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Batman: Arkham Asylum

Soon, you can purchase Arkham City, the newest episode of the Batman series. In some measure, this makes a review of Arkham Asylum relevant, and on the other hand, this writing was already published on the pages of GameDroid, but it was removed because of technical issues. The article was written about the Game of the Year (GOTY) edition. In regard of mood Batman: Arkham Asylum is not a Bioshock, and there is nothing new in it, but it’s also a bloody serious action-adventure game based on comics. I even saw a little pinch of Metal Gear Solid (or Splinter Cell, for the matter) in it. “Well, there can’t be any great trouble!” I thought. Let’s see if it’s true or not! Who Is Batman? Batman is the most known superhero ever. He started adventuring in the company of numerous other DC Comics superheroes in the early times of the comics-boom, which means around 1940. Since Bob Kane dreamed him on paper in 1939, Bruce Wayne/Batman is one of the darkest and most contradictory comic-book hero. Originally, he fought with two handguns like Max Payne (without Bullet Time), and had no moral issues, when he had to make some holes on bad guys. He appeared in detective anthologies, and soon became a fav of the readers by his lack of general heroic attributes – by his dark and grim background, by rising fear in the heart of the opponent, like the embodiment of nightmares of the guilty. (In the beginning, his costume had some scent of cheap rentals, but with time drawers dreamed more and more realist dresses on him.) It’s not everything, of course, because the most important attribute of Batman is not his hardness or scariness but his aspect of being one of the best detectives of all times. So, the original Batman stories were not about fighting all night long: Sociopath supervillains tried to rise chaos in a corrupt, dark city. Batman solved cases not by fists or in the company of his stretch-costumed pals but alone like a lone wol… bat. And he mostly used his abilities as a detective. The Darker and Darker Knight In the time of this...

Bastion

Bastion

2014. Júl. 26.

A strange fashion had evolved in the game industry: Big publishers and developers are making only “products”, while independents are considering the medium of video games as a form of artistic self-expression. Personally, I support this idea, because sometimes we get much cheaper and more enjoyable stuff from the latter than the expensive games of the former. It can be the hand-drew Machinarium, the awfully genial Braid, or the Bastion from the action-adventure genre, the independent developers prove such creativity that big fishes — who are mostly just mining their franchises — can be envy of. The story is simple like a peg: An apocalyptic event named the Calamity smashed the world apart, and only some floating parts remained from it. Our main hero, the Kid awakes on a floating land like that, but soon he finds the only stable point; the Bastion. He is helped by old Rucks — who is, in the same time, the narrator of the game — to collect a splintered energy crystal, the Core, which can physically rebuild the once country, Caelondia. The elders might count on the Calamity, because they made a machine under the Bastion that can produce buildings and landmass by the help of the crystal splinters. Of course, there is more. Two more survivors (Zulf and Zia) turn up, but they came from another country — and there is a diary that tells a lot about what caused the Calamity. To continue the mandatory circle, lets take a look at the background! Seven people + two years = Bastion. The Supergiant Games was founded by two guys who climbed up from the pits of Electronic Arts, because they wanted to try some ideas and anyway, they wanted to do a much steadier work. One of the founders was writing, the other was developing the gameplay, but they needed a musician, an artist, a narrator, another writer and a helping hand in general. They made it frankly, even if there was some people in the team who never met before the release of the game. This is where art begins to grow. The world is fantasy based with a little steampunk tone in the equipment,...

Alice: Madness Returns — Horrorland Again

Alice: Madness Returns — Horrorland Again

2014. Júl. 26.

American James McGee is an original game designer of our era. Doom and Quake fans can know his name for a time now, but I more like those projects of him which came from his own head. I loved Scrapland, I enjoyed the first part of the Alice series, and although Bad Day L.A. was failed, Grimm seems peculiar enough to worth a try. But here is the second part of the Alice game, and as the title says: Madness Returns. However, 11 years had passed after the release of the first part, and it shows on the game. While American McGee’s Alice mostly just turned Wonderland out and degraded it into an imagined world of a psychotic-schizophrenic little girl, the sequel hits much harder. In the first part Alice defeats her own out-of-control-evil-superego, the Queen of Hearts. After their house was burnt down, Alice literally went mad about loosing her family, and while she withers in an asylum, Wonderland drags her in more and more. But this world is the creation of her own mind, so loosing sanity leads to a horrific version of Wonderland. The sequel begins in the real world. A psychiatrist, Dr. Angus Bumby takes her under his wings and treatment. The girl is professedly blaming herself for the fire, so she cares nothing about the world around – principally because the good doctor tries to erase her memories by hypnosis. Attentive players can observe that too much crazy kids are living at the foundling hospital of Dr. Bumby, and the answer for ‘why is he so interested in the little folk?’ turns out during the game. I wouldn’t like to reveal the twists in the story but I can tell that in Wonderland Alice gradually finds her memories about the night of the fire, and with time she gets to the source of what endangers her personal world of imagination. During the journey she meets typical Wonderlandish characters who are, of course, just as twisted as everything around them. The girl herself is more like a warrior virgin with a gothic appetite than that little uncertain explorer, who walked in the worlds of imagination in the books of Lewis...

