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by adam mathes
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Video Game Consumption: Q1 2017

I played surprisingly few games the last couple months.

Glittermitten Grove

Beneath the surface, it’s a masterpiece.

(Trust me – I’m in it.)

★★★★★

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

The original Deus Ex came out in 2000, and is now a cult classic. It was ambitious and brilliant and weird and also a bit of a mess because it tried to do so much.

But the essence of Deus Ex was that it used a first-person-shooter engine to create a first-person action adventure that wasn’t just about shooting things. Violence and shooting is one tool to solve problems, but by itself would almost never work. Stealth, exploration, and outwitting your opponents through clever use of skills and the environment was key. (That and the conspiracy theory / illumnati are real stuff.)

Despite the most recent entry Deus Ex: Human Revolution being a masterwork in the action RPG genre and revitalizing it, this time it feels like the series has run out of steam and ideas. The gameplay and mechanisms feel repetitive and dated rather than fresh after 5 years. The storyline is both incomprehensible (even for Deus Ex) and seems completely unfinished and unsatisfying. It feels plodding and boring. Rather than leave me wanting the next chapter, I felt bored.

Huge disappointment.

★★

Dishonored 2

Where Mankind Divided fails, Dishonored 2 succeeds. As an action-stealth-play-as-you-want RPG, it enables all sorts of different, varied play styles. Lethal or non-lethal, loud or stealthy, indirect or head-on, and all manners in between.

The characters, voice acting, plot and more seem improved.

Dishonored made Dunwall feel real and interesting. The most remarkable thing is how vibrant and larger and varied yet cohesive the larger Empire of the Isles becomes in this sequel, and how exciting it is each time we see more of it. The level design and setting combines with the mechanics and story to create something spectacular.

The choices and how you play again feel like they have weight and impact the world. Choosing to sow chaos has repercussions. Seeing how Emily and Corvo have changed over the years was actually interesting. Very much enjoyed this one.

★★★★

Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies

Despite more or less buying a 3DS to play this game, I never actually completed it. (I got through the first case and stopped.) Part of it was playing on a 3DS annoyed me.

I then bought it for iOS when it came out and played through the second case and stopped. I got bored.

This time, though, for whatever reason, the love of Phoenix Wright games overtook me again as I completed the other three cases.

If you have never played Ace Attorney, the iOS re-releases are the easiest way to experience them, despite the flaws in the ports it’s a lot easier than tracking down Nintendo GBA imports or DS versions now.

Anyway, I love these games so much, and I hope they keep making them forever.

★★★★★

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