There Came An Echo is an innovative, or just plain great, real-time strategy game that pits you in the shoes of a commander, with either voice controls or normal KBM controls, issuing various commands to your squad using its immersive voice recognition system. So let's start.
The graphics are slick and smooth, with beautiful colors and effects, and the animations being sufficient and somewhat oddly charming, followed by a nice clean edgy UI. The soundtrack is fitting with the game, and it's awesome, being catchy, diverse, and filled with a sense of.. justice and adventure to reach one's goal in the coolest possible way, with having an epiphany at some point.
There are two types of controls, the main one being voice controls, which is not perfect in any way, but actually works decently, and it has a lot of options for you to make it work, where you can choose the type of language you speak, or if you have an accent, which is nice, but obviously not every language is included. I had a problem with the game to recognize my voice when I called on one one of the character names, so I added a custom name that it could recognize, and it worked smoothly, at least a lot better than before. So if the game's voice recognition doesn't work for you, you can 'make' it work, and you can make it fun too with most if not all commands being customizable. To note again, it's obviously not perfect but it's functional and playable, aside from a few frustrating moments where it would just not work. It's something new in games that isn't played with a lot, it's working and I like it. I'd also advise to make it push to talk, as I got better controls with it.
Going to gameplay, playing with the voice controls, it's fun, easy, and you feel this sense of immense immersion as the whole game is somewhat fourth-wall breaking, bringing you, as the person behind the screen, into the game's story, world, and its interactions between characters, making you feel like a necessary part in the game's universe, an important role as an independent character, and that's a really awesome feeling.
Going to actual gameplay elements aside from what I said, you issue commands to your squad like to 'move to' a certain location, 'open fire' on an enemy, 'take cover' or 'hold position', and preform complex tasks immediately or at certain times of your choosing. You can also customize your squade in terms of what types of weapons they can carry and what type of passive ability they hold. The game also has nice progression in terms of difficulty curves, slowly but surely increasing it over time, over missions. It's fun and strategic, and somehow it achieved simplicity in its complexity.
The story of the game is satisfying, with a type of story that doesn't get covered in games much, reminding me of certain futuristic/sci-fi cartoon shows but more advanced, which is kind of nice and refreshing. The characters are really diverse, unique, and fun to watch their actions and interactions with each other, with great voice acting too, with each one having their own story that's made visible to the player. They also have mystery characters leaving you curious and excited to know their identity and their story. Also, the game plays its characters as normal people of this day and age, and nice mentions of what we have now in terms of tech and social media, with fun references that made me laugh when mentioned/revealed.
Back to story again, just wanted to add that the more I was nearing to the end of it, the more I was satisfied and in love with it, with how it was going. A lot of emotions rising, twists turning, fourth-walls being demolished, and the ending was amazing. My satisfaction liquid in my head was boiling. It was that freaking good to me, and I honestly didn't expect it from the game. I applaud and thank the writer(s) of the game for their awesome work, and heck the game should feature "Awesome Story Writing" in its store page.
I want more games like this, with the creative freedom actually being free from shackles of limitations, going full on out, with the all passion and love going in it. For that asking price, the game is a steal. There Came An Echo is just a fantastic, creative, unique, innovative, fun, charming, awesome game. The graphics are desirable and beautiful, the soundtrack is one to admire, the gameplay of tactics and strategy, with the applied voice controls are fun, intense, exciting, and immersive. The story is wondrous, and the whole presentation is top-notch, heck the game's presentation and story was even more cinematic than a game that was designed to be cinematic *wink*. The whole game is one to be awarded, as it deserves mine and a lot more. I hope they make a sequel with all out better tech, better tools, better everything so they can make their next game in that universe even better, and I cannot wait to see what the same developers ,with the same creative freedom, innovation, and support, do next.
Thought I might talk about it. Does a game's length matter? To answer very simply, yes. But why not ask more questions that are as important like, does the quality of the game matter? Does a game's fun / entertainment level matter? Does the price matter? More question can be added, but they all share the same answer, yes.
These questions are all a necessary to answer when looking at a game, you cannot take just one of those question and just flat out stick it on a game to apply judgment. Well, you can, but then you'd be unreasonable, unfair, and not very bright, but I may be wrong so paint me black and point it out if you don't see it that way, convince me why.
