Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Opinions about stuff

I picked up the boxed edition of Life is Strange yesterday.  I've only had a chance to play the first forty minutes or so but it's looking very promising.

I have a tendency to dither in all things, so when a game requires me to make choices that'll determine the future of my gameplay experience I sort of squeak a bit and hide.  It's why I still haven't finished the excellent The Wolf Among Us well over a year after buying it.  Life is Strange ups the ante considerably because the game's main hook is your ability to rewind time - so you can reverse a decision.  Over and over again. 

The first time this is really offered to you is in conversation with your school's principal - you can choose whether to tell him you just saw the son of one of the school's main funders waving a gun about or keep schtum. 

I told him, he didn't seem very convinced so I rewound time and hid the truth - my thinking being, "Maybe I can use this against gun-boy sometime to get him on my side."  The principal proceeded to give me a right bollocking so I rewound time again and told him the truth again.

I fear this game will take me a very long time to complete because I'll be doing everything six times before I decide on an outcome.

Anyway, other than my own indecision, LiS is shaping up well.  The much-maligned attempts at teenspeak do come off a little clunky, but apparently that improves as you go. 
   Graphics are relatively basic but nice, with some gorgeous lighting helping to mask the occasional issues with character models.  (Plus, since this is a game that has to run on the aging 360, some stiffness is reasonable.) 
   The soundtrack is a delight - buying the boxed edition meant I got a CD with it, mixing tracks used in the game with original compositions.  It made me realise how much I miss buying a film's soundtrack CD when it's all licensed stuff and you inevitably find out some new favourite bands.  Judging by the perfect deployment of their track "To All of You" in the opening credits, I think Syd Matters might be falling into that category. 
   The game seems to be aiming for that bittersweet melancholy that often characterises the latter part of your teenage years and, thus far, it's nailing it.  I love that sort of stuff so top marks to Dontnod Entertainment.  I really wanted to love their first game, Remember Me, but it just couldn't live up to its own promise.  So here's hoping Life is Strange does.

Other things!  I started watching Akame Ga Kill! on Crunchyroll the other day and I'm rather enjoying it.  I don't really want to explain it much as the out-of-nowhere sideswipe of the first episode is a key part of my enjoyment of it. 
   It's a little schizophrenic - it takes place in Generic Medieval Fantasy Anime Land except the clothing styles range from the 1300s to the 1800s to pretty much modern day, and though most people are waving swords about there are occasional guns being brandished. 
   More to the point, its often goofy, lighthearted sense of humour pushes up against the truly ridiculous levels of violence and willingness to be utterly ruthless to nice characters.  I'm only eight episodes out of 24 in and two of the lead heroes have already been killed horribly.  It's a little too pleased with its own extremity sometimes, in quite an adolescent way, but the characters are well-written and engaging enough that I'm hooked in now.  Plus, I suppose if you're going to put "kill" right there in the show's name...

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