Dragon Age Journal

Dragon Age is one of the first role playing game (rpg) that I have played. At first it was hard to get used to since I was more accustomed to primarily shooter games. The gameplay of Dragon Age is portrayed through the third person which I find hinders the immersion of the gameplay. Yet the game I feel compensates for this through the level of customization you have with your character and the amount of interaction you have with the other characters in the game.

The game starts off with you designing your character by picking race, fighter type, and even detailing what your character’s face looks like. This I feel adds to the immersion or interactivity within the game since you can design a character to reflect you or be something you have stereotyped what your character should look like. This way your character reflects you in some shape, way, or form through the way you designed your character.

Now the other part of the game that makes creates a lot of immersion is the way you can choose how your character reacts with other characters. You can choose what to say to others. This later greatly affects other characters by what you say to them especially those in your party. This is because the characters can either like or disapprove of you and one way to play the game is try to make every character like you or form relationships with you. This adds to the immersion because the interactions with other characters can be based off what you would do in real life and the decisions in the game can reflect the way you make decisions in real life. Plus all the choices that can be made in the game make it feel less like the game is leading you in a certain way and that you have more control over what happens within the game.

This game so far has proven to be very interesting and captivating  to play. The amount of choices I am able to make within the game make it feel that my actions and how I play the game affect what will go on within the game.

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Bioshock Journal 2

While playing Bioshock, I noticed a lot work put into describing the background of the game while also making the city of Rapture as believable as possible. This is shown through the use audio logs, levels, and goals to complete. Each of these add on to the story, further showing how the story of Bioshock is not necessarily centered around the main character, Jack, until you kill Andrew Ryan but only then and a other few parts does the story shed truth to the background of Jack.

One of the first things I noticed about trying to make the game as realistic as possible was through the audio logs where various people describe the inner workings of Rapture, and how machines such as the Vita-Chambers, which bring you back to life, operate and how many of the machines are operated by genetic keys, which is plausible in today’s world, but not quite implemented.

Yet the most intriguing gameplay/plot element that connects with the story of Rapture was the level of Arcadia. Arcadia is the forest for Rapture and the oxygen supply for all of the city. Through the audio logs, we learn that the plants were genetically modified, just like every living thing in Rapture. The main goal of Arcadia is to save the trees as Ryan kills them off with a gas. Our job is to go through Arcadia and the Farmer’s market to create the “Lazarus Vector” to revive the dead trees. You have to save the trees or else the city will run out of Rapture and you may not be able to continue without the trees being saved. As you play through the level you learn that Arcadia also is sort of a getaway place for people and it shows that the developers put a lot of time and effort into creating Rapture and how it is able to function underwater and leave the player with fewer questions as to how the city is able to survive underwater. It allows the player to get deeper into the game, knowing there is more to the game then just trying to complete it. There is a whole other story behind the main plot of the game that can only be accessed if the player sets out to find it for themselves, giving the game more interactivity and making the player more choice in how to play the game, either by doing what they are told through goals or trying to explore for themselves and learning about the inner workings and history of once great city of Rapture.

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Bioshock Journal #1

Bioshock exhibits the classic first person shooter style but with a immersive and unique story. When the game first starts out, you  are given barely any information about your character’s history and play through first person perspective. The first couple of levels get you acclimated to the game and to its story.

The story of Bioshock so far does not seem to center around the main character but around the city itself and what happened to it. You learn about the city through audio logs, Atlas, and through observing the surroundings. Through the audio logs, you find out about city life before and after the its demise through the perspective of citizens, Ryan, and Steinman so far. The surrounds detail what state Rapture is in and suggests that the decomposition of the structures suggest that it has been some time since the city’s demise. All the while, Atlas keeps informing you as to why Ryan is a bad person and why the city has gone down the pipes due to the ADAM and the effects it had on Rapture’s citizens. Also Atlas has been trying to convince the main character, that all of this has been the cause of Ryan.

The game has a good immersive quality to it because of the first person perspective and so far you do not know much about the character’s past, so you fill in the gaps of who the main character is, trying to relate the main character to yourself. Also while playing, you play how you would if you were in the same situation as the main character. Such as carefully walking into rooms and being conservative on ammunition, not knowing when you’ll find more. The more you play the more you get to know what exactly is going in Rapture and what happened to its inhabitants, giving a good story that you want to follow so you play more to find out more getting more immersed as time goes by.

