Game-related ramblings.

Month: March 2014

Fist, Meet Face: Zeno Clash 2

As always, you can click on screenshots to view larger versions.

I played the original Zeno Clash before starting this blog, but I did mention it in my first proper post. That post was about why some seriously flawed games are still worth playing, if they’re interesting enough — in fact, they can be more worthy than a solidly-constructed but generic title. But Zeno Clash is not seriously flawed; I simply cited it as an example of a game that displays uncommon imagination. Made by Chilean developers ACE Team (the same developers responsible for the very different but equally strange Rock of Ages), it takes the mechanics of classic brawlers like Streets of Rage or Double Dragon and puts them in a first-person game. This works far better than expected, and would have been interesting enough on its own, but Zeno Clash also takes place in a bizarre and beautiful world full of surreal architecture and landscapes, and populated by all manner of bird-men and other hybrid species. As I played, each location provided some new, breathtaking vista or strange fauna to behold, and the story was even weirder. It is certainly a unique gaming experience.

For all that, however, the playable sections are small, extremely linear affairs, linked by narration and cutscenes. Not unlike Metro 2033, in fact, but the locations in Zeno Clash are much smaller. Later, ACE Team confided that they had originally envisioned an open-world game, where the player could wander freely, getting into fights and otherwise interacting with the locals, but they soon realized this was too ambitious for their first game. So they focused on the fighting mechanics, and built a linear game instead. With Zeno Clash 2, they returned to their original vision of an open-world game with similar mechanics. It’s safe to say I was excited (even though I’m playing it almost a year after release… I am slow to get through my backlog, as always).

The Devil Is In The Details: Solium Infernum

As always, you can click on screenshots for larger versions.

It’s high time I wrote about Solium Infernum. Like many players, I purchased it back in 2010 after reading the epic (and epically entertaining) Gameboys From Hell report of a single Solium Infernum game over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun. I started playing shortly thereafter and I never really stopped, not until recently. Solium Infernum is a turn-based play-by-email strategy game that casts the players as archfiends vying for control of Hell, taking heavy inspiration from Milton’s Paradise Lost in its aesthetic. It has simple graphics, no animation whatsoever, runs at a fixed, low-ish resolution, has an unintuitive user interface, and is absolutely fantastic.

Blog Experiences Delays

I’ve been rather busy and will continue to be for the next month, so I’ve had little time to play games, let alone write about them. But never fear, I’ll be posting more once I find the time. Stay tuned!

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