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The Wolf Among Us Episode 3: A Crooked Mile Review

WARNING: Minor spoilers follow concerning the finale of the first Episode of The Wolf Among Us

 

Photo credit to vg247.com

Photo credit to vg247.com

 

It’s official. The newest chapter in Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us has elevated the series from “fantastic” to “better than the first season The Walking Dead.” This new chapter takes the narrative, which has been slowly building in the previous two episodes, kicks it into high gear and left me staring at my monitor with my jaw nearly hitting the floor. By the time the episode came to a close I was completely speechless and unable to move from my chair. Episode 3: A Crooked Mile is by far the best chapter that has been released so far and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

A Crooked Mile picks up right where the previous chapter left us. Bigby has identified the supposed killer that has been terrorizing Fabletown and now he must work with Snow White to hunt the killer down before he is able to escape the city and disappear. Unfortunately for Bigby he has to pursue the killer while working with the fables who, up to this point, very nearly hate and despise him. Once again the story provides a few important choices that serve to progress the narrative, as well as flesh out the character of Bigby, and some actually caught me off guard.

By far the best aspect of this new episode is the interactions with Bigby and the other fables of Fabletown. The conversations with other characters, like Grendel and the Woodsman, really help to define the character of Bigby as the player sees him. You can either play Bigby as a sympathetic hero who’s just trying to help a town full of people who hate his guts, or as a renegade sheriff who will stop at nothing to find who he’s after no matter the cost. The interactions were so brilliant that I was left wanting to play the chapter again immediately after my first playthrough just to see how things would change.

The gameplay itself is the standard fare that we’ve all gotten used to with these Telltale games. Combat is still mostly comprised of quick time events with different clickable objects to decide how and where you attack your opponent. While I’m not the biggest fan of QTE’s as a whole, the ones in The Wolf Among Us as well as The Walking Dead have never bugged me, however if you’ve never been a fan of the Telltale QTE, this chapter doesn’t mix things up and won’t change your mind.

Performance wise The Wolf Among Us still runs pretty well. Every so often a loading screen would run a little long, or the screen would freeze up when the location changed. Luckily this didn’t ruin the experience and the game never crashed for me, like it had in the previous chapter. The only real criticism I have is that, at points, the characters can be stiff and I’ve caught some animations repeat themselves multiple times in the same conversation.

My other issue, and this is just a personal gripe, is with the title screen and opening sequence. I’m not sure why Telltale insists on inserting the same title sequence with Bigby ominously walking through the streets smoking a cigarette while the credits pass and the theme plays. It’s not terrible I just feel like it breaks the flow of the narrative, especially after they left us with a massive cliffhanger from the last episode. However, like I said, this is just a gripe and doesn’t make me think any less of the experience.

 

Final Verdict: This new chapter of The Wolf Among Us is absolutely fantastic. If you have been pondering picking the game up I suggest that you do so. The setting is fantastic, the characters are wonderful, and the story is intense. Check it out!

 

PS: (Spoilerish)  Just for the record. When Bigby finally turns into the Big Bad Wolf and throws down…it’s awesome in every meaning of the word.

 

Have you played The Wolf Among Us up to this point, or have you been on the fence on whether you should buy it? What do you think of it? Let us know!

 

 

 

 

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Gaming Funny of the Week

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I do believe we are missing 1st edition here…

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Bad News for Gamers – Facebook Purchased the VR System Oculus Rift

Photo Credit from Kotaku.com

Photo Credit from Kotaku.com

 

You may remember not to long ago we did a piece on a company called Super Tea Studios. These guys and gals had created a phenomenal game that was to be released on the system Oculus. Read that article here. The Oculus Rift is a technology that allows the user to experience the game they play in genuine 360 degree virtual reality. The headset tracks your head movement and gives you an immersion not before achieved in gaming.

The following is an excerpt from the About Us section on the Oculus Rift website.

“Oculus VR® was founded by Palmer Luckey, self-described virtual reality enthusiast and hardware geek. The company launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund development of their first product, the Oculus Rift, a ground-breaking virtual reality headset for immersive gaming. With the support of top video game companies including Valve, Epic Games and Unity, the Kickstarter was an enormous success, raising over $2.4 million in funding from project backers and supporters around the world.”

