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Video Game Review: Tacoma

September 1, 2017 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
TacomaIt’s impressive how much character development is crammed into Tacoma.

Developer Fullbright put itself on the map with 2013’s Gone Home, a PC-only release that was finally ported over to consoles last year. The narrative-driven experience is among the best of the so-called “walking simulators,” and fans of the genre have been looking forward to Fullbright’s next endeavor, entitled Tacoma, since it was announced in late 2014.

Although the game takes place on a space station, only the central hub operates in Zero-G, so the fact that floating doesn’t control very well — as far as we could tell there’s no way to adjust altitude, you just point where you want to go and push forward — isn’t an issue. Other than that you’re simply exploring the various wings and manipulating the recordings, all of which works just fine.

Tacoma looks decent enough, though that’s more about the detail put into creating the lived-in feel of the space station versus any sort of cutting edge graphics. That aspect is well done, and the game does a nice job of offering additional insight into its characters for those willing to take the time to dig around offices and living quarters.

While its visual beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, Tacoma’s voice acting is strong as the crew’s performances bring the characters to life and create the emotional attachment necessary to make the game work. It starts with Minny’s adorable “OK” during the docking sequence and continues until the credits roll.

You play as Amy Ferrier, a contractor hired by the Venturis Company to investigate the events that unfolded on its Tacoma space station and then retrieve the ODIN A.I. You’ll explore each of the three sections sequentially by unlocking and viewing recordings that explain how the crew came to their fate after some kind of explosion compromised the vessel’s oxygen supply.

A total of six people inhabit the station, and Tacoma shows how they react to the crisis, what their role is in attempting to survive it and the interpersonal relationships between them. There aren’t that many “vital” recordings — one or two per section — but, as noted, there are additional recordings, notes and electronic correspondence to flesh out the story.

Primary sequences will need to be viewed several times to get each character’s story for that moment, and a series of question marks along the timeline indicate when crew members have opened up a HUD that you can interact with and retrieve more info. It’s not exactly like putting a puzzle together since there ultimately isn’t a mystery to solve, but it does involve filling in the blanks.

As enjoyable as exploring the station and getting to know the crew is, Tacoma contains no threat or danger at any point, and if you stick to the main arc you can probably wrap things up in 90 minutes or less. Even taking your time and delving as deep as you’re able won’t push it past three hours. For some that might not feel like enough content for the asking price.

Whatever its shortcomings as a “game,” it tells an interesting, well conceived story, however, and we bought into the crew’s struggle and enjoyed the late twists and turns. In fact, it has more going for it than many of the sci-fi films we’ve seen over the last year plus.

OVERALL (4.25/5)

Fullbright has delivered another thoughtful piece of fiction with Tacoma. If you enjoyed the likes of Gone Home and What Remains of Edith Finch, odds are you’ll find this eminently satisfying.

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Blu-ray Review: Baywatch

August 29, 2017 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
There is some brutal CGI surrounding a boat rescue, and we do mean brutal. At no point does the fire look realistic, and the entire thing is bad. It’s a comedy/action movie about hot lifeguards. It didn’t need CGI, and if the budget wasn’t there to make it look remotely real it shouldn’t have been included. To be clear, this isn’t goofy dolphins doing high fives CGI. It’s meant to be serious.
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Video Game Review: Observer

August 26, 2017 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
Set in Poland circa the late 21st century, Observer casts you as Detective Lazarski (Hauer), who conducts his work by hacking into the minds of suspects/witnesses via the Dream Eater. Augmentation is the new norm in this futuristic world, which has endured both war and a digital plague, allowing a company known as the Chiron Corporation to take root as the region’s de facto government.
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Blu-ray Review: Everything, Everything

August 24, 2017 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
Even with the caveat they we’re not the target audience, Everything is rife with problems. It’d be an exercise in futility to touch on them all so let’s focus on the big ones. There are way too many plot holes stemming from the use of the most convenient, least plausible ways to explain how to get from Point A to Point B in the story arc.
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Video Game Review: Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

August 21, 2017 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
As an unnamed hero you end up shipwrecked on Gemea, an island inhabited by friendly folks and critters that are being intruded upon by a mysterious fog known as the murk. In the broadest sense, it’s your quest to discover the origin of the murk, learn how to eliminate it and then go about assembling and/or repairing the devices necessary to do so.
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