First Post and Braid

April 17, 2009

Welcome to this blog I’ve created for the sole purpose of logging my experiences in the film and game world. Firstly I’d like to talk about a game that I just finished playing, Braid, which was recently released for the PC having been available on Xbox Live for a little while now. Someone was watching me play it over my shoulder, and their first comment was ‘so this is like Mario then is it’ to which I replied ‘kind of, but you can rewind time’. To be honest that was abit of a throw away statement to get the casual observer off my back so I could concentrate on the sublime endgame sequence in which the opening of the game is finally revealed. From a narrative point of view Braid makes some big mistakes but almost makes up for them by displaying such a cohesive and engaging overall design coupled with time manipulation puzzles that really work.

Let’s talk about what Braid get’s wrong first. The way in which a majority of the story is told is through simple text boxes which pop up on screen when you run past plinth bound books. Although this gives the game an old school feeling which is augmented by the 2D side scrolling style, it’s the only other concession to the past in what is otherwise a thoroughly modern game. At times the actual text itself is verbose to the point of parody, reading like a science fiction film noir, and this tongue in cheek storytelling is continued in the blatantly generic storyline of a missing/kidnapped princess. When you get to the end of each of the hub ‘rooms’ which is marked by a castle a big stuffed dinosaur comes out to meet you, uttering half sentences like a rambling drunk and telling you to look elsewhere for the princess.  Check out the last level of World 4 to see the best implementation of the dino fellow paired with the time controls.

When I completed Braid for the first time I felt pretty satisfied, but I found that the next day I had a craving for another go, so I started from scratch again. I imagine that some people will be speed running through and completing the thing in less than 20 minutes, and with the speed run timer built in it’s the only concession to encouraging additional plays. However, there’s something so satisfying about every element of the core gameplay that make playing through the puzzles again and again relaxing and cathartic. Whether this is something that other people will agree with is yet to be seen, but the whole Braid atmosphere is just bloody enchanting and moreish.

Presentation-wise Briad is beautiful with rich high resolution backgrounds, pleasant animation and flawless use of music which works perfectly with the time manipulation. I won’t say too much about the gameplay itself, but each and every time trick that you’ve got is hugely satisfying to use when you work out how it can be applied to the puzzle at hand. Whilst some have accused the levels of repetition by the time that they get towards the later levels the way in which you attack each puzzle is always reliant on the specific time power you’ve got available at the time.


One Response to “First Post and Braid”

  1. […] place to go if you want to look for innovation in both game play and narrative (see my review of Braid for example) and if you’re looking for a story that just wouldn’t work in any other […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: