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Why Don’t Mystery Games Need Mechanics?

January 23, 2020 | Articles, Blog | 100 Comments

Why Don’t Mystery Games Need Mechanics?

There is nothing I love more than a good mystery
story, whether it’s classic novels like The maltese falcon, more modern televised
sleuthing shows like Twin Peaks and even mystery movies like the brilliant clue or Knives out.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for mystery-focused videogames… which have been
a little bit hit and miss. In L.A. Noire, the crimes don’t require
any sort of thought on the player’s part to solve because Cole’s magical ability
to tell whether a bit of evidence is useful or not makes investigations a sinch. In the
Batman Arkham games, starring supposedly the “world’s greatest detective” finding
out what’s going on is as simple as looking at a bullethole with your magic bat-o-vision,
whereupon bruce will just tell you. And in Heavy Rain, the focus is less on solving a
genuinely quite compelling thriller plot, and more on trying to get your head around
weird quick time events and unsatisfying plotholes. For a long time, mystery stories in videogames
have been mixed to say the least, but over the last year a mountain of utterly fantastic
games built around solving mysteries have come out of nowhere and have completely changed
my mind. I’m talking about stuff like disco Elysium, Heaven’s Vault, Tangle Tower and
a few others. But what did they do differently that means I suddenly like them? Well, I think
2019’s mystery renaissance is down to the fact that all of these games go back to the
roots of what makes a mystery fun to solve. So… what does make a mystery fun to solve?
Well, my dear viewer, it’s quite elementary, The best mystery stories are the ones where
you as the reader, viewer or player are given all the tools you need to crack the case using
nothing but the available evidence and your own brainpower. In, Sherlock Holmes and the
adventure of black peter, it’s perfectly possible to suspect that black peter was murdered
by a fellow sailor and not this cockney scamp *before* Sherlock Holmes, you can do this
by noting that the tobacco, and rum are favored by seamen (heh), suspecting that black peter
has a few skeletons in his closet and it’d take considerable skill with a harpoon to
pull this off. It’s this aspect of challenge, and extra effort the reader has to go through
that makes the solve at the end of the mystery so damn satisfying. You could almost say that a good mystery is
kind of like a puzzle, set by the author, to be solved by the audience- and you wouldn’t
be too far from the truth. Just as the investigator in a good crime thriller is running around
trying to figure out whodunnit, and matching wits with a criminal mastermind, so is the
reader engaging in their own competition against the author. A mystery, just like a puzzle,
is also bound by rules, if you cheat by skipping to the end, or the author cheats by not having
everything be explainable, then the integrity of the challenge is broken and the payoff
at the end is ruined. A great mystery game doesn’t need quick time events or a big
open world or stealth action mechanics to make it a game, because mystery stories are
pretty much already games – taking the form of a single massive abstract puzzle. Unfortunately, making a good mystery game
is a bit harder than just slapping an existing story on top of a level you can run around
in – in books, movies and TV, authors are able to pace out clues and tightly control
what their audience gets to see and when. However, in videogames, players need and expect
a degree of freedom, this can lead to them solving the case too early, not finding critical
evidence, or just getting lost and confused. Trying to control players by forcing them
to investigate in a certain way cheapens the act of solving the mystery, but just leaving
players to their own devices might lead to them having a less satisfying or outright
broken experience. It’s a real conundrum. But, when a truly special mystery game does
sidestep these problems, they can create an experience even better than the genre-defining
greats, because the solve comes entirely under the power of the player. Now, I could ramble
about how much I love classic whodunits forever, but instead, I’m going to break the structure
of a good mystery into what I think are its most important parts: questions, evidence,
twists, and the solve, I’m going to go through these four one by one to work out how more
recent video games create a compelling mystery without falling into the traps of their predecessors. Because the fun of mystery stories is contained
within the narrative itself, it’s important to immediately hook players and get them engaged
with the inner workings of the story itself, and the best way to do that is to get them
asking questions: The central conundrum of outer wilds is an incredibly complicated solar
system spanning sci fi adventure but by using a light touch, it’s able to get players
interested in finding out what’s going on without intimidating them by seeding interesting
questions all over the starting planet of Timber Hearth. This big spooky statue head was found on Giants
Deep, these weird gravity distorting crystals and Nomai artifacts were found on brittle
hollow, the ruins at timber harth’s pole give you some juicy details about ash twin
and ember twinand the route to dark bramble starts with this cute little anglerfish fella
and this weird plant that crash landed nearby and somehow has the capacity to teleport your
drone into dark bramble itself. Each of these little clues pose interesting questions to
particular kinds of players, and give them a concrete goal and destination to investigate
first. If those weren’t enough, you can also track the signals of your fellow astronauts,
there’s one on each major planet, and each one points you to an introductory mystery
to help you get to grips with their respective locales. By splitting up a larger mystery
into smaller parts, each with their own associated questions and puzzles, you can prevent players
from getting overwhelmed, and also control where they go first to stop them accidentally
solving things too quickly. However, it’s important to keep the process
of asking and attempting to answer questions moving along at a good pace, the more time
players spend away from the story doing other things, the greater chance there is that they’ll
forget connections between ideas, loose track of what they’re supposed to do or simply
get bored, by making getting that information as smooth as possible, players can spend more
time doing the fun stuff. Heaven’s Vault is just brilliant at this-
the game sees you translating ancient writing to figure out some even older spooky mysteries,
and because you’ve got to piece together the story from fragments of text, making sure
that you can reasonably deal with the mountains of information you get given is critical. Instead of requiring you to write down every
