StrangeLuv Reviews: The Wolf Among Us Ep. 1 – FAITH

I just finished my playthrough of The Wolf Among Us Episode 1: Faith, and I am fairly satisfied so far. This is the latest creation from Telltale Games, the same devs who brought us the Walking Dead game (the good one…not that other garbage excuse for a shooter).  The Wolf Among Us is based off of the Fables comics by Bill Willingham, so TTG’s signature graphic novel style fits well with this narrative.

The Fables series deals with familiar fairytale creatures called “Fables” that most of us have grown up with through common folklore. When the Fables are exiled from their Homelands, they find their way to our world and set up camp in New York, creating a secret community called Fabletown.  The animal and monster-like Fables must use a magical concoction called Glamour to keep their identities hidden from us humans (aka “mundies”). Those who can’t afford Glamour must stay at a restrictive community called “the Farm” in upstate New York, but some have managed to sneak back to Fabletown, Glamour-free.

The Wolf Among Us is a prequel to the events in Fables, so you don’t need to have read the comics to get into this game. You play as Bigby Wolf (formerly the Big Bad Wolf), the town sheriff who must protect the citizens of Fabletown from one another. In Episode one, Bigby is thrust into a murder investigation with Snow White as news of a murder is brought quite literally to his doorstep.

So far, I am enjoying The Wolf Among Us.  It’s basically an interactive graphic novel with a few QTE’s here and there, so the gameplay isn’t anything terribly complicated.  But the game is meant to immerse you into the story rather than test your skills on the sticks. That being said, the core mechanic of the game is centered around player choice, so my experience of the story and characters may differ from your playthrough depending on the choices we both make. However, it seems that the ending of the episode will play out the same way regardless of the approach you take, so it really presents more of the illusion of choice than actual choices with separate outcomes. Nevertheless, I am willing to bust out a few QTE’s and make some arbitrary decisions if it means I am presented with a quality narrative experience, which so far seems to be the case.

I did experience some lag & framerate drops that occurred inconveniently during several good fight scenes, which is unfortunate because a narrative heavy, noire-style game can’t really afford to screw up the few action scenes it has.  Also, the game suffers from some ridiculously looong load times while transitioning between scenes. Some load screens took so long that I thought my console had froze! I’m not sure if these issues occur for everyone, so feel free to verify for me.

I do have to say that I love Bigby’s voice…Adam Harrington gave a great VO performance as usual. I really kinda wish that I had an awesome, gruff voice like Harrington’s, or even a deep voice like Benedict Cumberbatch (a name that makes me giggle for some reason). I know they’re man-voices, but just imagine if I could switch between my squirly girl voice to a deep, dark, grumbly-ass man voice like theirs. How fucking AWESOME would that be???  I’d be a super versatile voice actor too. Hell yes! Sign me up.

*AHEM* Where was I? Oh yes, the game.

The Wolf Among Us has five episodes total, and each will be released probably every month or so, like how they released the Walking Dead game. You can buy episode one for about $5, or save money by getting all five episodes at once. Episode One is out now on XBOX 360, PS3, and Steam. If you don’t want to pick up the game for yourself, feel free to watch my playthrough of episode one, or at least humor me by giving the videos a “like”. 😉

I’ve provided Part 1 below for your viewing convenience. Enjoy! <333

Good Bye Breaking Bad!

Alas, another well-crafted TV show has come to a close. I’m not going to spoil anything here for those of you who are still plugging away at the episodes. However, I do have to commend Vince Gilligan for making a ‘finite’ show. There’s nothing wrong with a long-running TV series, but all too often I find TV shows that draaaaag onnnn with no end in sight, lacking a cohesive plot structure to guide the way (I’m looking at you, LOST). There’s an abundance of shows that would be better off wrapping up their seasons instead of renewing contracts. Luckily, Gilligan intended for Breaking Bad to be a finite show from the start. And, like turning the last page of a riveting novel, the end of Breaking Bad has left me feeling fulfilled, with a dash of melancholy. Even though I will miss seeing new episodes, I am happy to have experienced Walter White’s journey. A show like this deserved a good ending, and I couldn’t have asked for a more satisfying conclusion.

I stumbled across a fan-made Breaking Bad flash game that was released a couple weeks ago, and I decided to post some of my gameplay as a lighthearted tribute to the series finale. The controls aren’t the best, but it’s still fun and a bit addicting, as most 2D side-scrollers are.

I also found an updated infographic depicting the total death toll accrued throughout the series, and I thought you Breaking Bad fans might enjoy it if you haven’t seen it already.

WARNING: This infographic contains Breaking Bad SPOILERS!!
➛➛Click here for the Breaking Bad Final Death Toll

Infographic Source: tdylf.com

Lootcrate Unboxing: “Animate” Theme – September 2013

This month’s Lootcrate has finally arrived! Since the theme for this month is “Animate”, us looters got some awesome cartoon-related goodies in our crates. You can see the items from this month’s lootcrate in my unboxing video below.  Also, for some reason I received two crates this month, which means more goodies for me (and perhaps a giveaway of my duplicate goodies for you)!

