And with this, we mark one month of Scanline Media. It’s been a heck of a ride so far.We’ve published 12 articles in three weeks between Ben and myself, we’ve established some features and ironed out bits of site format, and the future is bright. I want to thank our readers, though you guys are not yet many. Actually, because you are not yet many. Thanks for giving us a chance before we’ve made our mark, and I hope you’ll stick with us to see us do so.
Last year, my game of the year was Tokyo Jungle. I wasn’t 100% happy with that pick then, and I’m not now. It was a great game, to be sure, but it won more on account of me not being super impressed by anything last year. The year is barely a third of the way over and I can say with certainty I’ll be much more pleased with my pick this year. I don’t know if it will be BioShock Infinite, but if something better comes out, we are lucky bastards.
The combat is fantastic, the art design is beautiful, the writing is superb and the acting, motion and voice, are probably the best I’ve ever seen in a game. I have my complaints about the ending, but that’s the last ten minutes of a ten hour experience that absolutely blew me away. Stunning game.
Host Master Deux: Quest for Identity
Any time Tim Schafer gets a chance to host the Game Developer’s Choice Awards, Double Fine releases an adventure game that acts as the event’s opening comedic routine. It’s like the Oscars, without the eye-rolling and pathetic attempts to be “hip” with the modern crowd! This latest installment offers a healthy dose of quirkiness and throws in amusing references for the Double Fine faithful. It’s free and it’ll only take 15-30 minutes to see all three endings, so why not give it a go?
This is one you might not have heard about. Papers, Please is a free indie PC game still in development about being an immigration officer in a fictional Eastern European country. It is your job to check the paperwork of anyone who wants into the country, and make sure it’s all in line. The game makes sure it’s not easy to just do your job, however… in addition to tricky things like slightly different serial numbers on passports, there are moral conundrums. A woman going to visit her grandson doesn’t have the right papers– do you let her through regardless? A husband has the right papers, but his wife doesn’t. A kook keeps giving you the most obvious fakes in the world, and joking about it: do you turn him away, or have him detained for questioning?
All the while, you’re trying to process enough people in the day to pay your own overwhelming bills, so there isn’t much time to consider each problem. I thought myself the ultimate professional, following the rules to the letter no matter the situation… but when the wife begged me to let her join her husband, I looked away and waved her past. The game is never heavy handed, never focuses too much on any one story. It lets your imagination (and guilt) do the work for you. Very interesting, and I really look forward to the full release.
Yeah, I sent that woman back.
I’m a fighting game nut, so it’s rare a week will go by without me playing fighting games, but it seemed worth mentioning Skullgirls in particular given its recent crowdfunding. I was a little harsh to the game when it first came out, and I don’t think I was exactly wrong then, either. The game is lacking in characters and frills, but what is there is of surpassing charm and quality, and definitely deserves your attention.
Probably the best looking fighting game out there, too. The art and character design is fantastic, cheers to lead artist Alex Ahad.
I don’t know if I’m getting better at fighting games in general or if the mechanics just suit my playstyle, but I feel naturally at home with Skullgirls. It’s also the first fighter that has a competent tutorial, a feature that every other game in the genre desperately needs. I almost realize what’s happening when I’m frantically smacking my controller!
Slender: The Arrival
Is it… is it safe to come out? I’ve been playing Slender: The Arrival, and after what I’ve seen, I don’t feel comfortable leaving any room without light. Imagine your own personal Blair Witch scenario (complete with the protagonist running around like an idiot) and you’ve all but nailed down what makes this journey such a frightening one. It isn’t all puppies and marble hornets, but it will certainly appeal to the thrill seekers and horror masochists out there. I’ll be posting a review soon, likely from under my blanket.
I of course will never in a million years play this game– there aren’t enough fuzzy blankets in the world to keep me from crying during a game like that– but I do want to take a moment to applaud Ben for securing Scanline Media’s very first review copy of a game! We’re in the big leagues now… or not, but hey, every little bit helps!
I also wanna thank Blue Isle Studios for giving this upstart team a shot. We’re very grateful!
Guns of Icarus Online
I never realized how exciting an airship could be until I stepped onto one in Guns of Icarus Online. Life is great as an engineer; you get to duck and dive through a floating behemoth, putting out fires and smacking sensitive equipment with wrenches and giant rubber mallets to fix them up. This life on the high skies was so intoxicating that I was tempted to whistle “A Pirate’s Life for Me” through the headset, but decided I didn’t want to be thrown off the deck. Yes, despite some ridiculously overpriced customization options (I’m not paying $6 for a hat in a game that I already bought), this game is a barrel of fun. Just watch out for unfriendly captains…