word and translation in the game, heaven’s vault stores all of your findings in a single
massive timeline based on when Aliya thinks they’re from and on a different screen that
tracks when you acquired them, along with a description of the item and how you got
it as well. This is especially helpful for when you unearth some bombshell evidence and
need to change your translation to fit – an inscription you thought was Empress Banished
Rebels, might’ve actually been Empress Buried Robots, and rather than having to go through
your notes and change everything, heaven’s vault helpfully updates all your translation
attempts as you change your mind. The aim here isn’t to make the mysteries
easier, just to reduce the amount of busywork and to keep the solves coming, ancient words
using similar characters often have similar meanings, and so rather than having every
puzzle be an exercise of pausing, meticulously comparing words and then deciding on a meaning,
heaven’s vault simply shows you some similar-looking guesses, crucially, without telling you whether
you’re right- brilliantly simulating the way cognitive biases can lead you astray as
well as giving things a much more even pace. Return of the Obra Dinn might be from 2018
but hits many of the same notes, the nautical mystery on offer here is a deeply interwoven
and incredibly complex logic grid of names, causes of death and jobs, but the Obra Dinn
makes sure that the act of collecting the evidence needed to work out who’s who is
as easy as possible. Locations of vignettes are automatically noted, the game tells you
who appears where and even gives you transcriptions of every conversation. These details are all
crucial to solving the mysteries of the Obra Dinn, but simply doing data entry really isn’t
much fun, so the game just skips it for you. But it’s important not to help the player
too much, if the mental game between the designer and player gets too easy, people are just
going to get bored. Messing with the player’s expectations is a crucial element of mystery
stories and it’s why they’re so fond of twists and fakeouts, because these literary
techniques are an excellent way to keep the audience from getting complacent. The great Hypnospace outlaw uses twists to
keep the player on their toes and stop them from thinking too rigidly, because the game’s
best puzzles are all about using readily available information in new and interesting ways. Around
midway through the game, in which you play as an alternate-universe late 90s internet
moderator you’re tasked with tracking down some bits of pirated music that some users
have uploaded and shutting things down. It quickly becomes apparent that you aren’t
going to be able to find it on the regularly accessible webpages, and you’ll need to
do a bit of digging. So, you track down the name of one of the songs, which points you
to this page about a tennis conspiracy theory, which says he got the pirated music from this
guy, Gear Head Gregg, who offers tech support and security advice and also seems to know
a lot about a secret filesharing site… hmmm. So, this site called flist needs a login to
access, and we know gear head greg is a member so we need to find his password – Players
will spot Greg has a whole page dedicated to teaching people to set a secure password,
using your age, location and favourite hobby. He even references himself in the example,
and it’s at this point that experienced puzzle solvers who’ve followed the obvious
breadcrumbs will roll their eyes at the tried and true hidden in plain sight password and
input the code – only to be told… they’re dead wrong. It’s quite clear that the hypnospace devs
knew the players would think they were really clever for inputting the example password,
because it actually doesn’t work anywhere at all, of course it doesn’t you big dumb
idiot. It’s a great little joke at the expense of people who thought that they’re a little
bit too clever for the game, like me, and helps bring the player down a few pegs. These
little jabs don’t stop the investigation in its tracks, but instead encourage players
to look a level deeper, and challenge themselves rather than settling into a routine based
on what tropes and techniques they’ve already seen. It’s important for the mystery designer
to stay one step ahead of the player, if a player tackles a mystery with narrative patterns
they’re already familiar with, it’s very possible they’ll solve the case just by
recalling a different story that already did this twist instead of actually engaging with
the puzzles the designer worked so hard on. The first case of the third phoenix wright
game is a really memorable example of this: The witness, one miss Dahlia Hawthorne is
so lovely, and so sickeningly saccharine at all times, that it’s impossible not to immediately
see the twist of her *gasp* actually being evil coming about eight million miles away
– because the game has already pulled this trick several times already. What’s supposed
to be a cool shock moment that sets up a genuinely quite sad ending to the case and a recurring
villain loses a lot of impact because of how easy it is to work out the real killer’s
identity and motive long before you’re supposed to. Let’s quickly recap before we continue.
Mystery stories are all about solving puzzles contained within a narrative, and for those
puzzles to be solvable in a fun way, players need to be free to ask and answer questions,
it’s got to be easy to gather up all the information you need, and the answer can’t
be too predictable – so how can video games pull off that final climactic solve? Well, the trick to a good solve, just like
I said in the beginning is in the challenge of proving to the game and to the designer
that you’ve solved the mystery and know what happened. Only then can you get the fantastic
payoff of watching all your hard work slide neatly into place, and getting to admire the
mystery being unravelled. Unfortunately, players will often unintentionally try to skip around
actually working this stuff out, and accidentally rob themselves of the satisfaction of the
solve. This is a real problem in games like the vanishing
of Ethan Carter, where the central mystery is pretty good, but the mechanics of the game
means that you don’t actually have to understand what’s going on in order to proceed. For
example, these timeline assembly puzzles where you test your knowledge of the evidence and
context by putting together snapshots of the past in chronological order are significantly
quicker and easier to brute force than they are to actually understand – whereupon they’ll
just tell you what happened anyway. The important thing, then is to make solving
the case require that understanding, and make it so that players are forced to engage with
the mystery on its own terms in order to win. Her Story, and to a lesser extent Telling
Lies are great at this. Both games involve searching a database of video footage to collect
evidence and work out what happened to either a mysterious woman suspected of murdering
