From Software left fantasy for horror, and the results are mind-blowing. More detailed analysis and spoilers below the jump. WARNING! THIS POST CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE GAME BLOODBORNE. IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED THIS YET AND WOULD LIKE TO, IT SPOILS SOME COOL REVEALS LATER IN THE GAME! LIKE EVEN MOUSING OVER URLS COULD SPOIL STUFF - BE WARNED. [more inside]
Marsh Davies talks about how games distribute power to players and how power fantasies often fail to work as parables about bigotry through the window of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, with side discussions of how violent combat became so common in video games, how stealthy paths can be less interesting than combat-heavy paths, the tension between player power and narrative, and how these narratives can encourage people who already have power to feel sorry for themselves. [more inside]
The brainchild of Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team at From Software, the Souls games have gained a rabid cult following over the past few years. The newest spiritual successor Bloodborne (trailer 1, 2) has been out for a couple weeks now, and it's received stellar reviews across the board. It might very well be the best in the series, reconfiguring the dense gameplay in surprising ways and offering up an intricately-realized Victorian gothic world. Tim Rogers has written a lengthy, articulate, spoiler-free (in a narrative sense) analysis of Bloodborne's design - You Are the Experience Points. [more inside]
“On the other hand, I see advantages to having a smaller team, a smaller, more conceptual project. Why do I say that? I get down to the details when it comes to direction — the story, the art and everything. I’m a pretty anal person. I tinker with every little thing. In five or 10 years, my guys aren’t going to want to work with me. At that point, maybe it will be smarter for me to work on my own little idea.” Hidetaka Miyazaki, the director of the Souls series of games, talks to the LA Times about his philosophy of design, and his future in games. The article references his upcoming project, a spiritual successor of the Souls series, Bloodborne. [more inside]
To be fair, I did watch someone play most of the game. Many of those moments repeatedly. And if I wasn’t in the room, the plaintive “Nooooo” that would echo from the living area told me that I’d be able to see whatever it was in another ten minutes. And probably again another twenty after that. And another twenty after that.Kristin Bezio reviews Dark Souls through her husband's gameplay
Ambient Dark Souls. Virtual field recordings from the world of Dark Souls.
InsaneDifficulty.com is a community site dedicated to modifications of classic games which make them more difficult and complex. There are many games hosted by the community: Chrono Trigger, Super Mario RPG, Final Fantasy VI and Dark Souls among others. Most mods are supported in dedicated forums (including installation instructions) on the site's message boards.
As the conversation about the state of games criticism continues, there is a site that acts as a platform for some of the best writing in the field by theorists, critics, and independent developers: Nightmare Mode dot net. [more inside]
Dark Souls, the spiritual sequel to 2009's Demon's Souls (previously 1, 2) and heir to the King's Field series of games, is out in most of the world this week. Reviews have been excellent, sales have been surprisingly robust; Dark Souls was the top selling title in Japan last week, with 279,567 copies sold, compared to an estimated 40,000 for Demon's Souls first week of release. From Software has taken an interesting approach to players who somehow acquire the game early: rather than banning the player outright or limited online features, From Software is embracing Dark Souls' unique multiplayer model, sending super leveled invaders into player's games to hunt them mercilessly. [more inside]