Friday, 13 March 2015

Just Us League

This is a post I've been sitting on since before Christmas. Shortly before Christmas, in fact, as I browsed the various gift sections that pop up in our department stores in the run-up to the festive period.

I'm terrible at shopping for gifts. My eye is inevitably drawn towards things related to my own interests - sometimes things I would like to own myself, but more often simply merchandise attached to properties in which I am invested, because it is nice to see things you love doing well. So this year I noticed this:


A smart box for a T-shirt featuring the Justice League! Not bad, quite dynamic art, though it's odd to see Batman smiling, and of course they're the pre-New-52 character designs, but that's sort of expected for a mainstream product, they have to go with the iconic, public-consciousness images rather than whatever they happen to be wearing this year. After all, these are men who -

- men -

- white men who -

- wait.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Missed-The-Boat Video Game Reviews: Murdered: Soul Suspect

I have just played through Murdered: Soul Suspect (it was dirt cheap on Steam). I enjoyed it, though at the same time find little to disagree with in the Zero Punctuation review: The "combat" was shoehorned in, the "detective" work tended to be either overly simplistic or hopelessly obscure, and the reliance on scripting was sometimes obnoxious (clues you can't interact with until you've asked the right question, guards that ignore your presence because you've technically "passed" their guard challenge).

I suspect I allowed myself to immerse in the game a little more than Yahtzee did - an easy trap when you're consciously reviewing a game - as I did find the demon-wedgie sequenes more frightening than tedious. Even though I told myself there was no consequence for failure and it wasn't really that challenging I still found my pulse quicken and movements become frantic whenever they spotted me. I'd say Airtight hit the right mark emotionally, using every cinematic trick of soundscape and colour pallette to strike up an atmosphere of danger and creepiness. I loved the design sensibilities, the muted tones with spot colour, the interactions between the ghost and physical planes. Lots of fun.

Overall it's definitely on the "story" side of the challenge-narrative spectrum, there's several conversations where you only have one option to continue and most of the investigations amount to hidden-object puzzles. It's a good story, though, entertainingly told and with some genuinely surprising (or at least non-standard) twists.