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Tycho / on Wed, Feb 7 2007 at 12:33 am

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A Return To Tradition

Humans sometimes cry out for "more Div, more Div," and since one of these humans is typically Gabriel it is difficult to escape this desire.  That I manage to do it so often is a testament to my resolve, my dexterity, and my many other virtues.  But even the most resilient, angelic creature is sometimes dragged to earth.

Khoo told me he was finding it difficult to enjoy Hotel Dusk, and I took it upon myself to counsel him in these trying times.  I honestly believe that part of the trouble is that the game is essentially a book, and he doesn’t read for pleasure.  That is inconceivable to me, and calls for a deep analysis of his character.  Still, I would hate for someone to miss the best parts of this game because it makes poor decisions elsewhere.

Every bad thing about Hotel Dusk is the result of its questionable time-extension methods, and it’s an addiction whose grip goes slack as the game proceeds, so that by the time you are entering the game’s final chapters it feels more like a unified, "whole" experience - with puzzles that are more like speed bumps and less like spike strips.  I told Robert to just FAQ it out.  Some of it is just fruity, and there’s no shame in kicking the door down if the designer has some strange feud with causality.  Not being able to pick up an object until you’ve been presented with a puzzle that requires it is the work of a diseased mind.   

The writing and characterization are so confident by the end that I wonder if this ceased being a "job" for the author.  Most games are (from a narrative perspective) mysteries, independent of the higher order gameplay genre we use as a primary classification.  But it’s not typical for games to use the classic mystery setups - Hotel Dusk is very Agatha Christie in its construction.  It’s also not common for the story that contains these mysteries to be worth a good Goddamn, to set its hook correctly and reel with skill.  I will be a wreck of a man if we aren’t given further opportunities to witness the noir trainwreck named Kyle Hyde.

Oh!  Oh!  Also, I found what I think might be the most cliche game title ever, but it’s so cliche that it has a piquant flavor you can really savor.  It’s an isometric action game being published by CDV, and maybe it’s actually good, but the name is not:  ladies and gentlemen, I give you Alien Shooter: Vengeance.  That’s right, Vengeance!  Not Nostalgia or Budapest or whatever.  Those aliens did…  something.  And it must be, you know… avenged…?  

(CW)TB out. 

can’t you find another way?


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