Avatar for secularsage



  • Registered 3 years ago
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I write. I research. I play games.

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Recent comments

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 8 days ago

    The funny thing is that before this year, I couldn't tell anyone I knew why they NEEDED a PS4. There were a few good exclusives, but nothing essential.

    Fast forward to now, when 2017 has provided some of the console's best exclusives and really boosted the stature of the PS VR.

    I recommend Horizon: Zero Dawn and Nioh to everyone I know. Uncharted: Lost Legacy is very solid. Persona 5 (technically a non-exclusive since it's also on PS3, but whatever) is also great on PS4 since it has remote play. And even The Last Guardian (which was technically a 2016 title, but which got lost in the holiday shuffle) has turned out to be a pretty cool unique experience for the platform.

    It's nice to see the PS4 coming into its own, especially after so many claimed consoles were dead and buried.

    Posted in PS4 Has Crossed 70 Million Sold Worldwide, Just Behind The PS2's Sales Pace

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 9 days ago

    @jrralls77 You're probably best off with a recommendation engine like Games Finder rather than lists for that purpose.

    Another alternative is to use an aggregator like Game Rankings, Metacritic or Open Critic and look at the best-reviewed games in genres or year ranges.

    Kotaku has their "The Bests" recommendations that they periodically update, but I often find those recommendations to be too shallow and obvious.

    Posted in The Problem With Trying to Pick the 500 Best Games Ever

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 9 days ago

    @SuperShinobi You make a good point, and one thing about these lists is they tend to have HUGE blind spots for platforms that were less popular in the writers' country of origin. For example, it's rare to see these lists include the Sega Master System, PC Engine, ZX Spectrum or Amiga unless they're citing something really obvious like Shadow of the Beast or Defender of the Crown or Jetpac. Further, many of the 80s PC games get entirely ignored in favor of console games, as do coin-op games that aren't part of a popular franchise.

    There's also a problem of historical context. Some games were considered killer apps or game of the year material when released and are looked down upon today because they're aged poorly. Others flew completely under the radar upon release and either became cult classics or are now recognized for their technical chops. Many more never caught on well enough to be explored completely, and critics overlook them simply because there aren't enough voices championing them.

    One further problem I observe is critical bias. Enthusiast press critics often love games that make them feel like gaming is important because it helps justify their interest in games as something more than entertainment. This is why games that are definitely aimed at a certain type of hobbyist gamer (think Her Story, Undertale, Flower, Soma, Dear Esther, To the Moon, Home, Papers, Please and Everyone's Gone to the Rapture, among many others) tend to wind up on critics' lists and in their discussions despite being only moderately known outside the hobbyist gamer community.

    Posted in The Problem With Trying to Pick the 500 Best Games Ever

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 9 days ago

    I think the problem is that lists are easy to read, but really, really arbitrary to construct. Even when there's a rubric in play, it's just a bunch of meaningless scores that don't account for any sort of margin of error or tilt.

    I've always found cohort groups much more interesting: "If you like this excellent game, here are several more you might not know about that are like it in some way" or "Here are five games with a strange attribute in common." Those are not only more informative, but also more fun to read.

    Everyone has their personal favorites and guilty pleasure games, and there are plenty of games that are objectively great. But ranking lists are a silly way to discuss game quality, and they're far too prone to giving equal weight to the really popular and really obscure games because of a desire to please many constituents of readers.

    Posted in The Problem With Trying to Pick the 500 Best Games Ever

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 24 days ago

    The Uncharted games have done an uncommonly good job of making the player care about all of the characters in-game, often by simply injecting personality and perspective into the big - and small! - moments and making the characters feel three-dimensional. In Uncharted 2, for example, there are so many big moments that stick with you long after the game is over, and for me, it's both Nathan shouting "Marco!" at Chloe when he plays around in a rooftop swimming pool and the awful moment of watching the Sherpa village get destroyed by a mercenary squad.

    The weakest aspects of any Uncharted game are the portions where they turn into shooting corridors, because these are the moments where characterization gets lost and the series simply feels like an average shooter with above-average graphics. Fortunately, each iteration has gotten better about keeping the shooting corridors from overwhelming the third act, and Lost Legacy and Uncharted 4 in particular held on to that sense of character throughout.

