ibb & obb

Do you know how long it’s been since I downloaded ibb & obb with the intent of reviewing it?  128 days.  They even threw me a review code to pass out to a friend to test the online play.  It’s not out of laziness that I haven’t gotten around to writing it up.  It comes down to two things.  First, the original build that released had some patchwork needed, and since my slate was full at the time, I let the developers fix it up before continuing further.  And second, and certainly most importantly here: I couldn’t find a partner to play with, even after I handed out the code.  Because apparently I have a bit of a temper about me and my partners didn’t appreciate being called idiots.  Even my boyfriend.  But, it’s not my fault.  ibb & obb is a game designed to ruin relationships.

ibb & obb is a cooperative puzzle-platformer.  Well, unless you’re talented enough to play solo by controlling Ibb with the left stick and Obb with the right stick.  Freak.  I don’t possess that talent, or any other coordination-based talent.  I can barely throw a robe on without breaking at least one bone in my body.  Thus, I was forced to play with partners.  The results were not pretty.

Do you know what I hate about the PS Store?  It often has either the trailer or pictures, but not both. In the case in Ibb and Obb, I had to swipe the pictures from Ibb and Obb's official site, which only had pics of the prototype.  Screw it.  Just look at the trailer below.

Do you know what I hate about the PS Store? It often has either the trailer or pictures, but not both. In the case in ibb & obb, I had to swipe the pictures from its official site, which only had pics of the prototype. Screw it. Just look at the trailer below.

Partner One: the Boyfriend

Our first attempt at playing ibb & obb came back in August.  At first, we thought we would really dig the clever level design, which heavily stresses teamwork.  Especially using each-other as platforms to reach higher plateaus.  ibb & obb has a hard-on for that set-up.  Of course, it also heavily leans on the “reverse-gravity, walk on the ceiling” school of platform design that I used to think was cute before I became Indie Gamer Chick.  Since then, I’ve seen no less than twenty games attempt it, and it gets more annoying and unoriginal every time.  Ibby Obby tries to at least mix it up by having the gravity stuff take place all over the map, often forcing you to use the gravity as a sort of springboard that you launch yourself to a higher platform with.  And, for what it’s worth, Brian still thinks the level design is splendid.  He just refuses to play with me.  Because he doesn’t like being smacked in the head and called an imbecile when HE screws up jumps.  I never screwed up jumps.  Perfect jumping is one of my finer qualities, second only to my modesty.

ibb & obb demands utter perfection in the puzzlish jumps it presents you.  There is nothing wrong with that kind of platform design, if the game’s controls are tight and responsive.  ibb & obb does not possess those qualities.  That, and that alone, kills it dead.  It’s just too damn frustrating how loose and slippery the controls are.  Now, in the original build, the D-pad was completely unmapped, which meant you were stuck using the incredibly over-sensitive analog stick for all the movement.  The patient team at Sparpweed Games, who I utterly respect the shit out of despite hating their game, promised they would use my early feedback.  And they did.  They added D-pad support, which made a world of difference, but the characters still slid a lot when moving and jumping.  The looseness and imprecision of the controls was far and away the most challenging aspect of ibb & obb.

Even with the D-pad, we found it hard to line-up jumps, stack ourselves, or aim long-distance jumps without overshooting.  If this had been a single-player game with only one character to worry about, I would have been frustrated to the point of meltdown.  But ibb & obb is a cooperative game, which means you need precision of not just one, but two players.  Both of whom need to play absolutely perfectly, especially in later stages.  Every enemy is an instata-kill, and one player dying means both players have to start from the last checkpoint.  Now granted, the checkpoints are very generously present, often immediately before each new “puzzle” in a stage.  But when the loose controls result in puzzles that can take up to thirty minutes to clear, in part because coordinating two people to solve a puzzle is akin to learning a new dance from scratch, my frustration reached a level that I later learned is called “domestic violence.”  Brian took it with good grace, because he’s that kind of guy (and also because I wear the pants in this relationship), but he’s not a regular gamer, or a puzzle person, or particularly smart.  He also got sick of me saying he wasn’t particularly smart, then showed his intelligence by telling me to find someone else to play with.

