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Quadrant: synesthetic, copacetic!

Quadrant featured image

Something a bit different for you today… a video review of recently released indie rhythm action music game Quadrant.

Embed below the cut.

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Degrade yourself to death in The Weaponographist

The Weaponographist featured image

Come with me on a journey, young time traveller, and cast your minds back to 2001: the era of the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox. A little shooter called Halo has been released, producing eco-friendly green energy through the chattering of fanboys the world over.

Halo has had no small amount of influence on the subsequent evolution of the FPS genre, largely thanks to the numerous innovations and refinements it brought to the table (not to ignore the polish and prestige of being a massively well-funded launch title, of course). Part of Halo‘s design philosophy was its two-weapon carry limit at any given time – something which players familiar to years of PC FPS conventions often heaped scorn upon.

But developer Bungie’s design decision was method and not madness. They had designed a wide array of different weapons, all with different strengths, weaknesses and tactical utility, and all of which could make the discrete combat arenas that made up their game’s levels unfold differently.

They recognised, however, that in practice many players prefer to stick to a favoured few weapons and use them to the exclusion of anything else. The two-weapon cap, and a commensurate limit on the amount of ammo that could be carried, was the solution they arrived at. It forced players to be more adaptive, discarding a weapon once it was drained of ammo and collecting whatever their slain opponents dropped. This encouraged variation and experimentation, and has, over time, come to be recognised as one of the cleverer parts of the original game’s design.

You may now skip forward to the comments and argue about The Library if all you want to talk about is bloody Halo. But don’t do that, because I want to tell you about The Weaponographist.

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Diary: April Arcadia

Hi there! So this is a new thing here on AR. And if you’re concerned about that, it’s reasonable! I’ve lost count of the number of new things I’ve started writing on AR and then failed to follow up on.

The idea with this one is that it’ll be very informal and, unlike a proper article or review, won’t be about a single thoroughly developed idea or a single game analysed in detail. It’ll just be me talking about a few things that’ve struck me over the previous month. It’ll all be about games, of course, rather than cars that inexplicably mount the pavement when they see me walking along.

What I’m basically saying is that this is an excuse for me to throw a few hundred words at something I haven’t had the time to write about in more depth, or that just wouldn’t support a full article alone. Yes?

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Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker: all’s fair in love and dating

Kitty Powers Congratulations

Awww…!

Back in my early days of exploring the wealth of indie games out there, I distinctly remember picking out a few of what I’ll refer to as ‘dating agency simulators’ (to avoid any confusion with the more recognisable genre of Japanese-style dating sims) and giving them a whirl, as you do.

On every occasion I was disappointed by the shallowness of gameplay, the cheap mechanics and the near-pornographic approach these games took towards their simulation of playing with the romantic lives of innocent people. It was almost as if these dating agency sims were just cash cows aimed at a casual playerbase, which I reassured myself couldn’t possibly be the case – that it’d only be a matter of time before something was released with the in-depth gameplay and quality the genre so deserved.

Approximately 10 years later and my dubiously-placed optimism appears to have prevailed: Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker has arrived on the scene and appears to have filled the long-vacant, slightly obscure gap in the market for a quality dating agency sim.

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I love Pillars of Eternity for what it gets right

Pillars of Eternity 01

And a great job of it you’re doing there.

It’s been a while since I wrote anything for you, my lovely Arcadians; almost a month in fact! In truth, I’ve been busy ordering parts for a new PC, preparing to go on holiday, going on holiday, getting back, building a new PC, and then catching up on all the stuff I ignored whilst I was on holiday / building a new PC. As it turns out, two things is sufficient to take the wind from your sails.

Happily I’ve been able to find a few hours to spare in the time since all that. Approximately twenty hours, in fact, the majority of which I have gleefully invested in Obsidian’s new school take on old school CRPGs, Pillars of Eternity.

It’s easy to get a little burned out on games when you’ve constantly played them, written about them and even earned part of your income off the back of them for years. Fortunately, every so often something really special comes along that pours quick-dry cement into the ruts ahead of you, then kicks your metaphorical cart downhill, leaving you hanging on for dear life but somehow loving every second of it despite how terrible I am just now realising this metaphor is.

For some people right now that game is Bloodborne. I’ve played about half an hour of it and I can see why: from that fleeting taste of its brooding atmosphere, claustrophobic environments and quick yet thoughtful combat it seems like a wonderful thing indeed. I don’t own a PS4, though, so fortunately nothing is distracting me from Pillars of Eternity.

This self-indulgent blogvomit intro has already dragged on quite long enough so I shan’t fanny about introducing Pillars of Eternity – just click those links if you’re unfamiliar with it. Also, this isn’t a review. Whilst I probably could offer up an overarching assessment of the entire game at about a third in, I don’t want to. Instead I just want to acknowledge where Pillars has genuinely impressed me.

 

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Cast 24: We Are ImpRezzed

EGX Rezzed 2015

Image may not be representative of actual EGX Rezzed 2015 sponsor.

Despite swearing to never do another podcast again the Arcadian Rhythms crew ended up doing one anyway. The main reason was simply because AJ, Shaun and Potter had managed to meet up at EGX Rezzed 2015.

Happily, rather than ending up thinking that all video games were just ‘all right’, the show left us feeling like games were pretty awesome instead. The system works!

Joining us as a guest was Joel (aka. Harbour Master) of Electron Dance. The four of us discussed the highs and lows of the show, with a focus on the highs.

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