iREVIEW – RIME

RIME (2017)

Publisher: Grey Box, Six Foot
Developer: Tequila Works
Platform: XboX One
Availability: PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One

“RIME is a journey, but unlike Journey, it does have its share of problems.”

The first thing you’ll take away from the game is its gorgeous visuals. It’s actually appealing in sight and sound. You play the game as a lone hero; nothing super distinguishable about you save for your bright red cape. The world is rendered with beautiful cell-shaded environments, and it is very easy to get lost in the scenery and vistas, and overall scope of some of the architecture.

You start the adventure mysteriously landed on an island with no direction on what to do next. You can wade around in the water a bit, or walk along the sand scoping out the crabs. Or you can start climbing the rocks and cliffs to get your adventure started.

RiME

It’s what lays underneath this pretty face that lie the cracks.

RIME gives you no HUD or any real directions. But it will give you clever little hints as to where you’re supposed to be going, whether it be an ominous red cloaked figure off in the distance, or a light blue beacon shining into the sky. This will draw your attention in the right direction.

As the lone hero in this story, you really have no one to talk to, so there’s no dialogue, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be using your voice. Besides your hands, your voice will be your primary tool, as it appears to have some special abilities throughout the game. The game takes this “emote” mechanic right from JOURNEY, or ABZU.

Yelling as vases will shatter them. Yelling at torches or braziers will ignite them. Yelling at the little idol statues will activate them to reveal your path ahead. This is the main mechanic of the game besides platforming and exploring. If you try your voice when it’s not needed, you’ll just happily hum to yourself. At least that’s something besides silence.

At the end of the first area, after activating the necessary Idols, you will awake a Fox. This little guy is your exclusive guide for the rest of the adventure. He’ll run ahead to the next area, leading the way, and then happily yap at you when he needs to draw your attention. This mechanic doesn’t always work however, as he’s small and therefor easy to miss, and he’ll only yap at you when you’re in proximity. Sometimes he’ll vanish on you and appear at the next checkpoint, leaving you wandering around a large area trying to find out where that next checkpoint is.

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The puzzles themselves are fairly intuitive and straight-forward in design. Light is the primary theme for all of the puzzles, and when you yell at torches, they’ll ignite and these little blue orbs you’ll find in walls are the main mechanic for switches. These you can pick up and carry around, and these are what activate the doors, or passages. They’ll also explode into a ball of light and defeat any strange enemies, when you yell at it. You’ll use 2 or 3 light orbs on pedestals in a single room, and arrange them to create specific shadows. Some of the puzzles work quite well.

There are also a few mind-bending puzzles that had me scratching my head a bit. In the latter areas of the adventure, there are a few rooms with a twist. Picture a large, long room. On either side, there’s two floors connected by stairs, and there’s dark hallways attached, that go deeper into the walls. If you go down any of the hallways on the bottom floor, turn a corner and then exit, you’ll find yourself on the opposite side, on the top floor.

Another long hallway area found that if you ran in the same direction, with the camera facing forward, there would be no end to the hallway, just the same area on repeat.

In yet another, final area, there’s a tall mine-shaft that you have to scale up for quite a ways. At the end is a set of stairs, and this would have you arrive at the bottom of the room you just left. These puzzles were the most interesting aspect of the game, by far, and it’s a shame that these were so few, and so late in the story.

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The game does suffer from a few problems. Visually, I mentioned that the game is beautiful. Lush and vibrant colours, clever use of tones for the game mechanics, and just the scale of the architecture and camera use is impressive. This does impact the frame-rate at times. When turning the camera too fast, or if there’s a mechanic in play that’s activating, the game will stutter. Doesn’t help that it feels like the game runs at a not so smooth 30fps generally. And this is on the Xbox One and Xbox One S.

