Month: September 2016

Review: Wheels of Aurelia

Review: Wheels of Aurelia

Review copy of this game provided by its developer, Santa Ragione.

Wheels of Aurelia is described by its developer, Santa Ragione, as a narrative road trip game. It is probably the most accurate way to describe the game overall.

In Wheels of Aurelia, you take control of Lella, a woman on a road trip towards France in 1970’s Italy. Initially, she will have one companion with whom she can talk, but the narrative can lead to Lella picking up hitchhikers or otherwise switching (or adding) passengers on her way. Each playthrough takes around 15-20 minutes, with 16 different endings to achieve.

The gameplay consists of two distinct parts: driving whichever of the game’s cars  you choose at the start of the game, and making conversation (or not) with whomever you happen to be driving with. The choices you make – both in terms of conversation as well as where to drive – shape the story around you. Most of the time, the driving takes a back seat to the conversations, which require you to make your choice on a timer. Much like in a TellTale game, your options depend on a certain speed to choose your words – albeit with a much more forgiving time frame to choose than in a TellTale game.

The setting for the game feels new as well, while at the same time still managing to feel relevant to a current audience. Lella can have many interactions, ranging from the banal with hitchhikers, to deeper  (well, relatively) discussions about women’s rights, or even the topic of political unrest. The fact that the game draws from the actual political and societal climate of 1970s Italy makes the game a really interesting experience.

The graphics are divided into a neat, mostly sunny, isometric view of the Via Aurelia on which Lella and her companion(s) are travelling. The  graphics are simple, while still managing to be nice to look at. Added to that are more detailed character models which really adds a lot of, well…Character to the characters. In fact, the design is so nice that I had not even noticed that the character models lack arms before someone pointed it out to me.

Wheels of Aurelia screenshot

The game’s soundtrack fits well with the aesthetic, and really shows a vision for how the game and its stories should be presented.

That is not to say that the game is without its flaws. I generally appreciate when games take a more narrative approach to the experience, but your mileage may vary. I am a proponent of games as art, and Wheels of Aurelia definitely feels like the indie arthouse project it is.

The actual gameplay part of the game is simple, with only small frustrations such almost-too-perfect-to-beat enemy drivers in a few races. The stories are neat, but I would sometimes hit conversation parts that felt abrupt, with some of my choices (which are at most times limited to two choices to speak, and being silent) referring back to things a character had said to Lella a while back. It would also in hindsight have been nice to see the character models not have their  arms cut off, and perhaps even with a bit of animation to really drive out the character they add to the game.

When all that is said and done, there are only a few roadbumps in the way for Wheels of Aurelia. It is a neat set of experiences, with an original setting. If you’re not a fan of games where narrative takes the wheel in favor of gameplay, this might not be for you. If you’re interested in good storytelling, and a setting that hasn’t been covered much in games in the past – get in.

We’re going on a road trip.

Wheels of Aurelia is currently available through Humble, and Steam for $9.99 / 9,99€. It will be available on PS4 and XB1 on October 5.

Posted by Barl0we in Gaming, 0 comments
My thoughts on the Copenhagen Comic Con

My thoughts on the Copenhagen Comic Con

Over this weekend, Denmark finally saw its first official Comic Con.

It’s pretty exciting, because being the tiny country we are, we don’t get a lot of these kinds of events. I was lucky enough to get a pass for both days the Con was on as a birthday present, which was pretty awesome.

Unfortunately, there were just a lot of things wrong with the event.

I’ll preface that last statement with this: As far as I saw, interactions between Con-goers were great, and people were generally happy. There were loads of cosplayers and nerds of all ages and makes.

I guess the biggest complaint about the Copenhagen Comic Con that I have is this: It wasn’t really about comics. Out of the booths at the convention, only a handful featured comic artists. Neither of the big comic book stores in Copenhagen were present. It feels kind of silly to have a Comic Con where there are so few comics even there. It’s not like there are a ton of Danish comic books, but we DO have some. I find it hard to believe that none (or so few of them as were present) would be interested in being there.

In fact, the focus seemed to be more on pop culture in general than comics per se…But then, Copenhagen Pop Culture Con just doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily, or come with the brand recognition of a Comic Con, does it?

My second complaint about the Con would have to be logistics. For a convention of any size to only have one vendor inside the Con hall that sells food or beverages of any kind seems silly. At times, the queue to get a bottle of water or a cup of coffee was longer than the line for any of the vendors, celebrity attendees or games present at the Convention.

Lastly, video games.

I’m a fairly big fan of video games, so I didn’t mind so much that they were there. I got to try out Playstation VR while I was there (and I pre-booked the appointment online so I didn’t have to stand in line), I tried out the Nosulus Rift for South Park: The Fractured But Whole, and visited the Razerbus to play a round of Overwatch on a computer which had difficulties keeping a framerate over 20.

The video game areas just kind of showed how much better prepared they were for a convention setting than the rest of the Con. The Playstation VR area was rather big and well-run, Ubisoft had a decently sized stage with constant crowds gathered to watch cosplayers play Just Dance 2017, and as previousuly mentioned, I tried out the Nosulus Rift.

The convention also hosted Guldbrikken (the Danish annual boardgame awards) which was a short but sweet event, with an area where Con-goers could try out both the runners up and winners of the awards.

I’m kind of sad to say that there were several disappointing things about the event – starting from the organizers’ lack of communication about events to come until a very short time before the actual event – but I still hope we get to have the event again next year. Hopefully, the organizers will have learned a bit more about running events from doing it this year, and hopefully some constructive criticism will help them make next year’s Comic Con even more fun.


Posted by Barl0we in Blog, 0 comments
Going indie

Going indie

So, a lot has happened since I updated this page.

First off, I’ve finished my graduate program at the Copenhagen Business School – my thesis about CSR communication in online firestorm situations was  a smash hit, and I earned an A on it.

This means that I’m not officially looking for a full-time job in communications or writing.

On that note, I am going to phase my official writing away from IGN Denmark, and switch to making content here, both in text and video form. I am tired of having to deal with indirect contact with developers, as well as delays that I am unable to deal with.

This means that I am also focusing my efforts more on nerd adjacent content, rather than just on video games.  I have reviewed the works of Mega Ran in the past – I intend to start reviewing other kinds of music as well. Most notably, Skyblew recently released a new album titled “Skyblew the Cowardly Boy“which I intend to review. In another genre, one of my favorite Outrun artists, VHS Glitch, recently released an album titled “MORAL DECAY” which I also intend on reviewing.

I am not sure of where I will release video content primarily – the obvious choice is YouTube. I might also try to release content directly on Facebook. Lastly, I have been looking at Vid.Me as an alternative to YouTube.

Since I am no longer a graduate student, I believe I will finally have the time to dedicate to properly creating both text and video content, as an independent content creator.

If you’re one of the handful of people who have ever been here – thanks! – you’ll notice that there’s a new look to the site. Over the next few days I am going to tinker around with PhotoShop, and get a unified look across all my social media platforms, and try to create some more original content.


Posted by Barl0we in Blog, 0 comments