Alan Wake — The Shadow Whisperer

Alan Wake — The Shadow Whisperer

2014. Júl. 13.

Fear of darkness is one of man’s elemental instincts that is suppressed by the most. This is the cause why light and darkness were always the fundamental tools of the horror genre – the simple and ingenious idea is just that: forge weapons from light against opponents made from darkness. Alan Wake, the American bestselling author became famous around the world by his crime and thriller novels. He has a seemingly perfect life with an overzealous manager, a nice house, a beautiful wife, a career going up and lots of fans – but he is troubled by what can haunt any artist at least once in a lifetime. He has writer’s block, and as a result he didn’t write a line for two years. His wife, the charming Alice arranges a second honeymoon trip to the picturesque town of Bright Falls, where she hopes Alan can find not just romantic moments but some inspiration too. However, Alan finds nothing else but doubts, pain and terror. What’s more; these horrors come alive from the pages of his newest work in progress. Of course he – the player – doesn’t remember writing any new novel. There is no way to tell more about the story without spoilers, because surprises are coming continuously, starting from the first moment of the game. This is one of the main aspects that defines the atmosphere and gameplay of Alan Wake. The story is living and movie-like in almost every moment; it makes you forget that you are knocking around on the levels of a game. Luckily, there is not a hint of the well-known feeling of being a jumping-jack: “go here, go there, don’t be curious at all!” It is more like an interactive novel, or with a more thankful metaphor; like a high quality series in the psychological thriller genre. Deliberately; the developers emphasized this aspect of the atmosphere with main titles and “previously on…” parts between the episodes. (At the first time I almost fall off my chair in surprise when the rich voice of the narrator said: “Previously on Alan Wake…”) Hearing it the first time you could be averse from this episodic structure of the game,...

Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition

Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition

2014. Júl. 10.

Sok víz lefolyt már Lordan bármelyik folyóján, vagy a dicső Anor Londo valamely ereszcsatornáján, ez a sok idő pedig rengeted vért, vereséget, halált, győzelmet, tapasztalatot és persze négy végigjátszást jelentett, ami a Dark Souls esetében igazán nagy szó… Főleg, hogy – mint azt egy korábbi cikkben kifejtettem – az embernek egyre kevesebb ideje marad játékokra, olyan mélységes elmerülésre, mint amilyet a Dark Souls igényel. Elsőre nehéz volt? Végigvitted? Végigszenvedted minden idők (valójában az új generációk) legnehezebb játékát? Sőt, kimered mondani, hogy nem is volt annyira nagyon nehéz? Hát kalandor, neked találták ki a New Game+ opciót, avagy az újrakezdését a meglévő szinteddel, képességeiddel, tárgyaiddal, tehát mintha folytatódna minden a legelejéről. Most, hogy újrakezdted és hős vagy és bátor és kemény, indulj el! Miután az első főellenség vagy az első ellenfelek az egyik koszos kazamata sarkában már hétszer kivégeztek, gondolkozz el újra. Tényleg kell ez neked? Ezt akartad? Százas szintű hőssel elvérezni ott, ahol nemrég vidáman verekedted át magad? Ha a válaszod igen, most kezded csak el igazán a Dark Soulst. Az első végigjátszást vedd tutorialnak, edzésnek, laza gyaloggaloppnak, mert a játék borítóján található „Készülj a halálra!” jelmondat csak most nyer értelmet. Sohasem felejtem az érzést, amikor egy kőkemény ellenfél 3 területen keresztül (nem végigrohanva területenként több óra játékidő) üldözött, utánam jött lépcsőkön, létrákon át, és semmi sem állította meg. Amikor azt hittem, hogy már leráztam, hátulról egyetlen egy csapással kivégzett. Helló Dark Souls, helló Halál! Nos, pontosan erről van szó. A Dark Souls elsőre nehéz. Kíméletlen és izzasztó, de másodikra, sőt, harmadikra, és ne adj isten, negyedikre olyan szinten nehezedik, amit már lehet valóban embertelennek, nevetségesen nehéznek mondani. És mit mondok erre én bárminemű önfényezést mellőzve: Ez az! Ezt kerestem. Egy tartalmas, vérbő, valódi, nyers és igazi, hangulatában páratlan játékot, ami olyan szintű nehézséget jelent, amit utoljára gyerekkoromban élhettem át. Régen a játékok nehezebbek voltak? Igen. Mennyivel? Sokkal, és a Dark Souls tökéletesen elkapja ezt az életérzést. Most, hogy kalandom már 4x véget ért, és csak azért nem kezdem el ötödszörre is, mert megjött a folytatás, kijelenthetem, természetesen nem, nem teszem le végleg a játékokat, de talán olyan eposzon vagyok túl, amilyen már soha nem lesz az életemben. Vagy talán a Dark Souls 2?...