RE:BIND

Browsing posts from: Catherine Brinegar

Staring down the gargantuan beast, you only have one sliver of health left. You’ve gone through several phases now, but you aren’t sure how much longer it’s going to keep clinging to life. You bait the first attack, then the second; you roll in and go for the kill. Two swipes, and it starts winding up its next attack. Barely dodging out of the way, you land the final blow, and the monster falls. A victory chime sweeps over the scene, and you pump your fists into the air. It only took 16 tries, but you’ve finally overcome it.

This is the sense of accomplishment offered to you by FAR BLADE, a title currently in early access from solo dev @BcubedLabs. Presented as a boss rush, the game is controlled from an isometric perspective, allowing the player to sweep the camera 360º around the character, roll, block, and swing their blade. A small hub area gives grounding to the world, taunting you with several tantalizing routes to take, each one leading to a new monster for you to surmount. There seems to be a bit more to the exploration of the world than most boss rushes, allowing the player time to wander a somewhat expansive space between monsters.

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Home to myriad experimental interactive pieces, the PS3 served as fertile ground for developers looking to stretch their legs in a different direction than AAA had typically allowed. Microsoft and Sony went back and forth, cultivating marketplaces stuffed with interesting and unique titles, courting small teams and individuals to produce content exclusively for either platform. In the case of Sony, some of these endeavors veered into territory fairly unknown for mainstream audiences.

Enter Linger in Shadows. Developed by Polish group Plastic, the title was adamantly touted as “not a game” by senior producer Rusty Buchert. Despite interactivity and trophy support, Linger in Shadows was positioned as a piece of interactive digital art. While only $3, games journalism at large rebuffed it, baffled as to why such a short-form experience would cost money in the first place, much less be pushed by Sony themselves.

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Nearing an extinction event unlike any we’ve ever experienced, humanity veers closer to collapse on a daily basis. Rising sea levels, record-breaking heat, and vanishing biodiversity are the hallmarks of modernity. Regardless of having reached a point of no return, life on Earth has been drastically and irreversibly blighted by the forward march of industrialization. Given the opportunity, mankind destroys without remorse, and for the most part, without concern for the future. Protection of ecosystems and sustaining life longterm become priorities for societies, should they wish to avoid crumbling.

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Persistence is key when it comes to deconstructing the mysteries placed before us by a piece such as The Space Between. Plunging the depths of a work comes not just from consuming it, but savoring it, allowing it to overtake the palette and linger on the tongue. It needs a delicate touch to work through it, to parse the meaning between the walls. These endless constructions must be torn down for us to get to a deeper understanding of what it is that Christoph Frey wants to convey to us.

Continuing from Part 1, today we take a closer look at the themes underlying and supporting the stage on which Martin’s narrative is set. Within this Hell, hopefully we can uncover some greater truth to the game, and pick apart its architecture.

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All artists bring themselves around to the same question time and again: why do I create? For some, it’s to express a greater emotion, one that can’t be tackled head-on, nor conveyed through ordinary conversation. For others, it’s the simple production of a commodity. One way or another, the artist puts themselves through the creative process and, typically, uncovers some greater truth about themselves. Whether that inherently becomes part of the work, who can say. But, time and again, coming out on the other side brings growth.

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As the guitar solo kicks in, the landscape in front of you shifts. Barren crags of rock erupt into fluttering red ribbons, ascending to the heavens. Your trio pushes forward nonetheless, unabated by the explosion of colors. In a few moments, the track comes to an end, and you’re whisked away to another landscape. Words fade in and out overhead, or trail behind as footprints, a song of solitude pressed against a new backdrop of kaleidoscopic gems and whirring panels.

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Jumpstarting the modern understanding of survival horror, 1996’s Resident Evil set the standard for what could be achieved with the right mixture of tension, tight item management, and puzzles. A breath of fresh air amongst the unending torrent of platformers and JRPGs, Resident Evil would quickly find itself subject to the commodity machine that is the blockbuster video game market. Beyond countless sequels over the subsequent years, the true legacy of Resident Evil is in its copycats, however stripped they may be of director Shinji Mikami’s deliberate pacing, use of lavish pre-rendered backgrounds, and spot-on attention to crafting tension. Stripping away Mikami’s direction left the core of the experience: the nail-biting agony of clunky controls and piss-poor item management.

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