Quiet time in the desert…

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Okay, so after… some years, I finally revisited Journey, albeit on the PS4 this time because I’ve yet to have any luck in finding another PS3 that works like my Ol’ Reliable, the mighty Sylvester (no idea why I called it that)… hopefully there is one out there because I really miss playing Stranger’s Wrath – Oddworld in general is great, loved that series ever since I was a kid, but that particular game really stood out to me, it was quite different gameplay-wise but still felt right at home in the series as a whole, the desert looked friggin’ gorgeous and that’s all wildly off topic… Journey is set in the desert too, though!

I mean, not much to say about it, not in a bad way, mind – my head is a bit fried and I can’t do words about things… It’s still a really beautiful game; flows smoothly; decent balance of calm moments and dramatic tension; it earns an emotional response rather than trying to force one and I really respect that in a narrative. Oh, and the music is really stunning – Reclamation is my favourite – it delivers the goods and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing, perhaps more so now than when I played it a few years back.

Didn’t succeed in finding a partner to spend the whole journey with, though. There were a couple of meetings with other players, one of whom ran up to my cloaked wanderer (who was meditating in a quiet spot) chirped three times and then ran off – not sure what that was all about, but it made me laugh. Screenshots anyway, there’s been quite enough of this scraping around trying to find stuff to write. (It just feels a bit half-arsed posting pictures with naff all text to go with them, though.)

Everybody’s Gone to the Russia

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Or Snowwatch, or Dear Esther but in Russia, or I Will Get Back to That Game and Finish It Sometime, Honest. So, suffice to say I’m hardly emotionally invested in Kholat but for the sake of enjoying the visuals, I do want to give it another chance. For all its glaring flaws (disjointed narrative that isn’t well-handled enough to have earnt the right to be that disjointed; tiny, unreadable text so hopefully it’s not vital for making progress; extremely lacklustre voiceovers; random sudden deaths with no means of defence; running like a sack of spanners and drops frames like fuck, I could go on…), it is a nice-looking game. Here are some screenshots I got on the first toe-dipping anyway.

Crawling under the island like an animal…

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(Subtext: I want to be a seaside cave-dwelling hermit, preferably within easy reach of some wind-blasted moors and in the company of a nice Friesian horse… thus peaking out the Goth Meter.)

Okay, so a couple months down the line (feels a lot longer, bloody hell.)Ā I finally made good on my threat? promise? However it comes across, here are some pictures from Dear Esther, which I love. There’s a lot about this game that I find interesting, both under its own steam and after having gotten some additional insight from the Director’s Commentary mode (especially in relation to the music, the sheer amount of thought that went into it on a symbolic level is just plain amazing) but my thoughts and these mysterious things called words just don’t want to know each other at the minute.

These pictures might not be in entirely perfect order because I pulled them together from two different sets, one from the digital version and one from the physical version – would’ve thought the PS4 would save them all together, but it didn’t, not sure what that’s all about. I reckon they look nice, anyway. Hopefully someone else out else there reckons they look alright as well. šŸ˜‰

A colossal jamboree of pictures…

50 Still needs a power ballad to go with it

Alright, so I kind of forgot this blog in the midst of life, responsibilities, etc. And seeing as most of my screenshots from other games are still on Turisaz’s hard drive, here’s a round-up of some of my personal favourites from Shadow of the Colossus. Some of these have previously turned up on Summer of the Colossus, and some of them have been set to one side to post in the future because I mean who on earth wants hundreds of screenshots all at once? That’s too many! There’s still a lot even here, bloody hell, but I kind of wanted to show a fair mix of colossi, scenery, nice images and faffing about.

Anyway. In relation to other games, I still haven’t posted anything about Dear Esther, despite just completely loving it, but the confusing thing is that the PS4 has split my pictures up between those taken on the digital version and those from the physical copy I got… they’re both the exact same game, it’s just I run it off a disc now instead, because – y’know – I like it enough to want to give it a space on my shelf. (Kind of bugs me a bit that there doesn’t appear to be a physical release of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture to go with it, but what the hell.) I need to round up the lot and just organise them sometime, really. Also started The Last Day of June and so far, so good – the characters are charming and the environments are just plain gorgeous, so provided I remember to fetch them over to the laptop, then there will be some nice pictures from that appearing on here as well.

