Divinity: Original Sin 2

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a role-playing game where you take control of a party of characters as they interact with the world through tactical combat, dialogue, and the players’ creativity. You build and customize the characters to excel in and out of combat, using a plethora of possible skill combinations. There are many ways to advance through the journey to become divine, each with their own methods and repercussions.

Elemental Tetrad:


Taking inspiration from classic party-based RPGs, Divinity uses a tactical turn-based combat, where characters use their attacks, skills, items and movement to try to reduce the enemies’ health to 0. To maximize party synergy, there are many possible roles a character can take. In Divinity, the player can use a classic party composition or go nuts and play as four fireball-casting wizards. The game rewards the player who takes advantage of the mechanics, while still allowing flexibility for players to play the game however they want.

Outside of combat, the characters can interact with the world through dialogue and moving objects. They can talk their way out of some combat encounters, teleport enemies to a less advantageous position, or sneak past enemies entirely. The exploration and combat takes place in the same world, allowing seamless interactions between the two.

sneaking past enemies as barrels outside of combat


In Divinity Original Sin 2, the player starts as a prisoner who was captured for being ‘Sourcerers’ – individuals with great powers that are highly dangerous and unpredictable. The story follows them through their journey to escape and embark on a path to become divine.

In the beginning of the game, the player can select the background story of their character or define one of their own to make the character truly unique. Each of them will have their own quests and combat scenarios.


Divinity takes place in Rivellon, a well-established fantastical world of elves, dwarves and lizards. The adjustable top-down isometric view gives enough space to admire the varied environments, from the otherworldly Hall of Echoes to the ruins of the Hollow Marshes. The detailed 3d character models and animations makes everyone unique, complete with full voice acting. In addition, each player character gets a unique instrument that plays in every major occasion in the story. All in all, the game is a very immersive experience, allowing the user to role-play effectively along with the story.


This game makes use of its own engine, the Divinity Engine 2. It has a lot of similarities to the more modern party-based RPGs, but polished to a very high standard. Big areas are loaded at once, enabling seamless travel to immerse the player with the story and environments. The elements and world objects interact with each other; wood objects burn, oil slows down characters, being in the rain makes electric damage more deadly. All of these can also be utilized by the intelligent AI, making them a worthy challenge to the player’s party.

Lens 8. Problem Solving

For any situation in Divinity, there are different methods to get through them. The most common is to defeat some enemies in combat, and it is definitely the one aspect Divinity has done best. Before any combat even starts, you need to allocate your characters’ attributes like strength, intelligence, constitution, etc. to make sure the character fits a role in the party. Maybe the enemy focuses on fire damage, so you should learn fire resistance skills before the fight.

During combat, you have access to all your skills and items you’ve collected. Having good preparations is important, but the player will need to adapt their strategies on-the-go with the ever-changing battlefield. No fight in this game is trivial (unless you are over-leveled), as each fight brings something unique to adapt your tactics against. The result is a very rewarding experience after every fight.

good positioning is essential to winning fights

Lens 32. Goals

At first, the characters’ goal is to escape their unjust imprisonment. As the game progresses, their goals shift to a much grander scheme that impacts the whole world.

As for the player, their ultimate goal is to advance the story to completion using whatever means possible. The advancement will be guided by the quest system, which records past events so players won’t get lost after forgetting what happened. Alongside the main story are several side-quests, each with their own rewards in the form of items, gold and XP, which enables the characters to do even better in other quests. Many of the quests are interconnected and resolves the same story arc, giving a satisfying conclusion when everything is done.

Lens 54. Accessibility

Unfortunately, the phletra of options in the game makes playing for the first time really intimidating. It was so inaccessible that a tutorial had to be added through an update after the initial release.

Unlike traditional RPGs, the characters aren’t limited to a “class” or “job” system. Instead, the player has to manually choose every progression attributes, skills, and talents, all of which are available from the beginning of the game. Multiply that for up to 4 characters in your party, and figuring out an optimal build is almost impossible without outside resources.

