Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the category “steam”

Gone Home (Steam Store)

When Katie comes back from college at midnight, she finds the house empty.  Where has everyone gone?  Explore the house as Katie and find out.

First, I’m just going to tell you that spoilers are unavoidable.  The entire game is about you going through the house and reading people’s letters, journal, notes and so on.  Many trailers will fool you and claim that it’s a horror survival game.  Even the beginning, where the house is up on a hill and empty on a dark and stormy night, will fool you.  I’m just going to tell you, it’s a story about Katie’s sister, Sam, learning who she is, in more ways than one.

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All the horror elements are little more than red herrings.  For those of you who don’t know, a red herring is a plot device meant to mislead the reader.  Take Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  When you read the book the first time, you think Snape is out to steal the Stone.  Then you find out at the very end that it’s Quirrell.

The game takes place in the 90s and it shows.  For instance, there’s a plot element in the game about Sam’s girlfriend, Lonnie, wanting to join the army despite their Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.  Just in case some of you aren’t familiar with the nineties, the army once employed a policy forbidding anyone to ask about anyone else’s sexuality.  Therefore, open homosexuals couldn’t serve in the military.  Thankfully, the government repelled it in 2011.  Lonnie is the rebellious social misfit always getting into trouble and wants to join the army one day.  As Sam points out, this clashes with everything about her.  Sam is even the one to point out how unfair the policy is.  Another instance is the marriage of Katie’s parents, Terry and Jan, falling apart because he won’t join Jan in activities such as couple’s bowling and ballroom dancing.  However, Jan wanting to have an affair with a co-worker didn’t help matters.  It even goes as far as mentioning shows such as Boy Meets Worlds on prime time.

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Despite Terry and Jan’s marriage problems, the former stuck in a dead-end job reviewing technological appliances while mourning over his failed career as a writer and the supernatural elements about a possible ghost in the house, the game is really about Sam and her relationship with Lonnie.  I should tell you that Sam’s parents don’t approve of her lesbianism, even going so far as to suggest that it’s a phase.  However, there are hints that Lonnie is a bad influence on Sam.  For instance, Sam skips school on Lonnie’s suggestion.  Some fans speculate whether Terry and Jan not approving of Sam and Lonnie’s relationship is due to homophobia or Lonnie’s influence on their daughter.  Personally, I think it’s both.  I think that Terry and Jan always imagined that both of their daughters would be straight and it’s shocking to them that things didn’t turned out as they planned.  However, if I told my mom I was a lesbian, she’d just be happy I wouldn’t be getting pregnant.  I also feel that, if Sam had boyfriend they regarded as a bad influence, they would’ve been able to handle it better.

I will admit that Terry and Jan are right about Lonnie being a bad influence and my reasoning is the ending.  In it, Lonnie backs out of joining the army and asks Sam to run away with her.  Sam then proceeds to sell all of the major appliances in the house and drive off to meet with Lonnie.  Let me summarize, Sam and Lonnie throw their lives away so they can be together.  Neither one of them has any clue how to live on their own nor do they have jobs.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard of teenagers filing for legal emancipation, but that’s only because the parents are so dangerous the child is better off alone.  Terry and Jan might be self-absorbed and prejudice, but there is no sign that either one of them is dangerous.  Sam also had a promising career as a writer and she’s throwing that away for Lonnie.  Don’t say that Sam can still make a living as a writer because she’ll be too busy working job after job to make sure she and Lonnie can still afford food and a place to live.  My only consolation is that Katie will immediately drive out, pick up Sam and talk some sense into her.  I’ll admit, this ending is horrible and the writers actually think it’s happy.  I just have one question.  Would they have gone through with it had it been a straight couple?

There’s not much to say about the game play, since all you do is look around the house for clues.  You pick things up, use them and you read various documents lying around to discover what’s going on.

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I’ll admit that using the mouse can be difficult since I couldn’t always get it just right.  I can say the same about using the keyboard.  You can also hear diary entries from Sam as you progress further and further through the game.  Occasionally, you can see Katie’s thoughts about certain things in the house, such as her getting disgusted by her dad’s condom in the drawers.

The game is intriguing, but expensive.  I give it 7 out of 10, great plot but not sure if three hours of game play is worth the price.

