Brilliant Darkness

Happy Weekend TAY!

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Yay, weekend! Time to turn off the news and sit back with your current game. I have a fairly relaxed weekend ahead and I am hoping to get in some gaming with the family.

Last week I finished off The Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay and I am happy to see the game still remains one of the best I have ever played. I had an absolute blast with it from beginning to end and was very happy with the challenge the game provided on the Hard difficulty setting.

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The mix of stealth, melee, and gunplay are some of what makes this game appealing to me, but it is the atmosphere and story that kept me engaged. The cast of amazing voice actors from the likes of Ron Perlman, William Shepard Morgan, Dwight Schultz, Cole Hauser and Vin Diesel make the story come alive on a level most other games never achieve.

I love Riddick as a character. Yes, he is the 90’s badass anti-hero stereotype but he makes me laugh and feel cool at the same time. If you’ve never watched Pitch Black, I’d highly recommend Riddick’s first movie outing. As a game experience, Escape From Butcher Bay puts most other games to shame and Riddick himself is only the icing on the cake.

The non-linear level design, the great AI, and one of the best uses of darkness you’ll ever see in a video game makes for a game that exudes tension. There is an atmosphere to Butcher Bay that is rarely captured in gaming and it is a testament to the genius at Starbreeze.

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Starbreeze (and now MachineGames) have made some other amazing games like The Darkness and Wolfenstein: The New Order, but these games don’t quite have the same magic for me as The Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay. Given the age of the game, I can overlook the very occasional AI brain-fart simply because the overall experience is so astounding.

Clearly, I’m somewhat hard-wired for these types of games. I realized while playing Riddick that my top three favourite games (Alien: Isolation, System Shock 2, and Escape From Butcher Bay) all have more than a passing similarity. Dark sci-fi setting, stealth mechanics, melee component, leaning mechanics, non-linear level design...I could go on and on. But if you enjoyed any of these other games and didn’t play Escape From Butcher Bay, then you know what you should do.

I’m going to leave the second Riddick game in the package, Assault On Dark Athena, for a bit to cleanse the palate. I’ve now started Ori and The Blind Forest which, after one play session, looks on track to rival Super Metroid and Symphony of the Night as one of my favourite Metroidvania games. I can’t wait to get back to more of it.

I’m looking forward to more Rock Band 4 with my family this weekend as we were finally able to return to it last week. It is amazing how quickly you get out of shape for singing and guitar playing when you leave it for a bit.

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I imagine more Diablo 3 is in the cards too. I’m still really pissed at the lack of challenge in the game (as is the rest of my family), but the game has a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that keeps it more interesting than many other similar games. Likely it is the variety of combat mechanics and nice visuals, but there is something else appealing to it that I can’t quite put my finger on.

So, what are you playing this weekend?