Each episode of Dontnod Entertainment’s Life is Strange begins with a disclaimer—that you, the player, are about to make choices that will affect the characters’ past, present, and future. And while the latter two seem like common sense in a branching path game, the first made me wonder. Was I about to see that storied […]Read more "A Reading: The Shared Trauma of Life is Strange and Ocarina of Time"
If you’re at all a follower of indie games, you’ve probably at least heard of Bastion—the isometric, hack-and-slash RPG from Supergiant Games that quickly after its release in 2011 went on to become one of the most popular and acclaimed indie games of all time. While known for many things, Bastion’s most distinctive component (for most gamers, at […]Read more "Bastion: Thermodynamics, Entropy, and the Physics of Fantasy"
Your Name (Japanese title: Kimi no Na wa) is one of those rare pieces of art that defies genre classification—that breaks every assumption and expectation of science-fiction, fantasy, and coming-of-age narratives, and that takes our reductionist approach to film and fiction and shows that nice, convenient labels are never necessary in creating powerful works. It simultaneously melds body-swapping and time […]Read more "Your Name: A Film on Reality, Seen through Fantasy"
So Breath of the Wild is the apex of open-world design. It’s filled with secrets, and it makes exploration itself feel rewarding. Its narrative has depth and resonance, and its characters feel three-dimensional and relatably real. It takes the tropes of post-apocalyptic fiction to a new level—depicting a world not irradiated and destroyed, but retaken by wilderness. And in […]Read more "An Exploration of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Part V: The Heroes’ Legacy"
I’ve spent far too long now extolling Breath of the Wild as the best that open-world game design has to offer, but open-world games pose a huge narrative challenge for developers trying to tell a coherent story. Because the game’s events can be played out in any order, it’s quite difficult to build a satisfying, well-plotted narrative, especially […]Read more "An Exploration of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Part IV: The Post-Post-Apocalypse"
So Breath of the Wild is open world in the best sense of the term; it presents you with a vast world to explore, where everything you see can be reached, every mountain climbed, every river sailed, every canyon traversed… but so what? I’ve extolled its world design and its exploration mechanics and rambled about its well-crafted mapmaking, […]Read more "An Exploration of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Part III: Into the Wild"
In modern game design, “open-world” has become something of a buzzword; after series like GTA and Elder Scrolls popularized the genre, developers (especially Ubisoft) embraced it and began to churn out game after game after game in that mold. Open-world games, in short, discard the notion of linear progression and instead throw the player into what is […]Read more "An Exploration of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Part II: “Open World”"