A wise woman once said “you gotta get down on Friday,” and who am I to argue? I managed to get all of my school work done in a timely manner, so I actually have a free weekend ahead of me. Now I just need to figure out what to do with it.
I finished Firewatch and Inside over the last few days, and really enjoyed both of them. Inside, for those that don’t know, is the new game from Playdead, who brought us Limbo. It initially released on Xbox One, but quickly made its way over to the PS4 on Tuesday.
It’s another 2D puzzle platformer, but the context, visuals, and constant mind-fuckery made it one one of my favorite (if not THE favorite) games I’ve played thus far in 2016. There was never a dull moment, and each little area was more interesting than the last. However, it’s hard to discuss what made it so great, or why certain moments will stick with me forever, without venturing in to spoiler territory. And that’s perfect. It’s the type of game you should go in to knowing absolutely nothing.
Firewatch is a first-person narrative game about a middle-aged man who takes on a forest fire lookout job to get away from an unfortunate series of stressful life events for a while. He fell in love with a girl in his twenties, they got married, got a dog, talked about kids, and then she was hit with dementia at such a young age. He made some difficult decisions that her parents didn’t agree with, which lead to them moving her from the states back to Australia so they could care for her full-time instead.
Turns out the lookout job Hank took isn’t going to be as relaxing as he thought either. Right from the jump, he’s taking orders from a wise cracking superior who hides her own shortcomings behind a thick layer of sarcasm. There’s an emotional story that develops between the two lookouts (which changes based on your dialogue choices), a good mystery or two to solve in the woods, and some really incredible voice acting to sell it along the way.
If you’re a fan of games like Gone Home, I highly recommend Firewatch.
I finally picked up Oxenfree, which I’ll more than likely play through tonight. I’ve purposefully avoided reviews and spoilers since I’ve been looking forward to the game since its Xbox One launch, so I’m not sure what to expect.
It looks like a 2D choose-your-own-adventure supernatural horror game, which is exactly what I want it to be. I’m hoping for great characters and solid writing, and I’m doing my best to not let its initial launch hype get in the way of my expectations.
I was given a review key for Emily Wants to Play on PS4, but I haven’t had a chance to really sit down with it. It’s a first-person survival horror game where you play as a pizza delivery boy that arrives at a house with its door open. You go inside to make sure everyone’s okay, the door shuts behind you, and you have to survive the many living dolls that reside inside until 6am.
In that respect, it’s a bit like Five Nights at Freddy’s, but instead of hunkering down in one room and managing cameras, doors, and other entry points, you’re navigating an entire house. Graphically, it’s pretty poor. The scare factor is pretty high, as each doll has their own way of terrorizing you and a new one is added every hour.
For instance, the first hour’s doll will giggle to let you know she’s nearby. The only way to get her to go away is to blind her with your flashlight for about 10 seconds. The second hour adds a doll who hates movement, so if you run in to it you have to freeze in your tracks until it grows bored and disappears. There’s others that just want to play hide and seek, or sprint at you full force, so having to contend with all of them at once is proving to be a huge challenge.
Emily Wants to Play is only $5 on PS4, and seems like a great party game, passing around the controller while everyone takes a stab at surviving the night. Like Five Nights at Freddy’s, it could also be a great game to stream when the Halloween season rolls around in another month.
I’ve been playing Soldner-X2: Final Prototype on Vita, which is a 2D side-scrolling shoot-em-up like Gradius, Life Force, or R-Type. It’s a fun shmup that comes with a few extra DLC chapters, but I’m not too fond of how it’s locking progression behind finding hidden items inside of its earlier levels.
You’re basically given the first few levels to play, with each hiding secret keys. Finding a set number of them opens up the next level, and the next, requiring more and more keys to see the entire thing through.
I’ve also been dipping my toes in to Saturday Morning RPG on Vita, which I picked up alongside Soldner-X2 during the last PSN Flash Sale. It’s a bite-sized turn-based RPG that’s roughly four hours long, and it banks hard on your love of 80’s nostalgia.
Within the first five minutes I saw references to He-Man, G.I. Joe, Back to the Future, that awful video game film The Wizard, trapper keepers, and even caught a Castlevania: Symphony of the Night quote from the game’s antagonist. The hero’s name is even Marty, who rides around on a skateboard.
Aside from random bursts of World of Warcraft, that should about do it for me this weekend.
What about you folks? What are you getting in to? The new Deus Ex, perhaps?