Reviews by SpartanTwo
Interactive storytelling at its finestSpartanTwo | April 23, 2013 | Review of Papo & Yo
Papo & Yo is an example of a game that transcends its medium-specific roots to become a truly special work. While its simple platforming gameplay mechanics aren’t necessarily revolutionary, its narrative and its personal roots bring color and meaning to the game. Minority has done an incredible job of realizing a world rarely seen in today’s mainstream video games; Papo & Yo is a unique experience that tells a very important story, one that many people will have experienced first-hand. These are the types of games that we as consumers need more of: games that are honest and unafraid. This is interactive storytelling at its finest.
ViolenceSpartanTwo | April 22, 2013 | Review of Spec Ops: The Line dns
Spec Ops: The Line is a very important game, both in terms of narrative and medium. While its third-person-shooter mechanics are nothing new, it could be argued (and it has been) that this is intentional, and that the game isn't necessarily made to be a fun shooter. What it most certainly is, however, is a critical look at contemporary video game conventions and an attempt at addressing the issues that other popular shooters, such as the Call of Duty franchise or the Medal of Honor games, fail to do. It makes the point that these sorts of military shooters should be horrifying. It is one of the most self-aware games out on the market. Its narrative is one of depth and introspection. Play this game; not because it's fun, but because it isn't.
Beyond the moonSpartanTwo | April 22, 2013 | Review of To The Moon [Playfire]
Brilliant, moving, and heart-wrenching, To the Moon is one of those games that simply has to be played; not because it has great gameplay or sharp graphics, but because it does an incredible job of telling a beautiful and mature story so rarely seen in most other video games. Its mechanics are simple puzzles, and most of it is in the style of a point-and-click adventure game. It's the only game I've ever played that actually brought tears to my eyes. It is proof that, yes, video games are a storytelling medium, and when done right, they can have just as much impact and emotional resonance as a novel or a film. Play To the Moon if you haven't already.
To the skySpartanTwo | April 22, 2013 | Review of BioShock Infinite (NA)
Quite simply put, BioShock Infinite is ambitious big-budget video gaming at its finest. It's not a particularly innovative title, like some of the better indie games released in recent memory, nor are its gameplay mechanics going to set the first-person-shooter world on fire, but it has one of the best stories ever told in a game. More importantly, BioShock Infinite, just like BioShock, has a story that would be impossible to tell outside the interactive medium of a video game. Games like Thirty Flights of Loving and To the Moon both had incredible narratives, but BioShock Infinite, like its predecessor, truly manages to give a reason for this particular story to be told in this interactive form, making it something very special indeed.
There are quite a few indie games out there that tell powerful stories, as I have already mentioned, albeit for a tiny fraction of the resources that were undoubtedly spent making Infinite. However, just because Infinite comes with all the trappings of a mainstream, commercial release is no reason to write it off. In fact, it's validation that even in today's world, with a boring Call of Duty or Medal of Honor being released every single year, big-budget video games can not only meet but exceed our wildest expectations. BioShock Infinite is outstanding. It has an intriguing and complicated narrative that is even better, at least in terms of its structure and pacing, than the original BioShock, with a mind-blowing ending that only makes you want to replay the entire game over again. Play BioShock Infinite, because it reaches past the sky and doesn't fall short.