It's fair to say that I don't have the greatest confidence in David Cage's ability to create something that makes sense. Still, I decided to delve into Heavy Rain and see what he'd produced this time around. Now, four hours in, just having completed "The Bear" I'm ready with some initial comments—and these are just going to be plot things, since this isn't an official "review" of the game. Also, unless it gets really egregious I'm not going to comment on the awkward phrasing caused by the game's sometimes iffy translation.
By and large, the consensus regarding Sony's slowly expanding line of "Minis" software for the PlayStation Portable is that the games—mostly ports from the iPhone and other platforms—are sorely lacking in quality. Given the initial launch titles, it's not hard to see why: An overpriced Tetris port, mediocre fair like Brainpipe and Vempire, and downright terrible shovelware like Gameloft's Hero of Sparta were among the heavy hitters back in early October.
Been putting some time into 3D Dot Game Heroes on PlayStation 3. After logging a couple of hours on it, I think it's pretty clear to see that this thing will be a nuclear bomb of nostalgia for anyone who's old enough to remember The Legend of Zelda on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I mean, it was pretty clear that it was a Zelda homage from previews and early buzz, but putting the game through its paces, I really don't think it's an understatement to say that this is NES Zelda brought into 3D.
I'm in the middle of writing my review for the Wii's Fragile Dreams. It's a difficult piece to write, since on the one hand I find it to be a fairly refreshing effort conceptually, and quite unlike most of the other games available for the Wii. On the other hand, I have to be brutally frank in saying that it's extremely tedious and not much fun at all. Ideas and artistry only go so far...
I know that this post's title may make it seem like I'm taking a page from Espen Aarseth's 2005 article of a similar name and Roger Travis' 2008 response to it. Trust me when I say that I'm casting my net a little wider than the design vs. scholarship vs. play disciplinary debate... not that that debate is irrelevant, but I'm simply responding to a different exigency.
When I was writing my Heavy Rain review, there were a lot of specific things concerning the plot that I wanted to talk about, but couldn't due to the spoilerness. So those qualms are going to go here, safely hidden behind that big bold spoiler warning you see below. So, shall we?
(Warning: The rest of this post contains Heavy Rain spoilers)
Jim Sterling gave Deadly Premonition a score of 10 points out of a possible 10, easily the highest score the game received among major gaming review sites. In his review, he makes it plain that this game does not deserve that score in any "objective" sense. The graphics are dated, the gameplay is limited, and its systems pay too much attention to irrelevant details. This is to say nothing of its absurd plot and characters. In comparison to almost any other game, Deadly Premonition is awful, but within the bounds of a certain kind of sensibility, that does not preclude it from also being good. Sontag identifies that sensibility as Camp, and it's an idea worth thinking about in connection to games.
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