    Posted in Ten Years On, Uncharted's Legacy Isn't Lost

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage A month ago

    I played about 2 hours in and really enjoyed it. The new environment is a lot more vertical and has some really breathtakingly beautiful areas. The story seems like it's going to be pretty tragic, and I like how the Banuk are facing their own unique machine threat in the Daemon rather than some variation of the Hades corruption going on in the main story.

    And the new machines are no joke; even maxed at level 50 with the power armor, I nearly lost my first battle with the Frostclaw.

    Posted in Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds DLC Review: The Outsider Heads Outside

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage A month ago

    OK, so Heavy Rain and Fahrenheit included a female character (Madison and Carla, respectively) who were pretty much in there to take their clothes off in the shower (and, in Madison's case, a later intimate scene in the motel. ) Madison also faces a brutal home invader in the dream where she's first playable, and is also threatened with near rape by a power tool in an extremely exploitative scene (after being asked if she's a prostitute). Madison's prologue DLC was similarly vile, with the main villain being a taxidermist who kills and stuffs women.

    Jodie in Beyond: Two Souls is also confused for a prostitute (which can lead her ghost pal to commit a brutal murder) and is constantly being pressured into a relationship by Ryan. She doesn't really have an arc; by the end of the game, she's so broken up that Aiden isn't in her life anymore that she's a shell of a person.

    David Cage can't take the high road on creative choices. His games show a consistently misogynistic view towards women.

    Posted in Rhianna Pratchett Responds to David Cage: "Step Up to the Plate and Talk About the Creative Choices You Made"

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage A month ago

    I hate to say this, but it's the LACK of corporate savvy that held this game back, because it looks unbelievably cool from this write-up, and yet it's the first time I've ever heard of the game.

    There is an absolute glut of games out there right now, and you have to figure out how to properly position your games in order to reach your audience, particularly if your concept is unique. In the case of The Magic Circle, appealing to livestreamers would have probably helped a lot. Most of the gamers I know who are actually willing to buy launch day indie games do so because they want to stream them or are avid fans of streamers themselves.

    It is not surprising to me that Jim Sterling gave this game a boost, because his cult of personality has attracted a fanbase of hardcore gamers who like to vote with their wallets.

    The good news for these devs is that it's not too late! They could retool the game for another platform (or release a "deluxe" edition) and market the heck out of it. This would generate interest in ALL platforms and versions and make the game seem new again. Good luck to them.

    Posted in The Indie Game Unsuccess Story: How the Creators of The Magic Circle Survived Their Own Gaming Nightmare

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage A month ago

    I work in marketing research, and let me tell you - you CANNOT predict the success of a creative property based on focus groups and surveys. People don't know what they want until they have it in front of them, and they rely heavily on social cues. All you can really do is figure out what they'll find objectionable so you can tweak your product to do well.

    My theory on Nier: Automata is that it had three things going for it:
    1) It's a spin-off of a game that's generally regarded as a cult classic
    2) It's developed by PlatinumGames, which has a strong reputation both critically and commercially
    3) It has EXCELLENT art design, and 2B is an android with two giant swords who's blindfolded and dressed in a maid fetish outfit, which makes the game curious and compelling to the more casual player.

    When you add that to the way people talked about the game's high quality and its insane story (and the fact that it came out in a not-so-crowded time of the year), it's easy to see why it did well. It's quite analogous to No More Heroes, which was the right game at the right time with the right art style and mechanics to be a big hit.

    But at the same time, it'll probably never happen again this way for Yoko Taro, just as it's unlikely to ever happen again to Suda51. Their sensibilities are just too off-kilter for a mass audience.

    Posted in Yoko Taro Has Absolutely No Idea Why Nier: Automata Sold So Well

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 4 months ago

    I love Horizon so much, and I'm baffled why more people aren't still talking about it. It's an extremely well-crafted game with a great story, excellent characters, and well-implemented (and robust) mechanics. That's it's gorgeous doesn't hurt, either.

    I know a game's good when I hit the level cap and still want to play it just because it's so much fun. Better yet, there are still places in the game where I'll find some real challenge because I stumbled upon some Ravagers and Behemoths near a Thunderjaw or Stormbird and managed to piss them all off at the same time without planning ahead for the encounter. It's quite a rush to make it through alive, and the game never feels unfair in what it throws at you.

    Can't wait for the DLC, and I hope it's true that Yellowstone is the setting.

    Posted in Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Gets a Release Date