Category: Discussion Pieces

Into the Breach: Combining Mechanics I Dislike into a Game I Adore

Into the Breach is a newly released game by Subset Studios (the team behind beloved space travel roguelike FTL: Faster Than Light). It’s a tactical combat roguelike in which players control a team of mechs and attempt to hold off waves of murderous giant insects. Both tactics combat and roguelike elements often fall flat for me, but this game combines them in a way that makes them both work wonderfully….


Horizon’s DLC Has a Very Good Side Quest

…Early into the DLC I found myself characteristically distracted by a side quest. I found a sad looking young woman with a little exclamation mark above her head. She told me she was a musician named Laulai who, until recently, played music in a place called Deep Din. It was a place, but also a musical instrument. But something had caused it to rapidly and unexpectedly flood, leaving her without her creative outlet but also without a connection to her late father, who had taught her how to play.

It was an odd but relatively mundane quest. Go investigate the flood, see what happened, fix everyone’s problems, good to go. So I went to check it out…

SPOILER WARNING: I’m going to describe the rest of the “Waterlogged” side quest in some detail, so stop here if you intend to play it spoiler-free yourself (which I totally encourage)….


On Storytelling in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a game that I heard a lot of whispers about before ever seeing it. I knew that it was an action game by Ninja Theory, that it attempted depictions of neurodivergence, and that it supposedly had impressive audio design. Most of those descriptive elements were interesting to me. But I didn’t hear much about it beyond that. So when I started this game, I went in mostly blind, having only heard first impressions and seen a few screenshots.

Part of my enjoyment of the experience was discovering it without having many expectations.  So on that note, my spoiler-free tl;dr is as follows: Hellblade is a fascinating story delivered through high-quality visuals and narrative-integrated gameplay. It’s part story, part action game, part low-key puzzle game, with some survival horror elements included as well. It’s also a foray into the honest depiction of psychosis in video games.

If you’re comfortable with the themes in the game and curious about it, then I highly recommend you experience it for yourself. From here on, there will be heavy spoilers…


E3 2016 Impressions

Having just returned from E3 2016, I’ve written a few brief blurbs about the games for which I saw or played any exclusive content so I could give people an idea of what I thought. The following is a breakdown of what I played/watched/interacted with and what I thought of it.

I’ll talk about some of the hands-on demos I played (ReCore, Abzû, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Song of the Deep, Masquerada, Gravity Rush 2) as well as some videos and expo setups that I saw or found interesting….


Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Closed Beta Impressions

Note: I totally forgot to take screenshots while the beta was still available to me, so unfortunately I have none to post here 🙁 Last weekend, I was selected as one of the players for the Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Beta.  As someone who enjoyed the original Mirror’s Edge, I was excited to give it a…