Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the tag “interactive story”

Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 3: More Than A Feeling (Steam Store)

When the Guardians rescue an eccentric alien name Mantis, she claims to hold the key to the Eternity Forge’s power.

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Now Starlord’s left with one decision, destroy the Eternity Forge or unlock its full power.  Either way, the fate of the universe rests in his hands.

I have to admit, my original impression of the game was that each episode would be about someone each of the Guardians lost in their past.  It would also give a reason for why each one of them wants to use The Forge.  Instead, only two of the Guardians want to use the Forge while the other two think Starlord should destroy it.  If you want to know who wants what, remember Drax’s reason for going after Thanos.  Then remember Rocket’s origin story from Episode 2, the one that sent me spiraling into depression.  After that, use the process of elimination to figure out which two Guardians want to destroy The Forge.  If you feel that I’ve turned a complex plot from a fun and yet serious super-hero story into a boring math problem, you couldn’t be more right.

Each episode delves into the past of one of the Guardians.  In this one, it’s Gamora’s turn.  Unlike the last episode, this one doesn’t insist on taking a break from the plot at large to delve into a Guardian’s back-story.  During the game, it’s clear that Gamora and her sister, Nebula, have issues.  Considering that they’re both the adopted daughters of an evil overlord who turned them against each other as part of their assassin training, it’s not hard to believe.

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Now we get to see what drove Gamora and Nebula apart.  In the interest of not giving anything away, I’m just going to tell you that it’s a very deadly Three’s Company plot.  Whether they make up or not is in your hands.

The game play is typical of Telltale with you picking the dialogue options for the characters you play.

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There are times when you will have to participate in QuickTime events that require you to press the right button at the right time.  Like many other Telltale games, they sneak up on you.

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In the previous episodes, you had the option of checking your codex and mail and you can do so in this one as well.  If you chose to give Thanos’s body to NovaCorp, let me tell you that Rocket’s right, they are d*cks.  In the last episode, they refuse to stand down and let you handle Nebula.  These so-called cops won’t even listen to you when you claim that it’s to save the galaxy.  In fact, they won’t even give you the bounty and proclaim you the enemies of the galaxy.  It makes you want to replay the game and give Thanos to the Collector.

Some choices will affect the game play and, as I said earlier, there is one choice that will set the stage for future episodes.  At the end of the episode, you have the choice to either use the Eternity Forge or destroy it.

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I’m sure many people who’ve lost a loved one can sympathize with Drax and Rocket when they vote to use the relic.  However, consider that the relic can only bring someone back from the dead if someone else takes their place.  Also, remember that Hala wants to resurrect the entire Kree race and she will murder whoever stands in her way to accomplish this.  Would you take away someone else’s life and risk ruthless people using this power for evil just to get the people you lost back?  Trust me when I say that it’s the most difficult decision you’ll ever have to make in the game.  No matter what you do, this decision will test the bonds of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 9 out of 10, the perfect combination of light and dark elements.

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Life is Strange Episode 2: Out of Time (Steam Store)

After Max discovers her rewind powers, she finds herself in more trouble than she bargained for.  Not only does Max not know what her limits are, but she finds herself caught between Chloe and Kate.  To make things worse, the school’s psychopath, Nathan, is out to get Max and even her rewind power might not save her.

Spoiler alert, which I try to avoid, but it’s difficult not to talk about some video games without mentioning them.  First, I’m going to talk about Kate, the religious friend of Max’s who found herself on a viral video.  I’m going to tell you what I’m sure you’ve already figured out if you played the game.  Kate when to a party and Nathan drugged her.  As a result, she unintentionally starred in a sex video and has no memory of what happened.  People hassle Kate for it with Victoria in the lead and her mother and aunt disowned her.

According to them, Kate’s disgraced the name of God by starring in that video and, either they don’t believe that Nathan drugged her, or they feel that it’s her fault.  First off, I would think that people that raised Kate would know that she would not do something like this voluntarily.  Another thing is that, as tragic as the situation is, I’m glad that they chose Kate to give it to rather than Victoria.  I’ve seen rape used too poorly in many fictional franchises where the victim is usually a provocatively dressed party girl.  What many people fail to get is that rape is about power and ugly people can fall victim to it.  By having this happen to Kate, who preaches about abstinence and wears conservative clothes, you demonstrate that this can happen to anyone.  Doesn’t matter how pretty you are, how modestly you dress and how much you preach about God.  Anyone can be a victim and it is not your fault.  Kate’s storyline also shows how evil Victoria is and yet the game shows hints that she’s not pure evil.  Yes, she does spread Kate’s viral video around, bullies Max and even films something at the end that I won’t give away because I have to keep some mystery.  However, Victoria is there for her friend, Taylor, in her time of need and, at the end, even feels remorse over her actions.  Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t redeem Victoria but it makes her a more complex character.  Nathan, on the other hand, seems closer to pure evil but the game hints at a troubled family background in the first episode.  I applaud that they’re not using this to excuse him and it doesn’t look like he’s getting a love redeems plot.  That’s something that happens quite often in these types of stories.