Another issue is the lack of direction at times. The Fox guide helps, sure, if you can find him. And there are a few different colour cues, or beacons to follow. But other than that, there’s not a lot of direction. Some of the areas are quite large, and a few large underwater segments as well, where you’ll need to find water bubbles just to stay under and navigate. This does encourage exploration, but as I was playing, I felt discouraged as I was quite anxiously worried that I might get lost and not know how to advance. So whenever I was given any semblance or direction, I would follow it explicitly, and not risk getting sidetracked.

Thinking about it now, this is the first time a game has ever made me feel stressed in an environment, where I didn’t want to explore for fear of getting lost. Most games I’m quite the adventurer, always willing to turn down the wrong corridor in hopes of finding come supplies.

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Tequila Works has done a great job in creating a believable world, and beautifully rendered it. Considering it was built on the Unreal Engine, I was hoping for a little more fluidity in the gameplay and animations, but that could just be chocked up to a smaller development team. The puzzles are sufficient, but nothing trulely new or inspirational. Nothing we haven’t really seen before in similar games, however the mind-bending rooms were a pleasant addition  that had me stumped. Navigational cues could use some work, but that could also be a patience issue with the player. At 5 hours or so in length, depending on how much exploring you do, its not that long, but if you can make it to the end, you’re in for a heart-wrenching finish, and I hope you enjoy the ride.

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The achievements are pretty standard affair. Story-based achievements, plus some hidden areas. Some scattered collectibles as well. A lot of them are easy to miss as there’s areas that become inaccessible after you pass that area. Now that I’ve completed the story once, and I’m a little more comfortable with the layout, I’ll probably go through it a 2nd time to explore more and unlock some more achievements. First play through only netted me 325/1000G.

Notable achievements:

Careful Steps (Don’t smash the eggs) – 25G
Dark and quiet (Complete the labyrinth without making a sound) – 25G

iRogan

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Achievement, or Bestest?

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Working Myself To Death

The game is Black The Fall. A title like Limbo or Inside. Side-scroller puzzle game with no dialogue. Only many traps and many deaths. 

The Achievement is appropriately titled “work yourself to death”. At the start of the game you have to jump (press and hold “X”) on the bicycle that opens the door to reach to the next area. Instead of advancing, just ride the bike. Forever. 

No problem. 


-iRogan

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E3 is just around the corner….

And I feel fine…. Games to be excited for:
Assassins Creed:Origins

Call of Duty WWII

Crackdown 3

The Crew II

Days Gone

Destiny 2

Far Cry 5

God of War

The Last of Us Part II

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War

Need for Speed: Payback

Sea of Thieves

Star Wars Battlefront II

State of Decay 2

Spider-Man

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
🙂

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SUPERHOT

There’s an achievement in superhot called Deep Web. Which is to join the community. Which is just a groupchat app pre-written into the game. 
You have to watch that for 10-15 minutes for the achievement to unlock. So now I’m on my way up to get a donair.

-iRogan

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Gameplay Recap – Ghost Recon: Wildlands

There’s a couple things I still wish to accomplish with this Video Game blog.

One is to start to post more gameplay footage. When I’m playing in co-op with Illestrader, I am usually capturing our game sessions. These last a few hours at a time so obviously I won’t post all of it. But maybe small clips here and there. I haven’t yet decided way to do this yet though. Should I use Youtube as a storage space and have a dedicated channel there? or here and on Facebook?

The second thing is to discuss Achievements a little more. Or at least the ones I track. I’m sort of taking part in a self imposed race to 200,000 Gamerscore. Not a huge number by any means when you look at some professional gamers/hunters, but a personal pride and I am the leader among my local group of friends and followers. I’m at 179K right now and I hope to reach 200K by the time Extra-Life rolls around in November. I’m trying to line those up, to the day. And land exactly on 200K.

So I might start a weekly post about the race, and tracking specific hard-to-get achievements, or Rare achievements, now that Xbox has the Achievement overlay.

Anyways, here are some gameplay captures for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Wildlands:

Tom Clancy_s Ghost Recon® Wildlands - Standard Edition (11)

Scoping the views

Tom Clancy_s Ghost Recon® Wildlands - Standard Edition (10)

It’s not what you drive, its how you drive it.