The reverse gravity thing used to be novel. Now, it's almost a prerequisite if you want to make an indie platformer.

The reverse gravity thing used to be novel. Now, it’s almost a prerequisite if you want to make an indie platformer.

Partner Two: a friend I met through Indie Gamer Chick

A few weeks ago, I was bitching about the, ahem, quality of my partner on Twitter when a skilled platforming fan that I met through Indie Gamer Chick offered to play a bit with me.  Mindful that I have difficulty communicating, we hooked up and attempted to play.  This was a bit of a disaster, partially unrelated to the game itself.  I do have quirks related to my autism, one of which being I tend to talk over people during those times I can speak.  I try not to, but it’s tough.  That annoyed him.  He annoyed me by being non-stop sarcastic.  Sarcasm is a tricky thing for me, because most of the time I’m incapable of recognizing it, even when it’s obvious.  My brain processes information literally.  If I write it, I know my intent, but hearing it from others throws me off.  And this dude could not grasp this concept.  We got on each-others nerves.

Now thankfully, there is a communication-aid in the game that draws the pathway you’re trying to show by using the right analog stick.  Sounds great, except even once you and the partner get done arguing over the solution, you still have to both be very precise with very imprecise controls.  Again, the later levels leave little room for error, which meant both of us were screwing up.  Like I did with Brian, we both laughed during the first few screw-ups.  But once you’ve crossed a dozen between you (mostly via me, I admit), frustration and anger sets in.  We did make progress, but the constant follies that were more on the shoddy controls than us were too much and we both agreed we weren’t having fun.  And that if we had been sitting next to each-other with sharp objects, at least one of us would be dead.

Partner Three: The Business Partner, then his Kid

I don’t even remember what game it was, but last year my partner Christian dropped by my house to talk about something or another and we ended up playing a game I was reviewing for Indie Gamer Chick.  We don’t exactly have a relationship outside of work, so it was a cool bonding moment.  Last week, Chris dropped by the house and I thought “hey, I should show him ibb & obb.”  Chris had recently been playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii U with his son, age eight, so I figured I would show him an indie version of a platformer.  It took me about ten seconds to realize he wouldn’t exactly be a premium playing partner.  He literally couldn’t do such simple actions as jumping on top of me.  So his kid Brent took over.  An eight-year-old, mind you, who kept asking why the controls weren’t more Super Mario-like accurate.  It made me wonder how high the ceiling for ibb & obb would have been if it had NSMB-levels of accuracy.  Although Brent took direction relatively well, not to mention that ibb & obb sure looks like it would be aimed squarely at his age-range, it was too difficult for him.  We then booted up Wii U and he proceeded to utterly humiliate me at Mario.  Kid is going to be a pro someday.

Sorry guys, I had to make due with the pictures I had available. For what it's worth, the  whole game doesn't look like this.

Sorry guys, I had to make due with the pictures I had available. For what it’s worth, the whole game doesn’t look like this.

Partner Four: Daddy

So it’s come to this.  By this point, I had tried ibb & obb multiple times with Brian, and a few times with various other people.  I never really got over how loose and annoying the controls were.  But, ibb & obb’s level design is undeniably clever.  I get accused of quitting many games I play at IGC too early.  Actually, often I quit and then while writing the review I go back and give it another shot, just because I don’t feel good about it otherwise.  I try my best to be fair.  In that interest, I borrowed my father.  Even he commented on how bland the game looked, and he was unaware that this had been a showcase title during Sony’s last Play event.  Alas, my father is not a gamer.  ibb & obb’s more challenging platform sections and loose controls require someone with experience, and my father is always the one holding everyone back when we play New Super Mario.  He’s also probably reading this right now.  Hi Daddy.  Don’t worry, I didn’t tell anyone that you pronounce Mario “Merry-Oh.”