Lootcrate is a monthy subscription box that sends geeky and game related stuff to your house. It’s basically like treating yourself to a geeky birthday present every month. Most of the loot consists of nerdy knick-knacks and figurines, but they will occasionally give t-shirts and other cool things that help sweeten the deal.

➛➛ Click here to sign-up and become a Looter!

Although this is my first time posting a Lootcrate unboxing here on my site, I have already done several lootcrate unboxing videos on YouTube. Feel free to check them out by clicking on the thumbnails below:

Lootcrate Unboxing - Portal "CAKE" Theme with StrangeLuv Lootcrate Unboxing - VGHS "Varsity" Theme with StrangeLuvLootcrate Unboxing - June "Mashup" with StrangeLuv

P.S. I recommend watching at least the beginning of the Portal “Cake” Lootcrate unboxing, since I gave the intro some VFX love that you Portal fans might enjoy. 😉

♥/StrangeLuv

PS4 Won’t Allow Gameplay Capture on YouTube?

YouTube’s video game community thrives on gameplay footage, and with a slew of various capture devices on the market specifically designed for recording gameplay, being a gamer on YouTube has never been easier.

But, a recent video by Machinima’s Inside Gaming Daily claims that the PS4 may throw a wrench in this process. Rumor has it that the PS4 will have the same HDCP copyright protection that was enforced on the PS3 to prevent the pirating of Blu-Ray material.  If gameplay footage on the PS4 contains a similar encryption, then this poses a problem for users who wish to record gameplay on the PS4 with external devices. PS3 users had found a work-around that consisted of using component cables along with the HDMI cables on their capture device that allowed them to essentially bypass this issue.  However, since the PS4 is all HDMI, the current PS3 work-around essentially won’t…well, WORK. So, if users want to record gameplay with an external third-party device, such as a capture card or PVR, they must find a new means of getting around the HDCP restrictions. This would likely involve some kind of HDCP stripper, which may or may not be an illegal option.

Even though Kovic and Bruce claim that this info is from a reliable source, the whole PS4 HDMI encryption issue is still a rumor. Sony has not made an official statement regarding these issues, other than this Twitter post from Sony’s President Shuhei Yoshida:

ScreenShot006

There are still ways to cap a few minutes of gameplay with the share button, the limitations of which are still a bit unclear. But, even if the share button does not post directly to YouTube, obtaining gameplay footage by other methods (such as uploading to Twitch first) does not seem completely impossible. This issue mainly concerns more serious content makers who want to edit their gameplay for quality purposes before uploading to YouTube, and a potential HDMI encryption would pose a substantial inconvenience for these individuals.

This is the best I’ve gleaned from various articles on this issue over the last few days. I’m no expert on the matter, so take this info with as much salt as you like.

When the time comes for me to get a next-gen console, I will most likely be getting the Xbox One before the PS4 for various reasons. So despite the fact that I’m a YouTuber, I don’t feel particularly effected by this issue, simply because the Xbox One still allows external capture devices for recording. However, the game industry should not underestimate the power of the online gaming community.  This type of issue can rival that of the XB1’s DRM fiasco, and even harkens back to when Nintendo began enforcing copyright on YouTube videos earlier this year. Video game companies are not immune to the negative effects of bad press. Gameplay on YouTube is effectively a form of ‘free’ publicity, so it would behoove video game companies to embrace the power of YouTube, rather than throw wrenches in its gears. Our ease and ability to share gameplay footage is what keeps game discussion alive and healthy. so hopefully Sony values game discussion as much as its community does. Apparently, Sony is working hard to fix this issue before launch, but we’ll have to wait and see.

UPDATE 9/19/13: During the Tokyo Game Show’s keynote today, Sony announced that the PS4 WILL support HDMI video capture of games. This was later confirmed by an announcement on Twitter by Brad Douglas.

Video Skit with Friends + Xbox One Release Date

There’s a slew of new game titles on the horizon, but my friends and I only have one game on our minds. We put together this short skit of us pondering whether any of these new titles can beat our most anticipated game. You’ll have to watch the video to see what game we’re talking about:

This was our first attempt at doing a dialogue-based skit. It may be a bit rough around the edges, but hopefully it will earn at least a chuckle. 😉
Also, the release date for the Xbox One was announced the other day. Looks like it will be hitting shelves on November 22nd, 2013. I don’t think I’ll be getting either of the next gen consoles on release, mainly due to monetary reasons, but also because I want to wait until all the early kinks are ironed out. Plus it will give me more time to save up money anyway.
So what new games are you looking forward to? And will you be getting one of the next gen consoles on release?

StrangeLuv Reviews: Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons

This really is a jewel of a game. I posted this video about a month ago when this game came out for the XBOX 360, but since Brothers has recently been released for Steam & PSN, I figured it would be a good opportunity to repost my review. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons packs an emotional punch and I highly recommend this game if you haven’t played it yet. It was definitely the star of Xbox Live’s Summer of Arcade.

If you need help unlocking the achievements in this game, have no fear, StrangeLuv’s got you covered! Below is my interactive achievement guide. Click the annotations at the beginning of the video to skip to achievements individually, or watch the entire video to see all 12 Brothers achievements.