Now the question every gamer and game development company is asking themselves is “Why sell out to facebook?” Are all those Kickstarter backers going to see any return on their investment into the future of gaming? What of developers like Super Tea Studio? Indie Developers don’t want to see what Kyle Durkee so aptly said amusingly enough in response to a Facebook post by Lieryn Hlaalu-Falzoni the co-founder and level designer at Super Tea Studios, “I can see Facebook Voidwalker now “Pay a dollar to cast the fire spell… Or get 10 of your friends to help you learn the spell” They did not spend time, money, and effort, to build a social platform in the guise of gaming; they developed for “a ground-breaking virtual reality headset for immersive gaming.””

Virtual reality is the next big thing in gaming and entertainment. Not in social media. Sure you can add those things in to the equation, but do we really need to see our Facebook posts in 3D?

Markus “Notch” Persson the creator of top selling Indie game “Minecraft” and founder of company Mojang, pulled out of preliminary talks after Facebook bought the Oculus Rift system. This would have been a spectacular game for the system. The graphics are not intense but the game is completely immersive. Imagine how it would feel walking around in those castles or dungeons or tree houses you have built. Imagine the feeling of running from a Creeper in 3D. Not going to happen on Oculus now.

Notch had a lot to say about his decision to pull out on his blog on notch.net.

Of course, they wanted Minecraft. I said that it doesn’t really fit the platform, since it’s very motion based, runs on java (that has a hard time delivering rock solid 90 fps, especially since the players build their own potentially hugely complex levels), and relies a lot on GUI. But perhaps it would be cool to do a slimmed down version of Minecraft for the Oculus. Something free, similar to the Minecraft PI Edition, perhaps? So I suggested that, and our people started talking to their people to see if something could be done.

And then, not two weeks later, Facebook buys them.

Facebook is not a company of grass-roots tech enthusiasts. Facebook is not a game tech company. Facebook has a history of caring about building user numbers, and nothing but building user numbers. People have made games for Facebook platforms before, and while it worked great for a while, they were stuck in a very unfortunate position when Facebook eventually changed the platform to better fit the social experience they were trying to build.

Don’t get me wrong, VR is not bad for social. In fact, I think social could become one of the biggest applications of VR. Being able to sit in a virtual living room and see your friend’s avatar? Business meetings? Virtual cinemas where you feel like you’re actually watching the movie with your friend who is seven time zones away?

But I don’t want to work with social, I want to work with games.

Fortunately, the rise of Oculus coincided with competitors emerging. None of them are perfect, but competition is a very good thing. If this means there will be more competition, and VR keeps getting better, I am going to be a very happy boy. I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook. Their motives are too unclear and shifting, and they haven’t historically been a stable platform. There’s nothing about their history that makes me trust them, and that makes them seem creepy to me.

And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition.

Now here is my question to Oculus Rift and one I think the entire gaming community will back me on. What the hell were you thinking? Oh wait, I know. Money. Your grassroots development and the gaming community that backed you on Kickstarter did not chip in even one dollar to see Facebook take over the next generation of gaming. They paid to invest in the future of gaming.

So here is what I say to Notch, as well as to Lieryn and the peeps over at Super Tea Studios. Keep developing. We need you and developers like you, to change the face of gaming. Thank you for not selling out to social media. Keep working with games.

Related Links

http://www.reddit.com/user/palmerluckey – Luckey answers questions about the acquisition.

http://notch.net/2014/03/virtual-reality-is-going-to-change-the-world/ -Full article on Notch.net

http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidewalt/2014/03/25/minecraft-creator-kills-oculus-rift-plans-because-facebook-creeps-him-out/ -Forbes article.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/superteastudios/voidwalker – Super Tea Studios Kickstarter

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Gaming Funny of the Week

funny-girl-playing-The-Sims-video-game

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Minecraft Mania

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So lately I have been highly addicted to Minecraft. I went from playing a few hours a week, to a few hours a day. What once was a minor addiction has become an obsession. Each update that Mojang puts out makes me come back for more. I find myself amazed by the pure beauty available in a game that reminds me of the days when I played Commander Keen and spent the majority of my time on a BBS. I am now running my own server and with several friends have begun to create a world together. I want to add more people to the server and am searching for those who will mesh well with our group.

Something I love about Minecraft is it can be as complicated or as simple as you desire it to be. Want to build a working computer inside the game… you can. Want to simply dig and gather… you can. Want to fight monsters and get loots… you can. Or you can build everything out of dirt. Your choice. Its versatility is pretty ingenious and Mojang keeps coming out with more and more ways to enhance our game play without killing the simplicity which makes Minecraft enjoyable and unique.

