Hamlet the Video Game: Gameplay and Ideas

I took a look through some suggested readings to get a better idea of what this brief was about. While we have made a game by ourselves in Semester 1, I think that refreshing these notes about elements of game design and the main principles still help in creating a fresh idea.

In terms of originality, I think that our game seems to focus on the portrayal of Lady Macbeth a lot. It deals with ideas of her having to face ‘demons’ and what she’s willing to do for her ambitions.  It’s a side that has been talked about in relation to Macbeth’s downfall but I think a main focus on her solely in a game play format is extremely interesting. I think our ideas so far do possess elements that haven’t been combined in this particular way. Things like the cracked mirror element to reflect her inner demons and represent the crimes she has done derive from different member’s take on the play.

I found that we often had ideas bounced off of each other and had our own sources for references. This gave each of us some new ideas for our roles. In terms of the art department, I had games suggested to me (such as ‘Alice: Madness Returns’ and ‘Bloodborne’) so I could study atmosphere and character design/models.

I also looked over articles to influence my design process. Things like art styles and going over requirements of the game needed a lot of consideration because it had to conform to the game needs but also be creative. Restrictions such as art style came into play because I had to figure out if it was doable. In terms of our 3D design, our character models had to be made from scratch and reasonable designs for my group members to make.

So far I have been given a lot of freedom to design our main character, Lady Macbeth. My group hasn’t mentioned too many specific requirements besides bringing in some Scottish background to the character because Macbeth is based in Scotland. This made me do more research on Celtic designs, as well as Scotland castles. In my collection of research, I found that the tradition Celtic dress designs were extremely beautiful and elegant which was reasonable for our regal character.

So right now it’s just a matter of me picking up my pen and doing some concepts based on my research.

Game Review: Bloodborne

Bloodborne was one of the first games suggested in the group, to use for our game reference. It contains a lot of dark atmospheric designs , which I definitely wanted to look at for the game art. I like how dark and grim the visuals are, I find that visuals and sound really compliment each other as well. This role playing action video game uses third person perspective really well to get the audience immerse into it’s surroundings.

Graphics: 10/10

The details in the gore is really impressive, the tones morph really well together but we can still see our prominent customized character, highlighted among the chaos. I was most intrigued by the camera movements because it made fight scenes so exciting. We follow behind our main character to fight enemies but the interaction with the camera really follows smoothly. The clothing on the models were also beautifully done, as my character walked or pushed through doors, there was little details like the belt or hood that would move due to gravity.

Sound: 8/10

Sound effects are used to its upmost potential during the boss fights which make the weapons so lively. The music fits well with the game and helps give off that eerie vibe.

Story: 8/10

The story keeps you wanting more, you’re on a quest but bringing in these well crafted enemies was what made it for me. The hunter that we play as, goes through a journey that is somewhat of a bad dream. It’s a lot to take in at first when you’re completely new to the game and it’s history but once immersed in the hunting down monsters and escaping nightmares, you’d be so attached to the narrative.

Controls: 10/10

The controls are responsive and in a way, danced through fighting mechanics. Every flex or dodge was beautifully done to encourage the building tension and the audiences reflexes.

Replay Value:9/10

I recommend this game and believe it has replay value because of the beautiful environments and detailed designs really shows the dedication and effort put into it. The process through the game isn’t incredibly hard to follow, simple things like going to each lamp lets you explore the surroundings very well and keep you on the adventure. It’s also a thought provoking experience which I enjoyed.

Game review: Alice Madness Returns

Alice Madness Returns is also another game we mentioned early on for reference. It had dark elements in the story which we really wanted to convey in our game. The character design for Alice was also something we thought about to reference for Lady Macbeth’s design (dress and style wise).

Graphics: 10/10

The graphics are so distinctive, whether it be for cutscenes or in game play. I found that the cutscenes used a lot more 2d elements in comparison to the 3d perspective in the game. It made a nice contrast to different parts of the game and how the story was told. The 2d drawings were a lot like paper dolls and relied on colour to put emphasis on things such as blood (patterns or splatters). It had a much more animatic based movements to them as well. The 3d models used straight up gore (such as ripped body parts that detach with strings of blood)  or cinematic approaches.

Sound: 9/10

Sound effects definitely add to the build ups of disturbing visuals but also a lightheartedness to the magical segments (where Alice is in Wonderland). A noticeable sound effect caught me by surprise when one of the characters would start deforming (the rabbit for example). It was high pitched and a stretching sound, possibly made with string instruments. When used, it dragged out the process of the distorted visuals so well that it definitely impressed me (building onto the camera angles panning and such).

Story: 9/10

It is a somewhat familiar story since it is based off Alice In Wonderland but it definitely has it’s original twist. It a lot more gore based horror, especially as you get further into the game. Without giving too much away, we learn about our character and her dark past which leads her to this psychedelic wonderland. It also brings up the questions of moral righteousness and whether we side with our main character.

Controls: 9/10

The controls are very smooth and just run well.  Notability, when Alice jumps, she can do these beautifully animated twirls where particle effects are explored.

Replay Value:9/10

It’s a stunning game because the visuals are so stylised to match the tone of the story. The narrative relies on building up an empire for Alice to explore but it establishes more recognizable themes within this to get the audience hooked. A definite winner for those interested in the original book (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) or the multiple popularised Alice in Wonderland films.

