Tag Archives: XIII

A mysterious hatch leads to trouble in BNKR

bnkr game final thoughts

I’m attracted to games with strange names or, at the very least, strangely written names. For instance, ^_^XIII, Viewtiful Joe, and Big Mutha Truckers 2: Truck Me Harder. Some quick complete transparency though: I’ve never played that last title, but just the sound of it alone, the way it rolls off your tongue and hangs in the air like some glowing, ethereal angel, has me curious. But yeah, if your game’s title is non-traditional and a bit bizarre, then you already have my attention, which is really helpful when sorting through game jam lists, too. And all that is just to slip into talking about BNKR, a point-and-click game by Piter Games not from Philip K. Dick and not from some recent jam, but just out there, waiting for you to devour.

Here’s the deal: the world was once populated by humans, but now only androids roam the bereft towns and buildings, constantly searching for fuel vital for survival. One day, a hatch opens, demanding whatever lies beneath it to be explored. You play as an unnamed–yet numbered–android with a digitalized male voice who goes down the ladder to see if there is anything worth salvaging.

Not counting the first hub area, which is a small, closed off town in the form of an overhead map with a few buildings to explore, most of BNKR is played from first person perspective. Er, I mean…first android perspective. Thank you, thank you. No, please, I’m happy to sign autographs. Anyways, you can click to move from scene to scene or interact with your surroundings and items in the inventory. A changing cursor alerts you if there’s something worth investigating. And that’s it gameplay-wise, which is fine, as it’s very short, though I’ll admit it took me much longer than probably others to complete it as I got stuck on two less-than-clear puzzles. Spoiler: you can find the third piece of mirror glass hidden between a desk’s drawers, as well as the other half of the broken key in a vent near the ceiling out in the main hallway. There, that should help greatly.

BNKR is a beautiful, desolate world. Also: very gray. You wouldn’t be wrong to immediately think of Machinarium or Primordia immediately, to compare in looks. There’s some light narration atop some striking artwork, and the voice of the robot you control is both human and not, which only helped draw me in more. It’s a strange combination of familiar and foreign, with the robot’s comments on things like levers and desks and photos of once-living humans little puzzles themselves. You can tell that the robot is a little sad, a little unsure. You can mildly interact with another android at the beginning of the game, but other than that, you’re searching solo; I think more droid-on-droid interaction would have been nice–hey now–as well as some dialogue trees to help fill in story gaps. Other than a couple of really well hidden items, the puzzles are pretty easy to figure out if you keep on clicking, and you can probably breeze through the game in about ten or fifteen minutes.

Alas, BNKR ends right as it just starts getting good plot-wise, and so I’ll have to keep looking for whatever comes from the people at Piter Games, as finding out what’s actually inside that opened hatch is just the tip of the post-apocalyptic iceberg.

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Zero money budgeted to Secret Agent Clank’s loading screens

For a good while last night, I believed my PlayStation 2 was dead. I was trying to get some play time in before our usual run of Thursday night TV hit–Community, The Office, Parks and Recreation–but the blasted thing just wouldn’t turn on. I checked multiple times that everything was plugged in, and to my horrible eyes, it seemed so. Grumbling, I gave up, watched some TV, and figured I’d try again; the reason I didn’t want to keep plugging and unplugging wires the whole night was that it might throw off our cable or Internet; we have a lot of wires behind our entertainment stand, too many to remember which one goes with what technology.

In the end, I did actually miss plugging in a single plug, and once I did, my PlayStation 2, which “I’ve had since I bought it,” powered on. Whew. I take really good care of my videogame systems, and to see one almost kick the bucket was a little unnerving. Heck, even my original SNES, all yellowed and dusty, still plays catridges. But that’s besides the point. I got my PlayStation 2 working, and it was now time to play some of my newest purchases.

First up was Secret Agent Clank, but before I could truly play I had to free up space on my sole PS2 memory card. Kind of a tough quest actually. I mean, I don’t even have my copy of Suikoden V anymore, but my save data shows some 65+ hours put into it, and I’d hate to delete it simply because I never beat the final boss, and there’s hope that maybe, possibly, hopefully, one day I might get the chance to try again. So I deleted save data for XIII, Killzone, and Odin Sphere. That seemed to do the ticket, as now I have enough available for Clank’s top-secret adventure.

After selecting NEW GAME, Secret Agent Clank opens up…with a loading screen. It’s of a spaceship flying across the screen through space. There’s no music, just a soft whooshing sound as it passes by. This happens about nine more times, with the only change being new angles. Each pass takes about three to four seconds, so we’re looking at almost 30 seconds of just sitting and staring and, unfortunately, zoning out. Those whooshes need to be bottled and sold as nonprescription sleeping pills. From what I can tell, there’s zero to little loading time on the original PSP version, meaning this port is all for the worse. Now, in previous Ratchet and Clank titles for the PlayStation 2, there were similar loading screens when traveling from planet to planet, but I swear it was never more than three instances of a spaceship flying past. Not nine or ten. Ugh.

Once we’re past the happy, happy, joy, joy loading fun-times, we see Clank trying to infiltrate the Boltaire Museum Mission Impossible style, tethered to a wire and dropping down through cut glass. He looks pretty freakin’ adorable in his tuxedo. However, he witnesses his ol’ buddy Ratchet stealing from the museum. PLOT TWIST! I played through the game’s first level, which introduces some of Clank’s abilities and skills and kind of ends on some weird Guitar Hero-esque QTEs, and then, after another stretch of loading screens and getting stuck at the part where I have to control three mini-Clankbots, called it quits. Not because I hated what was happening, but I was tired and wanted to watch some more Party Down.

I dunno. As always, the gameplay is fun and varied, but these loading screens might just cause me to go insane. Stay tuned for drooling and inconhesive rambling.

FIRST HOUR REVIEW: XIII

I find it kind of funny that I just recently reviewed XIII at The First Hour and then bought Borderlands a day or two later. Both are cel-shaded FPS all about style. One treats itself far more seriously than the other, but both are a pretty fun time. Unique, too, which is always a plus in my book. Just don’t get the game confused with, er, Final Fantasy XIII.

But yeah, honestly, if you see a copy of XIII for $1.99, just get it. The story is mission-driven and well presentated, and the multiplayer (well, I played against AI bots) is fun and varied. You can’t really go wrong for that kind of price. In fact, you can’t even buy breakfast for that kind of money. Well, maybe you can, if you ax the coffee. But only insane people would do that…

Okay, I’m meandering. Go read the review!

XIII for $2.00–yes or no?

So, while browsing the bargain bin of PS2 games yesterday at my local GameStop, I found a copy of XIII…for $2.00. Yet I did not buy it. Instead, I came home and searched for some reviews. Talk about being scared of the Recession, eh?

XIIIboxcover

Anyways, what do you think? Is XIII worth the $2.00 (plus tax)? Seems like a stylish FPS with a somewhat stereotypical plot.