This week I’ll be offering up some quick takes on a bunch of different items. I owe you all the rest of my New York Comic Con coverage — which isn’t much to be honest, but it’s worth discussing. Beyond that I have impressions of the first episode of Westworld and my time with Mafia 3 so far.
Dishonored 2 – Arkane Studios showed off demos of the Clockwork Mansion mission at New York Comic Con last week. If you haven’t seen any of the coverage of the mission online it’s a fully featured chapter based on the initial trailer that introduced Emily Kaldwin as a playable character. In the demo we had the chance to play through as both Corvo and Emily, and then spoke to Co-creative Director Harvey Smith.
I had just played through the entirety of the original Dishonored recently. With that experience fresh in my mind I found Dishonored 2 impressively produced but extremely familiar. Don’t get me wrong, the design of the Clockwork Mansion is insane. Switches allow for exquisite transformations. The walls elaborately deconstruct and reform in new shapes. It’s all very impressive –and from the sound of it — a nightmare to create. But the Clockwork Mansion isn’t the new “thing” for Dishonored 2, it’s simply one level of the game with a very strong design philosophy.
That notion leaves me cautiously optimistic. Dishonored was one of those rare games that got it right the first time around. Dishonored 2 didn’t need to come along to realize the potential of the first game, like so many other franchises. So what does Dishonored 2 need to be? Hopefully a good continuation of the story and gameplay set by the original, with enough new to make it a memorable experience on par with the first.
Star Wars: The Old Republic – Knights of the Eternal Throne – Okay real talk: I have played no more than 10 minutes of The Old Republic. Outside of Destiny, Phantasy Star Online, and a brief stint with Final Fantasy XIV, I don’t really play MMOs either. That said, the trailer Bioware showed off at their NYCC event made me want to play this game very badly. I mean, look at this shit:
After that incredible trailer they showed the game. Which looks like this:
This is a problem in a lot of MMOs. Hell, games in general tend to oversell the story against the actual actions of the player. How many times have we seen our characters perform incredible feats in a cutscene only to return to the controls to the player for some by-the-numbers first-person shooting? This is an issue games need to solve, and MMOs only have it worse because they’re so much more ambitious. Not to mention that The Old Republic is already a 5-year old game. Still, the difference between that trailer and the actual game was pretty jarring.
Westworld – If you’re already three episodes into HBO’s latest series, move along. For the rest of you, I implore you to check out the pilot episode. This is looking to be the sci-fi counterpart to Game of Throne’s violent fantasy epic. The first episode introduces a ton of interesting questions, an exciting cast, and a very promising world. I just hope they can follow through with satisfying revelations as the series continues.
Mafia 3 – Few games have been as much of a cutscene delivery device as Mafia 3. The open-world crime gameplay is repetitive and straightforward. It gets the job done, and that’s about it. Keep playing though, and you’re rewarded with some of the best storytelling this industry has seen. Lincoln Clay’s revenge story is told with incredible care, addressing not only his violent actions, but their repercussions in a world where he isn’t always welcome. Every cutscene is an absolute joy to experience, which makes those times where Lincoln and one of his cohorts stand still and deliver dialogue all the more depressing. I know Mafia 3 isn’t a very good “game”, but it’s still shaping up to be one of my favorites of this year.
Next Week – I got a Playstation VR and I’ve been playing it! Now that I’m caught up I hope to have impressions on a bunch of games, the experience of the device itself, and more. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!