her husband, or a government agent who’s gone undercover. Almost invariably, players looking to get
the juicy details will search for stuff like murder, or killed in order to get to the good
bit of the story, but the games very cleverly only ever show the first five chronological
results for whatever you type in, meaning trying to skip to the big reveals just lands
you with a bunch of useless filler. In order to find out the endgame details and the ultimate
truth behind the game’s plot, players need to actually watch the videos, and work out
specific search terms that’ll lead them to later video files. In this way, the game
forces you to understand and partially solve the mystery before you can progress, and as
an interesting side effect, creates a nice narrative arc out of disconnected footage,
because players will likely encounter clips in broadly the same order. Tangle Tower requires players to assemble
simple sentences using information and clues that they’ve gathered in order to prove
that they’ve understood the connections between evidence and witness testimony. It’s
*technically* possible to brute force these connections, but between eight different bits
of evidence to pair up and five options on the two dialogue wheels, you’re looking
at 1400 possible combinations per solve, and there are quite a few in the game, meaning
that it’s usually quicker to actually try and solve a puzzle than it is to try and cheat
your way past. This setup does have the nice side effect of allowing players to progress
if they’ve *almost* solved a given clue, because then they’ve only got a max of seven
things to try. A question, some evidence, a twist, and the
solve, four crucial ingredients for a classic mystery game, but we’re not done yet, let’s
quickly take a look at how these ideas are combined in the instant classic that is Disco
Elysium. Now, this is a heavily story based game so there will be some spoilers, but only
for an early, optional quest I beat on the first ingame day – if you want to skip ahead
that’s fine, just go to this timestamp. Now, for everyone else – Disco Elysium is
a game all about playing as an amnesiac detective trying to solve a suspicious murder, but I
don’t actually want to talk about that, I want to talk about a side mystery you’ll
find which I’ve named, THE CURSE OF THE COMMERCIAL DISTRICT, which is great fun and
also not really connected to the main plot which makes it great to use as an example,
so let’s break down how DE makes an interesting mystery in terms of those four steps. First, a question. Early on, in your main
adventure you’ll be able to quiz this library owner about what’s behind this spooky curtain
– it turns out, she thinks the run-down building complex is haunted, and it’s sapping the
life out of her shop, which is failing so badly she’s forcing her daughter to work
instead of going to school. Surely there can’t actually be a ghost that seems to prey on
capitalism… right? Either way, it’s a hell of a mystery and neatly ties into the
surreal and political themes of the game. Next up, evidence gathering, you and your
lovely best friend Kim explore the ruined commercial area, finding what remains of run
down businesses like a gym, a taxidermy place and what’s clearly and MMORPG developer.
Over time, by connecting the dots between bits of evidence, like this planning board
and scary polar bear fridge, you’ll find out that all these businesses dreamed too
big, and ended up going broke. Third, a twist! It turns out there’s a hidden
business still operating here! A novelty dice maker, this reveal opens up a whole load of
new questions, forcing you to re-evaluate- why did her business survive? Is *she* the
source of the curse? Why does she stay hidden? By answering these new questions, chatting
to kim and quizzing the dice maker, you get to form a complete opinion on the case before
heading back to the library owner for the solve. Here you’re faced with the question of not
just why you think all these businesses seem to fail, but what kind of person you are.
Is the pacemaker really a demon? Did these people all fail because they lost sight of
true art™?Are you a capitalist who thinks all these people just had terrible businesses,
or were all these passion projects doomed to fail *because* of the oppressive bourgeoise
rule over Revachol? The important thing is that the conclusion is yours to draw, and
it feels incredibly satisfying to come to, as it’s the culmination of both your investigation
into the world, but also your character – by resolving this mystery, and discovering a
little more about what kind of person you are, you can uncover one more bit of evidence
that can be used to solve the case of your missing identity, something that won’t be
confirmed for sure until much later in the game. Mysteries are at the heart of so many great
stories, and by not capitalising on them, video games are missing out on the potential
for some truly brilliant experiences that test the players lateral thinking and analytical
skills, rather than their mathematical abilities or reactions. Sometimes a great game isn’t
the product of slick mechanics or load of content, but a purity of vision and an understanding
of what makes particular kinds of narratives tick. Mystery stories are all about curiosity,
persistence, and a desire to think outside the box, both when it comes to designing them,
but also experiencing them too – and even though they might be competing, at the end
of the day, players and designers of mystery stories will need to collaborate to truly
bring this vision to life. And there’s no better way to learn how, than 2019s brilliant
mystery games. Tl;dw if you like the sherlock tv show you’re
officially banned from my channel. I don’t make the rules, sorry. Hello! What’s up? Don’t worry about just
now, you don’t really have to go- I was lying… which, coincidentally is what Steven
Moffat thinks a twist is. Anyway, I’m talking to you right now, because
I’ve got a few shoutouts to make, first for a cool up and coming youtube person who
you should be watching instead of me, and then for my top-tier patrons. The youtuber
in question is none other than Tom o Regan, who does snappy, fast paced game design insight
videos with a little bit more of a comedic bent – his stuff is a really great change
of pace, and it’s been interesting to watch his style evolve and grow over the last year,
go show him some love. But the real stars you should be showering
with praise are my lovely patrons, but especially, my top-tier 10 dollar a month mysterious benefactors,
who are: Alex Deloach
Aseran Auno94
Baxter Heal Big Chess
Brian Notarianni Calvin Han
Daniel Mettjes David Dumitrascu
Derk-Jan Karrenbeld doodlehog
Evie Ibbathon
Jessie Rine Joshua Binswanger
Lee Berman Lucas Slack
LunarEagle1996 Macewindow54
Max Philippov MrTWithSomeTea
Patrick Rhomberg Philby The Bilby
Phonyhomeless Pr05p3ro
ReysDad Samuel VanDer Plaats
Strategia in Ultima yaron miron
Zach Schuster Chao Phew, the list is getting longer every month,
thanks for your continued support, happy new year and I’ll see you around, bye!

