This past week at E3 Bethesda announced the next in their line of critically acclaimed role playing games – ‘Fallout 4’.
Assuming the mantle of a denizen of Vault 111, living all the way from your idyllic family life before the nuclear warheads ravaged the land to your re-emergence in the newly the shattered, fractured landscape of Boston, Fallout 4 looks set to introduce a whole new array of features in it’s own right.
At E3 Bethesda proudly displayed a whole bevy of innovations to the already hit-franchise. From expansions on the weapon modification system to a very tantalizing take on player-house that had many stalwarts to the series watering at the mouth at the prospect of building their own defensible haven in the wastelands – it seems no expenses were spared when it came to marking Fallout 4 as a notch above the other inclusions to the series.
One feature was not truly brushed upon, though, and the savvier fan can’t help but think it may be because Bethesda may be leaving it as one final trick up their sleeve – one last card to pull at a closer date to the game’s eventual release. Arguably the most hotly-debated and discussed subject pertaining to the Fallout series.
Will they include cars?
The notion has been both opposed and adored by fans – clamored for and vehemently rejected in it’s concept, but could such a thing actually work? Is it reasonable and feasible to be cruising around the Wastes in a 50’s style automobile without a care in the world or, more importantly, harming the overall feel of the game?
That’s the first rebuttal brought up in response to cars – would they harm the atmosphere? The atmosphere being very important to Fallout, it’s one of trepidation-starved adventure, a trek throughout vast wastes, visiting unexplored locations completely clueless as to what, or who, you may find. It’s clear to see how buzzing around at god-knows-what miles per hour past all these wondrous sites best properly explored with an attentive eye on-foot may do it’s part in detracting from this experience.
So how do you counter this? Using these cars only in vast, sparse and empty stretches of highway between locations better seen on-foot? Doesn’t that just seem like a lazy stand-in for fast-travel, though? How about areas of the map dedicated solely to them? Maybe even confine vehicular usage to its own mini-game?
Each way they decide to go about it seems to have 50 pros and cons to it – one thing’s for sure, it may be a feature Bethesda could benefit tremendously from cashing in on.
With so much organic fan-buzz having accumulated about this subject over the years, crossing over seamlessly with the years of excitement and anticipation about Fallout 4 that Bethesda has finally cashed in on, cars – coupled with the sheer immensity of the new-found customization in Fallout 4 – could be a huge selling point for a game that, frankly, doesn’t need any more selling points.
But if it means some Mad Max style vehicular warfare, would it really hurt to have a few more?
WARNING! This post contains spoilers for the Kingdom HeartsIII. If you’ve played all the games or just don’t care about spoilers, feel free to read on.
So, as all of us Kingdom Hearts fan know, the new trailer came out a few days ago, and it was awesome. I have pages upon pages of notes I took from that trailer, analyzing every last pixel within it. Now, I could use these notes to post a thorough trailer analysis, but I think it’ll be more fun to instead write about what is indirectly told through the trailers and information revealed thus far. So, below is Part 1 of 2 (possibly 3) of a series where I predict and discuss everything Kingdom Hearts III.
I did a similar thing with my friends when Kingdom Hearts 3D was about to come out, and I was 99% correct on my predictions, so I feel confident to share my thoughts on the new one. Everything here isn’t necessarily what I want to happen either, they are predictions based on the history of the game series and comments made by people working on the game. This first part is all about the worlds that I feel like will appear in the game, part 2 will be about the story, and the possible part 3 will be anything I felt like I left out. Now, let’s get started!
1. Our Confirmed Worlds
Tangled (likely to be called “Corona”)
No real surprises here. All of these worlds have been shown in trailers, and throughout the history of the series, every world in a trailer has so far been inside the game it was advertising. The only questioning world is this new Cable Town that was shown at a private event held late in 2014. But, judging by the descriptions of Cable Town, it is likely the world that Xehanort and Eraqus are having their conversation in during the E3 2015 trailer.
Also, from what we know so far about Cable Town, it’s easy to assume that it is the hub world for KH3, much like Twilight Town and Radiant Garden were in KH2. Judging on the games release and how popular these characters are in Japan, I would bet money that the Kingdom Hearts version of Lighting Farron from Final Fantasy XIII and Noctis from Final Fantasy XV are going to appear in this world as well. These two characters have been mentioned in passing for a while now to appear in Kingdom Hearts, so I wouldn’t be shocked if it ended up happening.
Anyway, now to the more interesting stuff.
