hills…??”

Watch_Dogs: The view from here

This is my POV of Ubisoft’s latest game, Watch_Dogs.
Warning, there are minor spoilers in this rundown! 😉

Fixer spotted you                 source: gamespot.com

I was lucky enough to get a first glance at a demo of this game at last year’s Gamestop Expo.  The demo booth was run by one of the Frag Dolls (Esper!! <3) and one of the play-testers from Ubisoft.  Aiden was voiceless, and we saw the vigilante miss an opportunity stop a crime, hold up a shop owner and evade the police, flawlessly.  I was mesmerized.  Since its announcement at E3 2012, I have wanted this game.  Nothing stopped me from wanting it.  The hype, the trailers, the gameplay footage, the other news outlets talking about it. Nothing.

Picking it up on May 27th — I find myself intrigued and ultimately pleased with how the game turned out!

So far, I’ve managed to put a few hours into this massive game, playing most of the story missions to pass time.  Here and there I’d stop to play some poker, even managed to become entertained by the puzzle solving games they’ve made with chess and I’ll even grab a few of the incoming transmissions to stray me from the linear way.  However, I’ve found that the incoming mission offers, the phone calls from various characters in the game, the mini-games along the way, all the way down to the HUD, the game is very very busy.  Normally, this would bother me but this actually poses a very nice mirror to our own lives.  You hear your phone buzz, you go for it. It’s a text message from a friend.  You hear that ringing on your computer, it’s another friend on your social media page  Then a little notification pop-up from the television.  It’s your console alerting you that another friend has logged into their account. I won’t really dig too deep into the meaning of this, but it seems like a very symmetric juxtaposition of our reality with technology and what is to come.

Hacking the City                        source: ubisoft

I haven’t had much experience with the online portion of the game, other than a handful of fixers coming into my game.  It’s frustrating sometimes; when I’m trying to get across the city to a mission I try to start the mission but am blocked from this since someone is trying hack me. It is random which is a bit realistic as life is unpredictable but with this mode overall I am a little disappointed we can’t hack our own friends yet. Even though I see something like that possibly getting out of hand — I think being able to log into someone else’s game to create some havoc would be quite entertaining.

Another thing I have noticed, and I’m sure your other friendly neighborhood gamers have said the same, is that Watch_Dogs has no sense of morality; there is no consequence for your actions.  A close comparison to this game is Infamous, the open-world sandbox type of playground, but what that game had that this title lacks is its meter that leads to a different ending if you make “wrong” or “right” decisions.  I put them in quotes simply because it is definitely up for interpretation whether or not certain actions are deemed in good faith or with bad intent.  For example, in Watch_Dogs, you are allowed to hack into a bank account of a woman walking down the street.  When the analysis pops up that she is a cancer survivor with a gross income of only 20,000 a year, there’s no remorse felt by the lead character Aiden Pearce.  Hell, even the trio of GTAV had some scruples.

This now leads into my next point: Aiden Pearce has not found his way onto my list of “likeable” characters.  Now, I understand each character has a reason for their attitude or actions but I’ve been playing this game for a while now and I’ve only come to find that he’s somewhat of a douchebag.  Driven by the anger which stems from the death of his niece Lena, we meet Aiden on a mission, already in a state of despair.  As we move beyond the mission to its completion, we meet a couple of his colleagues — to whom he is a complete jerk, blowing off any assistance.  I find him to be very cold, and because of this, he is detached from absolutely everything.  Not sure if this was done on purpose to give us an undesirable anti-hero, something different than the norm, but I can honestly say I’m not entirely sure how to understand him. While I admire his determination to seek justice, he just seems like such a downer with a one-track mind. The others featured in the game, like his partner Jordi Chin or Clara Lille seem to have more of a three-dimensional aspect about them, I’ve found them quite entertaining and bring some life into the story.

Jordi Chin & Aiden                source: ubisoft

Don’t let my opinions of Aiden fool you, though. Watch_Dogs is actually a pretty spectacular game. The controls are pretty comfortable, aside from the driving (I prefer the motorcycles!), and the scenery looks amazing.  It makes you wonder what sort of surveillance is being run now, and how far we are from a fully electronic city like this future-Chicago.  Even with the reservations I’ve listed above, I am still enjoying the game.  I’m hoping to see some things turn around for Aiden in the end.  I still have a long way to go before the end of the main storyline, but Stay tuned for my followup to this as I progress!
Thanks for tuning in!!
-IC Krys

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