Category Archives: Games

Stuff about games.

Everybody’s gone to the rapture

Post-scriptum: I had this post prepared for ages, but somehow I never posted it. Seeing how this game is available for free on Playstation Plus in November, now’s as good a time as any to recommend this wonderful little game!

I’ve said it time and again: We haven’t reached the bottom of the Jacques Cousteau-ian underwater world that is videogame storytelling. Sure, we are building increasingly more complex devices that allow us to dive deeper and deeper, but the true essence lying on the bottom of the barrel? Not yet.

I’m not going to say Everybody’s gone to the rapture by the wonderful people at Chinese Room (well, I guess they’re wonderful because I believe in the good in people) is a revolution. It’s not. But it’s a wonderful storydriven game fueled by something most developers seem to forget: Genuine human emotion.

Everybody’s gone to the rapture takes place in an abandoned village. Somehow, everyone’s just gone up in smoke – and it’s your job to find out what happened.

Actually, calling it a job is saying a bit much. All you do it walk around and discover story tidbits that allow you to piece together the game’s bigger narrative. Angry internet nerds, of which there are quite a few, mockingly call this game a “walking simulator” – a game in which you walk around until things happen. You can’t die, you can’t lose – nothing gameplay-related is at stake, just the elements of the story.

And when I say “elements”, I mean that in the most literal way possible. Everybody’s gone to the rapture doesn’t tell a linear, coherent story. Instead, it opts to feed you bits and pieces, breadcrums relating to a handful of characters, and lets you piece it together on its own. And like a lot of games, the pieces are a lot more colourful and interesting than the finished puzzle.

If you’re playing this expecting a cathartic endgame, you’re going to end up disappointed. If you’re just enjoying the sights and taking the emotions in the way they come at you? You’re in for a treat.

Everybody’s gone to the rapture is short – as is almost always the case with these games. But personally, I think it’s got precisely the length it should have. It doesn’t drag, doesn’t overtell its own story, and knows precisely when to call it quits. And frankly, if you’re fond of exploring, you can get way more mileage out of it than I have.

In a world of endless collectibles and other doodads that trigger a sense of OCD I never knew I had, this game is a godsent, ideally enjoyed with or after a glass of good scotch.

 

Overwatch

Me and gaming, we’ve fallen on hard times. Things used to be different: We would have fun together, play all sorts of stuff until the middle of the night… Nowadays, we just look at each other and shrug. It’s like we lost all our old love, like we don’t know how to push each other’s buttons or find our graphics undesirable. What has happened?

In all earnesty: I’ve been working a lot. Like, a lot a lot. So usually, when I come home from work, my brain is so mushy I can’t really focus on doing anything. I tried playing Final Fantasy XIV, found there to be too much reading. I tried DOOM, which was great, but there was too much looking at the map. Lord knows I’ve played The Last of Us – but even there, there was too much going on and I couldn’t take any of it in.

So I ended up playing Puzzle Quest and Tropico – and as far as the latter was concerned, just the first few missions over and over on a loop. I’ve gotten so good at that game, if you ever need a colonial-era dictator to run your banana republic, I’m in.

And then I bought Overwatch. On a whim, because the thought of an online competitive shooter was enough to make my eyes roll out the back of my head. I’m not competitive, and playing against other people for fun should have been the last thing I’d want to do. I like games because they’re a series of a meticulously designed challenges waiting to be conquered – not because I wanna be teabagged by a random stranger.

Overwatch, however, seems to scratch current my gaming itch perfectly. It’s easy to pick up – a handful of heroes, a few maps and three rotating game modes – but with enough tactical depth to keep me coming back. The maps are small enough that playing them a few times is enough to get a good read on them. And the game’s entire atmosphere is more about having fun than winning (you can be lose the game and still be the match’s MVP, for instance).

So if you’re on PS4 and looking for someone to play with – hit up Kuudelka! Together, we can conquer the world.

Rayman Legends

I haven’t been gaming a lot lately. It’s not due to a lack of games – I’ve found myself trying out many of the various AAA titles I’ve missed in the past few years, but nothing really stuck. Either I missed them for a reason, or I’ve just had so much to do I don’t really have the energy to delve into deep games.

Enter: Rayman Legends! A delightful 2D platformer, beautifully animated, with simply gameplay that’s still varied enough to keep me hooked. Save vikings, beat dragons, jump on pillows – and look stilish while doing so! It’s the perfect game to turn off your brain.

And that’s all the energy I have to write this post. The game’s dirt cheap and available on every current console. Try it out!