Game review: Disney-Pixar Brave: The Video Game

This is a PC based game which I really wanted to review because it was something that I use to play. What made it relevant to this assignment was how the cutscenes were done. I remembered the cutscenes distinctively because of how it used parallax scrolling to convey movement. To tell the story, the colours were a lot more muted and imagery was placed on something similar to a tapestry. This linked to our original idea to have our cutscene in a play book/storybook. I wanted to study this game for this reason and as well as looking at the use of particle effects. Particle effect studies were relevant to me because I wanted to get inspiration for our enemy/demon designs and see how the in game graphics used these effects to drag out spirits or monsters.

Graphics: 8/10

The graphics are what you’d expect from a decent 3d game and it is beautiful atmospherically. A lot of cool tones and warm tones are explored in the levels to make Merida (our main character) stand out while wearing a emerald green dress with bright orange locks. Her character model is distinct with her curly red hair but due to complications and the simplified models, the curls are flat. This is expected though since it meets the needs of the game and rather than the needs of a visual animation. It is the most noticeable in close up shots however, so the scenery can still be appreciated.

Sound: 8/10

Having our reactions of grunts and speech really help bring the character alive. It is especially commendable during the boss fights because the demonic sound effects contrast well with a human voice. The music also on cue, changes for the fighting segments automatically which alerts the player for trouble.

Story: 7/10

The story is similar to the film but with more focus on the demonic side of the narrative. It creates new character (enemies) so that Merida can have more fights but lack the warmth that showcased the mother daughter bond that was heavily emphasised in the film.

Controls: 8/10

The controls are decent, they flow pretty well and she responses decently for a lot of the fighting mechanics (archery aim and attacks).

Replay Value:7/10

This game offers more backstory on some characters that weren’t focused on in the film. It dabbles into darker themes and new enemies are introduced. It has you battle against these creatures who somewhat represent the 4 elements (fire, water, air,earth in my opinion) and leads you through beautiful forests and chilling mountains. Its a game to check out for sure if you’re a fan of the film or just keen on some good old adventure.

Game review: Disney Tangled: the Video Game

This game was also an inspiration for me because of how the cutscenes were done. It was one of those games I have played before which really had a distinctive style in the cutscenes that made it extremely engaging to watch. The flow of it follows along like a painting where layers of imagery would be ‘painted’ in with strokes. I found this as an interesting way to transition shots and highlight important details while still looking active.

Graphics: 8/10

As a PC game, i found this to have a lot of colour combinations and really reminiscent of the lively, exciting tone the film had.  There were a lot more bright colours since they often have a lot of scenery shots outside in sunny weather. I found the cutscenes and the in game footage complimented each other really well surprisingly. While the cutscenes are completely in 2D, the game play itself is in 3D.  I think it complimented each other because the colours are brought through to both parts.

Sound: 8/10

The soundtrack in the back brings back themes from the film which is a nice touch. When fighting enemies, the music would shift in pace and change to a distinctive battle piece to dramatise the sequence.

Story: 8/10

The story is also based on the film, taking in a lot of elements that were not as prominent in there and using it in the game. The further developed characters and story line showcase another view and more in depth perspective for characters which is nice.

Controls: 8/10

The controls are responsive and I found that the fact that they managed to get Rapunzel’s hair usable as a weapon really surprised me. While it did glitch and go through collisions sometimes, it was pretty useful and worked well throughout the game, especially when swinging.

Replay Value:8/10

This game was fun and I would definitely recommend it, even to just to study the visuals and the use of bright vibrant colours.  It is an enjoyable experience for any fan of the film and characters.

Game review: Shadow of the Colossus

This game was something I wanted to play for a while since I’ve heard really good things about the story and the graphics for it’s time. It definitely gave me inspiration for colour palettes and the use of lighting.

Graphics: 8/10

The graphics are beautiful, especially for when it was made. It is really refined and lives up to the quality of games today.  The animation is very impressive and I found myself so struck by the horse movements since the run cycle is so smooth and mesmerizing.   There is a lot of stone in use for the assets textures and environment. This is very helpful to study because the backgrounds aren’t just flat colours. The texturing helps add to the atmosphere and smoky surrounding.

Sound: 8/10

There is a chorus in the soundtrack which really help the dramatic scenes build on emotion. It also uses music for specific scenes like when you beat a Colossus. The same piece would be used in a ending cutscene to make it reminiscent and remind the audience of the two sequences.  It fits the mood and surrounding very well.  It adds to the eerie setting where it is barely populated by humans.

Story: 9/10

The story is very straight forwards at first, you have a quest and the adventure is important to reach the end goal. Complications happen along the way and in the end, it’s not exactly what you expect. I found that by the near end when the goal was reached, I was already too invested into the characters and narrative. that is why it becomes much more of a shock and provokes emotion out of an audience when it doesn’t go according to plan. It’s clever and creative in my opinion.

Controls: 8/10

The controls are fairly simple to use and navigate around. It is only when the narrative calls for it where you have trouble to control. An example would be when the main character is dragged back and the player, when they try or not would still end up with the protagonist dragged into the portal.

Replay Value:8/10

I recommend this game because it stands strong, even to this day. As a game it includes a strong base of narrative and visuals. When being extremely thought provoking, it also under lies some ideas open to interpretation. It is definitely worth the reply to immerse into the story again.

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