Monday, April 30, 2012


Amount Completed To the "Game Complete" screen (all crew saved).

My statistics were:

Time - 2:04:54
Flips - 3554
Deaths - 777
Most Deaths - 46 in The Final Challenge
Story The story of VVVVVV follows the captain of a space shipe stuck in another dimension and his efforts to rescue his crew. The missing crew are spread out across a grid of screens (and a bit more). After finding each there is often a sequence in which the captain and the crew member have to travel together through a few additional screens. Other than rescuing the crew you can explore and discover more information about the dimension you are trapped in. I tried to follow the story but I was too busy slamming my head against my desk to remember much due to the unrelenting difficulty of the game (at times).

Art VVVVVV was clearly intended to be a Commodore 64 game and looks accordingly dated. The sad and happy faced characters (and the big weird elephant) fit perfectly and expressed emotions effectively.

Sound The sound is very well thought out. The few number of sound effects express a lot of emotion and again fit the Commodore 64 theme. The soundtrack to the game was catchy and enjoyable.

Gameplay The game is a twitch puzzle game that is very forgiving in that you are allowed to repeat things nearly immediately. Unlike games where one bad decision results in the repetition of twenty minutes of gameplay VVVVVV generally respawns the player immediately adjacent to the difficult puzzle. With respawns being so immediate the puzzles themselves were afforded a lot more difficulty. Playing the game on the keyboard would be alright if the game were a bit less analog. The character has a bit of drift/float as he moves around in the world. At times you can only somewhat predict what pressing a key will actually cause the character to do.

Gut While I can appreciate the difficulty of the game and how it may appeal to some... I have to say that this game was simply not worth putting my fist through a wall for. Frustration gives way in too many of the puzzles. Only a few puzzles were designed where the end result was entertainment, instead most were designed with an end result of relief. Instead of solving a puzzle I felt myself fighting with the controls to the point that I was better off not even looking at the screen and instead counting the milliseconds to hold a key and/or press another.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Dead Space 2 [Game][PC]

Amount Completed: Played through the main storyline. I have no comment on the multiplayer component as I did not try it.

Story: The general setting of Dead Space 2 is about the same as Dead Space. You play as a guy running around in a big metal maze among the stars. You even revisit the big metal maze from the first game. A cult is obsessed with the creation of a large marker from which great things are supposed to happen. Instead nasty creatures run rampant killing and some of them even create more nasty creatures. There are some minor twists as your character is deceived and supported by a small cast of characters throughout the journey. The journey is primarily your own with your current “friend” (might turn on you at any time!) playing navigator. I was hoping for something a bit more grand in terms of the story but instead it was a lot more introspective with your significant other from Dead Space often haunting you. While initially I was not exactly pleased with the approach, it actually became more interesting as more interactions were had with her. In general the story was fine, but I would have liked a lot more real-world events.

Art: The art of Dead Space 2 seems like the art of Dead Space. It looks fine and does the job. The lighting and type of rooms seemed to be more varied in this game. There is a creepy day care center and a lot of other areas intended for day-to-day human life unlike the first game. The creatures look mean and a bit gross with the exception of the supposed tough versions which looked less like their bloody-gory counterparts and more like walking blobs of fecal matter due to their coloring.

Sound: The sound itself is effective at drawing the player into the game. The music is nothing special and sadly forgettable. As with the Dead Space, the sound is what had me jumping from my seat for the first quarter of the game. Unfortunately (well actually fortunately) I learned to expect certain things so the audio cues did not come as a shock after a while. The game used music to indicate that a battle was starting/still-in-progress and I ended up wishing it was not playing at all. That kind of audio hint actually destroyed the suspense that I felt in my first few hours where I had no idea what horror might jump out or remain in an area. 

Gameplay: Dead Space is a third-person game where your character eats up about a third of the screen. It is alright in this day and age of wide screen monitors (I played on one so my experience was acceptable). You explore areas, collect items, improve yourself/weapons, and shoot at enemies. The formula works and has hints of RPG elements with the need for your character to continuously improve.

Like just about every horror game, Dead Space 2 uses scripted events to trigger the introduction of enemies. They will sneak in from behind you, arrive in massive numbers (hint the music changes!), or just jump out in front of you. When I started playing I was jumpy and would react probably more so than even intended... but as time went io I just learned about the likely trigger points. As with Dead Space I even found that in some cases the best approach was to run right through an area that looked dangerous, turn around, and finally blast everything that followed. I recall one storage room in particular I dashed across and started blasting from a corner. I took out ten-plus enemies from the safety of the corner without a scratch. Also I believe you can use objects to trigger the enemies. I swear I shot a box around a corner and an enemy came running out. (I guess I would too if someone hit me with a large box)

Gut: Dead Space 2 is likely enjoyable for fans of the horror genre. I am not one of those fans. I am someone who happened to purchase Dead Space and was curious enough to follow up with purchasing the sequel (both Steam sales). At $10 it was well worth it. Dead Space 2 does take longer than Dead Space. It started to drag at the end when I just wanted to finish the game.