2. Predicted Worlds
The Mysterious Tower
Halloween Town/Christmas Town
Hundred Acre Woods
Radiant Garden/Hollow Bastion
Castle Oblivion/Land of Departure
The Keyblade Graveyard
Frozen (likely called “Arendelle”)
The Jungle Book (I’m not sure what the world for this one would be called)
Big Hero 6 (likely called “San Fransokyo”)
Lilo and Stitch (likely called something on the lines of “The Big Island”)
Toy Story (likely called “Andy’s Room”)
A new, unannounced, original world
The first 10 on my prediction list are returning worlds from the past games, but all of them make sense for a return. Agrabah, Atlantica, Hollow Bastion, Halloween Town, and the Hundred Acre Wood have all appeared in both of the main game titles, so their return is expected. The Mysterious Castle will presumably be in the game as well, since as revealed at the end of KH3D, Kairi needs to be trained with a keyblade. Yen Sid’s home might also serve as a “base of operations” of sorts, but more on that in part 2. Disney Castle is also likely to return in a bigger way since Mickey will seemingly have more screen time than ever before as he is one of the Seven Lights. The Keyblade Graveyard will also likely be the last world in the game since the opening of Kingdom Hearts 3D depicts it as being the site for the final battle between Sora and Xehanort. Thematically, it would also make sense for Traverse Town to return since it’s the first world you visit in the first game, which makes me think it might be one of the closing worlds in this new one. Lastly for the returning worlds, Castle Oblivion is a lock for appearing since Sora, or a keyblade master, still needs to save Ventus, and to our knowledge he’s still sleeping in the Castle.
Before I go into my reasoning and thoughts on the new worlds, let me address why I didn’t include the two most requested worlds: a Star Wars World and a Marvel World. I didn’t include a Marvel world where Sora would be swinging with Spider-Man, or beating heartless with Black Widow because quite frankly, the Marvel movies don’t have a tone that would make sense in Kingdom Hearts. The series tried making a world out of a movie with a differing tone of the game with Port Royal in the second game. Because that world wasn’t generally well received I don’t see Square Enix testing the waters again with another series. Star Wars is a completely different beast from Marvel though, because the tones can mesh well with each other. For the longest time, fans of the series have been clamoring for the obvious lightsaber keyblade. It would be awesome, but there is one big thing preventing this world from happening, EA. Currently, EA has the rights to do anything and everything Star Wars in the video game front, and it would be very unlikely for them to share that with Square Enix. Sure, the parent company of Disney could still potentially let them do it like they just announced they’re doing with Avalanche Software for Disney Infinity 3.0, but that still seems unlikely.
However, despite what I just said about a Marvel world, I did make an exception in a way. I have a strong feeling there is going to be a world set in San Fransokyo from Big Hero 6. This movie is technically Marvel, but since it would be based off the movie there’s no real connection between it and Marvel besides a few Easter eggs, so it doesn’t really count. The movie is fairly recent, which might make it hard for there to be a world on it, but we also have to consider that Tron Legacy had a world in KH3D and there was only about 18 months between the release dates of those two. Also, and this is where this idea gets a bit weirder, since San Fransokyo is partially based on Tokyo, I believe this is also the world where we will see the return of the cast of The World Ends with You. Tone wise it makes sense, and it’s not impossible to imagine Sora sharing the screen with Neku and Hiro.
I also put down that there is a big chance there will be a Jungle Book world in the game. This is because there was supposed to be a Jungle Book world in Birth by Sleep, but it was cut out. You can actually find some code of the world inside the game still. Anyway, the Kingdom Hearts series has had a history of going back to worlds that were scrapped from previous games relatively late in the development cycle, some notable examples being the Pride Lands and Prankster’s Paradise. There is also a high chance of there being a Frozen world solely because of how popular that movie is, especially in Japan. Toy Story also seems like a likely chance for a world since Buzz and Woody were planned to be a summon in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix and technology is powerful enough now for a game to look as good as the CGI in the movie does. For the last new Disney world, I believe it will be one based off of Lilo and Stitch that takes place sometime after Stitch escaped in Birth by Sleep and when he meets Lilo.
Lastly, I believe there will be one more original world besides Cable Town. This world will be one of the last in the game and serve as this games The World That Never Was. It will most likely serve as a point between the main story and the Keyblade Graveyard. There’s not much more to say about it considering that it would be brand new.
So that’s it for part 1 and please share your thoughts in the comments on whether or not you agree with me and what worlds you you think are going to be in the game. Look forward to part 2 in the next few days where I will be talking about the story.
Oh, Crash. In your early nineties glory days, you were the unofficial mascot of the PlayStation. Groupies, shopping centre openings, invitations to spangly celebrity cocktail parties… the bandicoot had it made.
Alas, though, he was never destined to become quite the icon Mario, Sonic and their ilk would. Developer changes and delays between games hit him hard, but not before some truly stellar platformers arrived. The best of all, in my view, would have to be Crash Bandicoot: Warped. Let’s take a look.
The third installment of the main series hit PS1 in 1998. It tells a familiar story, of the struggle between weird genetically modified Australian marsupial and demented megalomaniac scientist (well, that’s a familiar story in the Crash series, anyway). This time, Doctor Neo Cortex is aided by the villainous Uka Uka, an evil demon-thing that resembles a witchdoctor mask. The dastardly duo need to gather a set of mysterious crystals to achieve world domination, which are spread throughout time and space.
Fortunately (for them), Doctor N. Tropy has developed the Time-Twisting machine, which allows them to hop backwards and forwards at will and gather them. Fortunately (for everyone else) it also allows Crash to do the same, and thwart their fiendish schemes. And so begins 25 levels of toontastic 3d platforming goodtimes.
