After a few stumbles in their latest outings, Telltale’s Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 1: Tangled up in Blue (“GOTG” from here on out) harks back to their last truly excellent offering of Tales From the Borderlands, with the familiar action-comedy setting of the latter to tell… a tale.
These things are episodic, so any review at this point may not be necessarily useful. For what it’s worth though – it’s pretty good. If you’re a fan of Telltale experiences or Guardians of the Galaxy, then you’ll probably enjoy this, as I certainly did.
However, there’s enough here to get me pedantically analysing the thing, and that’s always fun!
Don’t tell your friends that HOTSUPER is the most innovative story I’ve interacted with in years!
The gameplay sucks though.
This article contains spoilers for Spec Ops: The Line and early spoilers for Undertale
In my previous article I compare the actions-with-consequences that are forced upon you by two games: the excellent Spec Ops: The Line and the amusing Accounting. These are actions that garner much criticism from the games’ characters but are outside the control of the player – they are the only options presented and the game doesn’t proceed until you take them. I tried to argue that being criticised for such forced decisions in Accounting is annoying but it is tolerable (and maybe laudable) in Spec Ops because it fully embraces this theme as a means to empathise with the protagonist. In Spec Ops you play the tunnel-visioned Captain Walker who sees no alternatives to his actions and stubbornly forges onward without considering the bigger picture. The game’s story introduces tragedies that are then the result of this obstinance and openly blames Captain Walker for them. Spec Ops then goes further by telling Walker (and perhaps also the player) that these hideous consequences could have been avoided if only he “just stopped”. But what does this mean in gameplay terms?
An irresponsible splurge recently had me picking up one of those HTC Vives and so I’ve been lost in a wonderland of Virtual Reality. I’ll write up an article some time about my experiences with VR but for now I’d like to write about one particular game, the recently-released Accounting by William Pugh (of Stanley Parable) and Justin Roiland (of Rick and Morty). Don’t consider this to be a review, but rather a jumping off point for a discussion about decision-making and player responsibility in games. Actually, no wait, I’ll give a short one-sentence review of Accounting right now. It’s very entertaining and terribly fun, but I don’t know if I would even call it a game.
A few days ago RPS reported that Firewatch is getting a movie adaption. It looks like the rights to this movie adaption and other “future projects” have been bought by a production company, for what that’s worth.
I’ve already written about how I liked Firewarch (and hated the introduction), and I’m pleased that the game has been as popular as it has that media production companies have caught the whiff of a potentially money-making property. It’s always good to see something different receive acclaim and find an audience, so good-going developers Campo Santo!
However, let’s pretend for a moment that this isn’t just film-studio speculative purchasing of a potentially popular brand-name (are there plans for a Firewatch franchise?) and have some fun doing some speculation of our own!
How could a Firewatch movie be handled if it were actually going to be made?
Firewatch is a great little game. It’s an interactive drama, with literal exploratory elements, that doesn’t overstay its welcome because it only takes 3-4 hours to complete. The voice acting is great, the art-style works well with the beautiful scenery, and the atmosphere of the game that is built through a combination of its writing, conversation-system, and exploration-mechanics, makes for a thoroughly gripping experience.
If that sounds like your cup-of-tea, then don’t read on too far, as I really recommend Firewatch as a unique, fun, narrative experience. Before you play though, it is very important to turn OFF the navigation marker, which is ON by default. I also highly recommend turning OFF the game music, and this is a point that forms a strong part of my criticism of the game.
While I did really enjoy this game by the end; just after it started – I hated it. I think it will be interesting to explore why I felt this way.
Minor spoilers after the jump.