Tags: indie

The best content in life is free but you can save it for DLC: The DLC Quest Review

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As Discussed in the previous episode of the Griefed Podcast DLC is part of the gamer’s life now. Love it or hate it many of us ask ourselves everyday “is this complete?” The games we buy sometimes feel piecemeal, codes inundate us when we purchase new games. The marketplace online is packed with cosmetics, guns, extra XP and even the prospect of proper endings can be dangled over our eyes. “DLC Quest” decides to hold a mirror up to this and show us what a world with DLC gone wild could look like. Going Loud Studios act as our guide through their personal dystopia. It’s kinda like Mad Max but with more downloads and less Tina Turner.

As the Player we must rescue a Princess from the bad guy, something we all should be very familiar with by now. Then the twist comes right as one starts and it’s that everything in this game is DLC. Jumping is DLC, swords, and even pausing! Keep your credit card stowed, all the “dlc” is just unlockables via in games coins. But as the unlocks get more kooky you want to get coins to unlock everything just to see what silly, stupid thing you can add to the world. The platforming isn’t quest the best, neither is the sword you have at hand. But that’s not the point of the game, it’s in the message as weird as it sounds. The writing is also filled with jokes ranging from random encounters to Mass Effect character references. All definitely good for a chuckle or two. The visuals are retro and charming and the music (once unlocked) also does a good job of providing a nice throughback.

Coming from Xbox Live Indie many people have low expectations or may miss it entirely. But I do think this one is worth a look. “DLC Quest” is a goof, but a great one. Yeah the game itself is short and can be completed in much less than an hour. There are “awardments” to keep you going back a bit. For a dollar I don’t mind giving some money to a really clever indie developer. The subject is ripe for satire and they nail it. Sadly this reality could be closer than we think which makes me hope that the bigwigs see this somewhere out there. Needless to say if available I look forward to purchasing additional episodes and content soon over Xbox Live.

Official Going Loud Studios Site

Dear Sir or Esther Will You Play My Game? The Dear Esther Review

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Sometimes you will feel like indulging in a Michael Bay adventure other days to keep up some culture maybe you’ll pop in Fellini’s 8 1/2 . Dear Esther by thechineseroom is like an art house film in game form. Chances are a good amount of the audience will walk out annoyed and some will walk out smug with witty retorts such as “oh you didn’t get it did you?”This first person non shooter available now on Steam is destined to garner both of these kinds of reactions.
Dear Esther began its life as a Source mod from a project at the University of Portsmouth. Admittedly I hadn’t played the original incarnation from about four years ago but it seemed to get enough attention that they got help from the Indie Fund to finance the project. Given the level of involvement from all these different areas of the industry it’s a nice moment showing people coming together to help fund and publish more of the artistic sides of video games.

In Dear Esther we are the narrator, well we may be to be honest it’s not really all that clear. We speak directly to Esther in a poetric prose which sounds great coming from the seemingly well trained voice actor.  Things as we have found out didn’t end too well for Esther or any of the other about two people the narrator mentions. As you wander through the island you see reflections of the things that you say in the environment. There is no picking up, no “use” button, no directly interative means of the sort. In fact even your flashlight isn’t controlled by you.

The game looks great though. Source has struggled to stay afloat as graphics have progessed the last few years but the vistas here as well the small touches along the way (weeds, stalagmites, graffiti) all come together to make journey a nice looking feast for the eyes. The score by Jessica Curry can be minimal for most of the time but when it builds its effective and keeps you engaged. Thinking that things could pop out at any moment even if they don’t.

Much like To The Moon much of what happens is hard to construe as a game. This however is a step ever further than that. The story is abstract but I can say that it kept me going. I completed all of the game’s four chapters in one sitting totally around 2 hours.  An experience which is walking around an island may not be for everyone. I think that  these kind of games coming out are important. As an industry it continues the escalation of video games as something diverse and beautiful. Thechineseroom did a great job using environmental storytelling much like Portal did before. If you want a calm thoughtful experience give it a try.  Those thirsty for blood will not be satisfied by the slow moving prose and exploration . There isn’t too much more reason to return though I am curious if there are story bits  I have missed along the way. I can say though during my walkabout I was completely invested. There were times shadows moved in the distance, my curiosity was peaked and I was visually and audibly engrossed. Releases like this make me happy games are evolving and we need benchmarks like this along the way.

Thechineseroom online

http://thechineseroom.co.uk/