Fans of the little orange dude will know the deal here. There’s a central hub world (the time machine itself, in this instance), from which you access each ‘set’ of 5 levels. After nabbing the crystal from each, you’ll take on the boss before proceeding to the next area. There are enemies to spin attack or jump on, explosive booby traps to avoid, those legendary Crash crates…
It all sounds quite conventional, but Warped has the best level variety of any platformer I’ve ever played. The time travelling idea for one, which sees stages set everywhere and anywhere from the Jurassic era to the distant future. More than that, though, there’s the vehicle stages. You’ll ride a World War One biplane and dogfight with your foes, race them on a motorbike, and barrel along the Great Wall of China on the back of a tiger cub. Is any of this madness in any other platformer? No, no it isn’t. Well, not all three at any rate.
Crash Bandicoot Warped is definitely an example of a safe sequel. Fans will feel right at home here, and there’s a distinct waft of more of the same about it all. Nevertheless, developer Naughty Dog aren’t resting on their laurels completely. Many of these vehicles are brand new for the game, and change the way you play entirely. As do the all-new special abilities, which you are awarded for beating each boss, Mega Man style. The rocket launcher that fires wumpa fruit is worth the price of admission alone.
I am sure that I am not the only one who’s insanely excited about the Fallout 4 announcement – a game announcement that I’ve been waiting for years and one that didn’t fail to impress. We’ve already talked about why and how the game should be bigger and better than its predecessors, but now since we actually have some meat on the bone that Bethesda threw at us earlier, it’s time to talk real Fallout 4 based on facts. Or mostly facts.
The first Fallout 4 trailer has been launched and after watching it a million times (more or less), I have decided to come with a complete analysis of the teaser and share with you all the interesting bits of information that are hidden behind the three minutes of footage. Which, by the way, is way more than anybody expected in the first place.
But before we proceed to the trailer analysis, let’s check out the video itself below so it’s fresh in our mind:
Now let’s get to the actual trailer analysis!
From the start, we are greeted with the tunes that I personally got to love in the previous installment of the game. The image that was initially used as a teaser on the Fallout 4 website is actually on a TV screen in a pretty beat up room. This is several years after the apocalypse came. This is the present time of the game. This looks nice and stays true to the original Fallout’s game intro cinematic as well!
Unlike other Fallout trailers, this video also focuses quite a bit on how things were BEFORE the bombing and the destruction, showing us images from the pre-war era. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that the game itself will have a lot of pre-war gameplay moments – that’s not why we play Fallout for!
A dog suddenly appears at the entrance and looks a lot like the well known Dogmeat. Although this is obviously not Dogmeat, I am sure that from now on we’ll all refer to it as Dogmeat, so we have the pup once more in Fallout. And he is the main character of the trailer, too!
As Dogmeat walks through what was a kitchen, we can see Mister Handy in another flashback scene – a robot that Fallout fans certainly recognize. We also get all that old school, 50s decor that we were expecting from the game.
We move forward and we’re shown a scene from the pre-war era where two parents are looking at their newly-born baby in a crib. This might actually be the game’s main character, so remember this scene as we’re probably going to see a bit more of it during character creation. Or it’s nothing but a sad story of a few souls that were lost during the war…
The dog then hears a sound and quickly goes outside to show us the first glimpse of the Wasteland (which we’ll later see that is actually Boston). It looks a lot like the wasteland from Fallout 3, which makes a lot of sense – but fortunately that green color that used to drive us crazy is gone. So it’s a better looking wasteland so far.
Moving forward, after another glimpse of the pre-war times – the actual moments before all hell broke loose, we see the people desperately trying to get into the Vault. Here we can see the Enclave troops protecting the entry to the vault, wearing their impressive and bulky armor, keeping away those who don’t deserve to enter. The scene is really nice, actually: you can see the cop on the ground, probably trying to accept the fact that he won’t be given permission to enter and the civilians grabbing the fence and hoping for a miracle to get in. Really powerful stuff!
Then we hear the iconic Fallout catchphrase: “war never changes…” as we’re shown what is surely the home-Vault of our protagonist: Vault 111. Remember that the home Vault in Fallout 3 was 101, so there’s definitely a connection here.
Finally, we get to see some first person footage, which might actually be in-game footage. It most likely shows the protagonist as he leaves the vault and sees for the first time in many, many years, the brightness of a real day:
Now we get to some really juicy stuff, things that show us in-game locales and confirm that it will take place in Boston. We start with the Bunker Hill Monument.
Then we move on to see the USS Constitution which has apparently been transformed into some sort of an airship or at least upgraded with some really cool techy stuff. I am sure we’ll spend quite some time there, maybe it’s a place similar to Rivet City in Fallout 3:
Finally, an extremely colorful version of Scollay Square, a place in Boston that was actually demolished (in real life) back in the 60s. We also see our Mysterious Stranger walking casually down the street – so he’s returning too! There’s also lightning and some rain in this shot, which might mean that we’ll have different types of weather in Fallout 4!
