Monday, December 17, 2012

ERIE Review

I wasn't sure what to expect upon starting up ERIE. Possibly because of that, it ended up being a very neat half hour gaming experience. The game is pretty simple overall. You begin in a pool of water with no idea of where you are. Quickly, you read papers scattered around which start to inform your understanding of the location and what happened.

Unfortunately I'm still not completely sure as to the specifics, but it seems like a game best played when you are unaware of the story anyway. Without knowing anything you can enter the game with a fresh perspective! I would recommend that as it helps make everything a bit scarier and interesting as events unfold.

In regards to gameplay, it is quite simple. There's little you ever have to do aside from marking your pathways as well as collecting a few key cards. Well, you don't have to read letters or mark your way, but it just seems something most players are going to do. Although you are not given explicit goals, it quickly becomes easy to understand what to do. Level design is also not bad. Even for someone like me who tends to get lost without looking at a map every second I was able to get a feel for my surroundings (eventually).

The game is very eerie and contains a few "boo" moments. For a little while, I felt legitimately annoyed, until discovering things were not as hard as I was making them up to be. Overall, this is a great little gameplay experiment if you want to play something spooky.

PS: The video up top is my first playthrough of the game, which took around 30 minutes.

Monday, December 10, 2012

I Won a Copy of PlayStation All-Stars!

If you are on my blog, then chances are you're well aware of Bryan over at The Gay Gamer. If not, then I don't know how you found me but you should totally check his site out. A little bit ago, Bryan had a contest to win a copy of PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale for Vita. As I have been pretty interested in checking it out I threw my name into the pot. Someone else actually won but apparently never responded. He drew a new name and... it was me!

So here's a post to say thank you Bryan for hosting the cute little contest! I'm thinking of doing my own (for a less popular game) soon, but we'll see if that works out. In the meantime, I'll be fussing around with PS All-Stars and hopefully becoming good with one of the characters. Even if I do, I'll still probably be too scared to try hitting up an online match.

As a final note I will say that anyone who is still interested in getting a Vita should make sure they grab a high capacity memory card along with it. Although I only have a few digital titles on it, I'm now required to regularly uninstall them to make room. Of course, it doesn't help that Persona 4 Golden is one game that has taken residence on my card... It is over 3GBs by itself! Here's hoping that the prices for Vita memory come down drastically in the next year.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill REMASTERED Review

When one attempts to come up with a list of good adventure games there are a few names that tend to come up. Series like Monkey Island are obvious choices, as are many other LucasArts and Sierra titles. But who out there who loves adventure games would think to try out something from the Nancy Drew catalog?

I gave Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill Remastered a shot and found it to be surprisingly great. The "Remastered" in the name comes from the fact that is a full on remake of the very first Nancy Drew adventure game released in 1998. This version arrived in 2010 and signaled the end of the original game. This is because, after the launch of the remake, the original was no longer available digitally from Her Interactive. However, as it will not run easily on modern machines, this was probably the only option they had left.

How is the game overall? The characters are more interesting than I expected. I have never read Nancy Drew books but they must do something right to have so many available. As such, I can't compare the characters to the fiction but they seemed fairly "real" and worth listening to. If anything, strangely Nancy Drew herself ended up being the most unrealistic of them all. I'm not sure what it was, but she seemed wholly unfazed by the fact that a murder totally occurred, and that someone was after her life as well. More than anything, she seemed haughty and above everything, including the awkward flirting from men in the game.

What really stole the show though were the puzzles. I had an expectation in my mind that the puzzles would be ridiculously easy. As such, I almost chose the harder difficulty of the two. Thank goodness I didn't though because a few puzzles ended up being fantastic and difficult. In fact, very few games I play manage to scratch that puzzle itch so creatively at any point. I would almost compare one of the puzzle ideas to things that Team Silent would put together. They worked on Silent Hill 1-3 primarily and those were the games which included the most creative and worthwhile puzzles of the series.

If there's one detriment to the game it is simply that it ends too quickly and with a silly twist. At least, it sure felt silly to me. Apparently this Remastered version features a different ending from the original and makes me wonder what the end for the first game had been before. I wonder if it was better, or somehow managed to be even worse. It's a shame, because as soon as the game starts to get into a great groove, it ends. Still, the two or so hours leading up to it are a blast.

Overall, Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill Remastered is a perfect introductory game for a "gamer" into the more casual world. Obviously the puzzles are not casual, which would appeal to them, but I assume they grow easier as the series goes on. Or perhaps these puzzles are actually much harder than the original game! I don't know as I haven't played the rest yet. Still, this is a fun, if brief adventure game.

PS: Pay attention to the little things in this game. There are a handful of Easter eggs (including one literal egg) which are quite cute.
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