Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: Geography of Robots

Elden Bling–and a quick look at NORCO

I’ve played a few hours of NORCO by Geography of Robots and I’m pleased to say that it’s a good game. Well, let me reframe that. I am enjoying it despite the gameplay is a more accurate description of what is happening. The gameplay as it were is few and far between, which is to its benefit. It’s mostly a graphic novel with dialogue choices and I really enjoy the gritty noire feeling to the game and the hard-bitten dialogue. Most of the time, I choose the kindest options when I play these kinds of games. I don’t like being a jerk, but for some reason, I went a different route in this game. I am Kay, the daughter of Catherine, who dies of cancer at the beginning of the game. Kay left Norco when her mother was diagnosed, despite her brother (Kay’s brother), Blake, pleading with her not to go. Instead of being sympathetic with Blake, I am bracing with him as I ride off on my motorbike.

The protag reminds me so much of Kathy Rain from her titular game. Hard-bitten, sarcastic, motorcycle-riding, and takes no guff from anyone. There was a mystery in that one as well. A dead mother, too. In that case, the mystery surrounds her missing father (missing long before the game starts). In this one, when she gets back home, she discovers her brother is missing. Also, her mom has a security robot who…does housework? I’m not sure what she does exactly, but she’s pretty cool as well.

Two things I really hate about point-and-clicks, both the fault of Wadjet Eye Games, the developers of the Blackwell series, which is the granddaddy of this genre. One, pixel hunting. Oh my god. The having to mouse over each pixel to find that indeterminate pixel that is important, but unnoticeable from the rest is excruciating. Two, and this is the one that annoys the FUCK out of me, having to find and combine disparate objects. It’s bad enough to be asked to combine a long piece of hair, a coffee cup with a heart on it that can only be found in the left side neighbor’s backyard, and a sham pillow to make a key. It’s always a key. Why is it always a key? The worst part is that you often have to backtrack to get what you need. And you know how From games are considered obfuscating and difficult to comprehend? They ain’t got nothing on point-and-clicks. I remember playing Unavowed (Wadjet Eye Games). It looked gorgeous and I loved the concept. I went into it with high hopes, but then there came a point where part of the solution was dangling rope out of a greenhouse (or something similar) and then going down a few floors to do something else with the rope, but it very much wasn’t explained. That was the last straw and I quit on the spot. I had been using a walkthrough throughout the game until this point.

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