We are then showed a bunch of quick scenes from the universe of Fallout 4, and we can understand a lot about the world we’re going to explore. For example, the first scene that shows us the Brahmin (and confirms we’ll get to trade once more) also shows in the background something extremely interesting: electricity! Notice that there’s some sort of shack built there, the electricity lines seem to be intact so we might actually get to explore a world where civilization is trying to start over – something welcome compared to Fallout 3 where, after all the years, they still looked like they were pretty much behind everything:
Next, we see some characters that are pretty difficult to distinguish, but I personally believe that they’re mutants. So they might make a slightly unexpected comeback in Fallout 4!
What follows is a shot of a Protectron and what will probably be one of the in-game towns. We see some cars there, many have asked for them and even though they seem to be in a pretty good shape, we still have no reasons to believe that we’ll actually have to practice driving in the upcoming game.
A shot of a never seen before mutant creature shows next:
Right before the scary Deathclaw (notice that the area is no longer as colorful, so in some places the green might be replaced by the brown):
What follows is a bunch of ghouls attacking the main character and apart from their new look, we can see that the physics engine has been tweaked a bit too: notice in the trailer that as the ghoul attacks, the shopping cart actually moves to the side. That’s pretty nice stuff!
We then get to see the Fenway Park stadium, according to Redditors, which has been rebuilt into a nice city:
We’re shown another Boston Monument, the Paul Revere monument – and a really cool airship in the back. That looks pretty strange – like a flying bottle, I’d say – and even though it looks terribly fragile, it’s something we might actually get to ride in the game. There’s also lightning, again:
Next, we see another guy in an armor in some sort of airship, making us believe that we’ll indeed get to fly at some point in Fallout 4. If you look carefully, you will also see the billboard with the letters GNN on them, which might mean that Three Dog is returning with some sort of Galaxy News Network. I remember that a long, long while ago the Three Dog actor confirmed his return in a new Fallout game, so this might be it.
What follows is a look at the post-apocalyptic Massachusetts State House, which is in a really good shape, like most of the buildings shown in this trailer.
Now we see the dog getting back to the rooftop entrance/exit of Vault 111 that we saw earlier in the trailer.
On the same rooftop, we’re taken back to the pre-war times, right when an explosion occurs. We can see the young family that was presented to us in the beginning sitting just above the vault’s rooftop entrance. However, the blast is really close so normally they couldn’t have survived the blast. We’ll see exactly what happened sometime in the future when Bethesda releases more details about the game.
As we near the end of the trailer, we have a shot that offers us a ton of information. Except for the cool Power Armor that might show some tweaking (see the difference between the left and right arms). Also, on our left, we see a Bobblehead, so we’re going to collect a ton of those too. There are also weapons that might hint at some crafting, as well as magazines that will most likely boost our stats. Could that actually be our in-game house? Maybe!
Finally, we get to see Dogmeat again and the protagonist, wearing a Pipboy (yay for that). Another really exciting thing that we need to notice is the fact that the protagonist… speaks! It might be just something for the trailer, it might be that we’re getting the first fully voiced character in the game. Something that many won’t really appreciate, though!
So that would be our analysis of the trailer and hopefully there will be a lot more for us in the coming days and weeks. Although there’s no release date announced yet, we do know that Fallout 4 will be only available on next gen consoles (PS4 and Xbox One) as well as PCs.
Now, I’m not the type to bust out a long, rage-tastic diatribe about licensed games. Let’s all just admit that they (usually) suck monkey nuts, and get on with our lives.
Still, it wasn’t always that way. Like the decrepit old gamer I am, I remember the glory days. The days we had truly fantastic games-of-the-movie to enjoy. The likes of the Mega Drive’s The Lion King and Aladdin are still celebrated as some of the best platformers of the early nineties. Right around this time also came… The Simpsons Arcade Game.
Released by Konami in 1991, this was a scrolling beat ’em up in the Streets of Rage vein. Think of it as a toony Golden Axe, with less of those dodgy-looking dragon things to ride and more of Homer swinging Marge around by the hair as a special attack. You don’t want to miss that, so let’s take a look.
As far as plotting goes, this is all fairly conventional for the genre. There’s been –wait for it– a kidnapping. Here, it’s Maggie, after she inadvertently swallows a flying diamond during a jewellery raid. The thief is none other than Waylon Smithers, who snatches the girl so as to not lose her precious shiny cargo. Naturally, Ma and Pa Simpson don’t take kindly to the theft of their daughter, and so they set off in pursuit of Smithers with Bart and Lisa in tow.
There’s a little suspension of disbelief needed here. When was ol’ Waylon ever such a dastardly criminal? Where did he get a whole army of goons to attack the family? Is he suddenly some kind of camp underworld kingpin? None of that matters. This is a fine setup for a little side-scrolling punchin’-and-a-kickin’ goodtimes, and that’s all we need to know.
