RRC Digest 9/13/16 – Hitman GO / Lara Croft GO, O.J., Dishonored’s Daud DLC

I’ve come back to this blog and said I’d start posting regularly more times than I can count. So in an effort to force some structure on myself I’m going to try posting an article a week about my current recommendations. Sharing the media I’ve consumed lately with friends and anyone willing to read is one of my favorite things to do, so this seems like a no-brainer. Check in next week to see if I stick with it!

We’ll see how the format evolves over time, but for now it’ll be a series of recommendations based on the various games, movies, shows, and anything else that strikes me as a worthy recommendation.

Hitman GO! – This first of a trilogy of puzzle games by Square Enix Montreal didn’t initially wow me. I loved the board game aesthetic. I loved how it reduced the concepts surrounding the Hitman games down to puzzle mechanics. Yet I never played long enough in a single session to wrap my head around the puzzles, bouncing off of the game multiple times and redownloading on multiple devices. It wasn’t until I had it on Vita, a mobile device that wouldn’t constantly eat my save files, that I put the appropriate time in. It was a long journey that should have ended in indifference, but Hitman GO stuck in my mind, eventually clicking so much that I went for the platinum trophy. Just don’t be like me and try to do a few puzzles at a time, with months between each session. Few games can stand up to that style of play.

Lara Croft GO! –  I doubt Lara Croft GO was intentionally developed as a palette cleanser to Hitman GO, but it sure works that way if you play them back-to-back. This game recalls the aesthetics of classic Tomb Raider 1, strips out the punishing bonus objectives from Hitman GO, and offers up a shorter and more relaxing experience. Then, if you want it, a bonus adventure offers up a handful of levels so devious that they take as long as the entire main game to complete. By the time I got there I had such a great time I was ready for a fresh challenge. Needless to say I’ll be playing Deus Ex GO next.

O.J.: Made in America! – With five 1.5 hour episodes, this documentary is a hell of a journey. As an ESPN production, it’s no surprise that the first episode is focused almost entirely on O.J.’s prolific football career. What is surprising is how compelling it is, and how well it sets the stage for a downfall that’s violent, depressing, and in the end, very weird. When the O.J. trial happened I was completely oblivious. Now, between this and the excellent FX drama The People vs. O.J. Simpson, I understand why the case captivated the entire nation back then.

Dishonored: The Knife of Dunwall & The Brigmore Witches! – In the run-up to Dishonored 2, I decided to finally see what the fuss was about and play through the original. It’s a great stealth game with freedom to play how you want in a unique world. I absolutely recommend it to anyone who likes games like Deus Ex, Bioshock, and Metal Gear Solid. That said, I preferred the DLC episodes starring the assassin Daud. Together these two episodes are almost as long as the main game, just as good, and solve the problem of the main game’s stupid silent protagonist.

Some games did great things with the silent protagonist conceit (Bioshock), but when it became a forgone conclusion that FPS heroes wouldn’t talk it introduced more storytelling issues than it was worth. Dishonored’s main protagonist Corvo is a mute, which really just makes him a cool-looking assassin with no personality. Daud, on the other hand, offers his opinion of the situations you’re in, and he’s voiced by Michael Madsen. What’s not to love?

Either way I’m really glad it seems that Dishonored 2 will be fixing all of this with not one, but two compelling and talkative protagonists. Hopefully it will be featured in one of these digests in a couple months!

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