RE:BIND

Of course it has a level editor, but we’ll get to that.

DROD is, at every turn, a hard sell. Mind, this is not for lack of ingenious, deceptively simple design, of boundless character and charm, nor of literal hundreds of hours of play across its main story. No, it has all of those in spades; rather, it is as World’s Greatest Salesman Danforth Strout freely admits:

Can confirm personally, on both fronts.

Gushing about DROD to any coherent effect is worse than trying to get someone into your favourite obscure band, or, in other terms, it’s as tortuously difficult as the game itself. How, then, shall we do this legacy, spanning across 28 years at time of writing, justice? Where, oh where, dear reader, shall we start? Per the wisdom of Maria von Trapp, why, where else than the very beginning?

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Preface:

Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy is a game by the titular Bennett Foddy that was released in the far-gone year of 2017 to much contemporary critical acclaim and analysis. Why then revisit an already well-explored game years after its release? Personally I find it almost poignant to talk about the game as a memory, as an experience that has stuck with you that you find yourself reflecting on years down the road, much as one reflects on tough times, challenges overcome, or mistakes that they’ve made. We engage in this all the time in our lives, and what is art, if not something that seeks in an ephemeral but present way to be part of our life experience?

Now, this article is going to be a long one, it’s not titled Volume I without reason. This isn’t our normal fare, it’s dense and a slow burn, after all this game has a lot to say and I’ll be touching on far less than half of it, but I hope you’ll find it meaningful. So go get some water and settle in, I won’t judge if you can’t finish this in one sitting so don’t feel pressured to, if you need to take a break this article will still be here, and you can pick up right where you left off.

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Would you look at that? It’s already time for GDC, meaning as the main writer for the site I will be stepping away for the next week and a half to give myself some breathing room to focus on the event.

But the show must go on, so while I step out of the limelight you’ll all have the opportunity to see Mx Medea and Yestin‘s writing shine. For those of you who will be seeing me at GDC, wave hello and come see me for a chat about the future of Indie Press!

In the meantime, why don’t you take a look at some staff favorites from the start of the site you may have missed:

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Yesterday we launched the first part (which you can find here) of our three part interview series on the brilliant mastermind behind New Blood Interactive‘s not-so-retro cult-busting shooter.

We’ll be discussing some of the finer points of the production process, (@DuskDev) David’s unusual favorite genres, and then following it up the next day with an exhaustive overview of his favorite video game levels in Part III.

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New Blood’s DUSK is a bit of a perplexingly pleasant paradox, often read as an effort to remake the shooters of yore. Quake, Blood, and numerous other influences have been attributed to it’s lineage since release, but despite familiar low-poly trappings and iterations of fondly remembered design, DUSK both stands out and holds its own as something entirely new.

There are numerous publications out there that can tell you the ways in which DUSK is spectacularly incredible, and it’s most definitely deserving of such high praise, however, REBIND is here to show you a peek behind the curtain, to give you a glimpse into the unspeakable cosmic terror responsible for the game that is currently disguised as the cheerful flesh vessel named David Szymanski:

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Monolith is a classic developer that you may or may not have heard of, whose library includes more well-known titles like FEAR and Condemned. They’re also very well known for one of the most expansive list of titles available on the PC to date, having produced a ridiculous amount of memorable titles often powered by their in-house engine. LithTech was powerful and gorgeous, often rivaling at times games like Quake with their visually impressive graphics and implementation of cutting edge animation technology. Today we’ll take a glimpse into an era when engines like Unity didn’t even exist, and Unreal wasn’t quite so ubiquitous or dominant.

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Contemporary games in the survival genre suffer from a severe, almost ubiquitous, design failure, that of Hunger & Thirst systems. It’s a necessary mechanic in the eyes of developers, and that view isn’t necessarily wrong, but almost every implementation of hunger and thirst I’ve ever seen lacks the finesse necessary to sell it as anything but a source of frustration.

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Unfairly considered a disasterpiece upon release, Arkane Studios’s Dark Messiah Of Might And Magic was actually the result of a contract negotiation gone wrong that cost the studio their chance at making a follow up to their cult classic, Arx Fatalis.

In retrospect, Arkane isn’t given enough credit for managing to lure Ubisoft into publishing an incredibly innovative Immersive Fantasy Sim with an emphasis on melee. Dark Messiah had an extremely intuitive combat system with finely tuned camera inertia which instilled a strong sense of positional awareness and visceral momentum behind every cut and thrust of the sword. It’s hard to pidgeonhole Dark Messiah into the same genre as its stealthier slow-paced peers, feeling much more akin to a swashbuckling simulator.

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