You’ll chase Burns’ underling through all manner of familiar Springfield locales, from Moe’s Tavern to the power plant and Krustyland. There’s also a level set in a dream sequence, which is a popular device in the show itself. Throughout the stages, there are cameo appearances from other Springfieldians, and lots of in-jokes and such which are sure to be appreciated by fans.
In gameplay terms, too, this is a standard-issue brawler with a Simpsons makeover. Controls are as simple as you’d expect, with the usual jumps, throws and quick combos on offer. There are also tag team attacks, appropriate to the characters using them, which are highly damaging and pretty darn funny too (Homer’s spousal abuse mentioned above, for instance).
All in all, The Simpsons Arcade Game is a solid beat ’em up. It’s no genre classic, but it’s a fine and fan-pleasing effort. In licensed game terms, the Simpsons have fared a little better than most through the years, and this is my favourite title bearing their name.
Games orientated around a post-apocalyptic story are becoming a superior genre of game. With next-generation capabilities, we see these games brought to life in development that makes the game feel so realistic that it almost makes the player feel as if they themselves are being bombarded by infected, or scavenging for goods in what remains of civilization. The demand for such games has become increasingly potent since the release of The Last Of Us especially, the post-apocalyptic wonder that snapped up at least 200 Game Of The Year Awards. With a mass of games slotting into this genre it is hard to determine what exactly are the key elements in making them so enjoyable and memorable. Well let’s look into that.
Obvious, I agree but it is a fact that the success of a post apocalyptic game is partially derived from an array of terrifying enemies to war with. It wouldn’t be as thrilling or exciting being thrown up against a score of infected bunny rabbits. Over the years we’ve seen the opposition come in all shapes and sizes, whether it be a mutated mole rat or an infected human splattered in blood. Alarming enemies generate an initial and fundamental line of fear within post-apocalyptic games and a good enemy will make your blood-curdle and your spine tingle as you consider confronting them.
Dying Light (Techland) is plentiful in a span of such enemies. Although, sluggish zombies linger in the streets throughout the day, after sunset, players are left to deal with the agile terrors of the night, Hostiles.
These terrifying goons are brilliant for upping the fear factor within the game. As you flee before them you can hear them huffing and puffing behind you as they close in. It’s really effective for generating the intensity that makes a great foe.
Furthermore, enemies can possess the scare-factor for an array of reasons. Taking the Fallout series as an accurate example, the games are set after the occurrence of a nuclear apocalypse, causing various creatures and humans to become mutated due to being consumed by high levels of radiation. Subsequently, enemies are larger and more frightening in terms of their alarming and unusual appearance. I mean, I’m not particularly fond of being harassed by a mob of Giant Scorpions or the misfortune of bumping into a Deathclaw. The enemies are out of character and creatures who’d usually not bat an eyelid at your presence become enemies. This unpredictability generates fear as a result.
Nothing says ‘post-apocalypse’ like a lack of resources. Having to search every nook and cranny in the remains of what once a thriving civilisation, really provokes a sense of desperation, amplifying the whole ”survival” feel to a post-apocalyptic game. In resources being scarce players must use their noggin to tackle specific situations within such games as wisely as possible in order to conserve resources and to keep pushing forward. An admirable example of such a game is none other than Naughty Dogs own, The Last Of Us. The vast majority of situations throughout the duration of this absolutely fantastic game, can be tackled with stealth and a little patience, allowing the player to save resources for more hands on encounters. As the difficultly levels of the game increases ammo and food become increasingly rare to come by, having the player then assess each situation so thoroughly as not to draw attention, or a gun. Although a subtle aspect of the game, this style of gameplay is effective for deriving a sense of realism from The Last Of Us and it’s level of effectiveness is all to evident in it’s overall, mind-blowing success.
Urgency And Desperation
Post-apocalyptic related games are commonly orientated around survival of the fittest, the desperation of fending for yourself in order to stay alive above all others. Post-apocalyptic wonders to date would not be nearly as successful had we been handed the key to survival on a silver platter, relieving us of all means of urgency and panic. Instead, these games are successful as we have to fight for the gift of life.
A very underrated example of such attention to detail is indie game, Lone Survivor (Superflat Games/ Curve Studios). Although the 2D- retro styled graphics may not exactly cause you to jump or scare easy, this game compensates with every other post-apocalyptic aspect being no less than perfectly-executed, complete with and eerie original soundtrack and the most effect sense of urgency and desperation. Throughout the game players must consume food and drink regularly in order to avoid falling unconscious and then awaking in your bedroom situated in the first initial area of the game. This may not sound like any particular reason to worry but with save points or in this case mirrors being so far apart, it is vital to avoid starvation.
Another post-apocalyptic game that has a very effective way of making the player remain on their toes is The Walking Dead Game (Telltale Games), but this is however for a very different reason. The Walking Dead Game is an interactive drama featuring various button sequences and decisions the player should make. The beauty in this game is it generates the post-apocalyptic panic by limiting times in which players can make decisions. In a matter of seconds a player must decide who to save between two people on the basis of who will benefit them most, what way a team of survivors should tackle a specific situation, all the while bearing in mind every decision has a consequent effect on the rest of the game, meaning a bad decision could have a detrimental outcome.
