Backlog Update 7

Time for another backlog update. I finished another 5 games completing yet another quintuple. I also slipped a bit and broke some of my own rules. I got the PlayStation Vita among with some games as well as Mass Effect 3, The Last Story and I borrowed Syndicate. Not exactly proud of myself. But first things first, the 5 games I completed this time around were:

  1. To the Moon A stunning indie game I thoroughly enjoyed. I wanted to write something about it but never found a good angle. The thing I found most remarkable is that it doesn’t offer outstanding interaction or visuals. It looks like an old JRPG and it’s almost completely on-rails with just a few awkward moments of interactivity. The thing that carries the experience forward is just the excellent storytelling and the music. I was reminded of an advice from one of my profs – sometimes great ideas are not as important as simply solid execution.
  2. Catherine – Finally finished this one. Took me long enough. I wrote about it’s difficulty, choice and endings ages ago. I finally got all the endings and tried to complete some Babel challenges. I eventually just gave up. The game overstayed it’s welcome and then some. But I’m looking favorably back on it. It had some interesting themes. I’m actually eager to look into Persona now.
  3. Mass Effect 2 – That’s the big one I guess. I finally did the follow-up to my old interface trilogy and wrote another game design review on some micro-storytelling. Overall, the game is not bad. But looking back on the series, I think it will be the ugly duckling. The combat is polished but pointless and repetitive. It has interesting characters but a shallow and flat-out idiotic main plot. Meh.
  4. GTA4: Legend of Gay Tony – Finally finished this one as well. I really loved the way Rockstar brought in a gay character into such a core-gamer audience title. It well thought-out too. The players don’t control the gay character, they control his straight, cool side-kick. The task is to protect Gay Tony, not only against bullets bit also against verbal abuse and homophobia. A interesting set-up that I think is designed to address the prejudice among the core-gamer audience. That being said, the game eventually over-stayed it’s welcome as well. After finishing the story, I wanted to try to beat some of the missions on 100%. I gave up on the 3rd mission or so. Too much tedium.
  5. Mass Effect 3 – I finished Mass Effect 2 right in time for Mass Effect 3 to come out. So I gave in and bought it for a smooth segue. I enjoyed it a lot more than Mass Effect 2. I completely agree that they botched up the ending. To be precise, they botched up the opening as well. But there is a middle part that delivers. The thing I enjoyed the most about it was the dialogue, especially the optional banter among the characters on the ship. I will eventually do the interface analysis. I wanted to wait a couple of weeks for the ending debacle to die down. I can already tell I saw a lot of substantial improvements.

Having already bought so many games prematurely, I decided to count Mass Effect 3 as the “reward” for this quintuple. My job contract expires this month, so I will be much more flexible about my working hours. I expect to finish the next quintuple more quickly. The games I’m looking at next are.

  1. Demon’s Souls I know, I have been putting this off for such a long time. This ends now.
  2. Last Story Got it recently and I like it a lot. Also, it doesn’t seem to be one of those huge sprawling games like most JRPGs.
  3. Syndicate I’m already halfway into the story anyway. I want to try the multiplayer too. But I won’t try to do all the achievements with this one.
  4. Journey That’s just obligatory.
  5. DoomRL I never finished a Roguelike and DoomRL seems like a reasonable title to make an attempt on.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

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The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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