Playstation 4 Games Catch-All

Finished 'Arts Dream' the short campaign added to Dreams yesterday (for early access owners) by Media Molecule.

Its about a down in the dumps musician named Art, he's a base player who has gone awol from his band for personal reasons.

Art is more or less is on a journey through his own dream in which self doubt, childhood memories & elements of his band manifest themselves in various themes, characters & situations.

The tone set by the lavishly detailed recording studio that you start your journey puts his bluesy style music right at the heart of this mini campaign.

The work in artistic design that media molecule pull off here is quite exquisite & other worldly. They can really go to town with the settings because its Art's dream.

You have gorgeous locations like the train station, with floating pillars, with the train looking like its come through a mist from another world. You have fantastical platforming stages using Art's teddy's for lack of a better term. These have a dark picturesque quality to them, with swinging cages, exploding amps & falling rock platforms.

One of the best aspects of the game is that it feels coherent as you switch between each play style in Art's dream. You have Art's point & click sections, the teddy's doing their Ratchet & Clank style platforming sections, lastly the astro bot robot levels that see you, rolling, powering up grids & double jumping over trickier platforming sections. Its all done with a flair that makes the potential of these tools huge.

In Art's sections it see's you talking to other characters, with dialogue options, investigating bits of the environment & solving light puzzles. Its actually done really well. The little imp you control can pull open doors, suitcases, flick switches & rotate levers, all in aid of helping Art progress.

I'd say I was enjoying to the degree of a 7/10 most of the way through but they really go all out at the end to create some mesmerising sections. You can probably add another point onto the score for that last 30 mins. The way sound is used, new gameplay sections are introduced & things just get amped up to the max as you hurtle towards the finish & the battle against Art's demons.

Its an endearing little campaign & leaves a mark with its art style, storytelling & gameplay styles. I'd recommend people give this a go. Its not the best gameplay in any one area but for the amount it tries its very competent.

Great write up Spikeout. Here is an episode of Beyond with an interview with two of the Dreams developers early on.

Spike, you should be paid to do reviews like that. Cheers!

Localgod54 wrote:

Spike, you should be paid to do reviews like that. Cheers!

Its ironically the one thing I'd like to be a bit better at. I look at Clocky, Higgledy, Dyni, RNRClown, HarpoMaxist etc & am jealous of their way with words. They are all really creative, putting their own personal spin on things or coming at something from an angle that is inspired. It makes their reviews, impressions, GOTY lists etc a joy to read.

Thanks though LG I appreciate it!

Clocky never ceases to amaze me with the variety of clocking they come up with! The other writers here are always a treat too.

That said, I agree with Localgod54. Don't sell yourself short.

I'm clocking in a recommendation. I've found a suitable companion for Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze. I'm going with a Karate Kid reference here, if DK is the 'wax on' then Rayman: Legends is the 'wax off'.

I started Legends a few days ago & after having really enjoyed Origins I'd forgotten how good the level design is in these games. The paintbrush backgrounds are gorgeous, with quite a lot of depth in what their depicting.

The flow of the levels like DK is top notch, your always moving, engaged in platforming, jumping into enemies, collecting the little coloured lums (much like DK's bananas), using ziplines, gliding with Rayman's ears (Hairlycoptering) & finding the secret areas that house captured teensies.

I love the implementation of the little teensie (I think that's what it is) that assists you with the press of a button. It can move platforms, cuts ropes & manipulates bits of the environment to let you push forward through levels.

I can't wait to play more! Anyone who likes 2D platformers that control extremely well, has an art style that jumps out at you with its beauty & colours, plus supremely good level design, this is well worth a go.

That's before I've even got to the music levels which were excellent in Origins.

I had Rayman: Legends in my PS Plus library so look for it there if you have been subscribed long enough & give it a whirl.

I second your recommendation, Spikeout --Rayman Legends is fantastic!

Yeah, Origins was great, but Legends pretty much improved on it in every way. I understand both can get pretty hard, but...I wouldn't be the person to judge that, based on my natural suckage at platformers.

Spikeout wrote:
Localgod54 wrote:

Spike, you should be paid to do reviews like that. Cheers!

Its ironically the one thing I'd like to be a bit better at. I look at Clocky, Higgledy, Dyni, RNRClown, HarpoMaxist etc & am jealous of their way with words. They are all really creative, putting their own personal spin on things or coming at something from an angle that is inspired. It makes their reviews, impressions, GOTY lists etc a joy to read.

Thanks though LG I appreciate it!

I know this will be off topic for the PS4 thread, but wanted to chime in to say two things! Spike you’re a technical master at breaking down a video game, you’ve got the hard part down! The second piece was to provide a link to one of my absolute favourite resources for starting the journey towards improved storytelling, Nancy Duarte’s Free eBook: Resonate.

She’s got some brilliant and simple to implement techniques that can really help elevate your storytelling technique. Things like story boarding, which you might literally have to do by hand until you get so practiced at it you become a pro and ingrain it into your writing practice like the brilliant writers you mentioned above, and I think the truly underrated gems she brings to the table are the ideas of contrast and audience. Part of what makes any great audio/visual/written performance “resonate” is its ability to capture an audience. The primary way I’ve seen this done is through contrast.

Contrast comes in a myriad of forms: tone, sentence structure, language, presentation style, content, etc. But taking the audience on a high-low, tension-release journey is what spellbinds and captures hearts and minds (Clocky’s review of Below was a masterclass in this technique).

Now I’m a relative novice in the written medium, but I’ve spent several hundred hours researching and developing curriculum related to data storytelling so happy to share more resources if you’d like!

Oh and last tidbit, practice makes perfect. Hard to understate that. Experiment. Mess around. These forums are such a beautiful place to try out different forms and structures and get feedback!

That's excellent staygold, I'll 100% take a read through Nancy Duarte's Ebook, any other book recommendations, online resources etc keep them coming. Thanks for the encouraging words also!

There was a piece recently about the Celeste DLC from Omar Hafeez-Bore over at Eurogamer, its one of the most descriptive, spellbinding articles I've read in years Celeste DLC Article

When games elicit the feelings & experiences they do (from me as an individual), I'd like my write ups to be more specific, more detailed, more personal. I feel sometimes I'm hammering out the same superlatives for the games I love, or the opposing descriptions for games I don't like.

I absolutely love deep dives into games & learning about design, mechanics, gameplay elements, like in Mark Brown: Game Makers Toolkit. He's very elegant & specific in his descriptions with a lot of detail. You come away from his videos with a better understanding of a topic or more knowledge on a game.

My goal is to start pushing toward that direction, in a lot of the things I write about on this forum. Cheers again for the help folks!

I always enjoy what you write Spikeout. I'll look forward to reading more.

I'll check out Nancy Duarte’s book.