24 out of hundreds learnable skills, each with their unique effects

Lens 85. The Avatar

As a traditional role-playing game, players get to create their own character(s) or pick a preset character with an origin story. Each character also gets “tags”, which determines their background and therefore their dialogue options when facing certain situations. Someone with the ‘scholar’ tag will be able to decipher forgotten languages, while someone with the ‘outlaw’ tag will have certain underground connections with other outlaws.

In addition, many of the dialogue options are chosen by the player, some of which have major implications. This way, the player can project their actions to their character and see the results of their actions.

character creation screen, with customizable appearance and skills

SYNTHETIK: Legion Rising Review

Game Summary

SYNTHETIK: Legion Rising is a rogue-like shooter game where the player controls a droid in a future dominated by robots. Goal is to defeat enemies and obtain upgrades along the way to the final boss and win the battle.

Official Game Site: https://www.synthetikgame.com/

Gameplay in terms of #9 The Lenses of Elemental Tetrad

Aesthetics of the game are based on 2D sprites, with added effects to present a 3D-like appearance. with flashy effects for explosions as well as damage alerts. Screen darkens are you lose shield, and screen turns red if you take a hit to your health pool.

Story is not elaborately introduced in the game itself, but rather depend on the official site and the synopsis on Steam store to set the story for the game.

Technology used in the game did not seem outstanding to me, as 2D sprite rendering has been in use for quite a while.

In contrast, the Mechanics the game presents are quite thrilling with the randomness factor either trivializing encounters the game throw at you for next few levels, or slow the game down to a grind if you are privy to losing your progress. Permanent loss of a character upon death, with very limited resources carried over to the next game adds to the difficulty of the game.

The Lenses

#4 The Lens of Surprise

The game has many areas where randomness can play a major part, from the loot you get from clearing each level, to the boss you encounter at the end of each zone before the final boss. Sometimes the game can offer you a very strong weapon near the start of the game, or force you into a fight with a boss that is much harder for less well-built characters early in the campaign. Both of these add to the element of surprise in the game (or shock sometimes).

#19 The Lens of The Player

On both Steam and the official website, the game is advertised as ‘unforgiving’, as such players who are interested in the game would expect a challenge worthy of such a word being used in the marketing. I personally find the game really tough, and after two days of trying, I have yet to encounter the final boss in the game. It has definitely been a tough nut to crack. In fact, many of the reviews on Steam would agree that the game is definitely deserving of being called an ‘unforgiving’ game, and most would agree that the difficulty fit their expectations and help complete their experience in the game.

#21 The Lens of Flow

The randomness in the game may cause major fluctuations to the difficulty in the game encounter that the player experience. A poor campaign run with little upgrades found can mean either a short and swift defeat or a long and dragged out attrition. Although randomness is meant to add to enhance the surprise experienced by the players when they chance upon fast upgrades early in the game, the opposite can be daunting to newer players and more experienced players alike.

#32 The Lens of Goals

The game features a linear progression where there are a series of levels and boss fights the player has to go through. In each level there is only one entrance and exit, and in all of my playthroughs, the levels do not seem to shuffle around at all. There is a clear goal signaled to the player on each level, either where the exit is after the players comes within a certain distance to it, or the remaining health of the current boss.

Gameplay Demo

Lastly, here is a short demo video of a boss fight. I had only succeeded in beating this boss once and this player has made it seem easier than it actually is.

Guardian of the Gears


Guardian of the Gears is one of the best student games of IGF 2018. It is a 3D puzzle adventure game where you control a cute little clockwork guardian who is on its way to save the world of gears from an evil entity that is destroying it. In the game, you will make your way through the clockwork world and solve puzzles to progress through the game.

