Short Game Review: InFamous

I thought about writing a short review for this 2009 PS3 game, but I figure you can just reread what I wrote about Spider-man: Web of Shadows, a 2008 Xbox 360 game, replacing any references to “webs” with “electricity,” and any references to “Spider-man” with “guy with electricity powers.” It even has pretty much the exact same shortcomings. Handy! I will say, however, that while InFamous‘s detailed buildings and cityscape are much more impressive (if smaller in scope) than Web of Shadows‘s cookie-cutter New York, I’m pretty sure web-slinging is still more fun than sliding along power lines. Overall, though, definitely worth the “classics” discount price tag.

Short Game Review: Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain is an “interactive drama” about several people trying to track down a serial killer. “Interactive drama” basically means that it’s pretty much like a movie with occasional prompts to do things. Many or most of these prompts are extremely mundane and simple (“press joystick this way to open the fridge”), meant to encourage greater emotional engagement and to act as practice for when you get a bunch of quick prompts to fight for your life (“QUICK HIT THIS BUTTON OR BE ELECTROCUTED AAAAAAAH”).

I was impressed that someone finally designed a game that is meant to be played straight through, and that takes some risks in genre (well, for a video game), rather than the usual repetitive action/sci-fi shooter. I hope we see more games like it, and I encourage you to give it a try. I don’t think we’ll look back on it as a classic, though, if for no other reason than that the story has so many plot holes you can practically feel a draft—and for a game like this, plot is actually a big part the whole point. Still, I look forward to the day when games that follow in this legacy do away with the common statement, “It has a pretty good story (for a video game).”

Breaking News: Michael J. Fox says hoverboards aren’t real

But really, can you trust him? The man’s a trained actor, people.

Short Game Review: Demon’s Souls

This game is notorious for being very hard, and rightly so. The problem with it is that the difficulty is more boring than frustrating after a while. There’s a lot of repetition and little variety for a long time. Once I resigned myself to the fact that grinding until you memorize it all and level your character to being unstoppable is actually the entire point of the game, it almost ceased to be frustrating—but shortly thereafter, I discovered that any other player can invade your game and anonymously kill you. It’s a fascinating feature for a single-player game. I would’ve appreciated if there were as many players anonymously volunteering to join your game to help you as there are joining games to kill you, but I’m picking this up late, so probably everybody did their good-guy playthrough first and is now on their jerkhole playthrough. Ah well.

Anyway, if you find yourself addicted by point allocation, limited inventory management, and repetitive grinding with occasional flashes of interesting material, Demon’s Souls is definitely for you. By the time I reached the end, I was sort of enjoying the strategy of it, but the enjoyable part of the game for me turned out to be very brief compared to the part of the game killing the same few enemies and collecting items that weren’t as good as the items I already had.