Post-apocalyptic games thrive in success thanks to finely developed settings. Not only are these hypothetical post-apocalyptic settings great for allowing the mind of the player to indulge in how the aftermath of an apocalypse could look on some realistic level, but it is also ups gameplay standards by giving the player so much to explore and do. Well-developed settings can also be very effective in adding pressure on the story of the game itself, reeling in players emotions by making the characters within the game look extremely hard done by. Again, Naughty Dog’s The Last Of Us is a very prominent example of this. Set in a post-apocalyptic USA, we see the only means of safety being the scattered quarantine zones. As soon as the protagonists leave the safety of these areas, then having to navigate unstable skyscrapers and office buildings, flooded underpasses and booby-trapped places of refuge, we see a lot of pressure piled onto the story. Ultimately all of this makes the story unpredictable and as vaguely mentioned prior, it draws in players emotions, all of which is obviously effective in reflection to the outstanding success of The Last Of Us.
A jaw-dropping story is such a key aspect to driving post-apocalyptic games to their success. Although it seems an obvious aspect it truly is vital. An enthralling story will give a hypothetical game a sense of realism, making it seem much less far fetched. Post-apocalyptic games are much more enjoyable when they are believable. The Walking Dead Game (Telltale Games) is driven by it’s story telling, giving the player total control, almost making it as though they are the one surviving. The game is realistic and ditches the traditional idea of taking refuge in a shopping center with the rest of the survivors in your town and city. The Last Of Us (Naughty Dog) is hands down one of the best post-apocalyptic tales to date, purely because it is realistic and everything that happens within the game could happen given an infectious outbreak. It is always a winner to give the player the chance to feel like they themselves are within the game, especially within post-apocalyptic based games.
Even A Bit Of Originality
Living happily, outbreak of zombies occurs, survive. This is a traditional timeline of the chain of events within post-apocalyptic games. This being the case, it is a breath of fresh-air when a game of the same genre is released that is a little different. In this case we are going to refer to Tokyo Jungle (Sony Computer Entertainment/ Japan Studio) a game based on survival of the fittest, but in regards to the animal kingdom as mankind has strangely disappeared. In a post-apocalyptic setting you play as animals, fighting to survive long enough for the player to discover the reasoning behind the disappearance to humans. Initially this game is just hilarious, playing as animals such as Pomeranians (cute fluffy dogs), Lions and even some prehistoric creatures. However, the games success as a downloadable game was due to it’s originality and the fact it was developed from a totally different perspective on a post-apocalyptic world.
Games based on the aftermath of an apocalypse are becoming a particularly popular genre of game. With some great games already taking the gaming market by storm and with player demand for more of the genre I think it is only fair to say we can expect even greater releases from developers in this genre in time to come, all of which harnessing these very vital ingredients to the perfect post-apocalyptic game.
It is a struggle… I mean have you ever really thought about how difficult your character’s life is in GTA Online? I mean sure, you get this grand luxury apartment near the Vinewood Hills, a plethora of high end super cars and the sharpest suits money can buy, but did you ever stop to think about the little tasks and trials you had to go through to get there?
You wake up already standing up, fully clothed in the middle of your apartment, probably just woken from passing out from the previous night’s questionable behavior and illegal consumables. You wake up every morning not knowing what the hell just happened, that’s either an amazing feeling or a psychologically draining groundhog effect.
So you’re waiting for your buddies to get online and do the same so you can get amped and ready for some new heists, what do you do? I think I’ll go buy some new threads… Okay, so you head down to your garage, get in your Elegancy RH8 because you were too cheap to buy anything other than the free one so you souped it up to make you feel better about yourself. You get down to Ponsonboys, knocking down five lampposts and three pedestrians on the way because you’re still a little too drunk.
You park up diagonally on the curb and some dude backs off dropping his sandwich then immediately forgets that you almost ran him over and continues going about his day. You can’t apologize and have a conversation with the guy, he just blocks you out, the only way to get attention from people is by doing something bad and that’s what encourages you to carry out this criminal lifestyle that you’ve grown accustom to. Your character needs therapy but he can’t talk to people so then you realize just how bad this guy/girl has it.
Anyway you walk into the store where the pretentious lady behind the counter tells you that you look like a bum, but you can’t do anything about it. She can take the stress of her crappy 9-5 day job out on you but you can’t say two words back to her because you’re a mute. After grinding your teeth and flicking through some railings you find something you like, but then you have to put it on in a reverse fashion where you put your suit vest on before you can add a tie and so forth. All you wanted to do was wear a full black suit because you just saw the movie John Wick and you thought it’d be cool to look like that. You start getting mad for you character: this is ridiculous, I can’t wear a watch with my new suit? I gotta wear some stupid t-shirt with ‘Original Gangster’ plastered across the front? No screw this, I’m out. You storm out in your awesome suit, it’s still not good enough, you’re cursing under your breath when you reach your car and all of a sudden you hear and few bleeps and BOOM, car explodes. You go flying across the street, face slamming into the sidewalk and some guy in a Pegassi Zentoro in a monkey smoking a cigar mask drives away with little to no explanation or reasoning for their actions.