Guild Wars 2 – Maximum Profit from Divine Lucky Envelopes – 1100%+ Magic Find Guide

Divine Lucky Envelopes are items or I should
rather say boxes sold by an NPC during Lunar New Year Festival in Divinity’s Reach. They are quite expensive, each will cost you
one gold and you can buy up to 16 per day per account. You can also buy more at the trading post
or if you have multiple accounts they can be sent via mail. When you open those envelopes you will get,
amongst other things, very expensive trophies that can be sold back to the vendor for more
than the original price. Thing is that you can drop different trophies,
some of them are way more expensive than others, and their drop chance is affected by the magic
find. So let’s take a look at how to maximize your
magic find and squeeze the most profit from your envelopes. If you wanna know more about how the magic
find work, don’t forget to check my guide a link is down below. The good thing is that you can open all of
them fast so we can incorporate pretty much all the magic find boosting methods and it
won’t cost much extra. If you have a large enough gold pool, it would
be ideal to store them and open at the last day of the Lunar New Year Festival, when you
already have all envelopes you can get, while still having Festival bonus buff. So which Magic Find boosts you can stack? -The 1st one is Item Booster. You can get it from the yellow Item Booster,
Heroic Booster or Candy Corn Gobbler if you have one. -The 2nd one is Magic Find Booster. Here I guess the easiest method will be to
buy the green Item Boost from the Laurel Vendor, but you can also get it from Communal Boost
Bonfire or by using blue Magic Find booster, either separate one or from Enchanted Reward
Booster. -The 3rd one will be the Celebration Bonus,
either from the Birthday Booster what you get after each year from the moment you create
your character or from Celebration Boosters what you should have a lot of from dailies. -The 4th one, the Black Lion Boost comes exclusively
from Black Lion Booster, which you can buy only with Black Lion Statuettes. It cost only one and it’s guaranteed drop
so all you need is one Black Lion Key. If you wanna know how to get one per week
for free, check my farming guide a link is down below. -The 5th boost can be bought at the Guild
Taven however it’s amount depends on your guild level and upgrades. -The 6th one comes from Guild Banners, You
are looking for Heroes or Gold and Magic Find one since it gives 5% more than just Magic
Find Banner. -The 7th comes from the Spirit Banner. You can buy one at each Mystic Forge vendor
for 25 Spirit Shards. -The 8th is a bit tricky since it comes from
quite short fireworks. Just buy a few cheapest ones that give New
Year’s Gift bonus on the trading post and use them shortly before you open your envelopes. -And the remaining 2 comes from the Food and
Utility buffs. The best food is Chocolate Omnomberry Cream
and for utility one of these three: Flask of Pumpkin Oil, Lump of Crystallized
Nougat, or Sharpening Skull. However we are not done with boosting yet,
there are other methods, what you should incorporate. As I said before we have a 15% boost during
Lunar New Year Festival so really make sure you won’t miss it on the last day. 300% comes permanently from eating essences
of luck, if you haven’t it maxed out already, now is the time. You can also buy Magical Enrichment Infusion
for your ascended amulet if you have one. And finally the Silverwastes bonuses. There are 3 in total. The first one, Hero of the Wastes comes from
finishing the Vinewrath Meta event. I have a guide for that if you want to check
it out a link is down below. The second one, Perseverance comes from participating
at any event in the zone and you can stack them up to 5. And the most tricky one that you will get
briefly for a few seconds after you open Bandit Chest with the Perseverance buff. I have a guide and TacO markers for those
if you need them a link is down below as well. Since this last buff is really short I would
recommend to split your Envelope stacks to like 50 or so and open one after each chest.

