Everlasting life means everlasting frustration

My current job came to a close last Friday, which means I have a lot of free time (of which some will have to be spent looking for another job… such is life for my generation here).

quake01
Apparently today is Quake’s 20th birthday. Have a look at some of the amazing texture work. Wouldn’t you want a gate made out of human bones in your garden too?

So of course I’ve had time to play games this whole week. The one game that has captured most of my attention has been Forbidden Siren. Yes, you know the one that was remade on the PS3? Well, I already played that one ages ago. I’m talking about the PS2 version here. I didn’t know what to expect, but after finishing it, I now find it a fundamental step in stealth and general game design. Most importantly, the two lessons to take are as follows:

1- stealth works pretty well when you don’t have full visibility over your enemies. You can sightjack Shibitos to see what they see, but you can’t actually move their viewpoint, so often you’ll have to understand on your own where the player character is. Overall, it comes together as one of the most engaging takes on stealth I’ve ever played.

2- please, please,give your players good hints on how to proceed. I actually kinda liked the repetitive design of missions, since it eventually made you learn all the ins and outs of the relatively few maps. But I could have done with something a bit more specific than “hide this character in a special place” and “search the house and the well”. Does that sound vague enough? I bet they could have made it even more vague. Maybe “look around”.

01-FS1-FRONT
This music cover is a lie. If you tried moving around with the flashlight on, you’d get Shibito on your tail almost immediately. Don’t do that.

In the end, I had to play almost always with a guide. And what’s the point of survival horror played with a walkthrough?

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