Life is Strange: How to Do the Butterfly Effect Completely Wrong

WARNING: SUPER MEGA SPOILERS AHEAD FOR LIFE IS STRANGE!

 

 

When I first saw Life is Strange in 2015, I was instantly in love.  It had a bleak and cynical outlook on life that so few games have in a high school setting.  The characters were compelling and easy to care about.  The story was beautiful in how it developed the relationship between Max and Chloe.  It even had a supernatural mystery that was hanging over the horizon ominously.  It was just a beautiful game despite its simplistic interactive elements.

Then the ending happened, and I lost all interest in ever purchasing another game in the series again.

So, what happened?  How could a game I care about so dearly mess up so badly?  That is what I wish to delve into today.

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Rebel’s Beginner’s Tips #1 for RPG Maker

While I am certainly no outstanding expert on RPG Maker, I have clocked in a few hundred hours between RPG Maker VX Ace and RPG Maker MV.  I even have three completed games that you can view on my game studio site, Illimitable Galaxies.  As such, I have overcome a lot of trials in regards to using the engine to create games.  With both programs going on sale pretty often, I feel it’d be relevant for me to pass some of my personal tips for those just starting out the engine.  Keep in mind, these tips really only apply to the two programs mentioned above; I have no idea how applicable my tips are for other entries into the RPG Maker series, such as RPG Maker XP.  However, hopefully you will find the following tips helpful as you first learn the program and start your path into making a game.

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RV Game Reviews: Tales of Xillia 2

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR TALES OF XILLIA AND TALES OF XILLIA 2!

 

 

As some of my recent posts may have hinted at, I’ve been playing through Tales of Xillia 2.  This week, I finally finished the main story of the game, clocking in about 90 hours of playtime.  Though the game is several years old, I feel it is still worth reviewing for those who haven’t played the game yet.  Before I begin with my review, I wish to note two things.  One, this review will be comparative to the first game, as the first game bares heavy relevance to this one.  As such, there is some bias to consider in that regard.  Secondly, I want to issue the standard reminder that the points made in this review are mine alone.  If you disagree with them, that’s perfectly okay and to each his own.

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Games and Writing the Silent Protagonist

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR UNDERTALE!

 

One of the stranger polarizing issues I’ve come across in the game community is silent protagonists.  Some people love them and think they add to the immersion.  The player is not forced into a character’s dialogue choices, and they can feel more like they are the character due to the silence.  Other people hate them.  They often view it as a developer being lazy, and they also believe that it makes a character very flat since they have no real personality without dialogue to convey it.

This being the case, indie devs and homebrew devs may find themselves in an odd situation.  Should they risk people’s ire and make a silent protagonist, or should they risk a different people’s ire and have their character have spoken dialogue?  This can be a crucial decision when handling the writing of a game.  However, it is my opinion that what matters more is the protagonist is written and executed well, regardless of whether or not they’re silent.  Thus, today I would like to bring to you three questions you can ask yourself before you decide to make your protagonist silent or not.  These will prioritize the quality of the story versus other factors.

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Mechanics Transparency: Tales of Xillia Edition

Twice before on this blog I have discussed having transparent mechanics in games being a good thing.  The first time I addressed GUIs and how they functioned in Subnautica.  In the second post, I addressed the use of enemy waves in Dragon Age II.  Today, I would like to revisit this topic with a different series and specific topic nuance: leveling in Tales of Xillia and Tales of Xillia 2.

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RV Game Reviews: Dream Daddy

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR DREAM DADDY!

 

In the vein of trying something a bit different, today I’m going to write a review for Dream Daddy, a VN dating simulation game that came out July 20th.  Before beginning, keep in mind all the opinions in this review are mine alone.  If you disagree with the opinions, that’s awesome, and I’d love to hear it in the comments.  However, I ask that you take no personal offense to them, and know that I respect everyone involved in the project for the hard work they put in.

That being said, let’s begin.

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Why The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is a Disgrace Part 2

SPOILER WARNING: This article contains extreme spoilers for the entirety of Telltale’s The Walking Dead series.  Read at your own caution.

 

 

Welcome to Part 2 of my complaints in regards to The Walking Dead: A New Frontier.  Last week, I discussed how the character writing was subpar and also how numerous parts in the story were plot deviced to suit the twists.  Today we’re going to discuss three more shortfalls of the writing: namely the flashbacks, the predictability, and the pacing.  Please be sure to check out Part 1 if you want to catch up.

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Why The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is a Disgrace Part 1

SPOILER WARNING: This article contains extreme spoilers for the entirety of Telltale’s The Walking Dead series.  Read at your own caution.

 

 

Even though I’m a fan of Telltale’s The Walking Dead series, I hesitated for a long time to get A New Frontier.  This was due to the numerous bad reviews on Steam that criticized the game for having immensely short episodes.  However, with the 2017 Steam Summer Sale in full swing, and the game having released all the episodes, I decided it was finally time to take a swing at it.  After all, these critics were probably just being very harsh, right?

To my surprise, no.  If anything, these reviews on Steam were being overly lenient.  The game is, to me, a full on disgrace to its predecessors.

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The Power of Sound Effects

As someone who is a big fan of Subnautica, I often keep up with updates to the game, usually via various Youtubers who cover the game extensively.  Without spoiling too much, a huge portion of the end game is in development right now (when this article was written anyway).  Since it’s a key story point, it’s being tweaked to be as impactful as possible.  Animations, voice acting, textures, and tons of other aspects keep being overhauled to present the most satisfying moment that could be achieved.  However, in some of the more recent updates, one additive that added a ton of impact caught my eye: the sound effects.

Sound effects are one of those aspects of creative media that often get overlooked.  Whether the sound effects are audio or implied to with words, they make a huge difference despite being minor additives.  Unfortunately, in numerous indie industries, they can often be underused.  While certainly you run the risk of oversaturating a piece with sound effects, they are still an essential that should never be neglected.  To hammer in this point, let us examine why the sound effects make a difference in two industries: gaming and comics.

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