You’re having the worst day already and you haven’t even had breakfast yet, despite the fact your diet is restricted to (probably steroid induced) EgoChasers and P’s & Q’s. Anyway, you re-spawn a few blocks away, no idea how you got there when you see the monkey guy speed past and head onto the highway. You think: Oh yeah? You’re just gonna do that and drive away? No. Revenge gets the better of you, you’re completely blind to the fact that your buddies have now joined the lobby and are ready to have some fun, but no, screw that, revenge sounds bitter sweet right about now and your moral compass has been tossed out the window because of the people around you. You debate calling Mors Mutual Insurance and your Mechanic but that’ll take too long. ‘Johnny on the spot’ never parks it up in front of you, it’s always a block away, maybe that’s his little way of hinting that you don’t pay him enough but in your defense that’s your reasoning for his salary, whatever, you hate the guy. It would take too long and the guy who ruined your day will be up in Sandy Shores before you know it, so you break the law, steal a car, why not? You drag a soccer mom out of her Dilettante and you tail the guy.
You’re pelting it down the highway, the guy comes up on your mini-map, he’s just stopped at a mod-shop, the anticipation is killing you. You wait and wait, the second he comes out you fantasize ways of getting your own back on him. You start flicking through your weapon wheel, getting excited, which one shall I use today? You see his car spawn, this is it, you can’t wait, you fire an RPG right at the guy and it explodes… but nothing happens.
It is then that you realize he’s still in that flashy ‘can’t touch this’ spawn mode and he’s already driven away before you can load your next rocket. Now by this point you can either go after him and get him, leading to a three star wanted level and several police cars and helicopters on you. It gets ugly, your friends start getting involved, strangers dive in, everybody shoots one another and the whole thing is a mess. OR… on the other hand you do something most of us do and won’t admit. You take it out on Los Santos. I’ve usually got my guy pacing around, kicking in my own car windows, smacking the hood with a baseball bat till smoke starts seeping out from under it. There’s a construction worker sitting on the wall eating his lunch, you push him off, that’s the way it goes. Your friends come along, try to get things going, “Come on man, let’s go do some heists.”
You head back to your apartment, somehow its already dark out and you open a lobby for The Prison Break. You’re not particularly excited, your buddies are all amped up, all they’ve done is hop online and jumped into the lobby, no stress, they don’t know what you’ve been through, your character’s a little jealous to be perfectly honest. You end up waiting for the last guy for over ten minutes, Rhianna’s Only Girl In The World is driving you mad in the background, you can’t take it.
When the guy finally joins you go ahead and go through the set up missions. Things start getting back to the way they should be, you’re doing good, having a great time, things are on the up and up. Anyway you get to the Heist Finale, you’ve had to restart a few times because the guys posing as a prison guard and prisoner can’t handle the heat, but you’re patient. So you do it, you guys get out of there, you think: This is it, we’re gonna make it!
You get to that last parachute dive out the plane, land on the beach with another buddy and everyone questions where the third guy is? Your buddy in the chopper points him out, he’s doing circles, showing off on his way down, when all of a sudden the wind picks up a little, guy goes slamming into a rock and dies, mission failed.
You’re speechless, you don’t know how to act. You’ve now become a mute just like you’re GTA Online character, you toss your controller pathetically a few inches away. One of the guys leaves in a burst of rage, nobody can get a hold of him, God knows what he’s doing so you do the only thing you can do, you quit. You turn off the console, but you know what the funny thing is? The next evening approaches and you repeat the entire thing all over again. That right there is a day in the life of GTA Online.
There’s clearly a ton of things that you can do in video games way better than you would in real life: surviving alien-infested words, rebuilding civilizations, running for hours without taking a sip of water and much, much more. But have you ever thought about the things that are a lot easier to do in real life?
You’ll certainly have quite a few and I am sure that you’ve all been there and done that. Rage quits and broken mice/controllers are included too. So let’s check out below some of the easiest things you can do in real life but are almost impossible in Video Games:
Back in 1987 UK based hobby shop Games Workshop released Warhammer 40,000. Little did they know, this little miniatures game grew to become the most popular wargame of all time. All set in a grim dark universe where there is only war, genetically modified, hyper religious super soldiers designed by space Jesus, brutish green skinned Orks and a race of T-101’s who utilize the power of intergalactic Star Gods to harvest the universe to name a few. Throw in gothic architecture, blood, skulls and a couple genocides and you have a formula that was begging to be converted into a game. What they did was not just a cash grab hack job, but a unique take on a stagnating formula.
The most standout feature of Dawn of War was always its presentation. For a game released over a decade ago, the attention to detail was phenomenal. It effortlessly captured the look, and feel of the 40k universe, crafted all the iconic races and their units in full 3D. When I was 12, I remember zooming in and just admiring how awesome Space Marines looked, how brutal the combat felt and it really brought the miniature game I knew and loved to life in a way I never thought possible. The visuals have not aged too badly either thanks to the slightly comedic styling they used to iron out all that early 2000’s drabness. Then you had the music, my god the music. Nothing but the most epic of tracks would suffice for such an epic game, and they delivered.