Now, I’m going to talk about Chloe.  Right now, I don’t know what to feel about her.  I do like that she’s not pure evil as society would portray most female characters like her.  Chloe can also be rather tough and I can sympathize with her situation.  In the last episode, we learn that Chloe has an abusive step-father her mother married after her real father died.  This episode does give the step-father depth but it doesn’t excuse him beating up Chloe and harassing Kate.  Chloe dreams of leaving Arcadia Bay and making it out on her own in the big city.  However, some of her actions are very questionable, such as attempting to exploit two insane people who could kill her if she so much as makes the wrong move.  One of them, Nathan, actually did in the first episode.  Chloe also encourages Max to use her powers as much as possible, which causes Max’s nose to bleed and for her to pass out.  If that’s not enough, Chloe plays with guns and lays on train tracks, the latter nearly getting her killed.

When you save her in a destructive way, Chloe does thank you but asked if you could’ve found a less destructive way to do it.  I don’t know if this is a Final Destination Paradox, meaning that Chloe’s fate is to die, or if she’s just too dumb to live.

The game play is similar to TellTale with no QuickTime events.  You pick dialogue but you don’t have to pick it right away.  You explore different areas, talk to people, examine various items and take pictures.  If you discover certain information about people, you can rewind time and use it to get closer to them.  You can also rewind time if you don’t like the choices you made.  Sometimes, the game play is rather frustrating on the PC if you can’t line the camera right.  Other times, the mouse refuses to cooperate with you.  You have no idea how many times I had to rewind time until I could get my mouse to cooperate.

As you play, Max will automatically fill her diary with character profiles and her version of what happened in the story.  You will also receive text messages from various characters that Max will automatically answer if you press the right button.  There will be a point where you get a text message from Chloe during Jefferson’s class and, if you try to look at it, he’ll scold you.  I mentioned a scene that’s very tragic.  However, you can prevent that tragedy if you say the right things.  You won’t be able to rewind time in that scene, so be very careful.  It’s frustrating but, I have to admit, I’m glad that they’re giving Max limits with her powers.  It makes her more human.

This game is tragic and yet addictive.  I give it 9 out of 10, it gave me a bit of an emotional reaction but not strong enough to get the full ten.

Telltale Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 2: Under Pressure

After the resurrection stone brings Starlord back from the dead, everyone wants to find out its deal.  Meanwhile, Nebula’s back and she’s ready to take vengeance for her father’s death.

This story picks up where Episode 1 left off, with Starlord’s resurrection and everyone wondering what happened.  You can bet that the Guardians are not going to believe that Starlord came back from the dead and, when they finally do, they’ll want to investigate the relic that made it possible.  To do this, they have to go to Yondu.

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That’s right, our favorite blue-skinned pirate finally made his appearance.  The meeting even brings a few funny scenes, such as Yondu and Rocket meeting for the first time.  That’s what I love about Guardians of the Galaxy; it can be humorous without undermining the tragedy in the story.  Believe me when I say that there is some serious tragedy.

The main plot of the game is Nebula retrieving Thanos’s corpse from either Nova Corp or the Collector, whomever you gave the body to.  However, there is a side story involved with Rocket, should you choose to take it.

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Yes, when I said the game involved serious tragedy, this is what I meant.  The side story explores Rocket’s past and reveals that he once loved, and still loves, a female Otter named Lylla.  Even though her character is, to use a common saying, stuffed in the fridge, the story of how the scientists treated living beings as science experiments is still a serious tearjerker.  Add what happens after we meet her and it gets worse, much worse.  Just watching this scene and seeing Rocket’s emotions afterward made me cry.  Even after I played the game, everything about Rocket’s side quest put me in a seriously bad mood.  Even as I write this, I feel like crying.  Despite the effect the scene had on me, I still recommend that you take a break from the main story and explore Rocket’s side quest.