Let's take the recent game that was released, The Order: 1886, of which I played and finished in around seven hours. People would see that last line and say "7/10" or "7 hours? oh well, thought it looked nice" and "Won't be wasting my money then" and that kind of approach is just wrong, but not completely wrong. I said that "Is the game worth the asking price? Yes, but only if you sell it afterwards immediately, at least getting half of what you paid for" So basically I'm saying get it for 30$ instead of 60$, and there is reason behind that, so let's check out that reason with quick questions and answers.
How long is the game? Around seven hours. Do you finish most of the game's content in that time? Yes. How's the quality of the game? That of which a triple-A game, great. Is the gameplay fun and satisfying, with some variety in its content? Yes, aside from graphical design decisions in which it hinder gameplay. Is the story good? Yes, but it felt cut and not finished.
So we answered some questions that's needed to be asked alongside the question that popular right now, and from these questions you could now decide whether or not you want to purchase the game at full price. Looking at other peoples views on it with the same or similar questions being answered, you now know an idea of what the game is and how it plays out so that you could decide if it's worth the purchase or not.
Also, people usually think of a single player game when talking about a game's length, the time needed to finish the game, but you can actually apply that to multiplayer games too, and to do that you add the question of replayability, where depending on how many hours you play a lot of multiplayer sessions/matches, and the desire or disinterest of replaying it afterwards.
So let's say it again, game length does matter, and so does its quality, its quantity in its content, the entertainment satisfaction of it, and the price of the package. Ask more then just one question, and question the answers too. With question, research, and patience comes an informed decision.
The Order: 1886 is a PS4 exclusive, that's a singleplayer only third person shooter, set in 1886 looking at the name, in a history fantasy setting where you play as fancy look knights of a the kingdom, and you kill creatures that I won't tell what they are because spoilers.
Going with the usual opening talking about the graphics, they look absolutely amazing, with a lot of attention to detail in various structures and objects, and character models with their animations and design, making the year that it's set in believable, with a nice little feature of holding certain objects and rotating them, which can be done in certain parts of the game, satisfying you with the objects you're holding. They didn't lie when they said they wanted to go for a cinematic look, with most of the camera agles, effects, character movement, and the two black boarders on the screen make it like you're watching an awesome action movie.
But, the two black boarders while visually appealing, it does have some hindrance in terms of your field of vision, making it slightly but noticeably hard to identify your surroundings and react according to some intense and calming moments.
It may seem that there's a surprising amount lot of "Press X" and "Press O" to do various normal actions in the beginning, but it doesn't mater as later on you you will preform these actions seamlessly, so there isn't a crazy amount of QTE in the game, but there are a few. So far the only parts that were an actual quick-time event was when battling an elite monster of sorts, half of the battle is where you have to move your right stick in the direction shown on the screen to dodge, the other half is you attacking the monster with a knife in a normal non-quick-timing event. A mix of both non-QTE and normal combat sequences in one. The same event happens around the end of the game, and a few actual strict QTE happens throughout the game form time to time.
There are bits of world stories thrown in the game's levels where you could pick up and check it out, and they are presented as notes, newspapers, and voice recorders that's satisfying and interesting to hear. At a certain part in the game, the characters and the story went from one point to another in a quick transition to another scene, leaving a big mysterious hole in the plot as to how that happened. It's somewhat a small complaint, but it left me confused and dissatisfied with how it went.
The voice acting is great, and the story is an interestingly good one, while being in the dark on the main plot for most of the beginning of the game, you will catch on on what's happening in the story somewhere around after half of the game to the end, and the ending being half satisfying, with the other half being "is that it?" leaving me wondering why it did not continue on what was supposedly the climax of the whole story. It makes me wonder if they didn't have funding to continue the rest of the ending, or for whatever design decision just scrap it and leave you hanging for really no reason.
The soundtrack is nice, but it only had my attention in non-combat times when they had it really noticeable, and they were only a few times when it happened. So while the OST is great to hear, it barely had my attention, or even made me notice it if it appeared, which is sad because it is good.