Warhammer 40k has a lot of rich backstory and lore, literally thousands of years of history can be read up on and whilst Dawn of War doesn’t really utilize the full extent of the material, it manages to hit enough key notes to keep you interested at the very least, and evoke that Games Workshop feel the rest of the game oozes. You play as the Blood Raven Chapter of the Space Marines, with the main character Gabriel Angelos (no joke, that is his name) at the helm. What first seems like a “routine” Ork WAAAGH! turns out to be a devious plot involving both the Eldar (an ancient race of space Elves) and the ruinous powers of Chaos (demon worshiping Space Marines) that may or may not include a world destroying demi god. All of this is done with gloriously over-the-top voice acting that just screams 40k. It has a serious tone, literally tackling satanic worship and genocide, yet makes it so light hearted and hammy that you cant help but be entertained.
Where Dawn of War really shines though, like so many great games, is in its gameplay. Dawn of War took the base RTS formula and flat out updated it. Gone were the days of building single infantry units at a time, gone were the days of having a dude with a machine gun and a dude with a rocket. Dawn of War instead uses squads. Like in real life, a squad is almost entirely self contained and can be upgraded to include various special weapons such as plasma rifles or rocket launchers as well as add sergeants for moral. Dawn of Wars most recognisable addition however was its use of strategic points. Much like the tabletop game, the map was split into areas that could be captured and reinforced to obtain resources to build more powerful units. This focused the gameplay so battles would rage over key locations, making every battle seem important and worthwhile.
Whilst these gameplay quirks might seem common nowadays, these were almost unheard of back in 2004, and would provide the foundation for Company of Heroes two years later. The game was critically acclaimed, and received 2 massively successful expansion packs adding more races and new campaigns. Dawn of War 2 came around in 2009 and built upon the originals formula, once again making ripples in the RTS genre…but that is another story for another time.
Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War is one of those rare occasions where a “licensed game” is not terrible. It fully embraces the dark, grimness of the universe whilst maintaining the ham Games Workshop is known for. This is a game I have poured hundreds of hours into, and still revisit from time to time to relive those fond memories of my youth. With its modern take on RTS gameplay, cheesy story and timeless art style, Dawn of War and all of its expansions (minus Soul Storm…) are absolutely worth the investment.
It seems like the universe really wants Chloe Price to die. At least, that’s what it’s starting to look like by the end of the second episode of Life Is Strange. Are the game‘s writers trying to give us a hint? Let’s take a look at what’s happened so far:
Chloe was shot in the school bathroom.
Chloe will accidentally shoot herself if you tell her to aim for the car bumper in the junkyard.
Chloe is just about squished by a train.
That’s three near-death incidents in two days, and two of them were identical – she gets shot in the exact same place (her stomach) two days in a row. Now we can write off the first incident in the bathroom as the story’s inciting scene, but what about the other two? For those who didn’t explore this option, when Chloe and Max are shooting bottles in the junkyard, Chloe asks Max to tell her where to shoot a rusty old car to make it destroy the remaining 3 bottles. If you tell her to shoot the car’s bumper, the bullet will bounce back into Chloe’s stomach.
Wait, what? The bullet bounces off a car bumper and hits Chloe right in the stomach? What are the odds? Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the smartest idea to be playing with a gun while drinking, but still! Of all the directions that bullet could have flown off in, it went straight for Chloe’s stomach. It’s extremely unlikely, and even more so if you take into account that Max saw Chloe shot in the exact same spot the day before by Nathan.
But let’s call the two bullets Chloe’s taken to the stomach a coincidence. There’s still the train drama to deal with. After chilling on the train tracks for a while, Chloe (somehow) gets her foot stuck and can’t get up. And, of course, as soon as you realise this, the train is on its way. The path Max has to take to free Chloe is convoluted and not immediately obvious, so it’s likely you had to rewind at least a couple of times before you got her free – which means you got to watch your friend on the verge of being smooshed several times before you set her free. And let’s not forget how weird it is that she got stuck in the first place. Unless she decided to shove her foot in between the tracks, it’s not exactly clear how she managed it.
In episode 2 alone, both incidents were accidental and, presumably, could just as easily have happened to Max. But it was Chloe who copped it both times. It could be that Life Is Strange adopts the theory in physics that time is immutable. Perhaps Chloe was “destined” to be shot, and all of these near-death incidents are actually just the universe trying to correct itself after Max stuffed it up. It could be that, no matter how many times Max rewinds, she ultimately won’t be able to save Chloe. So are the writers trying to tell us that Chloe’s days are numbered? Maybe they’re tying to soften the heartbreak we’re going to suffer when we watch one of our favourite characters die by making us practice watching it happen over and over again, so we’ll be desensitised to it. It will be interesting to see if Chloe’s habit of dancing with death continues in episode 3, but for now, I’ve got a bad feeling about what’s to come for her.