Light & Dark

I look over my gaming backlog and feel overwhelmed, there’s just not enough time to complete all the games I own, especially with always new stuff being added. So it’s always satisfying to add another one to the “completed” list. Beating a game is rewarding, since I was a kid I’ve always let the credits roll instead of skipping them, basking in my achievement and paying my respect to the creators. Despite being very busy the past couple of months, I’ve managed to beat a few games. Looking over “best of the year” lists in December in January is a time where I try to find deals on games that I’ve missed out on, and the first I was able to do that with was Child of Light, which was on sale for $7.49 in the Playstation Store, although it was easily worth the full price of $14.99.

It’s a turn based/real time RPG (what a brilliant battle system!) with gorgeous hand painted style artwork. It’s accessible and instantly engaging. Perhaps the most unique aspect of Child of Light is its writing, the entire game is written in iambic pentameter. It doesn’t have as much dialogue as many RPGs do, considering the game is only around 10-12 hours long, but the fact that the whole thing is a cohesive poem that almost always works well is a testament to excellent writers at Ubisoft Montreal. (Ubisoft is not given enough credit, they’re a great publisher with many great development teams). I’ve heard that some have thought it was a little too cheesy, but I found it charming. The game has a dreamlike, majestic feel, and I thought the iambic pentameter just added to the mystique. If you like RPGs at all, give this one a shot. I was sad when it ended, but as many games do, it never lost momentum and has excellent pacing. A great introduction to the genre for kids, too. The next game I’m writing about, not so much.

The Walking Dead: Season 2 from Telltale Games. I’m a fan of the show and comics (although I haven’t read ALL the comics, I’m ashamed to admit), but these 2 games are my favorite iteration of the franchise yet. When Season 1 came out in 2012, many publications had it in their running for Game of the Year, despite the facts that it has dated graphics and runs extremely choppily, on some platforms more so than others. But damn, did it make up for it with its story and writing.

If you don’t know, these games are point and click adventure games, with the occasional QTE infused action sequence thrown in. Doesn’t sound too exciting, but these games are riveting. The dialogue and voice acting are phenomenal. Two characters from Season 1 are heavily featured in Season 2, Clementine, an 11 year old girl and the new protagonist, and Kenny (whose fate was left uncertain near the end of Season 1.) Kenny is by my account certainly one of the most complicated characters in video game history. There are times when he’s a bastard, a coward, an immature redneck with anger issues; but then you see a side of him where he’s loyal, able to admit mistakes, funny and incredibly devoted. I am so glad they brought him back for season 2, and this is coming someone that told him off in dramatic fashion at the end of Season 1. The gameplay isn’t great, but that really isn’t the point, it’s a game about making tough decisions and dealing with the consequences. It’ll have you on the edge of your seat, followed by a poignant moment between two characters, followed by a gut wrenching death that may cause you to tear up. If you’re a fan of the show or comics, this is an absolute must play. If I had to choose between seasons 1 and 2, I’d probably still go with 1, but it’s really close. The emotional roller coaster of the climax of Season 1 is going to be hard for Telltale to ever top, but 2 just as essential overall.

I’d talk about more I’ve been playing recently, but I’ve got to save some for future entries! These were 2 of my favorites from 2014, which was a year with a ton of diversity, despite not being loaded with AAA juggernauts like 2013. It looks like 2015 is going to give us the best of both worlds, I know I’ll be staying tuned!

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