Website: http://games.digipen.edu/games/guardian-of-the-gears

Gameplay: https://youtu.be/sJKH57GBZDk

Elemental Tetrad


Gameplay is very simple. Players control the clockwork guardian through the world and solve puzzles to progress through the levels. There are only 3 types of objects that players can interact with, gear, artifact and port. Interacting with these objects will change the map layout and open up new areas so that players can progress to the next level. Players have to figure out how to interact with these objects to uncover their way to the end and defeat the enemy.

In the game, players can die if they fall off the world map or get hit by the enemy’s attack. There are save points along the way to aid the players so that they wont have to restart again from the beginning.


The game is set in a floating clockwork island which has been invaded by a disruptor which is threatening to destroy the world and it is up to the clockwork guardian to stop it.

The story is told using text bubbles which appears along the way as players solve puzzles and clear each level. There are also collectibles along the world that give players more snippets of information about the world.


The clockwork island is a beautifully crafted open world that triggers players’ adventurer instinct to explore every hook and cranny of the each level map to find hidden mechanics or objects.


The game is created using unreal engine and is available on PC


Lens of problem solving

Being a puzzle game, it makes players think of what moves they should take in order to progress through the map. The puzzles overlap at times too such that an interactable object from a previous level may an essential piece to clearing the puzzle in future ones.

Lens of Curiosity

The game is develop as an open world with beautiful graphics, and there are many pockets of extra areas and spaces littered around. It made me curious and excited to explore around and look around to see if there are any hidden mechanics or collectibles available.

Lens of Secret

The game gave very little information to players at the beginning. The ‘how to play’ section only tell players of the 3 types of interactable objects in the game. Players learn about the ‘wasd’ movement control of the player and jump use ‘space’ when they start the game. The story is also only told in snippets as players slowly clear the puzzles and advance through the levels.

This ‘learn as you progress’ model that the game adopt syncs very well with the game’s open world map as it makes players think that there may more hidden mechanics hiding in some corners of the map and make them interested in exploring around the world.

Lens of Challenge

The puzzle levels in the game is quite balanced as it starts from easy puzzle at the start to get players familiar with the mechanics in the game and slowly progress in difficulty along the way. At the last level when fighting the boss, time challenges are included to give players a bit of challenge. It was quite satisfying to solve those puzzles and complete the game

Analysis: Path of Exile

Image result for path of exile gameplay screenshots
Gameplay of Path of Exile

Path of Exile is a top-down 3rd person online Action Role Playing Game with a fantasy setting. Players work solo or in a team and progress through the story, gathering items to make their characters stronger. Similar games include Diablo 3 and Grim Dawn.

Game’s website: https://www.pathofexile.com/

Latest league trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f5Zbu4hXI4

Playing the game:

Aesthetics and Story:

At the beginning of the game, it had a dark and depressing vibe, with the landscape being cloaked in shadow and dull colours and the NPCs in ragged clothing. The tones of their voices were very expressive and conveyed the despair that they felt. This continued over the course of the game, with the NPCs having their own personalities mixed into their dialogue. The Aesthetic of the environment and its characters matched the events unfolding in the story and kept my attention. This really immersed me in the Story of the game and I made sure to read all the dialogue options of each NPC.


Also, at the time of its release, having each area be randomly generated was quite unique for an ARPG of its style, and added to the replayability of the game. With the endgame revolving around entering the same areas often to try to get better items, this made it less stale to re-run these areas.


One of Path of Exile’s selling points was the customizability it offered. With the massive sprawling passive tree, along with the fact that each class could use any skill, tons of different characters could be made with different builds. For example, a melee Witch, or a spell-casting Duelist (usually a melee-attack based character) could be built and fare pretty well. As a person that enjoys coming up with different builds, this kept me returning to the game and making new characters.

