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Chaos on Deponia – an unfortunate disappointment

Rufus

A single frame that says it all

Chaos on Deponia has great drawings, an interesting, appealing atmosphere, and an epic score, which livens up the start menu section.
Unfortunately, under the pretty facade, both on its own, and in comparison with its predecessor, this adventure game is severely lacking in actual content. Yes, there are more areas to explore, more scenes to play out, and more videos to watch, but the jokes are fit for little children (which is out of place in a game with a mature setting), are devoid of wit, intelligence, or class (oh, this guy speaks in a funny way, let’s laugh about it for the entire game, because it’s obviously such a riot) not to mention the completely needless and tasteless parts with cruelty to animals.
Supplementing the vapid, hollow humor are unlikable, skin-deep characters that do not evoke the tiniest bit of emotional attachment.
All except the protagonist, of course who is a loathsome with no redeeming qualities, which I found repeatedly wanting to see fail. The fact that he is an oblivious, rude, shallow, mean-spirited, self-centered, charmless, immature idiot (and yes, this is how the game itself portrays him) might have been (almost) cute in the first game, but his behavior is simply insufferable this time around. In effect, he does not serve as a hero, anti-hero (Guybrush Threepwood has that part done correctly), or even as comic relief.

In short, this is an average adventure game, that falls short of the classics it tries to imitate (there are a few homages too, not that they help much). Despite wanting to like it, I became more and more disappointed as the story progressed. Perhaps this trilogy (why?) can still be saved in its third installment, when that is available, but my advice is to think three times before handing over your money.

Categories: Gaming

Divinity: Dragon Commander – a bad political joke.

Image

In the words of Wikipedia,

Divinity: Dragon Commander is a turn-based and real time strategy role playing video game developed by Larian Studios as part of the Divinity series of fantasy role-playing games. The game features a hybrid of gameplay styles and has single-player, competitive multi-player, and co-operative multi-player modes.

In others words, it is a mish-mash of popular genres, none of which is executed particularly well, and all of which are better experienced in other games.

At this point, thanks to the plethora of online websites that cover the technical aspects of this sewn-together abomination, I have little to add about the gameplay itself, but I’d like to delve into a part of it that was unforeseen to me: Dragon Commander’s flirtation with ‘current affairs’, that is equally mediocre and shallow as the rest of its parts.
Certain reviewers (I’m looking at you, Angry Joe), seem to be ecstatic about the sort of terms thrown around (like “gay marriage”, and “universal health care”), but the way they are presented, (not really) discussed, how their proponents are idealized with beauty and intelligence, while their opponents are demonized (literally, the undead – skeletons without reproductive parts – are against women voting, for some non-brain-eating related reason; and a fat capitalist pig™ talks against elven homsexuals, because ‘obviously’ successful industrialists are only attracted to one gender), all reeks of writing level that is beneath high-school. The flat voice acting only made me cringe further, upon hearing some of the lines.

If this is some aspiring attempt at satire, it fails even at grasping the meaning of the word, and instead comes off as simplistic political conformism, which tries to make the game appeal to young audiences.
Gender inequality in society is not a result of “men being mean” for the sake of it, and implementing universal health care is not a matter of “insert money, get ideal result, and live happily ever after”, but these subjects go beyond the scope of this review, and that’s exactly the point – by showing the world through absolute, one-dimensional, black-and-white lens, this game and propaganda piece is doing a great disservice to real public debate. In that, it is an insult to one’s intelligence, but I guess that the bad writing fits perfectly in with the overall shallowness and mediocrity of every other component it presents, from the RTS, to (yet another) card-collecting element and the Risk-style game board.

In short, do NOT buy if you’re old enough to correctly spell your own name.

Categories: Gaming