This week’s “Reality is a Harsh Mistress” is an open letter to Konami to bring the newest Suikoden game to an American market.
Your mind is software. Program it. Your body is a shell. Change it. Death is a disease. Cure it. Extinction is approaching. Fight it. This is the tag line for the tabletop role playing game Eclipse Phase by Posthuman Studios. The team that created this game, many of which worked on Shadowrun 4th edition, have created a game that pushes at boundaries, both in the game world and in the real world.
Last week I wrote an opinion piece decrying what I saw as the primacy of choice (and the ability to change the game world) over storytelling in modern video game RPGs. I see this as a sort of decay of strong narratives and well developed characters (and relationships between characters) so that the player can be given the illusion of truly having a significant impact on the game world. Part of my problem with this trend is that I see it demolishing what computer and console RPGs can do so well, which is tell a well scripted, well written, highly conceptual narrative with good visuals and interesting mechanics.
A recent trend within the gaming community is to revisit old IPs. These usually either seek to reboot a series (such as Ninja Gaiden or Devil May Cry) or they are looking to remake a game with an updated look and feel, while maintaining that which made it great in the first place (XCOM: Enemy Unknown). Jagged Alliance: Back In Action is one of the latter, based on the classic turn based strategy game Jagged Alliance 2, originally released in 1999. In this game, players take on the role of a mercenary leader, hired to infiltrate the small island of Arluco and overthrow its despotic leader, Deidranna Reitman.
When you combine the minds of Ken Rolston (The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion), Todd McFarlane(Spawn), and acclaimed author R.A. Salvatore, you get an immersive fantasy world. Featuring rich environments, diverse cultures, and a seemingly endless amount of quests, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is the first project developed jointly between 38 Studios and Big Huge Games and is an impressive debut release.