Image result for poe skill tree
Path of Exile’s character passive tree

Also, these passives could heavily change how your character functions, leading to very different playstyles. For example, there is a passive that makes your maximum HP become 1, but in turn provides you with immunity to a certain type of damage. These opened up the possibilities for many different, unique builds that were very enjoyable to create (Lens #22: The Lens of Dynamic State).

All in all, the 4 elements of the elemental tetrad worked together to create a fun and immersive game with lots of replayability (Lens #7: The Lens of the Elemental Tetrad).

One thing I instinctively looked for when I started the game was the amount of currency (such as “gold”) in my inventory. But after checking for it, I realized that Path of Exile did not have a universal currency like most games. Instead, buying and selling things in Path of Exile worked off a barter system. For example, selling a few basic items to the NPC rewarded you with a “Scroll of Wisdom” instead of gold. This was interesting and meant that players decided the value of items. Whichever item was prized by players would automatically be sold for high prices among them. This was a great way of balancing the player economy (Lens #46: The Lens of Economy).

Path of Exile is heavily based around items and worked with a prefix-suffix system where each item could have a number of prefixes and suffixes which gave it attributes. With each attribute having varying chances to spawn on an item, by the laws of probability, the value of an item with many synergistic attributes was very high. This made me feel ecstatic when I found these rare items (Lens #5: The Lens of Endogenous Value).

Item with 1 prefix and 1 suffix
Item with multiple prefixes and suffixes

As I progressed through the game, I learnt about Path of Exile’s crafting system. Path of Exile had a variety of materials which could be used to modify items, each with their own resulting probabilities of obtaining the desired attributes. Learning which material had the highest chance of achieving the desired result was a rewarding mental exercise (Lens #29: The Lens of Chance).

Lastly, as is important in all Player-versus-Environment games, I wanted to feel good destroying my enemies. With the combination of the stunning visual effects and matching sound effects of my character’s skills in Path of Exile, I relished the experience of going through hordes of enemy units and wiping them out. The developers seemed to know this and did not hold back on the number of enemies you had to fight, having multiple mechanics that spawned large numbers of enemies for players to fight and enjoy themselves. For example, “strongboxes” were clickable objects in the environment that spawned many enemies and dropped loot when the enemies were defeated. Not only did this sate the player’s hack-and-slash needs, they gave the player the resources they needed to make their character stronger, which was what all players wanted (Lens #16: The Lens of the Player).

Game Analysis: Sayonara Wild Hearts

Sayonara Wild Hearts is a single-player rhythm game consisting of 23 levels. Player traverses through a surrealistic passage to complete each level.

Game website: http://simogo.com/work/sayonara-wild-hearts/

Youtube gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irpqa9tKi48

  • The elemental tetrad

Story: The game begins by telling a narrative that the world has been “corrupted”, and the player is chosen to save it. The player is then brought into another universe where he has to defeat all the enemies to complete the game. The enemies are apparently based on Tarot cards.

Aesthetics: As the game takes place in another universe, the player is able to see how bizarre the landscape of each level is. Most of the levels incorporate only a color scheme of black and a few flat colors into their background.

Mechanics: In each level, the player traverses through a surrealistic passage accompanied by an electronic soundtrack. At the same time, the player has to dodge obstacles, collect hearts, and fight enemies. As I play this on iOS, movement is done by sliding on any part of the screen, while fighting enemies would require tapping on any part the screen. Camera movement and perspective is automatically adjusted and the gameplay is rather intuitive.

Technology: The game is available in PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and iOS devices.

I believe that the mechanics is made simple as the game is very fast-paced and there is no time to stop and think. I think the main focus of this game is the experience, hence the aesthetics and nice soundtracks, and the story with imaginary characters complements the fantasy that it creates.

  • The lens of challenge

Some of the levels are pretty challenging as the player has to multitask: dodge obstacles, collect hearts, and fight enemies. Nonetheless, if the player dies (for example hit by enemies’ projectile or fall off a ledge), the player is brought to the position where he was at a few seconds ago. Hence, the player does not have to repeat the whole level to get to where he previously died. I think this is a good decision as I don’t think players would want to keep repeating a level especially when the game is not that easy to play. Reaching the end of a level, the player should feel triumphant (and probably relieved) for completing a challenging level.

