Tag: PC

Pyre – Original Soundtrack Review

[This article was originally posted here at VGMOnline.net, and is archived here with their permission. Please go check their site out because it is wonderful.]

Overview

Pyre is the latest game by independent developer Supergiant Games and scored by composer Darren Korb. It’s a sentence that one shouldn’t really have to type, as Supergiant’s history as a studio and Korb’s history as a composer are more or less the same thing. Each game that Supergiant releases is a very personal endeavor, and so it made sense from the beginning that when co-founder Amir Rao needed music for Bastion, he turned to Korb, who was a longtime personal friend. Korb, in turn, brought in vocalist Ashley Barrett to sing and provide voice acting for one of the main characters in Bastion.

It’s a story of collaboration that is told the way most people talk about the forming of a beloved and iconic band. The analogy is appropriate, too, both because Korb and Barrett have collaborated on every soundtrack that Supergiant has released and because in doing so, everyone involved had developed and reinforced their own unique collective style. Pyre is no different of course. After the highly experimental takes on ‘trip-hop western’ and ‘lounge blues electronica’, Pyre represents a chance for Korb to solidify his iconic style as well as to branch out when the opportunity presents.

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Better Late than Never -Endless Legend

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I return from the abyss! To commemorate, I wanted to return to a genre that I have a great deal of love for. While I tend to call it the Civilization genre, I’m pretty sure that the actual commonly accepted term for it is the ‘Explore, Expand, Exploit, and Exterminate’ (4X) genre. Personally, I think I’ll just keep calling it ‘Civlike’, because we call a bunch of things ‘Roguelike’ that don’t have anything to do with Rogue, and I like consistency in my genre naming.

But anyway.

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Bonus Turn – Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

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So, about a year and a half ago, I reviewed Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. I was trying it after coming off of two other MMOs that I had been reasonably impressed with, because it was on sale and because I knew other people who played it and found enjoyment in it. I came away from FFXIV also being reasonably impressed with it, though, at the time, less so than I had been with other games. In all fairness, I attributed part of this to MMO burnout, but even then I had pretty much made the decision that FFXIV was a game I was going to put a couple months into, maybe level a character up to the maximum level, finish the main plot, and then leave it in favor of something a bit more single-player.

Eighteen months later, I’m still playing it.

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Life is Strange: Choices and Consequences

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Every so often a game comes along that presents a series of choices to me, the player, that I absolutely agonize over. This isn’t completely because of the immediate consequences of those actions, which are usually pretty obvious, but more because I know that the choices are going to have an additional level of unforeseen consequences much further down the line. Games like this make me sit there on the dreaded ‘branching choice selection screen’ for an embarrassing number of minutes because I know that no matter what decision I end up making about my character’s immediate future, I am going to regret it in some manner down the line.

It’s interesting to me, then, that as rare as it is to have a game do that to me, I have managed to play two of them in quick succession. One of them was from a very expected source. Dragon Age: Inquisition was a game that I always expected to provoke this reaction, this choice-anxiety in me. Player choice in narrative is kind of Bioware’s thing, after all. It’s what they do. Even if no other part of the game lived up to my expectations of it, I had been confident even without playing it yet that Inquisition would give me personal narrative by way of selecting exactly which part of my emotional gut I wanted to be punched in.

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Opening Turn – Catlateral Damage

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Video games have a long, storied history of allowing a person to step into the shoes of some of the worst people imaginable. Sometimes it’s by design, such as in the case of the psychopathic crime simulator Grand Theft Auto or in equally psychopathic archaeological crime simulator Uncharted. Sometimes it’s by choice, such as in Mass Effect where you can make the conscious decision to be a jerk. And sometimes it’s by complete accident, as in pretty much any game that doesn’t take into account the law of unintended consequences. For example, I’m certain that in the process of throwing all those fireballs around, Mario has probably caused a forest fire or two. Or even in something so completely oddball as Katamari Damacy, you’re basically dealing with someone being a jerk on a large scale by being one on a smaller scale.

Anyway. Catlateral Damage is just one more game where you play as the worst asshole possible. Only this time you are also a cat.

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Better Late Than Never: Star Command

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For anyone who grew up watching Star Trek, having a tablet is kind of a window into the future. Or, maybe that is just me and my inherent dorkiness–you know, whatever spins your warp drive. Anywho…

Star Command is a tactical role-playing game for iOS, Android, and PC. You control the crew of a starship by taking on the role of a captain. This pixelated isometric wonder is all about exploration and keeping your ship flying and your crew alive. It is the player’s job to make the necessary upgrades to the ship to keep on flying, and train up the best crew to fight hostile alien forces.

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Better Late than Never: Quest for Glory

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Nostalgia is a tricky thing. Sometimes, it makes a person want to dive into the games that evoke their strongest memories of the past over and over again. It’s this type of nostalgia that makes me play through pretty much every version of old Final Fantasy games that gets released. There’s another kind of nostalgia, though: the kind that makes a person want to keep the memory of a thing as the best possible version of that thing that could exist. It’s this kind of nostalgia that ensures that I won’t ever read Dune more than once, or listen to very much music from the 1980’s again, or, I thought, play through Quest for Glory again.

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Spec Ops: The Line and Player Choice

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So, I have this friend. We’ll call him ‘Jeff”, because, well, that’s what his name is. He plays a lot of video games, and he usually finds some manner of fault with roughly 95% of them. Most of that fault is with the plot, because let’s face it, while video game plotwriting has come a very long way, it is oftentimes still lacking when compared with books and such. So when Jeff recommends a game to me based on the strength of its plot, I take notice. I take a lot of notice. Even if that game is something I may not ordinarily have picked up.

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Opening Turn: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

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I will admit, this isn’t an article that I thought I was going to write, because Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was not a game that I thought I was going to play. I had gotten quite burned out on MMOs for awhile, and even now that I’m not, I’m still alternating between Guild Wars 2, which I like quite a bit, and The Secret World, which I also like despite a few technical issues it has with one of my GPUs. I even spent a short bit of time with the FFXIV beta and walked away not very impressed at all. So what changed my mind? Well, the game was $15 on Amazon during Thanksgiving Day, and at that price I decided that I’d give it an honest shot for a month and see if it could hold my interest.

I will make the disclaimer that since this is an MMO, and since I’ve only played a few hours into it, I can guarantee you that I don’t have a complete picture of what the game can offer. But that’s not really my purpose here. My purpose is to tell you if it can grab and keep your attention out of the gate.

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Don’t Take It Personally, Babe, It’s Just Everyone’s Story

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[Disclaimer: There will be spoilers in this post for the game Don’t Take it Personally, Babe, It Just Ain’t Your Story. Consider yourself warned.]

What happens when people who were born after the social media boom grow up? How do people deal with the presence of social media, one that seemingly pervades every aspect of their lives? What new challenges present themselves when dealing with people who were raised with, and sometimes by, social media? And how do we, as a people, deal with the constant erosion of privacy in our own lives, whether it’s by government organizations, employers, teachers, peers, corporations, or any combination of the above? There is no way to know the answer to these questions, I think. However, insight into them came from the most unlikely of sources.

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