Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fashion Show

I'm back in Wonderland this week, and must say that taking a brief respite from the rather monotonous platforming in Alice was just the thing I needed to save the life of my precious black Xbox controller and all of the windows in my living room. Chapter 3 was exhausting, and now that I am tucked neatly into Queensland, or Chapter 4, I am feeling downright jovial about the prospect of seeing the Queen of Hearts in all her head-lopping, stiff-lipped majesty.

If I asked the people in my life who know me well to describe me in a scant few words or phrases, the last thing they would say is 'fashion-conscious'. Not that I leave the house in pajama pants or tube tops by any means, but I tend to spend more money on my weekly coffee habits than I do my wardrobe. But that doesn't mean I can't appreciate a well designed piece of fashion artistry, and I feel like the creatives behind Alice's revolving dress patterns have done something amazing. Most of the time, changing outfits on a video game character means donning new gear and/or upgrading armor specifically to add to their stats-more defense points, less weight or swifter maneuvering. I can't recall a time when entering a new level in a game changed the protagonist's look just for the visual fun of it. But Alice adapts to each new area by donning the most appropriate threads for the environment. And this interesting little bit of artistry is my number one motivation factor to continue towards the credit roll.

Although I love the semi-Steampunk dress from Chapter 1 (first picture, middle panel), I must say that I am partial to the newest in Wonderland's Summer Collection from Queensland:


I've also dabbled a bit this week in Bastion, the glorious little freshman title from Supergiant. Now, I'm not saying I told you so or anything (I totally am), but I had a hunch it would be one to watch a year ago when I first reported on it after Prime last year when it was part of the PAX 10. I loved the vibrant color scheme of the landscape at first sight, but am surprised by how touched I am by the soundtrack, which easily moves from something that sounds vaguely Middle Eastern to a haunting ballad last heard around a campfire on top of a mountain during the Gold Rush times. And this is just one small piece in an otherwise gorgeous puzzle filled with blue-eyed squirts and delicious tonics, interesting weapon choices and a silent-yet-determined hero. I've yet to grasp the story completely, as I have this horrible tendency to tune out voice-overs when I am fully engaged in a high-combat situation, but I hear this one encourages replay through the holy of holies, a New Game Plus, so I will try to maintain total narrator discipline on my second run through. I am quite impressed.

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