In my opinion, the most interesting level is called “Parallel Universes”, where the enemies are a pair of twins who create two alternate universes. The player sits through a passage which alternate from a passage from one dimension to another and these passages have obstacles at different positions. This essentially creates a challenge for the player to predict when which universe’s passage would come so as to avoid the obstacles on time. (link for this level: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fBEZ733SAo)

  • The lens of pleasure

The game went on full screen with no additional UI elements (besides the score) to create an immersive experience for the player. Its fast pace allows the player to feel excited. The player can derive pleasure just by sitting in motion through an universe filled with imaginary objects and characters, while enjoying the beats of the music playing in sync with the game.

In most of the levels, the camera adjusts itself to bring the player smoothly to a clip where the enemies take some actions (e.g. taunt, prepare for a fight, transform into other creatures). Thus, player can take a break from the intense focus on his positioning and enjoy the animation for a while.

Each level has different passage with different soundtrack to allow the player to enjoy the pleasure of new experience.

  • The lens of modes

In some levels, the player automatically switches from riding on a ground to running on a tunnel or gliding through the air. This kind of novelty brings in a new experience for the player so the user would not feel bored with just one mode.

Game mode: sailing a boat

I think some modes are rather slow which I did not thoroughly enjoy, such as dodging projectiles in a 2D world.

  • The lens of curiosity

Personally, I felt very compelled to get on to the next level after completing a level as each level is different in many aspects. The music is different at every level. The modes is also varying throughout the whole game and I was curious to find out what other modes they have to offer. In addition, each level is part of the story and at the end of a level, player would unlock a new level and new enemies are introduced, which made me curious to find out what the enemies are capable of.

“Little death”, one of the enemies

“A butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazonian jungle, and subsequently a storm ravages half of Europe.” – analysis of Until Dawn

Do your actions really matter?

1. Game description:

Until Dawn is an interactive drama survival horror, where every decision affects the plot.
Player follows the story of eight teenagers who have to survive on Blackwood Mountain until they are rescued at dawn. 

1.1 Plot:
During a party at her lodge on Blackwood Mountain, two sisters die due to a prank. A year later, the rest of the guests are invited to the same lodge. As the night progresses, they are terrorised by a masked man. Is this another prank or real threat? Is there anything else waiting for them in the mountain cabin?

1.2 Technology:
Game was developed by Supermassive Games using Decima engine. It is a PS4 exclusive.

1.3 Game trailer, gameplay and game website:
Website: https://www.supermassivegames.com/games/until-dawn
Game trailer:

Official Release Date Trailer


Full game walkthrough

2. Lenses:

Lens #39: The lens of Meaningful Choices
The whole game mechanism is based on butterfly effect1, where a small change in one state can result in a larger difference in another one. Each player choice in game is meaningful and directly affects the story and our possible future choices – relations between characters can become stronger, weaker or, due to our actions, characters can die.

  • There are 22 critical choices in game
  • Certain choices may unlock new sequences of events (leading to unforeseen consequences)

Lens #78: The lens of Story
The story of the game is well designed and complex – with each choice, the events within the game can change dramatically. Storyline is non-linear – with each new game, player might get a different outcomes and discover new information important to the plot. Information given to the player are subjective – each character perceives the events differently.

  • There are 3 main endings (all alive, all dead, some alive) with 256 unique variations (28 based on the number of characters)
  • There are 10 chapters in game with intermissions between chapters to analyse player’s personality based on his game
  • A game script is nearly 10,000 pages2 long.