In conclusion, ibb & obb is a game that probably should have been a lot better than it turned out.  I feel like Tim Russert, writing “CONTROL CONTROL CONTROL” on a marker-board, because that’s all that ibb & obb needed.  The concept is as niche and indie as possible, and if you don’t have a partner, don’t bother even trying.  But currently ibb & obb is free on PS+, and at that price, it’s probably worth looking at, just based on how good the intentions were here.  A lot of thought was put into the puzzles, the level design, and the cooperative gimmick.  But, I didn’t really like it.  And maybe it’s not entirely on the controls.  I love puzzle games, but puzzles to me are something I prefer to work out on my own.  Portal is one of my all time favorite games, but even playing Portal 2’s coop with people who I genuinely love felt like I was having my space violated.  And then you have the moments where ibb & obb is more about the platforming precision, almost like a punisher, where one or both players end up holding each-other back over multiple attempts.  It’s not an experience that’s best shared, in my opinion.  Little Big Planet kind of figured that out.  It’s not a game that, on its own, is especially difficult.  But the more players you add, the greater the odds that someone is going to fuck up and force everyone to restart.  Now imagine ramping the difficulty of level design on that up.  It would be maddening.  Combine that with the loosened controls, and any fun would have long been replaced by aggravation.  ibb & obb has been critically popular (though I think the big-league critics give minimalistic indies a lot of leeway they otherwise wouldn’t), so maybe I’m in the minority here.  Or maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I had personally been more skilled at it.  I mean, I get that a lot, where people determine that the only explanation for my dislike of a game is that I must suck at all games.  It’s a bullshit theory.  I love Spelunky about as much as anyone reasonably could, and if I were any worse at that game, I would be able to use it to qualify for disability.

ibbibb & obb was developed by Sparpweed Games

$7.99 with PS+ discount (at the time I purchased, currently free with PS+) thought the name sounded like something that would be seen on Nickelodeon in the making of this review.

A review copy of ibb & obb was provided to Indie Gamer Chick.  The copy played by Cathy was paid for by her with her own money.  The review copy was passed on to a friend to test online play.  That player had no feedback in this review.  For more on this policy, check our FAQ.

The Unfinished Swan

I’ve spent the last couple days attempting to write a game of the year piece, and when I tweeted that I was ready to name Journey my game of the year, I had a few skeptics say “what about Unfinished Swan?”

Oh yea.  Forgot about that one.

Well, now I’ve played Unfinished Swan.  It’s fun.  It’s original.  It’s got a very cool narrative.  And it’s not a game of the year contender.  Not even close.  It would be lucky to catch a sniff of the game of the year’s stale fart.

But it’s really cool though.

TUS.E3.2012.001

What stands out about Unfinished Swan is how good a job it does of making the player revert back to childhood.  It does feel like you are a child whose imagination while being read a fairytale is running wild.  This could have been mishandled so badly, but instead it comes across as totally authentic and charming.  I could see why so many people would name this game of the year, especially those that put a premium on story and emotion over gameplay.  My only real complaint with the story is Unfinished Swan, which seems very suited for young children, takes a bit of a dark turn during the final chapter, which doubles as the end credits.  This includes a scene where you’re at a funeral and see a body inside a coffin.  Jeez, guys.  Even Disney had the good taste to not show Mrs. Bambi’s bullet-ridden corpse.

So the story is really good.  Not as emotionally exhilarating as Journey, or as likely to make you think deep, introspective thoughts.  Instead, the game invokes a relaxing innocence.  This is the first game I’ve played in a long time that feels like a sophisticated family game.  No joke.  Unfinished Swan seems like it would be great for little kids.  Nothing here is too challenging, and even some later spooky scenes set in a dark forest aren’t too scary for young children.  If you have kids, I couldn’t strongly suggest any game more.  Any form of media that’s narrative can appeal to very young children or adults is rare, but such stories in video games are really, really rare.

