Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Book Signing, Murdered: Soul Suspect, 1001 Spikes and No E3 Talk.  


Books: I'm going to be appearing at the Indie Book Fair in Seattle this weekend in support of my latest, Speaking in Forked Tongues

If you’re in the area and you’d like to pick up a physical copy and have it signed, come on down!


Games: E3! E3! E3!

No, I'm not there but there's been an absolute avalanche of news and previews coming out over the last couple of days. I'm not going to attempt to cover it in any way, shape or form at the moment -- there are a thousand sites out there that are doing a great job, so it's going to be business as usual tonight. I may have some things to say about it once the dust has settled, but for right now it's Coffeecola, for better or worse. 

Anyway, I've been ridicu-busy with real-life stuff lately so I haven't been able to keep up my usual speedy turnaround, but I have been plugging away at a few things.

First up is Murdered: Soul Suspect.  This one seems to be a real hot-or-cold one with reviewers in general, but me? I'm liking it.

The gist is that the player takes control of a detective who is murdered, but immediately comes back as a ghost before setting out to solve the case and catch the bad guy. The premise is a strong one and the voice acting is great, but what's really selling me on the title is just how weird it is in relation to modern design sensibility.

I believe it was my friend @DavidRobots who said that it struck him as something from the PS2 era, back when we were treated to all manner of strange things that took a lot of chances and rarely conformed to any one genre. That’s a smart observation, and one I agree with.

Since the player is a ghost, there's extremely little combat so far (you get chased by the occasional demon here and there, but it hardly comes up) so most of the time is spent walking around and looking for clues. Once you find a few, you have to string together semi-logical statements that progress the story, basically solving each step of the case as you go.

It's far from perfect and there’s all sorts of weird things happening in both the design and tech side, but it's really clicking with me. I like the main character, I like the idea of walking around as a ghost and just taking things in, and the developers do a pretty good job of crafting an interesting world. I'm not very far in (only the third or fourth major scene) but it's definitely keeping my interest and I like what I've seen so far.

Square-Enix was bonkers for launching this as a standard $60 game, though – I’d have a much easier time recommending it a $20-$30.

Also, though I'm still playing it, I just turned in my review for Monster Monpiece on the Vita. 

I won't get into it too much now since you'll be able to read it soon, but in a nutshell, it's a really great CCG-like wrapped in a lot of T&A and saddled with some of the most insipid, immature touch controls I've ever seen. I genuinely enjoy the game and think it's very well-made in most aspects, but those touch controls are just too much. Someone, somewhere really needs to grow the fuck up in a serious way.

Speaking of the Vita, mine’s getting a lot of play these days, as I'm also working on 1001 Spikes, a 2-D platformer that’s as hard as hateful nails.

To be fair, it's excellently made and there's a ton of content for people who want to dig into it, though it needs to be unlocked via a few different ways. For those who have the patience and the skill, it is a title worthy of respect.

On the other hand…IT IS SO HARD. Although I don't want to say that it's cheap or unfair, it's definitely a big believer in the "try and die" mentality, and demands a super-high level of attention and total focus from the player in order to progress.

I definitely like it it and I'm still working on the campaign, but there have been moments when I wonder how much the dev hated humanity for creating some of these levels. I've ragequit a few times, but then I inevitably come back to it after I cool off. The fact that I keep coming back to it says something about its quality, really.

Movies: I'm pretty late to the party on this one, but I saw X-Men: Days of Future Past a week or so ago, and I have to say I thought it was pretty damn boring.

Full disclosure, I was out of the X-Men (comics-wise) before DoFP came out, so I have no nostalgia for it from the books. I knew the gist, but it's not like I went into the film waiting to see specific beats or knowing it as someone who was more of a fan might.

Long story short (and no spoilers) I thought the characters made some extremely poor decisions that weren't really backed up in the movie, the action wasn't very exciting, and the film didn't do a great job of drawing me in. 

I had a much better time with Captain America: Winter Soldier, and in general, I like the way that Marvel is doing the movies on that side of the divide better than the way the X-Men and Spider-Man have been going. Hopefully all of the licensing rights will get worked out at some point, and the whole Marvel universe will get the same cohesive treatment.


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