Monday, July 13, 2009

Second Sight

I am back into the world of long-form video games. Second Sight uses the classic technique of giving the protagonist amnesia - it totally saves on frontloading exposition when the player discovers the world at the same as the character.

While the premise is a little ridiculous - you're an amnesiac ... with psychic powers ... who's a reknowned paranormal debunker ... who (as I play him at least) is the greatest natural sniper in history - yeah, like I said: while the premise is a little ridiculous, the structure of the game is compelling.

It's told in two timeframes: what happens once you wake up in hospital without any memories, and flashbacks to the events that put you in hospital. The two timelines change in subtle, slightly disturbing ways every once in a while, as characters you thought were dead turn out to be alive. I'm looking forward to the game's explanation for that.

About halfway through the game, I discovered a fascinating third strand to the game happens when you fail a level (either by dying or by letting a team-member die). You'll enter the interrogation room where the central villain of the piece messes with your head for a minute before letting you restart the game

Second Sight also plays in extremely digestable chapters. I can play a chapter without triggering my OOS, which makes it a pretty perfect diversion ... as long as I don't get addicted and play three chapters in a row like I did last night.

I'm also playing using a walkthrough - yes, it's cheating (in the sense that I'm not figuring out each level or activating the puzzle-solving part of my brain), but it's also saving me heaps of time, protecting my health, and delivering a more cinematic experience.


Just finished it: It's a good game, does interesting things with time, and while it's pretty damn linear there are some great gimmicks that give you a variety of options to complete each level. The power to astrally project and then possess someone else may well be the scariest thing ever.


Masada (aka: Curtis) said...

I've often felt that linear multi-media experiences like this might develop in to a respected art form like movies or books. Taking the "reader" through a more interactive experience but still dealing with the same challenging themes that we fully accept in other media forms. I'd love to see stories playing out moral dilemmas where the reader had to choose what path to take.

hix said...

Yep, I think the thematically rich, morally non-obvious games are coming. Bioshock, for instance, is not quite there, but it's certainly pointing a scary looking finger in the right direction.