Game of Thrones Episode 2: The Lost Lords (Steam)

After Ramsay Snow murders Ethan Forrester and hands their livelihood over to their rival house, The Whitehills, the family struggles to maintain their once great house.  Fortunately, Rodrik returns to become the new Lord under dire circumstances.  Meanwhile, Mira Forrester secretly plots to overthrow the Whitehills while working as Lady Margeary’s handmaiden in King’s Landing and Asher, the exiled Forrester, is on his way home from Meereen with an army of sellswords.

I should warn you; this is the second episode of a TellTales game, so spoilers are unavoidable.  For instance, Rodrik supposedly died in Episode One and then came back in Episode Two, his death turning out to be an exaggeration.  Personally, I felt that was a cop out that they centered so much drama around Lord Forrester and Rodrik’s deaths, forcing Ethan to be the new lord.  Then they destroy all the drama surrounding it by revealing that Rodrik’s alive and he can take over as the New Lord.  I’ll admit, I actually liked Ethan and his struggles with having responsibility thrust on him at a young age.  This was why I wasn’t happy to see Ramsay kill him at the end.  I think it would have been more dramatic to keep Ryon dead and see how the Forresters truly struggle.

Mira Forrester’s scenes are some of my favorites, partly because they include Tyrion, who’s my favorite character in the show, other than Daenarys.

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Don’t get me wrong, I actually like Mira, her struggles and how you can make her a total badass, if you so choose.  Though I think Tyrion might have been a little sloppy in his assistance.  Let me put it this way, this is the same man who told Lady Stark that, if he were to plot an assassination, he wouldn’t hand the assassin a dagger that could be easily traced back to him.  When Joffrey’s killers frame Tyrion for the murder, he points out that, if he were to murder Joffrey, he wouldn’t do so in a way that leaves him standing there holding the cup.  Tyrion also had to see who Cersei’s spy was on the council, so he deliberately told each member of his plan to betroth Myrcella to a different ward.  I think that, if Tyrion were to ally with Mira, he would do so in a way where his alliance would not expose her or himself.  For one thing, he approaches Mira while she’s with Sera, the other handmaiden, and not asking to speak to Mira in private.  Tyrion also failed to dismiss the Lannister guard before bringing Mira to the meeting.

Speaking of Sera she has a small part in this and it’s something I actually like.  She is a bastard and, while we see many male bastards in the show and learn how hard life is for them, we never learn what it’s like for females.  In the world of Game of Thrones, no matter how bad things get for men, women always have it worse.  Therefore, you can bet that life would be worse for a woman bastard, something I wish the show would explore and, I hope the game will take the chance to.  No matter how bad things get for men, they always have the Night’s Watch as an option.  I’ll admit, it’s not a great one but it’s better than nothing.  How would a woman bastard be able to cope in Westeros?  In the case of Sera, she needs to secure a marriage to a man of high rank in order to establish her security.

Gared joined the Night’s Watch and he hasn’t fared well.

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I don’t know what the popular opinion about The Wall is, but my mom absolutely hates it.  She finds it dull with only a few matters of interest.  Personally, I like The Wall but that’s because I’m in love with Jon Snow, who gets to make an appearance in this game and advises Gared in life as a member of the Night’s Watch.

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So far, nothing really happens except that Gared gets into a few fights and has trouble getting along with many of the other recruits.  Gared also talks to Jon Snow, the one redeeming feature about The Wall, about the Red Wedding.  They even discuss why Gared wants to be a ranger.

We heard about Asher in Episode One, but we never really get to meet him until now.  I’ll admit, I like Asher’s journey as well as his companion, Beshka.  You can tell that they’re both good friends who’ve seen each other through the good and the bad and are trying to survive in a harsh climate.

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They both made a living as sellswords and have quite a few enemies to deal with.  I was happy when Malcolm comes to get them and tells Asher the plan to save House Forrester.  I already said their plan is to hire an army of sellswords to take back House Forrester, but what will they hire them with?  Sellswords cost money, which they don’t seem to have in abundance.  Maybe they plan to pay them with Ironwood, which is their livelihood, but you only get to keep half of it if you managed to convince Ramsay that the Forresters are the better craftsmen.  Even then, you give over another half as dowry to convince Elaena Glenmore to marry Rodrik.

I particularly loved how Episode Two ended.  Talia sings at the funeral for Ethan and Lord Forrester and the former’s last words influence the lyrics in her song.

I found this particularly moving not only because of the beautiful song, but also because of the shift of scenes to the other Forresters and Gared dealing with the aftermath of their own decisions and their own struggles to save their family, even if they don’t live at Ironrath anymore.  It’s enough to make you cry.

The game play is typical of TellTale games.  You make dialogue decisions for each character you play and the game compares the more important ones to what the other players decided.  I’m just going to say right now that your decisions don’t really matter.  For instance, there’s one scene where you have to choose whether Rodrik kisses Lord Whitehill’s ring out of respect in order to let his younger brother, Ryon, the Whitehills’ hostage on Ramsay’s orders, attend the funeral for his father and brother or refuse and allow Rodrik to keep his dignity.

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No matter what choice you make, the outcome is inevitably the same.  So don’t kiss the ring and let Rodrik rule the house with his head held high.  You can also explore scenes with the character you play and collect items for your inventory, even if that doesn’t really accomplish anything.  There will be quick time events where you have to press the right button, so don’t drop your guard for even a second.  The Wall also has a game play event where you can demonstrate Gared’s skills in strength, swords and crossbows.  I’ll admit that I actually liked that part, even if shooting the crossbow is a little tricky due to the constant movement.

This game is intriguing yet doesn’t seem to explore its potential.  I give it 6 out of 10, a bit of a letdown but maybe it will get better.

Game of Thrones Episode 1: Iron From Ice (Steam Store)

It’s a time of darkness for the House of Forrester.  House Stark has fallen and Ramsay Snow, the illegitimate son of Roose Bolton, sided with the rival house of Whitehill.  Can the House of Forrester survive Ramsay Snow and restore themselves to former glory?

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This is HBO’s second attempt to enter the gaming world, the first one being The Sopranos video game, which was a failure.  Now Telltale attempts to bring Game of Thrones into the gaming world, HBO’s new cash cow.  The game starts out at the Red Wedding, which is where, as many Game of Thrones fans know, Rob Stark dies.  Since the lord of the Forresters and the main heir perish as well, a child inherits the responsibilities.

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Sadly, that’s usually how things went down during the time period the game models itself after.  Apparently, boys who haven’t gone through puberty made better rulers than fully-grown women.  Though I do like how the game shows that things are changing and how hard it is for Ethan, the new lord, to follow in his father’s footsteps at such a young age when all he wants to do is keep playing with his siblings.  Even if his fate is unavoidable which, I admit, almost made me cry.  As for what that is, keep in mind that you’re dealing with Ramsay Snow.

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For those of you unfamiliar with Game of Thrones, Ramsay Snow is someone who skins people alive in his spare time.

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Definitely not someone you want to get on the bad side of.

As I mentioned, Ramsay Snow makes a few appearances throughout the game.  Let me tell you, he’s not the only Game of Thrones character who does so.  One of the Forresters works as Lady Margaery’s handmaiden, so you can bet that you’ll be seeing much of the Lannisters.

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I’ll admit, I knew that characters from Game of Thrones make an appearance but I thought that it would be as cameos.  I had no idea that they would be a huge part of the storyline.  However, I will say one thing. As scary as Cersei and Ramsay are on the show, having to deal with these people makes them far more intimidating.

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The game play is standard Telltale Games.  You make choices for each character you play with some of them supposedly having a huge impact on the game.

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I’m not sure how big yet, since I’ve only played the first chapter.  I’ve already told you that one of the characters has an unavoidable fate, no matter what you do.  At some points, you can explore certain places and read the codex for background information.  Unlike other Telltales games where you only take control of one character, this one let’s you control different members of the House of Forrester at different times.  So far, their situation and personalities seems very similar to the Starks but I’m hoping the game will expand on the Forresters so that they’re more than just Stark copycats.  You can even compare your choices with those of the other players though, let me tell you, I’ve found myself restarting the game many times over fear that I’ve made the wrong choices.

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This game is intriguing but emotionally overwhelming.  I give it 7 out of 10, a promising start for Telltale’s Game of Thrones adaption.

The Walking Dead Game Season 2 Episode 5: No Going Back (Steam Store)


After Rebecca dies, the group now has a baby to take care of. Meanwhile, Kenny goes further and further to the dark side. Can Clementine help take care of a baby and try to keep her old friend from slipping into insanity?

This is the final episode of the season but I don’t think the Walking Dead video game series is over yet. As finales go, this one’s definitely the most heartbreaking. This is also the episode where your choices most affect the outcome of the game. I don’t want to spoil anything but I will say this. Your choices determine where Clementine’s loyalty lies.

This game plays out just like the previous ones. You pick dialogue choices for Clementine during certain parts of the game. Other parts have you take control of Clementine and explore the scene. Like previous games, you will have to make a decision at crucial moments and any decision you make influences the plot big time. One more thing, there are action scenes you’ll be required to take part in where you have to press the right key at the right time. At the end of the game, you’ll see what choices the other game players make.

This game is addictive and tragic. I give it 9 out of 10; it was quite an emotional blow.

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 4 Amid the Ruins (Steam Store)

After escaping Carver’s imprisonment, Clementine and the rest of the runaways try to find each other. Can everyone reunite and find another safe haven?

That’s right, episode four of The Walking Dead and boy is it intense. I can’t spoil the game but you have people dying left and right. One of the characters will die no matter what you do. Not to mention that Clementine, the girl who acted as Lee’s morality pet, can commit acts of cruelty in the name of survival. At first, I thought this episode was brilliant until a conversation with lukebbtt led me to discover that most of the characters are only there for Clementine’s growth. There are characters that exist outside of her, such as Kenny who’s completely broken with Rebecca’s baby being his only reason for living. After everything Kenny’s been through, he is not right in the head and it shows by how he’s trying to recreate his family instead of accepting their deaths.

The game play is the same as every other episode. You pick dialogue choices for Clementine. Sometimes, you have to explore the scene and inspect objects to move the plot forward. Other times, you’ll have to make crucial decisions at key moments. One decision was so hard for me that I had to pause the game to think about it. Keep your guard up when the walkers attack, because you’ll have to press the right keys to get out of there alive.

This game is intense and additive. I give it 9 out of 10; I was upset for hours after playing this.

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 3: In Harm’s Way (Steam Store)

After being kidnapped by a ruthless man named Bill Carver, Clementine and the rest of the group try to escape from their prison. Can they find new allies and flee this place without incurring Carver’s wrath?

I loved this chapter and the inclusion of the characters. Carver was actually my favorite in this one as he justifies his actions. True, he is a tyrant, but he believes that he’s doing what’s best for the group. I’m not saying that I agree with him but I do see his point. This is a zombie apocalypse and you do have to be ruthless to survive. However, pure ruthlessness is not going to save the day. I also love Carver’s interactions with Clementine as he compares her to himself. An amateur writer could have easily turned Carver into a pedophile. Instead, Carver admires Clementine’s strength and will to survive. She is what Carver wants the next generation to be and what he wants his supposed child to be. I don’t like how the characters from 400 days were demoted to cameo appearances with the exception of Bonnie. I do like Bonnie’s portrayal as she starts out weak and slowly gathers her strength.

The game play is the same as any other chapter. You make dialogue choices for Clementine, only what you pick doesn’t affect the story as much. You explore the area at certain times as well. You can also take part in quick action scenes where you have to press the right button at the right time. Failure to do so will kill Clementine.

This game is addictive but a little rushed. I give it 7 out of 10; they really need to focus on their characters a little more.

Fables: Wolf Among Us Episode 3: A Crooked Mile (Steam Store)


After Bigby discovers Ichabod Crane’s obsession with Snow White, he’s made Crane the prime suspect in the murder of Lilly and Faith. Is Crane the killer or is there a larger force at work greater than Bigby and Snow could ever imagine?

That’s right, I wrote spoilers in the very first paragraph. It’s not easy reviewing a video game episode by episode and trying to avoid them. I’ll try to avoid spoilers for this episode, so all I’ll say is that the plot’s thickening up. I do like that they didn’t romanticize Crane’s disgusting obsession, as they tend to do in other media regarding an ugly guy liking a beautiful girl. Instead, they compared Crane’s obsession with Snow to Bigby’s love for her, saying that it’s okay for Snow to get with the big tough guy. Considering how the comic books turn out, they might not have had a choice in that one. I also like that they’re showing Snow getting more ruthless as the game goes on. I’m starting to think this whole game is about the character development Snow and Bigby go through to become the people they were in the comic books. Later on, a popular urban legend makes an appearance and, let me tell you, this character’s as creepy as they come. Bigby finally goes full-blown wolf, something the game has been teasing us about for quite a while.

The game play hasn’t changed in the slightest. You explore scenes and make dialogue choices for Bigby when prompted. Some choices determine Bigby’s relationship with the characters, so you can bet that some of them have a major plot point for the story. When you’re done, you can view the Book of Fables you collected and compare the choices you made with other players.

This game is intriguing, addictive and a little creepy. I give it 9 out of 10; the climax of the game.

The Walking Dead Game Season 2 Episode 2: A House Divided (Steam Store)


When Clementine and her new friends have to find a new home, she runs into a blast from her past.

Now she has to choose between her old life and her new one.

For those of you who haven’t played the game, be warned that there are spoilers. I said earlier that Clementine gets a blast from her past and that comes in the form of Kenny. Not only does Clementine have to choose between him and her new friends, she also sees how much Kenny has changed. As for how, let’s just say that losing your wife and son in a zombie apocalypse doesn’t do much for your mental health. Let me tell you that Kenny’s not the only one affected to such a degree. Nick also shoots a good person out of fear and anxiety and Clementine’s the one who has to convince the dead person’s friend to forgive Nick. Characters from 400 days make an appearance in this episode and if I had known that they would be signing up with the bad guy, I wouldn’t have been so determined to recruit every single one of them.

The game play is the same as always. You explore scenes and examine various items, sometimes adding objects to your inventory. During cut scenes, you choose what you want Clementine to say or do. Make sure to do so before the time runs out, unless you don’t want Clementine to say anything. Keep in mind that what you choose has a tremendous impact on the story. You also have to participate in quick time events where you press the right button to make sure Clementine comes out of the zombie apocalypse alive.

When you’ve finished the game, you can see how your choices match up to the other players.

This game is addictive and intriguing. I give it 9 out of 10; shocking but didn’t get the emotional impact the last episode got out of me. Of course, it would be hard to top having to kill a dog.

Fables: Wolf Among Us Episode 2: Smoke and Mirrors (Steam Store)

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Just when things were quieting down in Fabletown, another murder occurs and this victim shares similarities with Snow White.

In this episode, the game goes further into the dark side of Fabletown.  You see just how unlucky some of the Fables were and what they had to do to support themselves.  I don’t want to give anything away but you get to meet a well known fairy tale character, only with the little known original ending.  The only problem I have in the story is a slight continuity error but it’s not one I’m going to get too upset about.

The game play is the same as the last one.  You make dialogue choices at the right time and sometimes you have to make decisions that influence the story.  Unlike the Walking Dead video game, the decisions aren’t as crucial.  You can make deductions and participate in quick time events.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 8 out of 10; can’t wait for the next episode.

Fables: The Wolf Among Us Episode 1: Faith (Steam Store)

When Snow White and Bigby Wolf find a young woman’s head on their apartment entrance they set out to find the killer.  Now they must search all of Fabletown to solve the mystery once and for all.

For those of you who don’t know, Fables is a comic book series about public domain characters having to flee their homeland and reside in New York.  While not part of mainstream pop-culture, the shows Once Upon A Time and Grimm wouldn’t be around if not for this series.  Fables is also the inspiration for a series of hidden object games called Dark Parables.  The storyline for this game focuses more on the detective noir aspects than the comics ever did.  The game also shows you how much many fables had to leave behind in order to live in our world.  I don’t want to spoil anything but let me tell you that some fables really can’t adapt to our world very well.

The game play is the same as it was in The Walking Dead Game.  You make dialogue choices for Bigby Wolf and make decisions for him at crucial moments.  The decisions here aren’t as sadistic as the ones in The Walking Dead due to this game having a more detective nature.  You also explore certain scenes and collect what you can while investigating crime scenes and connecting the evidence.  Another aspect that makes it different from The Walking Dead is that you can collect information on Fabletown and its inhabitants to review later.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 8 out of 10; a worthy prequel to Fables.

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