Uniqueness extends to the gameplay as well.  In fact, the experience is so unique that if you don’t already know what it’s like, I suggest you quit reading now and just go buy itYou won’t regret it.  My verdict on the gameplay?  Fun, very simple, puzzles aren’t exactly puzzles, some frustrating elements, but everything here is light and breezy and could be finished in under four hours. There is absolutely no challenge at all here.  None whatsoever.  

TUS.E3.2012.014

Still reading?  Okay, let’s talk level design.  So the game starts you in a stark white room with no indication of what to do or where to go.  A common experience among people I’ve talked with about Unfinished Swan seems to be people not realizing the game has begun.  But it has.  Each of the three chapters has a unique take on what exactly you have to do to navigate them.  In the first world, everything is white, and you find your way around by throwing water balloons filled with ink.  They splatter on objects, revealing their shape and size.  Using these, you paint the terrain until you can find the path to move on.  It’s quirky and neat, but sometimes annoying.  Often times, I had to rely on spinning around in a circle and throwing ink at everything trying to figure out where I was supposed to go next.  I called this the “octopus caught in a centrifuge method” and it did work, but seemed like it shouldn’t be necessary.  Occasionally, you’ll spot swan tracks on the ground that point you in the right direction, and thank Christ for that, because otherwise I think I would still be trying to find my way out of the first stage.

In the second stage, objects finally have shadows, and thus you don’t need to heel-toe your way around anymore.  Your ink balloons are also replaced with water balloons.  The idea here is to navigate a vast city and castle with all kinds of tall buildings and exotic locations.  And actually, this is the part of the game where I did get bored at times.  The design here is fairly bland.  The gutsy stylized gameplay of the first stage is almost completely gone, and in its place is the type of navigation puzzles that have been done to death in games, only these ones are much easier.  Later in the stage, you have to use the water balloons to grow vines used for climbing walls.  The problem with these are they tend to be a bit stubborn.  Sometimes I couldn’t get them to go where they were supposed to go at all.

In one spot, you’re given a fire hose that you’re supposed to use to saturate a wall to grow the vines towards another platform.  I spent several minutes trying and failing to get the vines to grow in that particular direction.  They simply refused to do what they were told.  So I said fuck it and made a mad leap for the platform, missed, and fell to my death.  When I respawned back on the platform, not only were the vines willing to cooperate, but they had already grown where they needed to go.  No clue at all what happened there.  I’m guessing the game’s engine crapped out on me.  That, or this is the developer’s way of advocating suicide to solve all your problems.

TUS.E3.2012.010

The final proper stage is set in a dark and spooky forest where you’re attacked by spiders if you don’t stay in well-lit areas.  You deal with this by hitting lights with your balloons.  At one point, you need to push around a little glowing ball of light (a moment that gave me Entropy flashbacks) to keep yourself safe.  Later, you have to follow the ball of light down a river.  After this, you have geometry puzzles that require you to create platforms by throwing the water balloons at specially marked walls.  I have to say, the efforts to change-up the gameplay are well done in general, but no one mechanic seems to reach its fullest potential.  After all this, you’re given a brief epilogue where you relive past moments in the game, while the credits appear on the walls.  Afterwards, you can go back and look for hidden balloons that open up various unlockables.

