Reality is a Game

Game thinking from Adam Clare

Tag: review

RPS on RCR

When I first heard of Retro City Rampage I thought it was rather esoteric and I questioned the ability to cohesively put together all these disparate games in a way that made sense to a contemporary gamer. Rock Paper Scissors (RPS) recently reviewed Retro City Rampage (RCR) and it address my previous thoughts, sadly it seems that RCR fails to live up to the games it’s paying a homage to.

From the review:

I get it. I get that our rich, shared history of gaming across many decades is something we want to celebrate and that there is cosy soul-warmth to be had from seeing these familiar scenes again. But perhaps there’s more to be done with it than just pointing at it, as though we’re in some hyperactive museum where all the exhibits are on motorised wheels whizzing around the hall at speed while the tour guide screams a disassociated pepper spray of facts and lies about them.

Moreover, I’m not sure that the game in which all these things are indelicately placed is all that much of a good time, or at least not on a par with the joy it clearly feels in its nostalgia. It is a minor technical marvel for sure, cramming in a slick, busy open world rendered in 8-bit 2D as well as rapidly-changing scenes based upon games of yesteryear. There is a large space to run around in, wielding many weapons and driving many cars, maybe suddenly hopping into a side-quest in a near-indestructible tank with infinite ammo, maybe running into a laundry and smashing all its washing machines to steal the change inside ‘em.

Read the full review.

Over Thinking L.A. Noire

A few weeks ago I took a stab at playing Rockstar’s L.A. Noire and stopped playing it after an hour or so. It’s timely for me that Overthinking it’s review of L.A. Noire just came out and I agree with almost all they say about the game.

Even their comparison to the old Blade Runner game is apt:

There are a lot of detective games with arcade elements, but the game it most directly recalls for me, because of its aesthetic, painstaking attention to detail, focus on story, and the way it handles linear gameplay, is the 1997 Blade Runner detective game for PC by Westwood Studios (spoilers for the first mission of a game from 14 years ago).

To me the game came across has a great attempt at doing something new in getting the player immersed through better acting and simulated emotions in the avatars. But it was just that: an attempt and the rest of the game wasn’t good enough to keep me engaged.

The narrative in the game got me interested and I did want to find out what was going on but the game mechanics discouraged me from continuing. Researching a case was tedious and felt forced (watch the video below to see what I’m getting at).

One more thing I found strange about the game is that the city of L.A. felt empty! Driving around in a car (which felt like I was trying to drive an elephant) and seeing the beautifully rendered world not being used by digital people kinda made me sad.

Of course if you don’t want to read an incredibly long review you can watch Zero Punctuation’s:

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