The premise itself is sinister; an elusive entity called the Leviathan proves all too tempting a lure for Commander Shepard, who believes that whatever it is, it can help the galaxy triumph in the war over the Reapers. To go into more detail would give away too much about the Leviathan’s nature; suffice to say this DLC ramps up the creep factor and provides a chilling entry to the Mass Effect canon.
In order to discover the secret of the house and escape the curse, you encounter and battle ghosts from the memoir and the house using the Camera Obscura – taking photographs of the ghosts at crucial moments leads to their untimely demise. You do battle with all sorts of unsavoury types, from staggering, bloodstained long-haired young girls to bodiless hands which reach out from the memoir’s pages to grab and tear at you.
The game’s main protagonist, zombie hunting high school cheer leader Juliet, is, like, totally blonde and sugary sweet. She wakes up and it’s so lame because like, it’s her birthday and there are zombies everywhere. Not cool! Out comes the heart-patterned chainsaw and the pom-poms and soon zombie heads are flying, with flips and flourishes galore as Juliet twirls around the battlefield with elegance and grace. So totally, like, awesome!
Herein dwells the problem. The treatment of your combatants as mere faceless fodder makes gameplay as compulsive and mindless as your average stint in Azeroth – all that is required of the player is to keep on clicking until everything around them is dead. There is nothing skilful about taking an enemy down in Diablo III – if you have the time to sit and click, click, click, you’ll get it done.
The inclusion of drop-in drop-out multiplayer allows for friends to build settlements together, wage war on each other and have fun without the hassle of purchasing and maintaining servers, a costly and sometimes difficult process required of the PC version. Playing alone is all well and good, but humans are social animals even when isolated in a block-eat-block world. Whether collaborative or competitive, multiplayer expands the Minecraft universe exponentially.
In a moment of madness I cared too much about finding everything, about doing everything, and it was to the detriment of my gaming experience. It’s in moments like these that achievement-oriented gamers need to be reminded that their Gamerscore doesn’t mean anything and that they run the risk of turning a fun experience into a chore – and turning one’s hobby into work is a risky business indeed.
What was once iconic – big hair, slender waists and massive…uh…assets – has become a laughable stereotype as developers refuse to push forward and innovate with their designs. Japan used to be a trendsetter in terms of game design, and it’s a shame to see things descend into mere mimicry of what has already been. In terms of aesthetics, Pandora’s Tower suffers deeply from this refusal to move on.
What makes video games brutal is often their most basic premise. If you think too long and too hard about exactly what it is you’re doing, a creeping sensation starts to prickle the back of your mind. If you put yourself in the shoes of your avatar, would you be so gung-ho, would you even be capable of walking out of the front door?
Binary Domain portrays such a future; a world in which technological development has become so advanced that among humans walk robots which look to be of flesh and blood, which have real memories, lead real lives and possess no knowledge of their true origin. Beneath the skin of these Hollow Children beats no heart, but as they are gunned down one by one throughout the game’s narrative it is called into question who the real monsters are in this story.