Just like the 'Books' section, I want to review the games that I play and like. Here, I am looking mostly at computer games. Gaming systems are a little bit out of mind, but who knows: one might make its way in. There also may be the occasional board game review.
Bioshock Infinite, SR 10
I have to admitted, with no small amount of trepidation, that this game was all consuming. I sat down to play it and didn't stop. Granted, there is a little hyperbole in the preceding statement, but not nearly as much as I would like. So, what made this game so addicting? Was it the gameplay, the graphics, the storyline, or was it a combination of all of those.
It was, in fact, a combination of all of those elements. I confess that most first person shooter games, which this one is, are pretty limited in their story evolution and story arch. This is due to the genre of game and the rigidity that that developers follow that genre. First person shooter games have a narrow problem solving paradigm: shoot your way out. (I could and probably should spend some time detailing why this is problematic on a broader societal level, but sadly I must leave that for another day.) This game defies the problems inherent with the genre with an excellent overall story and some complex plotlines. Regrettably, the storyline is rigid, the player's choices (so far as I can tell) have no impact on the outcome of the story or the evolution of events. This seriously impairs the replay value of the game and makes it feel much more one-dimensional.
Star Wars: Jedi Academy, SR7
Star Wars games have a lot of potential. Some of the ones I played when I was younger were really fantastic. They have potential in the shooter, strategy and flight arenas. The common element that they all have is a great back story on which to rely. That is why it is such a disappointment when a storyline flops or the gameplay is klunky. Such is the case here.
The storyline was super predicable. There weren't any interesting side diversions, it was just a straight-line arch to the end, which was an equally predictable showdown with a lesser boss, who then became the corporeal form of a Sith demon super-boss.
So, maybe the game play saves it? Nope. There are a number of great force powers for the character to use. Some of them, however, should simply work all the time to avoid the constant menu scrolling through that plagues this game. Worst still is how clunky the battle format is. This game is heavily geared towards lightsaber use (as one probably would hope), but the lightsaber controls are either baffling or nonexistent. Non of the other weapons are effective for much of the game. So, more effort should have gone into the light saber interface. It would have made the game much more enjoyable.