I really liked Unfinished Swan, and other than some dead points in the second chapter, the gameplay here is fresh and well-paced.  I ultimately recommend it because there’s nothing quite like it, and because it plays well.  But there’s no challenge here.  After telling a friends to get this for their six-year-old kid over the weekend, I found out that the kid easily beat the game in roughly the same time I did.  I hear he totally loved it too.  So yea, it’s not challenging.  But neither was Journey.  I would say both titles would be better described as game-like experiences.  Where actual gaming elements almost seem to distract from the unfolding narrative.  Both could also easily ride the art-house label if they so wished, but they don’t need to.  They let their art credentials speak for themselves without battering you over the head with a copy of Rudolf Arnheim’s Art and Visual Perception.  If Unfinished Swan has any real failings, it’s that it feels like they didn’t do enough with the visual gameplay concepts.  Maybe that’s a good thing.  Maybe the whole “you can’t see anything” direction of the first level could have been maddening without the type of restraint the guys at Giant Sparrow showed.  Maybe.  But I can’t shake the feeling that this could have very well been called the Unrealized Swan.

The_Unfinished_Swan_logoIGC_ApprovedThe Unfinished Swan was developed by Giant Sparrow

$14.99 never did hit that blasted swan with a water balloon in the making of this review.

The Unfinished Swan is Chick Approved, but only Xbox Live Indie Games get ranking on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard.  For now. 

The Sequel Blues

We have been penalized by the lack of new consoles on the market. I understand the manufacturers don’t want them too often because it’s expensive, but it’s important for the entire industry to have new consoles because it helps creativity.

-Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft

I’m rarely stunned by the stupidity of words that come from the heads of major game studios, so I have to give Mr. Guillemot credit.  That was a remarkably dumb statement.  One that I wholeheartedly reject.  It was a defensive statement, for something that doesn’t need defending.

Gamers can be an irrational breed of people.  When they’re at their worst, gamers can be reactionary, twitchy, slobbering crybabies.  Or we can shorten that and call it “fanboys.”  I get it with kids.  Santa Claus brings Johnny an Xbox 360 for Christmas, while Bobby gets a PlayStation 3.  They’ll end up doing what kids do, arguing that their machine is the best.  But the bad ones, they’re the assholes who drag this argument out into adulthood.  They’re also the ones who bitch about console manufacturers who push non-gaming content, DLC, and especially sequels.

Minecraft 360 has sold over three million copies. Not bad for a dead platform.

I don’t get the argument against sequels.  Of all the truly stupid shit that gamers get angry over, the resentment of sequels is the one that baffles me the most.  I think many people forget that gaming is a business that exists to be profitable.  That might sound condescending, but it’s true.  When you bitch at developer for being too sequel heavy, you’re essentially telling them to not take the path of least resistance towards profitability, placing their company’s future at a greater risk.

Here’s my question: why does this make you, the angry gamer, so damn mad?  How in the blue fuck does Call of Battlewar Modern Reach 17 possibly affect you?  Other than the fact that you’ll be $60 less wealthy once it’s out because you know you’ll buy it.  Yes you will.

If sequels aren’t your thing, don’t get them!  Their existence doesn’t stop the influx of other purchasing options.  Gaming has entered a second Golden Age of creativity.  The advent of independent gaming, plus the roll out of digital distribution on consoles has opened the door to new and original properties that would never be given a green-light seven years ago.  In 2012, the major digital platforms on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have seen two record-shattering games be released: Journey and Minecraft 360.  Whether these games appeal to you directly or not is irrelevant.  It’s what they represent that is important.  They’re new properties (in Minecraft’s case, new to consoles) that destroys the notion of sequels drowning the industry.  The gaming landscape is full of titles like that.  Rarely does a month go by where there isn’t at least one, maybe two games on those platforms that I just have to try because they look so different.

Are we really ready to let go of the PlayStation 3 when such innovative, never before attempted ideas such as this one are on the verge of fulfillment?

