Some article made me try once again an Arma 3-based mod. The launcher is too big for my 1080p screen and forces usage of TeamSpeak that by default (loudly) messages you whenever a guy enter or exit the channel your are in. Then Arma 3 randomly saves or do not save changes on the keyboard config. And when it works, you are still dealing with the clunkiest 3d engine on the market: I, once again, un-installed Arma 3 after getting severely injured by walking near a wall (clipping bugs in 2015!) in less than 3 minutes. This note must serve as reminder: do not waste time trying another mod for this game.
I contemplated getting Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments for a while. It looked old school. And by old school, when it comes to mystery point and click game, it often rhymes with clumsy. At some point, it was on sale so I got it. But haven’t tried it on the spot.
Not even the previous post, clearly on topic, made me try it. To be honest, it did but I quit after seven boring minutes.
It felt small, this baker street flat. And it looked more tied to the recent Guy Ritchie movie than to anything mentioned in my last post: more action than mystery. I was not in the mood for an half-baked mystery game.
Then, hitting another blocker damned bug in Shadowrun: Dragonfall, I gave it a longer run.
And I was positively surprised. Despite some mad screen tearing by default (v-sync must definitely be set on) and too many times out for the game to load locations but also dialogs, the ambiance is there and, almost at the end of the first investigation, I have still no set opinion on the culprit (that’s not necessarily good, though).
The mini-games are fine and the system to process leads so far seems smart. On a specific lead, you can pick two likely options and decides which you think more relevant. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s a bit too assertive. In one of the cases, looking for an accomplice, you are forced, for two suspects, to set them either to had time to do this or is not involved because had no time to do this. On what planet the fact that one suspect did not do this rules out the possibility he could be accomplice and have done other part? Worse, you cannot set both to had time to do this while actually they had. Should such elaborate clues system ends up on an almost random pick?
So even though this a game definitely worth being played more than seven minutes, sometimes, the results are a bit frustrating. I guess they designed it for the player to still have something to think about when all the clues are found. Otherwise it would just be a matter of clicking here and there. But for a future version, they should really work on what is truly disturbing: avoiding false dilemmas. Daddy, let your mind roll on!
Already missing Game of Thrones characters and still not getting any proper news about Telltale’s next episode?
Assistant to Spooks/MI5 Matthew Macfadyen enacting Detective Inspector Edmund Reid (yeah, historical character, head of CID of the Met Police at the time of Whitechapel Murders of Jack the Ripper), here is Jerome Flynn, that you also know as Bronn, playing Detective Sergeant Bennet Drake.
In episode S01 E05, you may also see Ser Jorah Mormont, aka Iain Glen. Solid cast. Solid setup, nice costumes and good stories, as you can expect when someone dares to use XIXe century London as environment.
One of the latest Sept comic-series episode is also cast in Victorian period. That’s a good example of the best this series can provide -some episodes were unfortunately not overly good-, a series with no set genre, authors, characters, but just focused on this number : 7 (sept/seven). Selected authors are to come up with a story focused on seven important characters from a specific genre. And this one is named Sept détectives.
Not a surprise, the seven detectives are inspired by the classics of the genre. Inspired but consistent, all of them. Graphics are good. Finally, and that’s probably what matters most in this genre, the story is well written, twisty I might add. I was not familiar with Herick Hanna’s work, the scenarist. Pretty pretty pretty good. Looks promising.
To stay in context, you’d be wise to give a try to Mr. Jack. That’s a two players board game: one is trying to get the ripper on the large, the other behind bars. I found it well-balanced and properly designed. It does not takes hours to grab the rules neither does it gives too much room to luck. There are extensions to add cards or change scenery (New York version) that I have not tried but would be willing too.
After all, the streets of London can never be safe!
I waited a while before giving a try to Life Is Strange. It’s made by a french studio named DONTNOD Entertainment and, over years, I grew wary of frenchness/ubisoftness in video games: repetitive gameplay with teenager philosophy in disguise of an inconsistent plot.