The gameplay, the movement, the controls, and the gunplay is great, nothing to brag about, aside from a few unique awesome designs of certain devastating weapons. The kills and guns feel great, they have a good feel of fire and recoil, not Killzone good feeling, but it's a good feel. ( I know dem feels, even though there's no feel )
To those wondering, I played through the game in normal difficulty, at a normal pace, with less than 10 deaths from start to finish, taking my time exploring the areas that is available for me to go to, which is arguably little, not rushing through it, taking me around 7 hours to complete the game. Half of the game is cut-scenes which I don't mind and like in certain games, this game being one of them, and the other half is normal good gameplay. A few actual QTE sequences in the game, with a half QTE and half combat type sequence appearing in two or three times in the game. Is the game worth the asking price? Yes, but only if you sell it afterwards immediately, at least getting half of what you paid for, that's what I did and I'm happy with my purchase and my "cinematic" experience playing through it. Not the ending though, I'm half happy about that.
Notice: Those five stars up there isn't a review score. Any one can manipulate it. Think of it as a reader's/viewer's score.
STRAFE, to describe it correctly, is a fucking bloody fast sci-fi first person shooter, that's filled with a lot of fast-paced action and blood, an inexperienced child got his head blown off. It's a passionate dream game with the whole design being inspired by 1996 game's like DOOM, Quake, and Wolfenstein 3d.
Playing the early "broken" version of the game, it's really fast, controls are smooth and satisfying, loads of blood everywhere with heads and other body parts being ripped or blown apart, and smart design choices are made to keep you moving fast like items flying out when you shoot the box that contain it, making it possible for you to jump over the box and collect it, feeling a little like Speedy Gonzales trying to get the cheese as fast as possible.
The graphic/art style is an sort of HD of those classic 90's games, with all the nice advancements and effects of modern tech like nice lighting, better animations, and obviously more blood. Same can be said with the character/creature models, slightly scary, slightly creepy, but vicious and deadly. The game is hard if you don't move quick.
Shooting stuff is satisfying, the guns in the game are satisfying, with nice hard noticeable feedback, and there's a different type for each different player type, although I'm hoping they add more guns. The soundtrack a huge part of what keeps you going playing the game, with it sounding sci-fi, and that your killing loads of demoic-alien creatures in a helpless ship or planet. It gives you that rush you know? *wink*. Hope to play the finished, more feature and awesome filled version in a few months if everything goes well.
Thought I might talk about it, about what should we expect from game developers, game consumers, and game press/media. What to expect from each side to another, and how the communication between all three groups should be. From what I've seen, there has been a lot of high or low expectation, and a lot of miscommunication between the three groups.
I'm talking about this from the perspective of two of the groups, from the eyes of a game consumer, and game press. I have no prior training as a press, I'm only a game consumer who loves to write about games, reporting on them, and giving opinions about them. If you see a thought or more of mine that contradictory, or crosses with what you see, I'd love to discuss it and will change my views if it satisfies me, or I might change yours if it satisfies you.
So here's what I think, on a basic line, what do these three groups do:
A game developer creates games, and creating a game takes a lot of time, and even longer if you make it as a hobby rather than working on it full-time, so it takes time and money to create a game. A developer would take as long as they can to make the game that they wanted to make, of any choice of design in any area, supposedly controversial or not, and make it as good as they possible can, that includes every aspect of it from story, to mechanics, to squashing bugs.
A game consumer would get their hands on the game and play it, play the game the developer has created, either as a paid product, free, or free with in-game purchases. Before doing so, they would research the game, looking for info from multiple press/media outlets, showing what's good and what's bad about the game in question, to decided whether to spend time/money or not, to spend now or later or never. When playing it, the consumer would enjoy it as much as possible if he or she likes it, and after finishing it or getting tired of it, they would continue to either keep it with them, loan it, give it away, or sell it. Moving on to the next game.
A game press/media would get their hands on the game, preferably before the release of said game, to play and finish it to the best of their ability, sum-up and write down or record their critique about it, releasing what they have to say about the game preferably before the release day of the game, or on that day, giving the game consumer a good reference, a good idea of the good and bad parts of the game, helping and informing the game consumer to decide whether or not to spend any kind of currency on a game/s.