10 Best iOS & Android Games of 2020 [FIGHTING]

Hey Gamers! Welcome back to IsItThatGame?
Your one stop destination for the best android and ios games out there! I’m your friend ‘Big Smoke’ and this is first
part of what you’ve been waiting for ‘Finally! Best Fighting games of 2019’!!! Make sure to Leave a BIG FAT LIKE if enjoy
this video and now without wasting any time…Here we go again! Up first, we have Shadow Fight 3 by Nekki
Studios. The online fighter is fairly big with a 1.2 gigabyte download that takes you
into a world where the shadows empower the strong. You get to combine 3 different fighting
styles and use a variety of weapons to fight in 3D Environments coupled with realistic
physics and lifelike animations. You can use special abilities and acquire upgrades to
successfully fight BESIDES the shadows, or AGAINST them.
Next up is the decently sized 67 MB ‘aim and shoot’ game appropriately called ‘Bowmasters’
by Miniclip Games. Bowmasters lets you test your aiming skills along with a TONS of characters
and TONS of weapons to switch things up when you feel like it. The ragdoll-like character
animations only add to the mayhem in a game with multiple game modes that range from fighting
fruits, birds and players online. The next game is King Arthur by Warner Brothers,
based on the Jerry Bruckheimer film about the same guy. Its not exactly a fighting game,
but its heavily combat-oriented. The combat has quite the cinematic touch with timed attacks
that lead to more impactful blows. You even get to wield the legendary Excalibur! You
won’t find this 212 MB game on any store but we’ve got a link for you in the description
below. Up next on the list is ‘Transformers: Forged
to Fight’ by Kabam Studios. For a 212 MB online fighter, you get to play the ENTIRE
roster of transformers ranging from the Autobots to Decepticons and EVEN Maximals and Predacons.
For those who DON’T know what I just said you get to fight as a bunch of really cool
looking robots that have their own special abilities and fighting style, in a large 360⁰
destructible arena! Up next is a game part of another popular
fighting game franchise called Mortal Kombat. Developed by Netherrealm Studios and published
by Warner Brothers, you might already know about how serious this game is when it comes
to fighting mechanics. This 1.1 Gig game also includes over 130 characters from the entire
series including the more recent titles like MK Eleven. Fight your ways through towers
and battle factions online and perform gruesome fatalities!
Our next game is the bloody and gruesome ‘I Gladiator’ by the Next Dimension studios.
This 1.2 GB game recently became free-to-play as well and places you in the shoes.. well,
sandals more accurately, of a Roman gladiator that was born to wreak havoc. The comic-book
like cartoonish aesthetic fits appropriately as you hack and slash your way through multiple
arenas, using a variety of weapons, armors and traps.
Moving on, we have ‘EA Sports UFC’, published and developed by Electronic Arts. This 1 Gigabyte
game lets you craft your own UFC legacy with over 70 different characters to play with.
From well-known veterans like Connor MacGregor to the Martial Artist legend: Bruce lee, this
game has it all. This game can be played offline as well where you can climb the ranks and
unlock new opponents to fight out in the Octagon. The next inSANE fighting game we have for
you is part of one of THE MOST popular fighting game franchises out there…’Tekken’ developed
by Bandai Namco. Unfortunately, the game isn’t available on the play store but fear not!
The intensely action-packed fighting game with a roster easily recognized by fans, can
be safely downloaded using the link in the description below. The If you’ve ever enjoyed
the art of fencing as a combat sport, FIE Swordplay is the game for you. You know this
game isn’t messing with the rules and technical aspects of Fencing when it is OFFICIALLY SUPPORTED
by the International Fencing Federation, FIE for short. The game can be entertaining and
informational if you’re looking to learn about the sport while you go ‘EN GUARDE’
either against AI or other players online! And finally, here we have a 1.6 Gigabyte game
that isn’t just a part of just a recently popular fighting game franchise, oh no…it’s
also based on one of two MOST popular comic book universes out there, that’s right!
Its DC’s ‘Injustice 2’, developed by Neterrealm Studios and published by Warner
Brothers. This game lets you play through the Injustice 2 storyline and also has events
and PvP to keep things spicy. So thats all for today guys! To watch 15 best
free fps games, click the video on the left and to watch ‘coolest Android iOS games of
all time’ click the one on the right! Hope you enjoyed this video…see you in the next
one! Till then this is your friend Big Smoke… Signing off!

Best Gaming Music Mix 2020 | Best of EDM | Trap, Electro House, Dubstep, Nightcore, NCS | 1 Hour

I’m gonna fight ’em off
A seven nation army couldn’t hold me back They’re gonna rip it off
Taking their time right behind my back And I’m talking to myself at night
Because I can’t forget Back and forth through my mind
Behind a cigarette And the message coming from my eyes
Says “Leave it alone” Don’t want to hear about it
Every single one’s got a story to tell Everyone knows about it
From the Queen of England to the Hounds of Hell And if I catch it coming back my way
I’m gonna serve it to you And that ain’t what you want to hear
But that’s what I’ll do

