Saturday, February 28, 2009

enter the confusion, pt. 3

As the day started to slip away, I felt a fell breeze whisper through the trees around me. Goblins, probably. The grim thought remained with me as I trudged through the undergrowth in a verdant valley. I was learning its layout very quickly. This was the third time I had passed that cluster of rocks, and I was quite sure I now knew where to go to exit this strange land. Up the hill, to the right of the rocks, I spotted an open field. From that vantage point I should be able to see what was next.

Stumbling over myself I climbed the slope. I was starting to get tired. I might need another apple soon, I thought to myself. Strange too, as there had been no goblins yet to sap my health. Why on earth would my health be dropping for just traveling? I couldn't even ask my companion for help as he had disappeared hours ago, intent on finding more nuts to throw at passersby.

Exhausted, I made the top of the hill and the field that sat upon it. Beyond the valley I had been struggling through seemed to lay another valley. Great. I had quite the quest laid out ahead of me, it seemed. Onward and upward...

Friday, February 27, 2009

GDC 2009

I'm going to GDC! I realize this is actually about a month late, but I had yet to mention this on a blog primarily about games. So now you all know! I am really really really looking forward to going and getting to experience all that is the legendary GDC. I have got a to-do list right now, basically trying to make myself look good by then. I need business cards, a resume, a killer set of images and game-work to show people. Hooo doggy, there is lots to do. So why am I still writing about this? Time to write important things! Like stories and designs and other things of that nature!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Le Tranchant du Miroir

Everyone is making a mistake with Mirror's Edge. Players, critics, and even DICE themselves are trying to believe that ME is a first person shooter. It is impossible to escape genre cliches in a game that so heavily relies on them, with constant firefights erupting around you, helicopters above shooting at you and the ability to use not only melee skills but guns as well to retaliate at your aggressors. It's even more impossible when the game's loading screens seem intent on showing you how to fight enemies with karate-like "flow".

But play the game and you're shown a different focus; holding a weapon eliminates most of your dexterity. Melee is only beneficial to disarm one man and then use his gun to take out others. You keep wanting to fight, you want to refine your melee skills, but in the end you are outnumbered and underpowered. Why? Because you aren't meant to fight. The game was made for you to run.

Mirror's Edge is a racing game. You want to run, and you should. Each level is a course with a few different ways to move through the level and one of those ways is the fastest. It seems harsh when the game is criticized for requiring just the right touch because that is exactly what a racing game is about. Play Trackmania for more than ten minutes and you know that just the right angle around a corner will lose you that Gold medal time. So it is the same for Mirror's Edge. You are trying to make the most efficient use of space and time to manuever your way to the exit. In Story mode it gives you helpful red markers, but finish the story mode or turn away to the Race mode and you see that it really is all about getting that exact right line. Learning the movements, finding the route to propel you the most quickly to your destination.

I am really enjoying the game. I acknowledge random small issues that annoy me, such as sometimes unclear goals or the somewhat common lock-up. But I love the challenge the game has presented. I'm still working through the story, but I've got to give DICE props for making what I think is an incredibly solid Parkour game.

Oh, and it's gorgeous as well.