That’s why I think Yves Guillemot’s comment pissed me off so much.  Because it was a pass-the-buck move for something that didn’t require defending or an explanation.  Anybody whinny enough to complain about sequels will never be satisfied with anything because they’re miserable human beings just looking for stuff to moan about.  You can’t please them, and it’s not even worth trying.  Whether they admit it or not, they buy all the mass-marketed stuff anyway.  They just have to try to be “cool” and reject sequels.  That makes them sound non-conformist.  I walked into a Gamestop once (bad decision, I admit.  I think I might have been under the influence of seizure medication) and saw what looked to be a half-man, half-manatee complaining about Crackdown 2 being a soulless cash-in that didn’t really try to be different.  And he said all this with a straight face while wearing a Gears of War 2 tee-shirt.  This is the type of moron you can’t win with.

Why try to justify yourself to these people?  Especially with outright bullshit, as is the case with Mr. Guillemot.  Saying “no no no no, it’s not OUR fault that we’re making sequels.  It’s their fault!  Sony’s and Microsoft’s!  Blame them!  We need new hardware or we simply can’t be original!”  Right.  Because launch-window games are known for their high-risk creative endeavors.  Of course they’re not.  New consoles bring with them 12 to 18 months worth of last-generation gameplay rehashes dressed-up with shiny graphics.  The Wii might have been an exception to that, just because it had that wacky new controller thing, but I don’t think anyone would try to argue the machine sparked a revolution of creativity.  It takes about two years for developers, even first party ones, to get over the learning curve of developing for a new platform.  While that is going on, they stick with what they know.

So Mr. Guillemot is wrong.  New consoles don’t breed creativity.  They might make a game producer’s imagination run wild with possibilities, but that doesn’t necessarily transition to the final product.  That’s why the truly neat stuff doesn’t hit until a console has been around a while.  A new concept, like Katamari Damacy, couldn’t have launched with the PlayStation 2.  Developers stick with what they know works, which is why Touch My Katamari launched with the Vita.

Spec Ops: The Line is technically a sequel, but it’s not really, because the series was never this bad ass.

And that’s why I don’t want this generation of consoles to end just yet.  Look at what the last 18 months have given us.  L.A. Noire.  Journey.  Bastion.  From Dust.  Fez.  Walking Dead.  Catherine.  Dragon’s Dogma.  I just finished Spec Ops: The Line, a game that is a sequel in name only, and I was blown away by its gutsy narrative.  You wouldn’t see anything like that christen a new platform.  You just wouldn’t.  Yea, this console generation has had an unusually long lifespan, but with promising new IPs like Watch Dogs or The Last of Us still on the horizon, why are we already writing a eulogy?  So I reject Mr. Guillemot’s assertion that developers need new consoles to be creative.  An especially hypocritical stance from the guy in charge of the publishing house that is bringing us the next big new IP, Watch Dogs.  According to him, they shouldn’t have even bothered, and instead of focused on the Wii U, which is the new platform his employees need or they just can’t think.  And what is this new platform in essence?  A screen that you have to flail around like you’re trying to swat a fly with it.  What is he doing with that?  ZombiU.  That’s his idea of innovation: holding a screen in front of another screen.  It would be like Firestone deciding the next generation of tires should be square-shaped.  Besides, my faith in that game is nil.  Ubisoft does launch titles about as well as buffaloes do deep-sea diving.  I remember Red Steel.

Sequels are not the problem with gaming.  I’m not even sure there is a problem with gaming right now.  We live in an era that features multiple thriving platforms, and hundreds (if not thousands) of games of all shapes, sizes, and costs that are released annually.  With so many options available to consumers, I simply don’t understand how so many gamers can be singing the Sequel Blues.  If all you can see is sequels, you need to get your eyes examined, because I do believe you’re more near-sighted than Mr. Magoo.

Kairi on E3 2012: Sony Edition

Tell me I’m the first one to say “J.K. Rowling cast the Avada Kedavra Killing Curse on Sony’s E3 press conference.”  I’m sure I’m not, but I just thought of it all on my own, and that counts!  Actually, it really is kind of funny how Sony can have such a well done press conference, but you have one little brain fart like a ten minute session of J.K. Rowling sitting oblivious to the fact that we would have rather seen J.K. Simmons and suddenly everything is less than hunky dory.  By time the conference was over, nobody was talking about all the fucking awesome videos of games.  They were making Harry Potter jokes.  Smooth, Sony.