Plus Life Is Strange is a point-and-click adventure game and, these days, with Telltale Games, the standards are quite high.
Gameplay wise, Life Is Strange forces you to click and move the mouse to a text string like “Do this” to do anything. I guess they thought it would be practical in case there are many actions possible. But in most cases, you actually have one or two possibles actions. And when there are two actions, usually the first one is “Look at” which is utterly useless since you are already looking at the said object. The game is labelled “graphic adventure” but you are forced to focus on some meaningless text strings. It’s not intuitive neither graphical at all for me.
For instance, here’s you opening a door : there is a door handle but a click on it does nothing. You have to click in the circle then move your mouse to the string “Enter” you’ve read – and not follow the arrow that starts from the circle and point to the handle. Everything is confusing there: what you see and what you are supposed to do. The interface tries hard to look smart but forget she’s there not to be smart but discrete.
After fighting a bit with the interface – despite how primitive the gameplay of a point-and-click game can be, next thing you notice is the childish attitude of the main character: poor student in art-whatever wants to cry because, huh, because she’s shy, so she runs to the toilet. Sob.
Poor girl. Skater boys dont like her. Did they made here totally ugly and not the style of skater boys? Are they having a laugh? Next character: the mall cop/university security nutcase that bullies students and wants to cameras to be installed everywhere. So unexpected!
Least to say the very first impressions of the game are not so great. Plonk then?
What about the story itself? Telltale Games have this notion that your choices tailor the game. Smart way to say that even though a game story can branch, if there is a real story, your choices cannot change it all. DONTNOD does not tell how much you can influence the story. In Life Is Strange, you dont have to decide fast like in Telltale Games at some crucial moments: you can take as much time you want and test the alternatives before you decide. But since I’ve only played the first episode so I cannot tell really how it unfold and how much the choice you make influence the game.
I can tell however that playing the first episode in full made me acquire the rest of the season. Yes, despite the poor gameplay and simplistic characters design, I’m curious to see where it leads. I think that qualifies the story as interesting enough – at least to be bought during steam sales. Come on feet, teach yourself to move.
It’s the summer, there are less series than usual. I’m still watching Grimm (as mentioned before) and am astonished that it still take to the main characters, cops, at least half but more like two third of each episode to understand they are dealing with these “wesen” surnatural beast. As they always do. And the clues are not so hard to catch (body slashed by gigantic claws, etc).
Unrelated, decent but not always very consistent is How to Get Away with Murder. It’s about students in a law school that get internship at their teacher’s law firm. I won’t describe it in details not to spoil it. Least I can say that they’ll learn for their own benefit how to legally get away with murder.
It’s properly paced, interesting despite not being always overly consistent. For instance, they make it look hard to know where was a phone location at a given time, as if it was necessary to access the phone itself or else, while this data can so easily obtained by the telecom provider. Some potential key witness also fails to come forward as soon as possible, such a cop that saw some guys he dont know moving some strange rugs, at the place where he knows someone else live, even though this person involved in a major case suddenly disappeared.
I also wonder how likely is it to see on a current tv show a main character, supposedly good, that would be white, shouting : “you were screwing some black whore”.
Apparently a second season is planned. It can be good, it can also be improved.
Aside from that steam summer sales started. The Witcher series in on sale right now.
Testing further Cities: Skylines, 2015, so far I managed to build a perfect highway interchange. Except that this one, three layered, is overly expensive. Three times the price of my first attempt (some roundabout on top of the highway, typical of “Paris périphérique”) :
The next logical option was to make a cheaper version by reducing the number of lanes of the direction changes. I even added pedestrian passage.
It is way cheaper but it’s still a very big thing hard to place. So I just realized that having highway exits on both sides at the same spot could actually be avoided. It’s not clear yet whether two T intersect are obviously less space consuming than one single X intersect. So here’s my next proposal:
All these are available in an asset collection.