Exile: I thought this felt too much like Planescape: Torment remix. Usually that would be a GOOD thing, since I love that game, but it felt way too much like ‘borrowing’ from the same plot devices and characters and lore. Planes, demon summonings/real name usage, ghostly beautiful woman that was a past love, skull that is snarky and your deviant best friend and calls you ‘master,’ instead of creepy shades it is a hound that is hunting you, the protagonist has amnesia, and so forth.
Perhaps once the game is fleshed out, story and choices expanded upon, and sundry, it will be interesting to those that haven’t played Planescape: Torment. But as is… with the set male protagonist, lady of the lake romance drama, et all, I am just not interested or feeling it. (And admittedly, a good part of that, too, is that I do not care too much for choice-games that do not allow for protagonist customization. There’s a dime a dozen for stories, games, and media with hetero male POVs.)
Gargoyle: (I am assuming Simon is the same Simon that wrote Exile.) Unlike the Exile attempt, I found Gargoyle to be much more interesting and entertaining! Granted, it was only a sneak peek at the game’s potential – but it was a great peek, imo. I had control over my character; the ability to customize him/her/neither nor; to be a mage or a warrior, each with their own sub-branches of various types of magic and combat to learn; and the capacity to choose my own romance potential (and sexuality), or so the game implied when choosing the ‘peek’ flirt option with Wolf, and I am assuming the Duke’s daughter is going to be fleshed out to be an option as well.
The choices felt like they mattered and had an impact not only on my character’s life, but in the actual story and outcome of situations. I liked that very much. This one makes me really look forward to seeing it when it is finished.
Pots and Mushrooms: The writing was decent, but the story and the plotline and the set-up of being a “Chinese samurai imprisoned in Japan” really made me cringe. Yes, I read the warning that the game has historical and georgraphic inaccuracies (or so I read it as meaning it is pure creative fantasy than realistic of any sort), but, being asian, I still can’t help shake my head at it all.
Anyway, aside from that, I didn’t feel like my choices were mattering too much. I did like that I had dialogue options in which to converse with NPCs, but altogether none of them were really memorable or interesting (just over the top plot devices). I was also very confused whether the protagonist was a set protagonist or not. When the time came to choose a name, ‘Amber’ popped up in my list of name choices. I imagine it could be a male name, but it confused me since there are references elsewhere in the game about being a ‘father’ and having a family. In the end, it wasn’t my cup of tea.
Petal Throne: I thought it was well done for what it was. I enjoyed the customization of the protagonist, and how your choices seemed to matter when dealing with Wave, and your general disposition and use of your skills in situations. I also enjoyed the intimacy that seemed to build between your character and the world they were in, seemingly that what you chose to do resulted in a worthwhile roleplay scene for a few ‘pages.’ It is written quite well. Never too overly verbose or scant, giving details of the environment and the character(s) just enough for my imagination to stir.
I also liked that Wave and the protagonist, whether straight or same-sex, had a very fulfilling love-life together. It isn’t like in most games where you get the boy (or girl), romance, have sex, and boom, the story’s over. The two of them were quite engaged in each other (at least, they were in one playthrough of mine, anyway) and it was sweet.
The only negative reserve I have, and perhaps it is a big one, is the setting in which the story takes place. I know it isn’t the author’s own world creation, but that of an established world made by someone else. However, while some cultural things are interesting in the setting/society/norms, there are others that seem still too generic and expected. Like, the goddess of Fleshy Pleasure and demons. Women are sexy evil trope. Women are sub-citizens, not equal in the eyes of society (can’t hold property, etc), unless they give up their ‘natural role’ and become warriors and thus be seen as men. In my fantasy and games, I’m really for escapism rather than reminders of minority statuses that really are part of our real world reality, and stereotypical tropes ascribed to women. Things like that knock me out of my interest in a game.
Still, given the choices and customization of the protagonist and the writing, I’ll keep an eye out for it.
Zombies: I thought it was great fun in the zombie genre! Kind of like a popcorn movie, in choices style. I thought all the characters had very good characterization and distinct personalities. I also liked that these personalities came into conflict with each other, and spur decisions that can roll into further questlines/subquests in the overall main plotline (i.e. rescuing one survivor can open a questline path to getting another survivor). Plus, it is downright awesome to have someone like Bonnie in a game. It is extremely rare in games and movies and media in general to see an older woman in the role of a hardcore survivalist and all around general badarse. Usually, and especially in zombie movies and games, there are the young attractive ladies that are only damsels in distress or competent ladies that run around in tight clothing and still need protecting and so forth. So it’s very welcome.
I look forward to this one when it’s finished, too.