Here's what I think of what to expect from the three:
What to expect from a game developer/s, from the eyes of a game consumer and press/media, is to make a decent game, a good, or better, and going with the creation of a decent game is one that's with few problems with no game breaking issues, that its functionality satisfactory from start to finish, with expected minimum features like graphic and control options. Also having support, a line of respectful and assurable communication for those who want questions answered (whenever the developer/s can) or wen having an issue that wants to be resolved and provide the necessary help to resolve the issue as soon as possible, and when nothing goes well at the end of it, provide a refund (if purchased from the developer/s). To not falsely advertise, or promise and not deliver without refracting and restating.
What to expect from a game consumer/s, from the eyes of a game developer and game press/media, is to play the game legally, either by purchasing it from certified stores, or if i's free then they would have to download and play it from official websites that provide it. Being civilized and respectful when providing feedback when/if desired to provide it, or when in a moderated while playing with others in the game. Wait for a game to come out and not criticize the developer or the game because it's not out, or has been delayed. Not demanding for a refund when the game works, but you don't like it in terms of preference, for example, not liking the art style or music, not enjoying the story or character. If the game is function and the necessary tools and options to help you play the game in it's entirety, then you are not entitled for a refund, but are entitled to provide your opinion and feedback. Also, discussing with the critique of a game review, or with the people who want to discuss it is desirably but not mandatory, where you can request more detail with why and how, and you might want to criticize the review if you want, if you found something that doesn't make sense or is bad.
What to expect from a game press/media, from the eyes of a game developer and game consumer, is to have trust and respect to a certain degree, respecting fair rules and dates, with being professional or friendly in the communication, preferable but optional. Playing a game in almost in its entirety, at least the main part of it, if it has a start and a finish, and if it's a sandbox type game, then play and try out all of its features, and putting a good amount of time playing it, noting all the good and the bad of the game, and then continue on to critique it, covering the good and the bad, and adding personal thoughts aside it, releasing it before or at the time of release. If you have a very strong opinion on something that might not be much related to the actual game and more of a social (or not) life topic, then exclude it from the critique/review and talk about it in a different article/video. In terms of interviews, when interviewing someone (in this case a game developer/s), being respectful is of utmost importance, even if the developer has a bad track record with making games or marketing, but you can demand answers, or a clearer answers, if owed, and if there is no contract silencing an answer. Demanding an action is unlikable, bad.
Usually the developers either fund themselves or get an investor or a publish to give them funds to create a game, sometimes it goes smooth, and sometimes it does, it gets ugly even, with games being released in a bad state, which if the developer or publisher can explain why, it can be blamed on the developers if they're not skilled or experienced enough to have made the game, or on the publisher for not providing enough funds to continue developing it, or both happened and both are in the wrong, and the other possibility is just having really bad luck, but at the end of it, whoever's to be blamed, a consumer and the press/media have the right to complain and/or demand a refund if the game is functionally bad.
What I'd like to talk about, probably the last thing, is the new age of funding, where developers now have a few more variety to get funding for their game/s that they want to create, options like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, Steam Early Access or general early access. These options are great for the developers, but sometimes they don't know how to use them that would work for them in the end, like not actually putting up the exact money needed to funded because of the thought that it might scare away people, and then ending up signing a contract with a publisher for continued funding, which one would ask why start a funding campaign when you will end up with a publisher? to give you chance because of the amount of money donors gave for the creation of the game? That will most likely end in a bad result because of the publisher having no interest in the first place for that game. Another problem is that the don't know how they would manage the money received from the funding campaign, even if it was the full amount, and extra, which leaded to wasting a lot of funding and asking for more. One last this on the developers side of this on this matter, since your dealing with community funding, if you do not deliver on the pitch/idea that you were selling from the beginning, or not delivering at all, expect a massive backlash, a lot bigger and intense version from false advertising/marketing from a normal game.