Yet even though you are forced to follow what Atlas suggests you do, there is that paranoia that Atlas is not who he seems to be. The past couple of games I have played including Pyschonauts and Portal, the main character has been lied to and betrayed, devloping trust issues in general with some person in a game leading the main character, especially one that you cannot see and only hear. So it’ll be interesting to find out who Atlas really is and hopefully he is a good guy, but only time and more playing will reveal this secret, as Rapture has many secrets to hide itself.

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Journal 4 (Portal)

Portal is a first-person shooter puzzle game where the main objective is to get through the levels and defeat the computer that is trying to kill you. The game at first doesn’t give much of a plot and all you know at the beginning is that you are a test subject and forced to get through rooms with the use of the portal gun. But you know something is amiss in the beginning when the computer’s voice breaks up, hinting that the computer might be malfunctioning a bit and you may run into trouble soon. But as I progressed through the game until the end, I found out through dialogue and writing found in the game, that the computer is evil and the cake which is promised at the end is a lie and that the end of the test is a trap which I am able to escape and hunt down and destroy the computer itself.

The game for me was very immersive. I feel that when I first gain control of the main character, I feel as if I am that character and that using my wit I can solve each challenge thrown at me and the first person view added on to this except when I saw through the portals my own self which disconnect me a bit. The controls were easy to use and that at first understanding the rules of using portals was a bit difficult to grasp at first, I quickly adapted and enjoyed using this way of traveling. I find puzzle games really entertaining, and this game in particular requires a lot of thinking and solving in order to progress, which I really like in a game.

Playing Portal was not that hard for me because I have played through this game multiple times before, so this time I tried to see how quick I could run through the game. This time around was probably the quickest I have completed it because of experience and finding out some tricks that allowed me to get through some levels quicker than probably designed. An example of this is that in test chamber 18. Instead of going through the one big room and destroying all the turrets, there is a way if done quick enough to shoot yourself across the room bypassing all the turrets, grabbing the cube and clearing the level. Using tricks like these and experience of the game, I was able to complete it in like an hour. This game is very entertaining and I will probably play this game many more times before the sequel comes out.

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Pyschonauts Journal 3 (The End)

The Milkman’s Conspiracy was definitely an interesting level but the next few levels were definitely very interesting. In order to progress further into the game and finally beat it, I had to go through the minds of several mental patients in order to get items necessary to gain access to the top of the asylum. All the mental patients had different levels and had their own difficulty to them. But I found the levels easier to play since we discussed the levels in my English class before I played them, so I already knew what to do for most of them.

Gloria’s theater was probably the easiest as the level itself wasn’t that big and all that really was required was changing sets/moods/replaying plays to finish the level with the boss fight. The next level in Fred’s mind also was pretty easy since I already knew what to do and just rushed through the level. The only part I found hard was trying to swing across a gap to get the peasant’s gun. I enjoyed the scenery and artistic style in Edgar’s mind. The level was easy since the main goal was find and beat the mini-bosses which got a little repetitive but was able to go through it without much difficulty.

These levels I sort of rushed through because I was falling behind on the gameplay. I didn’t explore much in the levels and just moved forward. Yet when I got to the meat circus I had the most difficulty completing it. Most of the level was hard for me because I died multiple times due to control issues. For some reasons the controls didn’t respond like I wanted to such as using levitation to float didn’t work half the time and climbing up the fences when the water was rising was a real pain since it was difficult to double jump for some reason. On top of this my computer decided to restart itself at this part, I got really frustrated. So I finished the game the next day. The final boss fight was really easy compared to the frustration of the meat circus itself, so I was able to complete that pretty easily.