My Favorite Game Animation of 2019

January 15, 2020 | Articles, Blog | 100 Comments

My Favorite Game Animation of 2019

This was supposed to come
out in December! Oops. Well, whatever.
Let’s do it anyway. Hi! These are some of my favorite
bits of game animation I saw in 2019! Let’s begin with one of last year’s
early animation highlights… ANTHEM I think it’s fair to say that this is some of the
best-looking animation in a BioWare game yet. Characters are generally the highlight
of any great BioWare experience, and I don’t think I was prepared for how much
performance capture was going to add to that. Like, Owen as he’s voiced by T.J.
Ramini is already really charming. But Owen voiced AND physically performed
by Ramini brings a new level of charisma to that character that I don’t think
would have come across otherwise. Owen: ” Hey, considering that
the Monitor is both lancer and cypher, we could probably use a VERY fabulous
cypher/javelin pilot combo of our own.” Player Character: “Owen, be patient.” Of course, most of your NPC interactions use
this game’s conversation animation system, and there are some
gains on that front too, but seeing characters like these brought to
life with more natural performance detail in cinematics really makes me
excited for future BioWare projects. Also: running, jumping and especially flying
around in a javelin just feels cool as heck, in large part because the animation
sells their power so well. I will never get tired of sprinting toward a
ledge and launching into the air in this game. It just feels so cool. Next I want to
talk about Sekiro! The animation in FromSoft games has rarely been
the most polished-looking in the AAA space, but it almost always succeeds where
it matters: functional clarity. And that clarity is crucial
in a game like Sekiro, where players are expected to watch enemies
carefully and react to their attacks with so much more speed
and precision than before. The devs have talked in interviews
about how they spent a lot of time tuning each enemy’s attack animations
frame by frame, and it shows. Because, this game’s combat would not work
without those quickly-recognizable tells. And for their cinematics,
I love that From has maintained their trademark slooooow
timing and scene pacing. That willingness to let
characters move unnaturally slowly is a big reason why FromSoft
cutscenes feel so distinct, and it allows the sudden sharp movements
to feel even more surprising by contrast. From’s soft animation team really
is just getting better and better. Elden Ring cannot
come soon enough. Next up:
Luigi’s Mansion 3 Next Level Games has one of my favorite
animation teams in this industry. This is the same studio behind the
previous Luigi’s Mansion game for the 3DS AND – one of my favorite game
animation showcases of all time – the absolutely stellar
Punch-Out for the Wii. I already made an entire video singing
the praises of that game’s animation because this team is so good at delivering both
function and appeal simultaneously at 100%. And by gosh they are
good at animating Luigi. Next Level consistently brings
the best out of this character, from the moments when
he’s feeling scared, to the moments when he starts to feel
some of his confidence coming back to the moment that NOPE
NEVER-MIND, HE’S TERRIFIED AGAIN. Whatever Next Level is working on
now, I cannot wait to see it. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order We’ve seen a lot of Star Wars games
with lightsaber combat at this point, and a lot of different
approaches to animating it. Some of them have aimed to
replicate the fighting styles of existing characters as
we’ve seen them in the movies, and others try to create an
entirely new style all their own. And one thing that I really
enjoy in Fallen Order is the way Cal’s fighting animation feels like
it stylistically succeeds on both fronts. The way he handles a
lightsaber feels distinctly him and a little different from the stances or movements
that I’m used to seeing in Star Wars games, and yet I could totally see some Jedi moving
like this in a proper Star Wars movie which is something I’m not sure I
could say about the Force Unleashed. Combine that aesthetic balance with
some sharp controls and some stylish finishing animations and no wonder
the combat in this game feels so cool. Also, this? One of my
favorite Star Wars droids now. Look at ‘em. What a good little buddy. But next.
Pokemon Sword & Shield I’ve said before in a previous video
that the animation in the Pokemon series is a triumph of scope management rather than
visual flair, and that’s still true here. But in addition to the fact that they keep
managing to maintain a consistent level of charming animation quality across
these 400 creatures and human characters (which is still a feat
in its own right), I’m really digging the additional focus they’re
starting to put on animated personality. Like, the way the game instantly familiarizes you
with the personalities of all three starters just by showing you how they interact with
each other in one tiny cinematic is SO GOOD. And I think this cutscene
highlights a shift in focus that, really, has been happening
over the last few generations: Game Freak appears to be focusing
more and more of their resources on presenting Pokemon outside of
battle, which I think is a great call. Because one of the core elements of
the Pokemon fantasy is just living and traveling with
your team of creatures. And the earliest Pokemon games
just couldn’t provide that, so I really love the idea of the franchise
making that a higher priority now, because that’s where your Pokemon’s ability
to express themselves really shines. I think it’s telling that almost every time
