Posts Tagged ‘xone’

Episode Prompto

Rating:
EU Release Date: July, 2017
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Total play time: 02:31:00 (story mode)

In my eyes, Episode Prompto leaves a lot to be desired. The story is okay, if lacking in one or two vital details. The graphics are fine. The gameplay is all right. The music is quite good. Put these pieces together and you’ve got something that’s… adequate. It’s better than Episode Gladiolus, but it still doesn’t shine.

It’s a shame, because this could have been a really good side story. Prompto is arguably the most interesting character in the XV main party. He’s not like the others, born into the luxury of the Crown City, knowing his future was tied to royalty. He’s more like the rest of us – insecure, lost and not quite as ‘okay’ as he makes out. This story probably resonates with most of the game’s audience. And to make him even more interesting, he’s got a dark secret.

We rejoin Prompto just after Noctis threw him off the train and we trudge around a Niflheim base trying to work out what his secret is and what new weapon the Nifs are building. Later on, Aranea pops in for a bit. She’s mostly there to kick your arse into gear, but it’s still nice to have some company in the battles.

There are a few cool new gameplay elements when playing as Prompto and as you explore the base, you can pick up a variety of weapons to use including a bazooka and a more useful sniper rifle than the one offered in the main game. Prompto also has a few special moves that trigger in certain situations. Unfortunately, seeing how kickass he is in this part of the game does make you wonder why he seems so underpowered in the rest.

The music is good – but then I nearly always say that about game music. It has a good mix of tracks familiar from the main game and new pieces by XIII-2 composer Naoshi Mizuta. One track does sound uncannily like Adele’s Rolling in the Deep, but aside from that, it all fits with the atmosphere of the story. In the promo video, Mizuta said he wanted to capture Prompto’s more serious side. I think that’s been achieved.

What bugs me most about it are the small things. The intro is ridiculously slow and despite being thrown off a train, Prompto has somehow managed to find a change of clothes. Some of the little lines of dialogue don’t quite gel. The ‘side quests’ are ludicrously overpowered – you know that We still don’t know quite how Prompto ended up in Gralea; the implication is that it has something to do with Ardyn – but that was obvious anyway. And I really could have done without the reminder of that song from Frozen. Seriously, Square, is it really necessary to fill this game with rubbishy, overplayed pop songs? Stand by Me was bad enough.

However, with all that said, it is a fun little detour. You get to ride around on a snowmobile for a bit – tip: it’s much easier when the snowmobile isn’t upside down and in a tree. There are some cool weapons to play with. You even get to save a garulet from some baddies. I’d say it’s two hours well spent.

Advertisements
Rating:
EU Release Date: Jan 30, 2015 (for Steam)
Total play time: 20:00:00 (approx)

Cover ArtLife is Strange is an episodic game from the makers of Final Fantasy. The story focuses on an eighteen-year-old called Max, an awkward photography student who discovers she has the ability to rewind time. This ability is one of the game’s greatest features.

The effects of rewinding time start off quite small – say the right thing and get people to like you – but the further you go, the more dramatic the consequences until you’re the only one who can decide if another character lives or dies. And, to make things even more complicated, the actions that have positive consequences in the short term might have worse consequences later on. It’s like one of those choose-you-own-adventure books, but not quite so easy to just undo that bad choice you made ten pages back.

The game also tackles a lot of issues that few others dare. In a game that is essentially about teenagers trying to work out who they are and where they fit in, issues like sexuality, mental health and friendship are difficult to ignore. These are the issues that pre-occupy the teenage mind. Hell, these issues affect many of us well into adult life.

Of course, every game also has downsides and this is no exception. Sometimes, the dialogue is a little hammy and the lip-sync is frequently really bad. Sometimes, the choices you make seem pointless. The graphics seem a little lack-lustre (perhaps a super-high-end graphics card would perk them up, but I doubt it).What’s more, the whole time-travelling thing is completely skimmed over in the story. It’s almost as if the only reason she can do it is that she is the main, playable character.

Despite its flaws, Life is Strange is an excellent, thought-provoking game. I would recommend it to anyone. And I dare you not to still be thinking about it days later.