Now onto the colossus-hunting adventures…

The Pattern has landed in Stockport.

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So yesterday, I encountered something approximating a real-life Valis observatory. I mean, you might have to use your imagination a bit (or a lot) but still… I really like the remaining architecture of this building, kind of curious to know how it looked when it was alive. So obviously this is an excuse to post some more action from Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. These ones are from Kate’s chapter, but I don’t think it’s that spoilery.

The Failed Negotiation Situation

It’s time for a narrative from Summer of the Colossus. This is actually the first one that happened; I didn’t intend to have these kinds of adventures unfolding but the images set my (over-active) imagination off, go figure. Today’s adventure consists of the time that Wander refused to be reasoned with…

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“Now, Wander, we need to have a serious talk about this colossus-hunting business. Look at me when I’m talking to you. Do you really think – I said look at – are you even listening?! – is it fair to come traipsing in here – you’re still not – like you own the place and laying waste to all these stony creatures? You’re not listening are you…”

Continue reading “The Failed Negotiation Situation”

Dolphins of Abzu

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So I was a bit kind of… mixed feelings about Abzu at first, I was too stressed (life stuff) and really struggled to get into it, and it didn’t help that the ending has been done before; that naffed me off a bit and not purely because of already being wound up. It was absolutely fine and had some real impact in Flower, it was lovely in Journey but a third time with this formula and I was bordering on the level of exasperated sighing brought on by the overuse of airlocks to get rid of xenomorphs in the Alien series. Maybe it is intended as an exploration of the same story in different settings, not sure, but I came back to in a less stressed state and I’m having a much better time with it on this occasion. The ending still leaves me cold but it’s very enjoyable just to explore the environment and see what there is to find. Found the dunkleostei and hitched a ride with one last night – now that was an event! Dolphins, anyway. Common dolphins! Lovely dolphins! I took a few pictures of them.

 

Jeremy spoke in church today…

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And now, a bit of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture to get this blog off to a bit of a stumbling start. Wasn’t all that sure how to pick out screenshots from this game because, after Shadow of the Colossus, this is the one I’ve taken the most pictures in. It’s really beautiful but at the same time, quite unsettling because it’s essentially subverting the things that I’d normally find nostalgic and reassuring. My earliest memories are of the early 90s, when mid-to-late 80s decor was still fairly prevalent, so the style in the houses feels very familiar from my childhood and seeing that in conjunction with such an eerie and tense story kind of rustled my leaves a bit (less so as the story went on, there are some parts that are simultaneously really spooky but also very calming – that is a wonderful combination.)

Anyway. The most logical solution seemed to group the screenshots by the chapter they came from, so here are some screenshots from Jeremy’s narrative – his and Wendy’s stories came to most powerful (read: emotionally devastating) conclusions. And unlike Dear Esther, which I finished during the day, so I could go out for a walk afterwards to mull over it, I finished this at about 2am, so I was stuck in the house. With the emotions. I’m not a religious person but being someone who – y’know – is capable of empathy, this narrative about someone who is essentially charged with guiding and protecting people and failing to do so had a lot of clout to it (and that also is a credit to the voice actors, that it felt very realistic and lent a lot of strength to the plight of characters who you only see as scintillae and swoops of light.) Likewise, ecclesiastical aesthetics, I find quite striking and to cap it off, the design of this church gets the rural feel down to a T.

That was a lot of words, got a bit carried away there. This game gave me a lot of thoughts. (And I’ve just heard the words “personalised pasta” going on in the background, which is a very satisfying phrase.) Now for some pictures.

Studying watermelons

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So on Summer of the Colossus, every now and again a narrative breaks out, but obviously Instagram isn’t exactly an ideal way to convey said narratives, especially as I can’t do photosets with posting from a browser extension. So here’s one that happened while faffing about on the beach, having found the watermelon sequestered away at the far end. I had a helluva lot of fun on this beach. Wander asked Agro for advice first, then got to learning precisely how a watermelon works… it was also here that I discovered you can get the sword stuck in the ground – and oh, the fun I had doing that.