If any of my readers are interested in joining our server, let me know.

And now you all know why I haven’t been posting.

Oooooh. I see a diamond! Ahhhhh CREEPER!

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Could We Just Give Up the Alien Franchise?

News has been released surrounding the next game set in the world of Ridley Scott’s Alien titled Alien: Isolation. This new title, developed by Creative Assembly, will focus more on the survival horror elements of the first Alien movie rather than the run and gun elements of the sequel Aliens. Naturally most people on forums and message boards on the subject have brought up the recent failure that was Aliens: Colonial Marines and have already set their expectations low. Most of the people I’ve talked to about the new title have told me that they expect Creative Assembly to completely botch this newest attempt at a good Alien game and we’ll be stuck once again with junk.

I, on the other hand, have another opinion. I just want people to finally let go and finally let the Alien franchise rest.

Don’t get me wrong I love the xenomorphs like the rest of you Alien fans out there it’s just that we’ve yet to receive anything really great involving the acid-bleeding, wall-crawling, brain-munching, monsters since Aliens in 1986. Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection were both junk (with the exception of a couple of scenes from Alien 3). Aliens vs. Predator was…alright(?). Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem was also junk.

As video games the poor xenomorphs got just about the same kind of treatment. Alien Trilogy from Probe Entertainment in 1996 received fairly average scores from reviewers. The arcades also received a decent beat ‘em up in Alien vs. Predator in 1994. The 2010 version of Alien vs. Predator was, admittedly, the second weakest game in the franchise with it’s lackluster controls and story. However the absolute worst insult to the series was the travesty which was Aliens: Colonial Marines with its broken AI, worthless multiplayer, and repetitive combat.

We’ve come this far and tried multiple times to recapture the magic that was Alien and Aliens with little to no success. It seems that as time continues to pass this series continues to receive worthless new titles both in movies and games. If Creative Assembly is unable to create a fresh and well made Alien game it may be time to give up and let our xenomorph pals rest.

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Fearing the Female Geek

Hi folks! Terion, new Mx3 author here! I’ve been lurking around for a little while trying to figure out what I wanted to be my first post and just so happened to stumble across it today. While not a game (alas!) it’s something close to all of us female gamers either personally or through our friends: FEAR.

Not the game, of course. I’m talking about the “You’re not a real geek!” and all the other complete BS that follows along with it. Which leads me to this article: Why Marketers Fear The Female Geek.

It’s a pretty interesting read and the first part boils down to MARKETING. We all know the basic gist: you market to the people you know are going to buy your stuff. Advertising for a long time was almost purely for men because men were the people that mattered as they were the one’s with the money. You advertised home wares to women because she should be in the kitchen. That was the way it was.

Of course, as the author points out, things are changing. Some advertisers, however, are stuck in a hole because they’ve been marketing to men for so long that they don’t know how to dig themselves out. Now, let’s cycle back around to what we’re about here: GEEKDOM.

There never was a moment in the history of geek media, when geek media was advertised equally to men and women and there never was a moment in the history of geek media, when it was equally culturally acceptable to be interested in geek stuff for men and women.

BAM! There it is. From the moment computer technology became a thing, it hasn’t been advertised as the domain of women. Note that I say advertised. There have been plenty of women in the field from the beginning and there still are (my own mother, who taught me most of my computer knowledge, being one of them) but it’s still a mostly male dominated thing. Why?

Remember that hole I was talking about advertisers being stuck in? That’s where a lot of the game and geek industry is and they keep digging. Because all of their marketing data tells them that women aren’t buying their products, so they shouldn’t market to them. Their problem, of course, is that they aren’t marketing to us at all because they’re stuck in that hole. They fear expanding out to us because they’re afraid that it will fail.

So what have we got to do? Well, according to our article writer, we’ve got to support those that go against the mainstream. Like Minecraft, which doesn’t conform to any game genre and has exploded like mad because it’s wicked fun. Personally I agree but I also think that we ladies (and you gents who are awesome and amazing and don’t tell us that we aren’t supposed to like geeky things) need to make sure they know we’re here. Shout it to the heavens, make blogs about it (heh!), and be a general nuisance to the only-male mindset because, as Bob Dylan sang, “For the times they are a-changin’.”

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