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  • January 28, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Anyone played Ron Gilbert’s new Double Fine production yet?

    I completed my first play-through this weekend (using The Knight, The Monk, and The Scientist). The game is a blast. The Monkey Island-style humor is present, and there are plenty of nods to those old franchises. The puzzles aren’t quite as complicated… but they’re also less esoteric. Which is a good thing, in my opinion.

    It’s a great modern take on the adventure genre. Giving it action/platformer controls was a brilliant move. In fact, once we’ve all played The Cave, I imagine we’ll be frustrated by clunky controls when revisiting classic SCUMM games.

    It feels quite short, but replays are necessary to unlock new locations–so I still have plenty left to see in the game. And $15 is a bargain for what you get.

    Anyone remember paying $75 for The Dig? Yikes.

    — On the run from Johnny Law… ain’t no trip to Cleveland.

  • January 28, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    My gaming free time has gone to Ni no Kuni this week, Nick… but your endorsement has pushed me over the edge! I’ll be playing this this weekend!

    And yes, you know I was one of those people that paid (or had my parents pay) $75 for The Dig… YOU WERE THERE!

  • January 28, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Ha, yeah–I had you in mind when I wrote that. I remember how ticked off you were when you beat the game within three hours of buying it.

    And that was $75 in 1995 money!!

    — On the run from Johnny Law… ain’t no trip to Cleveland.

  • January 29, 2013 at 7:27 am

    I remember the Dig, my step dad still has it on floppy disk. As for The Cave, I read a review that tore it a new one, I think they gave it 4 out of 10… In the Telegraph. Having said that it’s tracking on Metacritic at 70% so while I’m interested in it I’ll probably wait a year and pick it up on Steam for $5.

  • January 29, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    I had read a handful of less-than-enthusiastic reviews before deciding to give the guys responsible for some of my all-time favorite videogame franchises the benefit of the doubt. Especially considering that they could’ve priced this well above $15 and still moved plenty of units based on reputation alone.

    I didn’t realize The Telegraph even wrote video-game reviews… but I hopped on over and read the column in question. A major complaint of theirs is that the platforming controls aren’t utilized for complicated platform-based challenges. In my original post, I complimented the streamlined control system. It feels much more natural than the old point-and-click SCUMM system. It allows for a fluidity of movement not typical of adventure games. Complaining that the game isn’t part of a genre that the reviewer was anticipating seems like a hurdle that can be overcome. Hell, The Cave is also not a fighting game nor a WWII first-person shooter. But I can get over that.

    The Telegraph also bemoans the excess of “to-ing and fro-ing” (wow, these guys ARE British!) that results from a lack of a traditional inventory system. But the levels aren’t big: most can be traveled from end to end in a matter of seconds. Implementing the slightest bit of strategy when deploying your three characters throughout the map (and keeping tabs on the single item each one is carrying) is the obvious and intuitive answer. When advancing to new levels, the characters that aren’t being human-controlled at that moment are automatically whisked to the beginning of a new set of puzzles–items still in tow.

    The part of the Telegraph review that I agree with is that the puzzles could’ve been a bit more complex. Allowing for common areas to be solved in multiple ways by ANY combination of the seven characters makes finding a solution pretty easy. The lack of a true inventory system is also a limiting factor when it comes to truly challenging puzzles. However, as I mentioned in my original post, the new system also relieves the player of esoteric solutions–which, in the old days, were often found simply by mashing every inventory item with the puzzle at hand until something clicks. Many of The Cave’s puzzles are more akin to The Incredible Machine than Maniac Mansion. That’s not necessarily a bad thing–though it’s not what people expected, and I think that affected the game’s rating in many reviews.

    Anyway, that’s my take on it. I’ll probably start (and complete) my second play-through tonight using new characters. If anyone can spare the $15, I think it’s worth it. I’d also recommend sticking with the PC version–as it was intended. You can switch on-the-fly between direct gamepad-style controls or a mouse-centric setup. I also haven’t experienced any slowdowns whatsoever (evidently a problem on the console ports).

    — On the run from Johnny Law… ain’t no trip to Cleveland.

  • January 31, 2013 at 1:08 am

    PS. This has turned out to be a great “girlfriend game.” I have a few Logitech USB game-pads ($<20/unit), plugged both in and The Cave allows switching between characters on-the-fly from multiple input devices. Reminds me of the old days when family and friends crowded around the computer screen, all kibitzing game-play advice and proposed puzzle solutions..

    For more modern context, it’s a bit reminiscent of two friends tackling Toki-Tori together.

    — On the run from Johnny Law… ain’t no trip to Cleveland.

  • January 31, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Laura has done that for Ni no Kuni, L.A. Noir, The Walking Dead and the newest version of Boy and His Blob. She watches and gives her input like crazy.

    The fact that she can sit through a JRPG as grind heavy as Ni no Kuni is blowing my mind.

  • January 31, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    My wife would rather watch paint dry. She enjoyed playing Syberia games with me, but that was about it. :(

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