The rest of the story involves Gamora trying her best to fix things with Nebula and failing.  Unlike Rocket’s back-story, Gamora’s plot actually ties in with the main story.  The language of the relic is Kree and only Nebula can speak it.  However, it’s tough luck getting her to cooperate.  I wish I could give a more detailed review of the main plot but the problem is that I still find myself affected deeply by Rocket’s side quest.  Therefore, it’s a little hard for me to focus on everything else going on in the game.  I will tell you that Yondu has the hots for Gamora which, considering Starlord, who Yondu raised as a son, and Gamora’s ship tease in the movies, I find a little creepy.  However, there doesn’t seem to be a ship tease between Starlord and Gamora in the games, more like a deep friendship.  Then again, I could be wrong.  I will admit that I kind of like the hint that Yondu and Starlord’s mother might have been involved.

The game play is much like your average Telltale, picking dialogue options for Starlord being the main aspect.  However, I’ll admit, from the description of the episode and having not seen the trailer before playing, I thought that you’d play Rocket for the whole episode.   Since Rocket’s my favorite character, you can bet that this excited me.  While you can play as Rocket if you choose to take the optional side quest, you mostly play as Starlord.  The game also features QuickTime events requiring you to press the right key or button in order to survive.  Let me warn you, it will come when you least expect it.  You can also explore the ship and, once again, check your monitor.  However, the second part didn’t feel quite as fun as I found it in the last episode.  Mainly because you learn nothing new about the characters or places in the codex, save for a few places and characters that the game adds.  In addition, you can’t respond to email people send you; you just read it.  However, it is a bit cute to discover that Groot believes in chain mail.  At the end of the Episode, you can compare your choices with ones from other players.

This game is tragic and a bit of a disappointment.  I give it 7 out of 10, two points added for Rocket’s side quest.

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.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Gamefly.com)


When Phoenix Wright became a defense attorney, all he wanted was to help innocent clients. Unfortunately, he lives in a world where it’s guilty until proven innocent. Not only that, but he has to face prosecutors who care more about winning than they do about justice. Can Phoenix beat the odds and prevent innocent people from rotting in a jail cell, or worse?

Despite the Americanization of the game, the legal system is strictly Japanese. In Japan, at the time they released the game, it’s guilty until proven innocent and that leads to complications. Therefore, you can imagine that defense attorneys didn’t achieve many victories. Therefore, the game’s essence is that of a defense attorney fantasy. Phoenix does have a hard time proving his clients’ innocence but, in the end, something always happens that proves his clients innocent. The game takes place 20 minutes in the future with the fantasy element of spirit channeling. It’s also quite serious save for a few ridiculous moments worthy of an anime, such as Phoenix cross-examining a parrot. I am not kidding.

For those of you who don’t want any spoilers, you might want to skip to the very last paragraph of my review. Spirit channeling plays an active role in the game by having Maya contact Mia Fey, her sister and Phoenix’s mentor. Despite the game using Mia for fan service, I absolutely loved the character. She is every bit as capable at her job as Phoenix is and maybe more. All I know is that, without her, Phoenix would have never won. Many people feel that her being used as fan service undermines her, but I feel that the game could have easily portrayed her as a beautiful woman with no intellect whatsoever or a woman hoping to make it big while crying about her beauty because no one takes her seriously. Instead, Mia is a confident person who doesn’t let anyone stand in her way and proves herself to be more than just a pretty face. Plus, to me, it seems more sexist to give all the strong intelligent women small breasts but maybe I’m just being a bad feminist. Speaking of Mia, I do love the game’s portrayal of women. It’s quite common in anime for the women’s main desire to get married, Sailor Moon and Wedding Peach being a couple of examples. In this game, the women have no desire whatsoever to tie the knot. For example, Maya and Ema, Phoenix’s sidekicks in the game, want to be a spirit channeler and a scientific investigator respectfully.

Despite Phoenix being the main character, the game is about the prosecutor, Miles Edgeworth. He starts out as a ruthless man who would do anything to get a guilty verdict. As the game progresses, his worldview starts to change as, little by little, he cares more about finding the truth than he does about his perfect record. In the fourth case, he’s forced to come to terms with all the lives he ruined by being in the defendant’s chair. In the fifth case, he becomes an ally to Phoenix while considering turning in his own resignation.

The game play is quite unique. You travel through different locations collecting evidence and gathering information from as many people you can find.

During the trial, you listen to witnesses testify and use the evidence you gather to point out any contradictions in what they have to say.

If you can’t find any, you can press the witness until you find it. The fifth case is the only one that takes advantage of the Nintendo DS gaming system by also having you spray luminol and dust for fingerprints.

This game is intriguing and addictive. I give it 9 out of 10; I laughed and almost cried during some scenes.

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.

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