Saturday, September 14, 2013
First Impressions: FEZ- interrupted
So, after a long time waiting, FEZ was released for Steam. And then, shortly after, it went on sale at 50% off, and I bought it. Even though I don't have a job and should be saving my money. I've been wanting to play FEZ since I first heard of it! But for a long time it was only available on X Box, so I had to hold out for 'some day.'
Well, that day is today. Or, actually it was a few days ago. Anyhow, I installed FEZ, and it runs. It doesn't run great, however. It's a little choppy, really. Not terrible, but not smooth. Playable though. At least through the first two stages. The third stage ratcheted up the image complexity, resulting in a huge cut to the framerate. If I had to guess, I'd say it's down to about 5 frames per second. I believe film runs at 24 frames, and fancy high def film runs at 60. I've also heard that the human eye can't perceive more than 60. That's neither here, nor, there-- I guess the point is that I can't really play FEZ. damn.
Having seen Indie Game the Movie, I am tempted to judge FEZ harshly. Mostly because the creator, featured heavily in the movie, comes across as too hyperbolic. But also, I know that he went back and remade all the tiles in the game, to a greater graphical complexity. I think his efforts show, FEZ is very pretty, but it doesn't do me any good, because that same complexity is very likely contributing to my difficulty in playing the game. I'm a strong advocate for gameplay first, graphics second. Otherwise the graphics are a bit more of a window dressing for a game that doesn't play all that well.
I'm concerned that FEZ has a bit high of a window dressing component. On the other hand, the central gameplay mechanic - rotating a 2D world - is fantastic. It really is brilliant, and it appears to be executed pretty effectively. My biggest argument for this is that I had FEZ dreams the first night after playing it for about an hour. There's just something so satisfying about the rotating Platforms. The platforming isn't that great, however. The jumping is unwieldy, and I find I miss jumps I think I should make. On the other hand, there are lots of fun references to classic games, such as Ocarina of Time and the Super Mario Series. These are done well without seeming overdone. More window dressing, perhaps, but it's really good window dressing.
So, bottom line, based on my impression of the first couple of levels: The creator may have some issues he needs to work out, but FEZ is, thus far, delightful. I hope I can get a hold of a better graphics card and finish playing before too long.
P.S. Oh look, and now it's available for the Humble Indie Bundle 9 - wouldn't you know it? If I had just held out, I could have gotten FEZ and a bunch of other games for the same price I paid for FEZ + soundtrack. Oh well, that's how it is with the Humble Bundles: you win some, you lose some. Really, you mostly win. Pretty much always.
P.P.S. And look again! It turns out my janky ol mac laptop can actually play FEZ better than my desk top! whodathunk? This machine is full of surprises. Except the overheating after a half hour of play. That is like clockwork. In the meantime, I will at least get a chance to take a few more bites out of FEZ. For this, I am grateful.