My column this week is on SOMA.
The other thing I didn’t talk about in the column is how gorgeous the game is. Well, assuming you think, “Lavishly designed ruins of an undersea base in a bio-mechanical future” sounds like something you might call “gorgeous”.
The worst parts of the game are when you’re dealing with monsters. They’re not scary, but they are frequently time-consuming. I’m not sure how to fix this. Removing the monsters entirely would take away a lot of the atmosphere. It’s the threat of monsters, not the presence of monsters that makes the world feel tense and interesting. If they were removed entirely, you could sprint and bunny-hop around the place and it would feel a little too carefree.
I think the problem is that a few of the monsters overstay their welcome. A three points in the game I found myself trying to solve a puzzle while a monster hovered nearby.
- Your goal is to repair a keypad on a door, which is a multi-stage process. The monster patrolling the area is supposedly blind, but he’s also a cheating bastard that makes a beeline for the keypad as soon as you approach, even if you do so in complete silence. You can’t distract him by throwing some noisy junk in the distance and working on the keypad while he investigates. Instead, you need to do one step of the puzzle, run away, and wait a minute and a half for him to give up looking for you. Then return to the keypad and repeat.
- Another monster just stood over a required item. I think she was bugged. I could only get past her through exploiting glitches, which is about the most tedious, un-scary thing you can do.
- There is one monster near the end of the game that has a moving patrol route, so you need to evade him multiple times. Around the sixth time, the magic was gone and I felt like he was just deliberately wasting my time.
Basically, the worst parts of the game are the parts that self-consciously tried to be too much like Amnesia.
Still highly recommended.
Diablo III Retrospective
We were so upset by the server problems and real money auction that we overlooked just how terrible everything else is.
What is this silly word, why did some people get so irritated by it, and why did it fall out of use?
Pixel City Dev Blog
An attempt to make a good looking cityscape with nothing but simple tricks and a few rectangles of light.
Lost Laughs in Leisure Suit Larry
Why was this classic adventure game so funny in the 80's, and why did it stop being funny?
The Best of 2015
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2015.