Tuesday, September 24, 2013

PlayStation Vita Impressions

A week ago I made a bit of an impulse purchase on the PlayStation Vita, intending to get some quality mobile gaming done during downtime at work. Over the summer, I'd been using an old hand-me-down PSP-1000, but used it almost exclusively to play old downloadable PSOne classics, since hardly any of the actual PSP games interested me. The Vita seemed like an appealing option since it retains the same backlog of PSOne classics as well as various downloadable versions of PSP games, all on newer and better hardware with the expanded library of Vita exclusives. The recent price drop to $199.99 USD was also an appealing factor in the decision. 

I bought four Vita games with the device: Gravity Rush, Soul Sacrifice, Dragon's Crown, and Killzone: Mercenary. Of these games, the only one I've played thus far is Gravity Rush, which has proven to be a pretty fun experience. The Vita came bundled with the full first season of Telltale's The Walking Dead, which I've already played on PC. I was also able to download the Vita version of Playstation All-Stars for free, courtesy of Sony's cross-buy policy, since I'd already bought the game on PS3. Finally, I bought the updated PSN version of Spelunky, after having played the original version extensively on PC. These are the seven games I have to start my Vita library, and here are my thoughts on the system after one week of use.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Dream Machine: Chapter 4 Review

Evidently it's been nearly 16 months since I reviewed the first three chapters of Cockroach Inc's The Dream Machine. When I played those three chapters, I was immediately hooked and couldn't sing enough praises for the game. An interesting story with great narrative pacing, intelligent brain-teasing puzzles that felt incredibly natural and plausible in context, and a fairly unique atmosphere and visual style had me anxiously awaiting the release of chapter four. And yet it's taken nearly two years since the release of chapter three for chapter four to finally become available.

Fortunately, chapter three didn't end on a major cliffhanger -- there was still obviously a lot of the story yet to be told, but it sufficiently resolved one prominent story arc before promising others. Chapter four picks up right where chapter three left off; after rescuing your wife Alicia from her own dream, you realize that you have to do the same with the other residents of your apartment building in order to shut down the landlord's haywire dream machine. Chapter four thus consists of a self-contained dream sequence as Victor goes into the dreamscape of his elderly neighbor Edie.