Overall I really enjoyed the game, figuring out the plot, and getting used to keyboard controls. I’m used to console controllers, so just playing this on an PC was a interesting experience in itself. The storyline and gameplay I found interconnected a bit since you had to go through the levels and complete the tasks to move on in the story, and the objectives I had to do seemed like they connected to the actual story since Raz was in these people’s minds solving their issues in their own created worlds. The story in itself was interesting since it was a different storyline which had a good plot, character development, and a good ending since Raz was promoted to an official pyschonaut and he got the girl in the end. The game was well written for its plot and humor, well designed, and very fun to play. I thoroughly enjoyed this game.

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Pyschonauts Journal 2

Since I last wrote, I have continued to play the game until I beat the Milkman’s level. But along the way I had encountered some difficulties in gameplay and game control. When I opened the game up for my second round of playing, which I play chunks of the game at a time, I tried using the program I mentioned before to use my xbox 360 controller to use for Pyschonauts. But when I used it this time, the controls for me were screwing up and I couldn’t figure it out. So I had to adapt to using the keyboard controls once again, which I found out to be not as bad as I got used to the controls with a few modifications to the default controls. Once that was all taken care of I was able to immerse myself in the game once again.

This time around after I finished Milia’s dance party and lungfishopolis which I found to be a particularly humorous level, I had a bit of trouble first getting started with lungfishopolis and the milkman conspiracy level. When it came to starting the lungfish level, I had a bit of trouble on what to do once I stunned the giant lungfish. I found out that I had to use the portal door on its head where then I completed the level with no troubles. But after I beat that level I once again had trouble just starting the Milkman’s level as I forgot to do the same thing and use the door portal on Boyd.

Though after I started the level I had difficulty progressing in the level since I did not acquire the cobweb duster at this point, which subsequently I had to quit the level, buy the arrowhead detector, and painstakingly get 800 arrowheads. This was really annoying but once I was done with that I had no further troubles with the milkman level except for the den mother boss fight because I kept dying a few times trying to hit her with the cookie boxes because it looked like I hit her with it but for some reason didn’t count as a hit, but a couple tries later I finally succeeded and was rewarded with a quite humorous cutscene with the Milkman’s “resurrection” at the end of the level. That is where I currently am in the game and can’t wait to continue on to see what crazy adventures this game still has to offer.

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Psychonauts Journal 1

I haven’t heard of Psychonauts until my English class introduced it. I didn’t know what to expect until I read up some reviews on it, where I found out it actually is a pretty highly recommended game. Also I am not a big PC gamer and  used to console controllers, so when I first started playing it I had some trouble getting comfortable with the controls. So I managed to get my Xbox 360 controller working with the game to make my life easier while playing it. Once the controls were in order, I was able to finally get able to get into the game.

I’m used to platform games, so gameplay itself wasn’t that difficult to adjust to. It was interesting how in the first cutscene, the story of the game was introduced and hinted that something sinister was going on in the background which I’ll eventually have to uncover. But that couldn’t happen until I was used to how the game worked.

The first few levels of the game starting with Basic Braining to about Sasha’s Shooting Gallery where I left off laid the foundation to the gameplay, learning about the general level layout and developing the characters. The levels are designed in the minds of the characters where the objective is to get to the end in a linear pattern where there normally is only one way to go. The levels themselves also shed light onto that character’s mind that I am working through, such as Oleander’s mind. It is military themed and portrays Oleander as a honorable war hero, yet near at the end of  the level, you uncover something else about him that I didn’t find out exactly yet what it is since Oleander prevented Raz from seeing behind the curtains. This only wants me to find out what exactly Oleander is hiding but I’ll have to continue playing in order to find out.

This first level acquainted me with how the levels are designed and the basic controls such as jumping and interacting with objects. Sasha’s shooting gallery on the other hand helped me get better acquainted with the more complex moves such as using Raz’s PSI powers, the PSI blast in this case.  Yet overall playing the levels plays a integral part in developing the story as you delved into people’s minds you learn about them through the environment and uncover things that help to uncover whatever sinister plot is going on at Whispering Rocks. Other then that there are optional things that I figured out you can do in the game such as collecting arrowheads, PSI cards, or other things that don’t necessarily further the story but something to do on the side that help to power up Raz or prove some benefit in some shape, way, or form. Overall I enjoy playing this game and uncovering the story, learning about the character, and quite intrigued to figure out the entire story of the game. Something that only can be done by playing through it and helping Raz.

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