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We All Need Control

This box art? I dig this box art.

Elegance is tough.

Think about it. If you want your game to be elegant, it needs to have moving parts, but not so many that it becomes a mess, and what’s there must be well-oiled and purposeful. You’ll need clear winning strategies, but no single strategy that trumps all others. Simplicity, but simplicity with depth.

Control, a game ostensibly about time travelers wrestling to escape a rift in spacetime, is elegant. Unfortunately, most people might not reach the point where they can recognize that.

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Darkest of Reviews

Pop quiz: Which is more anachronistic: the Roman equipment worn here, or the incendiary rifle? Hint: trick question.

The Romans brought shields as a distraction for the gravity gun. To their dismay, it was not a gravity gun at all.

I received an unexpected gift for Christmas, courtesy of my friend J.B. / digital_pariah, who you may remember as one of the players from our RPS Ascension game of Dominions 3 (which I am terribly behind in talking about here on Space-Biff!). It was the time-traveling romp Darkest of Days, a game about anachronisms that strikes me as an anachronism itself. It’s a much-ignored gem from 2009 that, for the most part, looks as though it has arrived on your PC after an arduous time-bending adventure, in which a serviceable gaming engine from 2008 stole the discarded textures of 2005, kidnapped Harry Turtledove’s doppelganger to pen the plot, and then decided on a pit stop in 1862 to get the Battle of Antietam just right.

Any game that channels that one good part from Timecop is a game in which I’m interested, and it’s fair to say I was looking forward to Darkest of Days in the same kind of way that I used to look forward to having my modern army men gun down my pirate Legos (read: very much). I didn’t expect it to spin me around and teach me a life lesson (or at least try really, really hard to). The review, in three parts, follows.

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