News: The killer is revealed for Murdered: Soul Suspect

A new trailer has been released for Square Enix and Airtight Games’ murder mystery game, Murdered: Soul Suspect revealing details of the killer and their crimes.

Playing as detective Ronan O’Connor, you investigate a series of brutal murders, including your own. Set in the eerie city of Salem, the ghostly figure of O’Connor must work to apprehend the murderer before they claim too many victims.

Read my full news story at Filmoria.

Review: The Wolf Among Us – The Crooked Mile

Telltale Games has released the latest episode of The Wolf Among Us across Europe, subtitled The Crooked Mile. With the success of The Walking Dead, Telltale have high expectations to reach with The Wolf Among Us, but episodes 1 and 2 proved that they were up to the challenge.

Readers of Culture Shack will know how much I love this series, you can read my full review over at Filmoria.

News: The Wolf Among Us episode 3 releases today in Europe

Today sees the release of the eagerly anticipated third episode of The Wolf Among Us, titled The Crooked Mile.

Brought to us by Telltale Games, creators of the hugely popular The Walking Dead games, The Wolf Among Us is a noir murder mystery following similar game mechanics to The Walking Dead.

My full article can be read at Filmoria.

Review: 400 Days

My journey with the Walking Dead began with Telltale Games’ standout game series, released in spring 2012. I’d always meant to start watching the show, start reading the books, but it was the game that really launched me into it.

The game really was everything I’d ever wanted from a game. I remember as a kid picking up a pre-owned copy of Final Fantasy IX, just because it was cheap, then becoming ridiculously excited in the opening scenes. You were asked a question, then given a choice with what to answer with. A choice! The game was giving you options!

From that moment on, I always looked out for games that gave you options. To me, there was (and even, there is) nothing more exciting than shaping the plot of a game. To get a different experience to someone else makes the games more realistic, in my opinion. People’s lives aren’t the same, so why should their game lives be?

The Walking Dead game strikes me as the perfect example of why choice-based games are brilliant. No choice specific trophies means that a platinum was possible even for a trophy whore like myself. The Heavy Rain trophy list meant you couldn’t just stand by your decisions – you had to play through and opt for decisions you’d never made before, but with the Walking Dead, you really have to live with the consequences of your actions.

Brilliant voice acting and a fantastic storyline really made me love the Walking Dead game. In a list of my favourite games of 2012, it would definitely be in the top five, if not taking the top spot for itself.

It was set to be a long wait between season 1 and season 2, when the 400 Days DLC pack was announced.

The DLC is set at various points after the initial outbreak of walkers, and is from the viewpoints of five different characters. The game mechanics are exactly the same, unfortunately down to the lags at crucial points. The five character viewpoint shows you how the outbreak has affected those from all walks of life, from the schoolboy to the criminal.

As an introduction to new characters, 400 Days works perfectly, giving away just enough of each character’s pasts to leave you intrigued. My only criticism, lagging aside, is that by spreading the already short DLC across five characters, you don’t really have much time to really grow attached to any of the characters. Sure, after playing there are characters I have a soft spot for, but none of them come close to the torch I was holding for Lee or Clem at the end of the first episode of the first season.

What I really love about 400 Days, and about the series as a whole, is the immediacy with decision making. This can lead to some decisions being made that you will later fully regret, but what a parallel to real life!

400 Days has fully whetted my appetite for the Walking Dead game franchise once more, and I know will spawn many more conversations between my friends once they get round to playing the game. I look forward to seeing how the new characters will deal with the wide world, and just where they’re headed to and what’s waiting for them there.

8.5

My name’s Jade, and I’m a trophy whore…

I have a problem, a real problem. It’s not one I’m ever likely to do anything about, but just as long as we’re all aware of it. I’m a trophy whore.

My platinum trophy addiction started basically the moment I got my PS3. I had already been made familiar with the trophy system, as I had been sharing my boyfriend’s console, but by the time I got my own way back in 2009, trophies were compulsory for game developers to put in, and that’s really where it all began.

To begin with my addiction had started as a bit of a joke between myself and my boyfriend, then as more of my friends started getting PS3’s there were more people to compete with. I would do anything to make sure I had a better trophy level than them.

Trophies

As time went on, and I became more desperate for platinum trophies to add to my collection, I was becoming less discerning with my choice in games. This remains a standing joke for my friends. LoveFilm has become a real friend of mine, providing me with an endless source of games.

This spirit of competition is still what drives part of my never-ending hunt for platinum trophies, but it has become much more than that.

Platinum trophy hunting really makes you get the most out of a game. Sure, I didn’t need to collect tons of feathers just to see how much effort had gone into making Assassin’s Creed 2, but I did and I got a bronze trophy for it (even if at the time I thought “A bronze trophy? Are you kidding me?”). Trophy hunting means you see more of the map, spend more time in different game modes, basically stretch the game for all it’s worth and squeeze every last ounce of game-play out of it.

Trophy hunting serves to make me a better gamer. Would I bother playing the game on the hardest difficulty if I weren’t going to ultimately get a nice gold trophy for it? Probably not, let’s be honest. I push myself to my limits for trophies – the limits being ability, and more importantly patience – there have been a lot of growling and throwing the controller on the bed moments.

Trophy hunting has also led me to play a lot of games I wouldn’t play which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’d never heard of Sly Cooper until one day when I was perusing a list of “Easy Platinum Trophies” (it really is a lifestyle choice), but was glad to have played, and enjoyed it even if it seems a little dated in terms of graphics.

Do I have any regrets? Only one – Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust, a real drain on the enthusiasm I had for gaming and only an 8% trophy score to show for it. If you haven’t played this game – don’t. Everything about it is terrible. I couldn’t wait to get it out of my house.

For all my talk about trophy whoring, you’ve got to remember that I am a gamer, and I do play serious games. There’s no way you’d ever catch me not playing a game because I won’t be able to platinum it. I know there is basically no chance of me ever gaining the platinum on most of the games I play, but I play them anyway, platinum trophies don’t rule my life.

Trophy card

To end with an anecdote; imagine me, in my summer of unemployment, returning to Blockbuster to renew my rental on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 1 (the game):

Blockbuster man: “You can just put returns in the postbox.”
Me: “I’m not returning, I want to take it out again please.”
Blockbuster man: “I didn’t think it took that long to complete.”
Me: “I finished the storyline, but didn’t get all the trophies.”
Blockbuster man: “Oh! You’re a…. platinum lady!”

Yes, that’s me. The platinum lady.