I’ve seen people showing off their team online, or sharing clips
from their own game. Those clips tends to be video of their
Pokemon being goofballs in the Camp. So yeah! Real excited to see where
Game Freak takes things from here. Now high-quality traditional hand-drawn animation
is something of a rare treat in games, so I’m always grateful to see
the Banner Sagas and the Cupheads and the Hollow Knights out
there keeping that torch lit. And this year’s hand-drawn
champion was Indivisible. It is real fun seeing the
Skullgirls crew try on a new genre! I love these characters,
I love their designs, and their combat animations are just
loaded with tons of great little details… the team even brought in Studio
Trigger to animate the game’s opening! If you are enjoying the look of this
right now, I recommend picking it up, because not only is this
game loaded with charm, but you just don’t see games that
look like this coming out every day, and frankly I want to see studios like
Lab Zero, MDHR, Stoic and Team Cherry able to keep doing
what they’re doing. But, moving on. There were a LOT of extremely
AAA games raising the bar on photo-realistic human game
character animation this year. Devil May Cry 5, Modern Warfare,
Resident Evil 2, Death Stranding… lots of extremely
impressive work. I can’t imagine the hundreds of hours it
took hundreds of people to make all this. But the one team I’d like
to call out in particular is Remedy Entertainment for
their work on Control. I am legit impressed by
the degree of subtlety in character face performances
during some of these story scenes. Granted, certain moments and scenes can
dip into the uncanny from time to time, but this game’s setting already
exist so deep in the uncanny that, somehow, those moments kinda
just help contribute to the vibe. But the thing that push
this over the edge for me, and I’m sure that this effect is impart due
to the fact that your player character’s based on real
actor Courtney Hope and they occasionally use some live
footage of her in specific scenes, but I’ve got to confess: once or twice
while watching these story scene, there would be just a moment
that had me questioning: “…wait, is this the real
actor or the digital character?” And I can’t remember a time where a game
succeed in making me unsure of that before. So kudos, Remedy!
And good job making a darned cool game. But, leaving the realm of
the photo-real for a bit, let us all give thanks
to the indie scene for blessing us with so much
incredible pixel animation this year. Wargroove, Blasphemous, Cadence of Hyrule…
Katana Zero, for heck sake. Y’all spoil us. I do want to give special mention
to one in particular, though, and that is River City Girls. The Kunio-kun franchise has NEVER
had animation this gorgeous. Every character’s moveset is
just so fun to frame through. I highly recommend doing
so yourself sometime. Misako’s rage-y headbutt.
Kyoko’s selfie parry. The bookbag swing. The spinning power dab. How can you not
love a brawler with movesets like this. I’m so happy that games
with pixel animation are not only surviving in the year
2019, but THRIVING. And now for a couple
of honorable mentions! The first goes to Kingdom Hearts III, which
would almost definitely be on this list, except for the fact that I
intentionally have not played it yet. I’ve really been wanting to do
an unspoiled playthrough of it over on PlayFrame once
the ReMind DLC drops. But I’m just going to
take a shot in the dark and guess that the
animation was pretty darned good? Because it’s Kingdom Hearts and the animation in Kingdom Hearts
games tends to be pretty stellar, combat especially. And what I’ve seen of the Disney and Pixar
characters in trailers looks pretty incredible, so I am really excited to finally see
all this for myself pretty soon. And the other honorable mention goes
to Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, which I would talk
about at length here, but I already said all the exact same nice
things about Monster Hunter World last year. So just take everything
I said back in the 2018 Favorites videos and
add some snow I guess, because the animation in this
expansion is every bit as fantastic. And finally, before we wrap up,
let’s talk about Untitled Goose Game. Because having incredible game animation
isn’t always about realistic fidelity, or massive scope or
flashy movesets. Sometimes it’s about getting
one crucial thing exactly right. And for this game,
that thing is the goose. The perfection of that waddle
completes the comedy of this game. It’s amazing; it puts you in the right frame of mind
to be a dorky little nuisance almost instantly. And so many of your available moves
double as a tool for player expression! Like, I’m sure this wing-extension
move does something practical, but most of the time I’m just
using it to go MYEHHHHHHHH. Seriously, though,
if this waddle didn’t feel just right, I’ll bet this entire game would
feel noticeably less entertaining. And that makes this one
incredible piece of animation. But I think that should do it!
Did I miss anything? I mean, I will admit I
haven’t quite finished playing every single game
that came out in 2019, so… yes,
probably I did miss something. But, if you happen to know of
any games with stellar animation that I didn’t mention, please do call them
out in the comments, because I’m always eager
to see something cool! And here’s to all the great
game animation coming in 2020! I’ve got a lot planned for
New Frame Plus this year, so be sure to subscribe so
you don’t want to miss out. And consider supporting the show
like all these wonderful people. Thanks for watching,
and I will see you next time! [music]

