Category Archives: Interactive Drama

Life is Strange Episode 5: Polarized Review – The illusion of choice?

Coming in late? Be sure to check out my spoiler-free reviews of Episode 1Episode 2Episode 3 and Episode 4.

Life is Strange’s five part episodic series began life back in January and the last episode was released nearly three months ago. It’s safe to say the release schedule has been a mess. Even the originally-planned six-week gap between episodes should have been flagged as a narrative momentum killer.

Such is life when reviewing and playing episodic content these days. If you’re smart though, you’ll have stayed away until today. Now the final episode is out, you’re free to play through the whole story at your own pace. And to get right to it: you really should.  Continue reading Life is Strange Episode 5: Polarized Review – The illusion of choice?

Until Dawn Review – A night to remember

Horror games aren’t usually meant to be ‘fun’ or known for being ‘a laugh’. Scrambling around in the shadows for ammo in The Evil Within, or managing a tiny inventory in Resident Evil can be harrowing and stressful experiences. And then there’s the nerve-shredding trauma of Bloodborne.

But what about horror movies? Beyond the blood and gore, we’re waiting for inevitable scare lurking around the corner to make us jump out of our skins and then laugh it off with friends. Until Dawn is the gaming equivalent of that horror movie experience and it’s been well worth the wait. Continue reading Until Dawn Review – A night to remember

Life is Strange Episode 4 – Darkroom Review

Life is Strange Episode 4 - Darkroom Review

Coming in late? Be sure to check out my spoiler-free reviews of Episode 1, Episode 2 and Episode 3.

Life is Strange is becoming known for killer WTF endings to each episodes, making that damn six week gap between episodes absolutely excruciating. Don’t worry I’m keeping up the habit of not giving away any past plot events for those of you waiting for the season to wrap up before diving in, Netflix-style.

The opening section of Episode 4 is a radical departure for the story given the ending of the last entry. Max’s whole reality is seen from a new point of view. There are new entries in her SMS log, a new group of friends and her relationship with Chloe has transformed. Continue reading Life is Strange Episode 4 – Darkroom Review

Life is Strange Episode 3 – Chaos Theory Review

Life is Strange Episode 3 - Chaos Theory Review

Coming in late? Be sure to check out my spoiler-free reviews of Episode 1 and Episode 2.

I expected the dramatic conclusion to Episode 2 to be the catalyst that would drive the series’ pace forward with a much needed boost. More so with questions about the events at Arcadia Bay’s school and the strange events around town being no closer to getting answered.

The first part of Episode 3 starts with Max and Chloe breaking into the school Principal’s office. To get through the locked door, you have to sneak through the school at night to find a few items. It feels a bit by the numbers really, with only bonus photo maintaining my interest. Continue reading Life is Strange Episode 3 – Chaos Theory Review

Life is Strange Episode 2 – Out of Time Review

Life is Strange Episode 2 - Out of Time Review

Seven weeks is far too long to wait between episodes. Episode 1 was a fantastic opener, but the initial six-week wait between episodes became seven after a small delay. Considering Capcom recently released four episodes in four weeks for their episodic Resident Evil: Revelations 2, it would seem to make much more sense to follow their model by finishing development of a game and then releasing it, rather than frantically trying to meet deadlines every six weeks.

More to the point, with story-heavy content like this, it can be difficult to remember just what the hell is going on. The major events stuck in my head easily enough, but some of the interactions with smaller characters were much harder to recall. That said, checking Max’s diary and her character bios was a big help, and for the most part, I felt like I was up to speed enough without needing to replay the first episode. Naturally, if you’re holding off until every episode is out, you’re not going to have a problem. Continue reading Life is Strange Episode 2 – Out of Time Review

Life is Strange: Episode 1: Chrysalis (Review)

For years, Telltale has been the only name associated with quality (yet incredibly buggy) episodic gaming, but we’re delighted to see some new blood enter the blossoming genre. Life is Strange is leading the way with Remember Me developers, Dontnod Entertainment, bringing us a brand new IP over five episodes through digital platforms.

I’ve always been rather cautious with this type of game. Knowing I have little patience for waiting, I’ve played the likes of Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us once a season has finished, as I didn’t want to wait weeks/months between episodes to find out what happens next. It’s a Netflix mentality that’s going to drive me insane with Life is Strange. I’ve played one episode and I’m hooked. The time between episodes is going to draaaag.

Continue reading Life is Strange: Episode 1: Chrysalis (Review)

Beyond: Two Souls (Review)

Beyond-PS3-boxSpectator Spectre

Following Heavy Rain must have been a daunting task. The interactive drama wasn’t to everyone’s tastes thanks to the quick time event heavy gameplay. But there’s no denying it was a unique game that told a story in a way a film would never be able to.

So here we are with Beyond: Two Souls, another game written and directed by David Cage and developed by the highly respected Quantic Dream. Beyond, enters new territory though, dropping the crime genre for a tale with a sci-fi edge that’s keen to cut into the concept of death and what awaits us on the other side. It has an episodic feel, making it more comparable to a TV series than a film. I mean, how many 12 hour films have you seen recently?

We’ve come to expect actors’ performances to play a key role in Quantic Dream titles, with some excellent work from the cast of Heavy Rain and the excellent facial motion-capture that lifted the game high above the competition. So it makes sense that this time they would reach out to Hollywood and bag some big-name talent.

Continue reading Beyond: Two Souls (Review)

The Walking Dead: Retail Edition (Review)

After receiving widespread critical acclaim over the course of the first season of the episodic download game series, The Walking Dead has finally followed the tracks and shuffled its way to retail. Telltale have missed an opportunity though as this release features no extras, like making of videos, interviews and so on. Hell, if they’d chucked a poster in they could have called it the Collector’s Edition.

I’m making a fuss about this because as many of you will be aware you can download the series on PSN/XBLA for around £15 or even cheaper on PC or during a sale, but the RRP for this is £30. I love having physical copies of games, but you may want to buy this digitally or wait until this version drops in price, which it surely will. At least with this on the shelves it may stop people buying Activision’s awful -entirely unrelated- The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct by mistake.

Continue reading The Walking Dead: Retail Edition (Review)

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes (Review)

The traditional point and click style adventure game is dead and buried as far as consoles are concerned, which makes Frogwares decision to bring this series to PS3 and Xbox 360 a brave one, but we’re certainly up for giving it a go.

Instead of the usual lever-pulling puzzles we’re used to, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes will require a bit more brainpower to proceed. Solving gruesome murder mysteries is the most enticing prospect and when you’re investigating a crime scene, the game really stands out. As with many of these games though, there tends to be a reliance on bizarre puzzles too. More on those later.

Continue reading The Testament of Sherlock Holmes (Review)

Heavy Rain (Review)

This PS3 exclusive is the long-awaited ‘interactive drama’ from Quantic Dream. For months we’ve been wowed by the stunning character models and promises of a unique experience. Of course we’ve also been worried that the whole thing may descend into a never-ending line of Quick-Time-Events (QTEs). Read on for the full verdict. Continue reading Heavy Rain (Review)