 

Tom Clancy_s Ghost Recon® Wildlands - Standard Edition (9)

Parking Like A Pro

Tom Clancy_s Ghost Recon® Wildlands - Standard Edition (7)

Assassin’s Creed Future Soldier

Tom Clancy_s Ghost Recon® Wildlands - Standard Edition (2)

Like Miami Vice

Tom Clancy_s Ghost Recon® Wildlands - Standard Edition (6)

-iRogan

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Updates and Changes – forever more

It’s been a couple minutes hasn’t it? Where did I leave you? I guess a few things have transpired since we last talked. Let us catch up.

I’ve been fine. I’ve been heavily invested in a few different activities over the past few months. I completed Shadow of the Colossus. Still a great game; as good as I remember it being back when I played it on the PS2. Controls just as clunky, but still a fun ride.

I picked up the Last Guardian on the PS4 and I’ve been spending a little bit of time in that – not as much as I’d like as I’ve been suffering from what feels like motion sickness while playing it. I don’t know if this has to do with frame rate or the colours and brightness, but at certain points in the game it just feels off. This has restricted me to only playing roughly 30 minutes per sitting and then forcing me to take a break. I’ve heard that the game does play smoother on the PS4 Pro, so it may well just be a weird frame-rate issue that my brain has a hard time processing. I’ll also be picking up Horizon: Zero Dawn soon, as I would love to dive into that game.

I picked up Watch Dogs 2, and thoroughly completed that game. And I mean thoroughly. Every side mission, 99% of the achievements – I didn’t dabble too much in the online functions so there is still one more locked away. I have the season pass too, so I’m waiting on some upcoming story content which is around the corner.

I picked up some smaller games as well recently, in Feist and Candleman. Feist was just OK; it is similar to Limbo but with a more vibrant colour palette. You play a little furry monster and have to scramble and jump across the levels, avoiding traps and other monsters trying to kill you. You can pick up sticks and rocks to defend yourself. I found the controls to be a little slow on the response, and the game overall was fairly short. The bulk of the achievements involve completing each level without dying, and completing the level under a specific par time. Candleman is a puzzle-platformer where you play as a candle in dark lit levels, and you need to find your way to the end of each room, lighting other candles along way, while ensuring your wax does not run out. It is a gorgeous game with beautiful lighting effects. Easy, fun game, with easy, generous achievements.

In the co-op land, with Illestrader, we’ve wrapped up Gears of War 4 and are currently plugging away in Astroneer (Early Preview) and Borderlands The Pre-Sequel. We’ll be picking up Ghost Recon Wildlands in the next few weeks. I do occasionally stream on Twitch, so you can catch me there/here: www.twitch.com/irogans.

I’m currently playing Deus Ex Mankind Divided, and after that I have Mafia III, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Quantum Break and Far Cry Primal queued up.


On a completely non-gaming front, after Christmas, as an investment in my art, I purchased a Huion 22″ graphics pen monitor. I’ve always been interested in the Wacom Cintiq monitors, but could never justify the price point. So I went searching for alternatives, and came across the Huion. I love it so far, and it works well with all the applications I use, and for a fraction of the price. I even started up my long-desired webcomic – Stranger Than Friendship.

Its a comic about myself, and my best friend Illestrader, the games we play, and life in general. It’s been fun to do so far. Still in its infancy, however, I am trying to go for a once-per-week update schedule. I haven’t invested a whole lot of time into the website yet. I’m waiting till I have a little bit more of an archive before I start pushing it, and creating a domain. All things for this year.

I’ve added some photos of my recent work to the Arts gallery, and thats listed under the Stranger Than Friendship menu item now. I also started re-working on my Large Borderlands piece. Re-inking and re-colouring. Should be fun on my new tablet monitor.

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I drew this for #Camuary, in January

I think that pretty much sums up everything over the past few months. With the webcomic now, some of my time each week is dedicated that that, but I do wish to keep this side separate, and talk about games. Just gotta find the time to do everything.

-iRogan

 

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