The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe – The Game Awards Trailer

This is a story of a video game called The
Stanley Parable. You know The Stanley Parable of course. After
all, it was the video game sensation of 2013. Don’t you remember all those awards we were
nominated for? And this year’s winner for Best Narrative
is… The Last of Us.
The Last of Us. The Last of Us.
Papers Please. The Last of Us.
Papers Please. The Last of Us! Yes, it was thrilling to be so unanimously recognized by our peers. Which is why we’ve locked the game’s source code away where it can never be touched by the greedy hand of capitalism. A pristine time capsule of perfect artistic
integrity, to be preserved for– Wait. What do you mean we never put the game
on consoles? Of course we put it on consoles! We didn’t?
Excuse me a moment. [A haunting voice from a distance] Stanley! [The same haunting voice, getting closer] Stanley! Staaanleeey! Gotcha! Stanley, I’ve had a great idea! I want to add new endings and new content, new adventures for you! Won’t it be fun? Oh shush, of course it will. We’ll package it up with the original game
and we’ll put it on consoles and everyone will buy it again because they’re suckers! Come come, daddy needs a third swimming pool. What do you mean The Last of Us 2 is also coming out next year?

10 Best FREE iOS & Android Games [2020]

January 9, 2020 | Articles, Blog | 17 Comments

10 Best FREE iOS & Android Games [2020]

HEY GAMERS!!!!! Welcome back to IsItThatGame! Your one-stop destination for the best Android
& iOS games out there I’m your friend ‘Big Smoke’ and this is
‘Top 10 FREE Games for iOS & Android, Part 1!!!! But before starting the video let me introduce
you to today’s sponsor: Hunter Assassin! Its a fun and addictive puzzle game developed
by Ruby Game Studios. Step into the shoes of a rogue warrior – or
rather – a ”Hunter’, who has to eliminate all the guards in each stage without being
spotted or worse, shot to death! The way you play it is simple, you tap on
the screen to move and tap on the guards to eliminate them. Make sure that you’re always hiding in the
dark, or the guards will spot you and open fire. Clearing each level grants you gems that you
can use to upgrade your “Hunter”. Once you’ve got all the free characters, hop
on to the VIP access to get more characters and other exciting bonuses. And let me tell you, this game has got us
hooked! We have been playing level after level. It’s an easy to play, hard to master game
that you can play anytime anywhere. This game quickly becomes #1 Action Game in
62 countries and occupies a leading position. No wonder its got over 10 million downloads. So, what’s the point of making the same mistake
over and over? Isn’t offence the best way of defence? Go download ‘Hunter Assassin’ and find it
out for yourself. You’ll find the download links in the description
below. —
First off in our list is Battle Prime, a multiplayer shooter that throws you right into the warzone. It’s a 295mb, free to play, third-person shooting
simulator is that puts you in the shoes of a militant marching straight into the hostile
war zone. The 6 versus 6 deathmatch is the standard
game mode wherein you and your 5 fellow primes try to kill the opponents. The graphics and fluidity of gameplay deserve
a special round of applause. Moving on, we’ve got Dead By Daylight, a game
that will haunt you through the night. It’s a 3000 MB horror game by Behaviour Interactive. The premise of the game is simple, the survivors
need to survive the night while the killer tries to kill them. You can choose to play either as survivors
or step into the boots of the killer. Either way, this game will rush your adrenaline
bar high. Next up, we’ve got Steel Rage. A rare hybrid of shooting and racing games. This beast of a game by GDCompany, coming
in at 187 MB, let’s you choose a car and fully customize it with chassis, armour, weapons
and so much more. Immerse yourself in the beautiful graphics,
yet be surrounded by constant bashing and hagging in the online multiplayer PVP mode
where others try to take you down. You can get it right now on the Google Play
store but you’ll have to wait a while to get it on iOS devices. eFootball PES 2020 is a must-have game for
any football fans out there. It is shrunk version of PES 2020, the game
that won E3 2019’s “Best Sports Game” award. Developed by one of the best names in the
gaming world- Konami, you can get this game for free if you’ve got 1600 MB to spare. Play as your favourite teams and players in
immersive football matches. You can even play with your friends via local
multiplayer or challenge other players via online multiplayer. Moving on, we’ve got a game that takes pride
in being difficult and challenging. Star Knight is a 63 MB game developed by Mobile
Heroes. It is an action platformer where you step
into the shoes of ‘Naro’, a knight, and fight hordes of monster to restore peace. This game won’t give it you easy, it will
challenge you at every moment. It’s a perfect blend of gorgeous graphics,
adventure, and action. Next up on our list, we’ve got Hills Of Steel
2, a 100 MB game by Superplus Games. You’ll play as a cute yet destructive tank
and your mission is to destroy your enemies and take control of the hill. The highlight of the game is the realtime
3vs3 multiplayer battles which use unique physics-based gameplay that is a treat to
play with. There are many other modes as well such as
Rampage, Star Catch, Domination, Boss Battle and Team Survival. Cyber Hunter by NetEase Games, at first glance,
looks like a console game and nothing at all like a mobile game. It is 1500 MB competitive sandbox shooter
game. You can choose your player from a range of
characters. Each character has a unique skill set which
can be further customised and upgraded to suit your play style. The studio prides itself in its vertical combat
concept. It introduces parkour abilities such as climbing,
gliding, and rolling all while being engaged in the action. But look out, other players with equally unique
abilities are on the hunt for you. Moving forward, we’ve got SIERRA 7 a tactical
shooter with an art style I bet you have never seen before. Its a 176 MB game by SHD Games. You play as a tactical operator caught in
the middle of a war. The weapons have a realistic feel to them
yet there is an arcade as aesthetic to the overall game. Although a rather short game, it is a memorable
and worthwhile one. The penultimate entry on our list is Granny:
Chapter 2. Its a 240 MB game from DVloper. Although it sounds cute and warm by the name,
it’s just the opposite. You are locked in a house and you have to
make your way out within 5 days. But be careful that you don’t drop anything
or make any noise, or granny will find out. What this game lacks in graphics makes up
in its thrilling gameplay. The last game on today’s list is Zombie Gunship
Survival, a zombie survival game by Flaregames. In this 365 MB game, you take control of a
gunner seat in a fighter plane and unleash hell on the undead zombies. As you progress, you can develop your base,
upgrade your gun and plane and so much more. There are various modes and abilities that
will make sure that you don’t get bored smoking Zombies for hours upon hours.