I thought it was a good conference.  Besides WonderBook, they hit all the right notes.  No 3D bullshit (maybe the billion dollar bath they just took on 3D televisions had something to do with that), not a whole lot of Move, minimal talk about non-gaming applications, and a whole lot of major titles with actual game footage.  Not all of them interested me, and I’m sure not all of them interested you.  But there really was something for everybody here. Especially if you’re eight-years-old or stupid, because that’s all WonderBook can appeal to.

Either he’s playing WonderBook or he got into the medicine cabinet.

WonderBook was bad.  Like “why are they showing a tech demo for the PlayStation 2 Eye Toy like it’s 2003?” bad.  Just to point out how off base Sony is, they spend ten minutes pimping the game like it’s a child’s toy, complete with footage of elementary school kids hoping like hell Sony wasn’t lying about giving them free games for taking part in this ad.  And then what other game besides Book of Spells did they talk about, albeit very briefly?  A game called Digg’s Nightcrawler that has a Film Noir theme to it.  Way to nail down that target demographic, Sony!  Why, not a day goes by where a six-year-old doesn’t ask me if I’m a fan of the Maltese Falcon.

Otherwise, the conference was swell.  God of War is targeting other creatures of myth, which I assume means the Last Guardian will be one of the bosses in it.  Sure, it pretty much is the same old shit that we’ve had shoveled at us since 2005, but hey, God of War!  Look, Kratos killed some dudes by dismembering them!  Haven’t seen that before!  Actually, Kratos does have a new gift: he can rewind time to create platforms to hop on.  So you guys are grifting from Lego Star Wars now?  If  you had to do that, you should have just made this Lego God of War.  At least that would have been funny.

The highlight of the show was The Last of Us.  Like everything else shown at E3, the game’s pitch boils down to “It’s Uncharted, but..”  Resident Evil 6 was Uncharted, but with zombies.  Tomb Raider was Uncharted, but with boobies.  In this case, it’s Uncharted, but set in post-apocalyptic America.  It actually looked decent though.  Ironically, it had more stealth stuff in its footage than stealth-series Splinter Cell’s trailer did.  Of course, there were still moments of mind-numbing stupidity of design.  After all, we can’t venture too far away from Uncharted.  The scene that sunk the trailer for me involved a shoot out where people were using couches as cover.  Couches.  Things made of foam, cotton, and tiny little springs.  I kept thinking “shoot the fucking couch!”  Maybe the dude thought he would accidentally shoot the tag off and get arrested.

At least it looked like a game I wanted to play.  I can’t say the same thing about Beyond: Two Souls by Quantic Dream.  I thought their previous effort, Heavy Rain, was a boring piece of shit.  I think most people probably feel the same way as me about it, but won’t admit it because then they become “anti-video games as art” people.  I feel no shame when I say that I want to be a gamer, not an art connoisseur.  I also don’t feel I should have to volunteer to be bored for hours while waiting for the quote “good stuff.”  Yet, that’s what the argument for Heavy Rain is.  It starts slow, but a few hours in it gets better, so just wait for it.  Why should I?  Unless the good stuff will undoubtedly be the greatest thing EVER, wouldn’t that time spent being bored be better spent not being bored?  I know, crazy talk.

“Quick, before you die, where are the fire extinguishers again?”

Hold on though, they got Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page.  Great!  And then they showed it off by cutting to a cinematic where her character didn’t speak a word for five minutes.  When you actually got to hear her, she wasn’t really any better than 90% of all game voice overs.  Which is to say she totally phones in every line of dialog.  Money well spent, Sony.  Next time, do what Capcom does and just hire Sally from accounting to do the acting.

And no, I have nothing to say about the Vita.  I’m just like Sony!

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