Going to consumers regarding this new type of creating, funding, and delivering games, they are expecting what they shouldn't expect in these cases. First, look at games on Steam Early Access, buying a game there is buying a game that's not finished, in development, might not release for a long time (possibly for five years, who knows) or ever. What you buy is what you get, but in there you can still critique and review it because it's labeled as a purchase and not a donation. When you buy it, you buy it in its current state. Taking a loop back to campaign funding like Kickstarter, now that's a 'donation' with promises to receive, meaning when you back a game on Kickstarter, you're donating money to the creation of the game, and depending on how much you donated, with also depending on what's written, you should receive what you were promised, bad or good it doesn't matter, if you don't receive it within the given date, and then giving it time, throwing at it the benefit of the doubt and waiting for a whole year, then you 'try' to demand and get your money back, because most likely it's gone forever with the possibility of the one who took it ran away. Now going to early access games, not Steam Early Access, which is a developer selling their game on their website as a (most likely) donation with no guarantee of something in return, where you have to just throw your trust at them if you want, not expecting anything in return aside from hope, hope that you will get the product you helped achieve. You don't ask for a refund on a donation with no promises, you don't complain that you won't get anything, you only donate.
I probably didn't say all that what I wanted to say, because we can talk about this in a lot more detail and discuss it for days, but you could say this is half to most of what I wanted to say and talk about, and I might have not worded it correctly but it's said and done. To close everything off, be civilized, respectful, open, thoughtful, know and ask when to have a right about something, if you don't ask they'll never know, on any matter, be the bigger man/woman and think calmly, don't think apologizing is a weak approach, think of what it would be like in the other person's shoes and think it thoroughly, and even then, think of the backlash you might get, or a frontlash? the good version of a backlash, and try to understand and fix it, or apologize, for anything that you might think you wronged in, small or big. Try to be friend and avoid being enemies.
Amphora is one of those unique games that mixes the puzzle gameplay with the progression of the story, somewhat similar to Brothers in a way. It's mostly physics based puzzle solving, where you play as an entity that's going through an adventure in other peoples adventures, which I find it new and an awesome way to tell a story. Keep in mind that there's no text or voice in the game that will tell you the story. Think Journey.
You can look at the trailer and see how nice and the graphics and art are. They're warm and fuzzy. I also love how they made the entity you play as kind of look like a hand, which really adds charm when solving puzzles. Also, it's sometimes silly and funny with some of the interactions you can play with, just randomly fooling around.
The puzzle are really simple and mostly straight forward, just use the tools that you have in order to solve the complications that the characters are facing, and as an entity where you can create connections, you'll unlock different and stronger type of connections as you progress, to help you finish later levels, so this kept the puzzle solving interesting and with low redundancy. Although one could argue that the mix of story and gameplay alone keeps the game interesting on its own.
The whole game is charming, with how your journey is helping other people's journey in their best and worst times, through puzzle solving, and you do it in a way that actually interacts with the progression of the story, as mentioned above, and it would be great if more puzzle games, or games in general, made it so you interact with the story through gameplay like this game, because it's refreshing and barely any game use this technique. But yea, the game is great to look at, heartwarming to experience, and fun to play-through.
I'd take the game to a nice Shawarma restaurant and buy them a Shawarma. If that game was a person.
Tulpa is a 2D colorful puzzle platformer with a little bit of adventure in there. It's surreal, beautiful, charming, and you get a great half experience from it, the other half is frustration, which is surprising for me since barely any game does that to me.
The game is a damn beautiful art piece, which as vibrant colors, great art work that looks like it was inspired by a mix of Indian, Arabian, and English art. The puzzles are really simple and hidden so plainly that you'd just miss it somehow, and that's kind of what I think is makes (one version of) a good puzzle game.
The beginning section is annoying, along side with most of the game. I get what they're trying to do, adding a creepy/scary factor to it, but it's more annoying than being effectively creepy.
The controls/gameplay are less than solid work, sometimes frustrating, where there actions are delayed, moving objects around are noticeably laggy, and half of the time the character won't hold on to a ledge.
Tulpa is absolutely astonishing in the way that it looks, it's art is just fantastic, it's creepy factor is amazing, and the pacing of it is good too, the characters are also great with how one is working with the other to continue their adventure, but it's a shame that it has such low quality control in the gameplay side of things, which includes the platforming design, the controls, the interactions with items and the environment, the movement and jumping system, that and the guides/tutorials are bad or not even there to help sort out what you can do in the game, which I think they aren't there because of the shortness of the game? not sure.
I'm actually more disappointed that angry with the game, looking forward to it before release, and then finally playing the game, it did an amazing job in its looks, in the characters, in the puzzles, but not in the gameplay sadly, which is why I recommend this game only at a price cut, around 6 dollars is a good point, but if it didn't have those problems that ruined half of my experiences, then I would wholeheartedly recommend at full price, even if it is short 2-3 hour game, I'm more into a great experience rather than length, to an extent, and this Tulpa delivered half a good one.