Lens #41: The lens of Skill vs Chance
The game has almost no luck-based components. The gameplay is decided purely on player’s skills within quick time events, decisions made in the story and player’s will to explore (there are hidden totems, which reveal possible future events). Only player’s decision-making skills, intuition, reflexes and curiosity are the factors that will decide on the characters’ fate.

  • There are 30 totems to be found in Until Dawn – 6 totems out of each category (death, danger, loss, guidance and fortune)
  • Some decisions are timed

Lens #47: The lens of Punishment
Until Dawn uses a strict auto-save system – whenever a decision is made, game is saved to prevent players from reloading the game state before the decision was made. If the character dies, we cannot bring them back to life. The only way to undo our previous choices or mistakes is to restart the game and continue with a new, fresh start.3

Lens #87: The lens of Character Traits
Until Dawn story is mostly about character development and how certain events influence our relations and our personality. Each of 8 characters in game are different personalities with unique their views and beliefs. Every decision in game is influenced by the character we are currently playing. Although, throughout the game, our choices shape the reality and affect our relations and cause character development. Player can also view the personality of each character and his or her relationships with others within in-game menu.4

Articles and references:

  1. Boeing, G. (2016) “Visual Analysis of Nonlinear Dynamical Systems: Chaos, Fractals, Self-Similarity and the Limits of Prediction” (On butterfly effect)
  2. Klepek, Patrick (22 September 2015), “How Until Dawn Ended Up with nearly 10000 page script” Kotaku
  3. Bell, Larryn (30 August 2015) “Until Dawn Walkthrough and Guide” Prima Games
  4. Takahashi, Dean (26 August 2015) “10 tips for surviving the night in Until Dawn”

Game Analysis: Minecraft

Minecraft is a sandbox video game. Players live in a blocky, procedurally generated 3D world.

“Prepare for an adventure of limitless possibilities as you build, mine, battle mobs, and explore the ever-changing Minecraft landscape.”


Lens of Freedom

Since Minecraft is a sandbox game that has no specific goals to accomplish, you have a large amount of freedom in choosing how to play the game! For example, you could play to kill monsters, build cities, raise pets, automate things, explore dungeons, socialize with friends, etc.

For new players, this amount of freedom might be overwhelming. Luckily, the developers added a way to “win” the game: defeat a boss called the ender dragon, giving new players a goal to work towards.

I recall having to scour the world for resources, crafting tools and weapons to make myself stronger. At night, monsters come out to attack me, therefore I built walls to keep monsters out of my base! I had to spelunk in order to find ores to upgrade my tools and weapons, which was quite scary because the caves are very dark ☹. I also had to visit two other dimensions, the nether and the end, before fighting the ender dragon.

The boss fight was very intense because I had to make a lot of preparations before fighting it. It deals a lot of damage therefore I needed the best equipment to fight it. Also, the constant fear of dying and losing everything makes it even more frightening. Eventually, I defeated the boss, which was relieving and gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. However, it did not feel like the end, as there is still so much to do and explore!

Lens of Friendship

Minecraft also has multiplayer support, allowing me to play with my friends over the internet! This is my favorite feature because I love to play with my friends. There is a chat box which allows me to talk to them no matter how far away they are in the game.

Multiplayer also makes the gameplay very diverse because everybody is different and prefer doing different things, such as building, exploring, fighting, mining, etc. I love to build, so it is even more fun to build with my friends! It is also fun to go occasionally on adventures together. It is interesting to watch my friends doing things I’m not very good at and learning from them. I can ask my friends for help, for example to go spelunking together which makes it less scary! In fact, only with my friend’s cooperation, we defeated the ender dragon together.

There are also public Minecraft servers which anybody can join and play! There are many things you can do, such as looking at other people’s creations, play mini-games and make friends!

Lens of Story

One aspect of Minecraft that seems to be lacking is the story. Some people might find it difficult to play a game with a lack of character depth and story, as there is nothing else compelling enough to play the game. There are some things in the game that don’t make sense or are out of place, such as what is the ender dragon and why should I defeat it? However, the developers have been putting in effort to give some life to Minecraft, by creating another game called Minecraft: Story Mode.

