Firewatch

I’ll just join the masses in singing the praises of this game, which I really quite enjoyed. To its credit, after being absolutely exhausted following my first week of work at a new job, on Friday night, it still managed to suck me into its world to the point where I played pretty much the entire game in one sitting, until 3am (and it’s a 5-6 hour game). I will say that I was expecting more of a surprise/unexpected ending, but I still enjoyed my overall playthrough, including the rather sober and mature ending. It’s also an absolutely gorgeous world to be exploring, with the only aesthetic element not to my liking being the chunky body parts (hands, legs) of the protagonist. It does sound like the game is a financial success, and so I can’t wait to see what this team creates next. 

Gone Home

I’ve been meaning to play Gone Home for what feels like forever, and today I finally sat down to play through it in one sitting, which is how I think you should play this game (and it’s very doable, at about 90 minutes). I found myself really enjoying the experience, and especially dug the music that you play at various points by way of cassettes that you find (since it’s 90s indie rock, which I rather like a lot). The one thing that I felt should be changed is that I was able to finish the game before I made my way to the basement – after finishing the game, knowing I had a key to the basement, I went back in and found there were quite a few narrative elements left to experience, especially when it came to clarifying what happened to the parents. But yes, as has been said by so many people, this is really something you should take the time to play through – a nice bit of experiential play.

Inside Out

I’m going to be going against the grain I think, by saying that I wasn’t really that crazy about this movie. I can appreciate that it’s well made, but it just wasn’t something that I found myself enjoying. In fact, I started watching it a while back, and then it took until now to finally get around to finishing it. I found it incredibly dark and depressing, which is not necessarily something I don’t want to see in an animated film, but in this case it just felt weird and didn’t work well with all the gags they try to put in. 

For Honor

It’s with great pleasure that I can announce that from next week, I’ll be taking on the role of production coordinator at Ubisoft here in Montreal.

Following the defeat of Shinra, it’s been an interesting month of exploration, and I’m incredibly excited for this new challenge. Although it’s technically the same role that I had at Shinra, it will be within a much bigger team, which I look forward to joining.

I’m also quite excited that I’ll be working on a game this time (as opposed to a platform, which is what we were building at Shinra), and a new IP at that – I’ll be joining the For Honor team.

It’s also going to be quite interesting for me to have a new studio experience, to compare with my previous one (as an employee of Eidos Montréal, but working out of the Square Enix Montréal studio), and I’m already happy that I’ll be seeing a few familiar faces once I get there – and also working in what is quite possibly the biggest game studio in the world (current employee count here in Montreal is apparently 2750). 

Michel Ancel is one of my favorite game creators, and I’m incredibly excited to join the company that gave birth to games like Rayman and Beyond Good & Evil – and of course also the ridiculous number of other Ubisoft games that I’ve played over the years.

New year, new company, new game!

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi

As I said, I was on the lookout for some new anime to watch the other day, and when I got to checking out a list of shows currently airing (here), this only series that sounded interesting to me was Boku Dake ga Inai Machi (the English title is Erased). I immediately checked out the first episode, and really liked what I saw. The first thing was that I really liked the realistic depiction of Japan – obviously filling me with lots of nostalgic feels – but then the mystery that is presented is interesting as well. Without going into too many details, it revolves around a man who is able to sense danger, and go back in time slightly to possibly prevent it. The first episode ends in a way that makes that premise become even more interesting. I’m looking forward to catching up with the show (it’s currently on episode 5).

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

The other day I mentioned on Twitter that I was feeling the itch to watch some new anime, and when I mentioned this to my wife, she recommended (again) that I watch Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika). My wife doesn’t really watch much anime, especially new stuff, but this was a series that she watched about a year ago, and I remember that at the time she tried to convince me to watch it, but I still didn’t make the plunge. On the surface, this absolutely looks like the type of anime series that I despise (moe, otaku-focused), and that’s currently taking over the anime space these days. But I made the plunge, and I’m glad I did, watching all 12 episodes over the course of a day (there are also 3 follow-up movies, that I plan on watching as well). The easiest way to describe this series is that it does to the magical girls genre what Evangelion did to the mech genre. The fact that not only is it a genre that I don’t like (whereas I like even basic mech stuff), it’s also an aesthetic that I really don’t enjoy watching, but if you can persevere – and I’d say it’s a really slow burn, with things only starting to reveal themselves around episode 3 or 4 – you’ll find something that’s quite interesting and rewarding to watch. It’s best that I don’t go into the details much – in fact, when the series first launched, they made it seem like it was just your regular magical girls show, which shocked viewers as the story progressed – but I’ll just say that it’s a much darker show than what a first glance (and even the first episodes) would suggest. 

You’re Next

I ended up watching this last week after my wife started watching it. Like I said in my Crimson Peak post, I don’t find myself getting the urge to watch horror movies a lot these days, but I can still have fun watching one. This wasn’t bad, but I felt like the “twist” (which I won’t mention) was a bit too, well, regular. The highlight of the film is the main character though (pictured), she’s fun to watch in action.

Crimson Peak

I quite liked this. Sure, I’m a fan of Guillermo del Toro’s work, but I’ve found myself being less into horror movies of late, and so this wasn’t something that was particularly high on my list of things I wanted to watch. But this felt more like a ghost story than pure horror – sure it gets creepy, and a bit gory at times, but I found myself really drawn into the story and the general atmosphere of the film. 

Rival Books of Aster

I am absolutely falling in love with a new collectible card game on iOS called Rival Books of Aster that just came out (although it seems like it’s currently only available in the Canadian App Store). The gameplay is sort of a cross between Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering, while still feeling original. The first thing that I found striking though was the overall aesthetic, which includes the card art, all coming off as medieval in style, and quite different from what we usually see from these games. It features a really nice tutorial to teach you how to play, which I’m now getting to the end (the last four steps are to play full matches with a deck based on each of the 4 Houses in the game). Really looking forward to playing much more of this, and I hope I’ll get some friends on board as well. Funny thing is, I hadn’t heard anything about this game, and was led to it by a promotional tweet in my timeline.

The Walking Dead

I’ve read the comic series from the very beginning, and only decided to stop reading following the release of last month’s #150 – I’d been growing bored of the series, but I might revisit it later on through trades. As for the TV show, I’ve liked it on and off, but had stopped watching it after the season 5 mid-season break – maybe it’s just that as that was around the time I was moving from Japan, I just didn’t really keep up with it, and wasn’t exactly in a hurry to catch up. I’ve finally gone back to the series recently, picking up where I left off, and I’m really enjoying the episodes I’ve watched so far (I’m now at episode 13 of season 5). My problem with the show is the pacing – I like it when there’s stuff happening, and get bored when there’s no movement. In these episodes I’ve been watching, we’re finally being introduced to a whole new situation/location (the community) and introduced to a lot of new characters. This was an exciting development in the comic as well, so I’m looking forward to seeing where things go.