Monthly Archives: July 2011

I Want A River Full Of Love…

Certain people try to be something else, to be unique. They have to hide things from others, to always have an answer for every question that is thrown into their unbalancing lives.

Often they realize that having more than a personality is always a hard thing to maintain. Sometimes they offer details about their life that’s unknown to others, but there’s no interest in listening to that.

People…so many and so interesting. Their perceptions, perspectives, passions, powers…and still they lack the most important thing..goodness.

Depressing isn’t it…when you’re looking for love from them..just like this song says…


Shadows, Screams and Infernal Fears: The Penumbra Catalogue

Art can be found everywhere. In nature, in media products, in daily activities, in society – everywhere. If you look close enough, you’ll see thing you never thought you’ll catch a glimpse of. If you live it – it gets better, you’ll know how to love it and to appreciate the efforts of those who worked hard to bring you that sensational artistic value.

In video-games is the same thing. You take a story and you develop it. You create a shape that will guide the player through the action. Of course this is not art, but art comes in video-games as part of the feelings that you can have while playing.

Today we’re gonna discuss the art of the Penumbra Series. What, who and why…stories, consequences, atmosphere, thoughts…

Penumbra is a Survival Horror Game developed by Frictional Games. The story goes like this: in an wild part of Greenland there was a mine complex. Here an accident occurred and something was released from the depths of the earth.

You [the player] received a letter from your father, who was working in that mine and who tried to gain information on the events that occurred. He told you to destroy several documents and never try to find out what happened, but with your curiosity and the need to play a game – you ended up going to that place.

The first sign of art in this game is when you enter the old mines. It is not related to graphics or the proper environment but the image that you can put into your head. Old ammunition boxes, dust, darkness, deadly silence, a creepy and old facility. You know that something went horribly wrong here, yet you choose to explore this God forsaken place.

The element of knowing parts and bits will guide you though the action.

One thing that I really enjoyed was the diary of the last survivor. These documents were so greatly written that I could say I had the chance to read multi-media literature. The way things are described, the feelings they offer – it’s great. One man left alone, trying to survive with little food and tools…spiders growing bigger that usual and which become his  most important meal…the constant fear that keeps watching over him…the solitude.

Everything is well-placed.

The images used are another strong point. Old cages, barb-wired locations, sealed solid doors, putrefying rooms, dusty old rags, zombie-dogs and finally a crazy man that chooses to guide you to his location.

Meeting Red, or at least knowing that he exists [since you first hear from him on the phone] became the point-of-no-return.

From here, things get dangerous. You’ll have to find all the pieces to the puzzle in order to know what is going on. Exploring comes after.

Yup – there is art in the environment presented. A frozen subterranean lake, old caves filled with nasty spiders, the abandoned laboratories, the wall written with blood – all these elements offer greatness.

The first game – Penumbra Overture – rises questions and only a few are answered. The second one, Black Plague will offer much more details about what really destroyed life in those mines.

Black Plague comes as the continuation of the first game’s story. Red wasn’t the only survivor – as we see. New puzzle elements, new foes and new adventures. Even if is a survival horror game, everything in here evolves around adventure.

[to be continued…]

Gaming 101: Enclave

What makes a person become a gamer?

This question has so many answers that I don’t know where to begin with them. My straight answer would be that a person chooses to become a gamer when he or she finally wants more abstract worlds to explore and wants to see that creativity can be very useful.

An epic fantasy conflict. Battle after battle, good versus evil, heroes and villains, everything under a single name – Starbreeze Studios’ Enclave.

Enclave tells the story of the eternal war against forces of darkness. This third person action game was meant to let the player take control of one of the two sides engaged in battle.

There are two campaigns – the Light Campaign and the Dark campaign. Each one of them tells the same story but in a different way.

Centuries ago, the Kingdom of Celenheim was invaded by the armies of the demon lord Vatar. His mission was to harness the magical powers of this land and become invincible. After a fierce battle, one of Celenheim’s heroes managed to gather all his powers and create a chasm that destroyed Vatar. But this action led to the separation of the lands and everything was about to change. After many years, time in which Vatar’s army grew impatient and the rift that separated the lands was changing – another period of conflict was about to be born.

The game is quite good, with both good and bad elements. You have a variety of heroes to choose from in each of the campaigns. I prefer for the Light campaign the Knight and for the Dark one, the Beserker.

The hack and slash action is repetitive. There is no defined strategy in winning every battle. You can use swords, crossbows, daggers and knives but you cannot try different combos or movement-attack compilations. I prefer to use Dwarven Sword and a Shield rather that to continuously use the same magical attack over and over.

Of course that Enclave is based upon a magical combat system too, but I prefer weapons instead of cheap tricks. And the same thing is available for every RPG game I play.

What I really appreciate about this game is the back-up weapon system. Practically, you can have two weapons. If your knight is equipped with a Long Sword, you can also add to your character a crossbow and so.

Before you start a mission you will be able to equip your character using the gold amount you managed to find in the previous maps.

The art-style is amazing. There are lots of scenes in which the environment is gorgeous.The structure of the game is also a bonus point. From a great menu to non-interactive cut-scenes and details about the plot to the actually game-play action, everything was designed to offer the spirit of the dark medieval combat.