What is time, but an egg. You can hard-boil your long-term plans or shatter that shell on a hot plate of opportunity. But what happens to time when it shatters? The correct explanation of time travel is that there is none. Quantum Break successful proves how ridiculous it would be, as a concept and a reality. At the same time it accomplishes a thrilling narrative and theorises how it could be possible and what the effects would be in the human world. What happens at the end of time? What happens when time is broken? Is your reality poached or sunny side up?
Combine the creative mind of Suda 51, the structured work ethic of Shinji Mikami, the haunting melodies of Akira Yamaoka and a big hot boner, and what do you get? A pile of steaming hot poo on the floor.
After my misadventures with Resident Evil 6 I decided to do a bit of soul searching and got a craving to play some similar shooting games, simply because I spent so much time adapting to the style. Shadows of the Damned is a game I’ve beaten before and already loved, but after playing so many games in-between I’ve found a whole new level of appreciation for it. This game is exploding with charm, quality and more significantly; identity. Grasshopper’s games are always known for that but Suda 51 has been a bit hit-or-miss since No More Heroes in my opinion, and this game’s style might have more to do with director Massimo Guarini. With all these big names and ideas it could easily be a trainwreck but it all combines beautifully and consistently. Playing this game again awakened a part inside me I had forgotten about, an appreciation for bizarre worlds.
Fresh from my adventures in Bright Falls, I eagerly dove straight into American Nightmare. I had to know what happened next, and I needed to challenge myself further after mastering the gameplay mechanics. Right from the title screen, the newness and individuality of American Nightmare struck me. The words “ARCADE ACTION” got my blood pumping, and I was surprised at the environment in the background, vastly different to what I had seen in Bright Falls. It felt like a sequel, even the font was different. “New Game” fever hit me in a way that had eluded me since I was a kid, and I hadn’t even started playing yet.
Alan Wake is an enchanting game. When I first played through it on normal difficulty I poked fun at it a lot. The campy setting, repetitive gameplay, awkward animations, and silly concepts were all easy targets for ridicule; yet I still played through all the way to the end. The environments really captured me in their detail, and I was immersed in the bizarre world surrounding the small town of Bright Falls. I was fascinated with the game, but not in love with it. The journey looked and sounded wonderful, but it wasn’t engaging. I reluctantly plodded through the flat gameplay to experience the wonderfully crafted story.
I still had an empty feeling about the game, despite exploring every inch. Long after I completed it I still thought about it, and it became a much bigger force in my mind. At the time, I knew I didn’t really enjoy it a whole lot, but that didn’t stop me from having pleasant thoughts and memories of the game every time my eyes caught the box in my collection. The whole concept of the game was romanticised in my head and it took on something bigger than it was. It was eating at me. Finally I decided; why not? Despite a large backlog of games I haven’t even started yet, I started Alan Wake up again; this time on Nightmare difficulty. Maybe the gameplay was better than I remember? I had to clear this empty space in my mind.
Here’s a video of an optional mini-game in 3D Dot Game Heroes; beating it under 60 seconds is required if you want to get the Platinum medal for the game.
The video isn’t important, but take a gander at the comments underneath it! Quite a lot of people are upset.
Here’s the first hour of the game as I play it for the first time and chat to Bill, who’s played it before. This picture sums up my initial impressions.