Offworld Trading Company is a new type of real-time strategy game, it's not a combat-war type RTS, it's a numbers-war type game, it's a player-driven, market-driven game, where money and resources is power, and power is law.
From when it was announced, I loved the simple graphics, and playing it now I'm loving how it looks, the simplicity in the design, the deep colors, the nice eye candy effects, and the quick but charming animations, all of which are splendidly made.
There isn't a story of the sense that there's a campaign with that's lengthy with a big story to tell and characters to meet, it's only where you have to be the best of the best company that should represent what the future life of the human race, in terms of the market life. But in the campaign itself, you start off with limited equipment, and as you progress through it you will start to unlock what's been locked by purchasing them, until you got everything and finish the the campaign. I haven't finished it yet, but I'm working there.
The gameplay itself is the same as an RTS Command & Conquer, but with a mix of a hex-based movement / placement like a Civilization game, and sort of a mix of an Anno game with how building and trading is. Combined with the new idea, one that at least I haven't seen, of power management in the market area by gathering resources, buying and sell them, advancing your buildings to produce more materials, try do some shady tactics to over power your competitors. It's new and fun, and what I like about it is that it's simple yet complicated in a way, simple enough for most to learn.
At first I was skeptical with what the game is facing the price that it has, but after playing the first 3 tutorial levels, I fell in love with it, so my skepticism went away and I was happy with the game and the price, obviously followed with playing outside of the tutorial of course, playing the single player content and multiplayer. I see my self playing this for a while, and I was kind of hungry for this type of game, so win win. Also, while the game is sufficient enough to keep it self going for some time, I wouldn't mind seeing more buildings and units to play around with, just more content.
Giveaway: We got one copy of the game to giveaway, it might be first come first serve or random picks. You'll have to be a member and then comment to participate. Selection of the winner in 8 hours up.
Harold is a challenging, high quality hand-drawn 2D platforming racing game where you play as a guardian angel in learning, trying to graduate from school into a prestige academy, you have to at least win 3rd place in all (I think all) races. The twist is, you mainly control the environment of the race, with only a jump action you can do with the character that's in the race.
The hand drawn graphics are really high quality, and it looks gorgeous along side the animations and the music too. At first glance one could say it's a game that came out of a Disney movie, the 2D classic kind, not the CGI kind.
The story is cheerful one, and the characters are nice and likable, accompanied with great voice acting. And just the whole presentation of the game is almost spotless, with the right fine touches being applied. The music is just damn awesome and 'magical' if one could say, it reminded me the awesome music from Lilo & Stitch.
The gameplay is you racing with having control mainly of the environment rather than the character, where you have to interact with certain parts of the environment, and little character control, which is only jumping and enabling a speed bost, to be able to finish a race.
The game itself is really challenging, even from the beginning, which is why they always have a practice session before every new race in a new level for you to get an idea of how you manage and finish the level. It was also a good thing for me that they didn't make it mandatory that you have to finish first place, and they made it where you have to finish at least at third place.
Along the way you will learn new techniques every now and then regarding a level, that will introduce something new you will have to cope with, in order to finish the level in most cases, or learn how to better use them and finishing the level in the fastest possible way at first place.
There's a decent amount of content for you to go through and finish, with a challenge mode for each level that's even changed up a bit in a different way where you have to finish the race with speed bost on and not failing once, and that mode helps add more replayability.
The bad thing is that it's sometimes it's hard to tell where the character you play as is standing, especially in speed mode, which results in fuzzy knowledge of when to jump. The other problem is on PC, there's no keyboard and mouse support, only controller support, and that's not a good thing. To those who say that it isn't a big deal, sure, but imagine for a moment that a game on console gets released, and it only has keyboard and mouse support, no controller support. Bad right?
The game's presentation is just spot on amazing, with the art, animations, special effects, voice acting, the beginning to the ending, the story, all of which one would think they developers hired a director from Disney movies. That plus the good challenging and different type of gameplay. I went to have another look, and actually the game is inspired by classic Disney animation, with Hollywood animation veterans that have worked on it, so no wonder this game looks great.