Month: April 2014

The Wolf Among Us Episode 3 “A Crooked Mile” Review

This review contains spoilers for Episode 3 of The Wolf Among Us.
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There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

The world of fairy tales and poetry is covered in a shimmering oil slick of dread, something Telltale games dips its hand into quite readily.  Ever dipped anything into oil?  Things get…sticky.

The crooked man from the mother goose poem is a great example of the abundant darkness present in the true world of fairy tales (no Disney here!). The phrase, ‘to walk a crooked mile’ has since come to mean the otherwise virtuous doing unscrupulous things to get things done. Interestingly it’s also the title of a 1948 noir crime drama. It stands to reason that Telltale is intentionally referencing the movie as Bigby (the main protagonist from The Wolf Among Us) works to find the possibly traitorous Ichabod Crane.

Like the movie, the dialog and story for ‘A Crooked Mile’ is riveting. Bigby’s character is finally able to shine as the script and plot drag the people around him down into the dirty reality of Fabletown. The main cast is still dealing with the death of Holly’s sister, Lily and as Bigby, you can choose to be sympathetic towards Holly and her antagonistic friends or behave as the cold no-nonsense detective so stereotypical to the noir setting. Regardless of your decisions, it’s quickly revealed that the threads holding Fabletown together are dangerously frayed, and the only person who is equipped to hold it together is the Big Bad Wolf. Your character in The Wolf Among Us is the gravitational center of a world spinning wildly out of control, much like a gyroscope.   This gives a different weight entirely to the decisions you make in comparison to Telltale’s previous efforts. Lee was always adrift in Zombie strewn Georgia and had little effects on the world around him but Bigby is able to, by your direction, take control of the story… at least superficially.

Center stage in this episode is the hunt for Crane, who is accused of  Lily’s murder, embezzled from Fabletown, and has been using magic to stalk Snow White. You go to a few familiar places in your search as well as at least two new locations.

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Most importantly the ‘Crooked Man’ who was only spoken of in  hushed tones earlier in the season has finally made an appearance and did so with a bang. He sends Bloody Mary herself to collect Crane after you’ve apprehended him, might be fun to mix yourself one when she appears, like a fabled drinking game. What follows is a fantastic climax of the first three episodes which gives a bit of closure while also setting up the proper bad guy in the Crooked Man.

After playing through the enjoyable but rushed Episode 2, I was concerned that The Wolf Among Us wouldn’t be able to capture my imagination quite like the Fable comics have… but  Episode 3 has laid those fears to rest. A fantastic representation of noir story telling. It’s a dark and troubled chase that doesn’t really have any possibility of a happy ending. The only hope is that by the end the entire crooked house doesn’t fall down on top of the flawed characters you are rooting for. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable return to this world and definitely recommend you pick it up.

Certain Age Gaming for April 14th, 2014 “PAX East, More Like Lacks… Game… Announcements!”

It’s another Monday week and you sure can tell! (you can’t actually) James played Mercenary Kings and tries to convince Kody that it’s worth a damn while Kody mostly played Threes and Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. The news is pretty much all PAX, which means it wasn’t much. But they do talk about how awesome Civilization Beyond the Earth can potentially be and geek out over the impending release of Transistor.

If you want to participate in the show, join us at http://www.twitch.tv/certainagegamer on Sundays at 10:00 PM EST.

Certain Age Gaming for April 14th, 2014

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Certain Age Gaming for April 7th, 2014 “Why is This Town Called ‘Penisville’?”

This week we went in on Monday and beat it all up! James played Age of Wonders III mostly (and also saw Capt. America Winter Soldier) while Kody played Diablo III mostly (and also went to Table Top Day) Don’t worry, we don’t spoiler the movie or Table Top Day. But Kody DID open the pack that said “Do Not Open. Ever.”… he has no will power, forgive him.

If you want to participate in the show, join us at http://www.twitch.tv/certainagegamer on Sundays at 10:00 PM EST.

Certain Age Gaming for April 7th, 2014

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The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 2 Review

We’re Smarter Than We Look

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My house previously subscribed to “The Walking Dead” comic until about a month ago. We’d collected 115 issues and Rachel had enough. There wasn’t any compelling reason to continue to pay for what was essentially going to be a soap-opera with Zombies as a framing device. Our hard earned comic cash was better spent toward other uses (Deadpool, in this specific case).

I bring this up, I guess, for obvious reasons. Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season 2 just released their second episode, “A House Divided”. I’m not saying that I’m ready to replace this game… or stop playing it. What I’m saying is that there’s a problem with Zombie media or, moreover, The Walking Dead (Game, movie, comic) in particular. There’s a formula that’s pretty straight forward:

1. Zombie Apocalypse

2. People Trying To Survive

3. People Are Dicks Despite Zombie Threat

From there, shenanigans ensure and “A House Divided” is no different. What you have is a group of people desperately clinging to survival while trying to assert influence over their other survivors. The only interest is in your control of an eleven year old girl, Clementine, who’s already kind of been through hell and back. You and her are heading north to an ephemeral place where survivors are gathering and society is rebuilding. It’s just another piece of the Zombie puzzle, northern journey to a City of Gold that may or may not exist… we’ve been treated to this multiple times and The Walking Dead will likely end up similar.

You’ve shacked up with a group of assholes who, no surprise, don’t trust anything or anybody. At the end of the last episode someone got bit and at the beginning of this episode they, inevitably, died. This causes even more tension for the assholes and also leads to the introduction of King Asshole (Carver, more properly). There’s a bit of a fun exchange between this little girl you’re controlling at the King Asshole but… and here’s the rub, since you don’t give a shit about any of the people you’ve been staying with there’s literally ZERO tension. I did not care one whit about giving up information to Carver. I chatted with him in a friendly manner and then saw him to the door.

That’s an issue that remains throughout the game. In Season 1 I had grown very attached to many of my comrades by the start of Episode 2 but now I’m just feeling as if the idiots surrounding me are more of a liability than anything else. All throughout the few hours of play I just kept thinking of ways to trying and sabotage these guys… but nothing came up. Which is really the other problem with Episode 2. I didn’t get much opportunity at all to do much of anything. The star of the show is Carver and he, quite literally, drags the story around by the back of the neck with little regard for the fact that you are Player 1 and are actually in control.

At the end, I still sat on the edge of my seat and wondered what would happen next… but I do that when I watch shitty TV shows too. False tension created by losing control and temporary stupidity may be effective, but is otherwise hollow and leaves you wondering if you’ll even bother with the next Episode. You see, there’s really only two ways that this story ends… either the Zombies are still there and everyone is still an asshole at the end, or you’re dead.

Luckily for you I will bother with the next Episode. There’s still a potential for redemption in this story… but the way things are going now I may just end up reading more Deadpool.

Certain Age Gaming for March 30th, 2014 “Facebook Didn’t Offer Us Anything”

This week we lament the lack of any kind of buyout offer for our Podcast and figure we’ll just have to keep inventing things like for starters, “talking about Video Games”! James played Final Fantasy 8 and Kody played Final Fantasy 10 and they duke it out to see who’s boring JRPG is the boringest! They also dabbled in The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 2 and Smite. Listen!

If you want to participate in the show, join us at http://www.twitch.tv/certainagegamer on Sundays at 10:00 PM EST.

Certain Age Gaming for March 30th, 2014

CA Gaming final