“In Minecraft: Story Mode, players control Jesse, who sets out on a journey with his or her friends to find The Order of the Stone—four adventurers who slayed an Ender Dragon—in order to save their world.”

Lens of Technology

There are two main versions of Minecraft. Minecraft is written in Java, while Minecraft: Bedrock Edition is written in C++. Java was used for quick initial development of the game, while C++ was used for its performance benefits.

Minecraft is a video game particularly known for its adaptability for modifications, additional content for the game, known as “mods”. However, the Java edition actually does not have an official modding API, even though they announced they were making one since 2012. On a positive note, in 2016, Mojang announced their official support of mods for Minecraft: Bedrock Edition, where they are known as “add-ons”.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice


Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the latest game developed by FromSoftware, which is famously known for their difficult Dark Souls series. The game is set in the Sengoku period in Japan, and follows a shinobi known as Wolf as he attempts to take revenge on a samurai clan who attacked him and kidnapped his lord.


Steam Store page – https://store.steampowered.com/app/814380/Sekiro_Shadows_Die_Twice/

Lens 7: The Elemental Tetrad

Sekiro is a very modern game that utilizes cutting edge technology in video games. Such technology provides very pleasing aesthetics and satisfying mechanics for the players to view and explore.

The mechanics are tight and tolerant to player errors. The animation transitions are smooth and provide a good aesthetic. The story is good and sets up an interesting world for the player to explore.

The harmony between aesthetics, story, mechanics and technology helps to reinforce each other and provide a cohesive and enjoyable experience to the player.

Lens 31: The Lens of Challenge

As per tradition, FromSoftware does not give the players any option to adjust the difficulty of the game. Critics will always argue for easy mode, but from the game design perspective, the challenge is the gameplay. It should be normal for a player to die repeatedly to an enemy numerous time. The player should then figure out that a head-on attack is not the best strategy, and should leverage on the game’s “sneak attack” mechanic to cut the boss health bar by half, making the boss fight much more easier.

The player character about to stealth attack the enemy

Lens 26: The Lens of Rules

To continue on from the previous lens, part of the challenge is to figure out the rules of the games. Despite the complexity of the game, Sekiro runs on a strict set of rules. For example, if the player performs a perfect parry, the player will never be staggered by the enemy attacks. These rules are fun for novice players to discover, and entertaining for the more advanced players to repeatedly exploit.

Lens 68: The Lens of the Hero’s Journey

Maybe part of what makes Sekiro a great game is also in its story. FromSoftware’s storytelling has always been indirect, told through the world around the main character, and perhaps that was what made it great. In Sekiro, Wolf’s story is akin to Vogler’s Synopsis of the Hero’s Journey. Wolf heeds the call to adventure (2), and is immediately struck down by the second boss encounter of the game (8). Wolf recovers and gains a prosthetic limb, which offers extra options to combat (9). Finally, Wolf embarks on a journey full of perils in order to save his lord (10-12).


Bioshock Infinite. This is a mind-blowing FPS that strongly interweave narrative and A.I. together in this shooter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSDDE3ICLhA This link provides an in-depth behind the scenes which are skippable to get a gauge on what features are available.

It might seem like this game is a tiringly long escort mission. But the way that this game provides the lens of experience seeks to redefine this genre. The AI can help and stay out of the way seamlessly, which is surprisingly refreshing for escort missions. For example, the AI can help find ammo or toss us health packs during different stages of the battle, which is helpful and provide a sense of relief in the middle of the battle. This makes me appreciate the AI more rather than find it to be a burden. Furthermore, one can also observe that the AI also interacts with the environment when I am idling. This further immerses me in the experience of being in the world and making the AI more humane, which is a sign of a masterful complex AI.

It also provides the lens of surprise and fun. The game is designed with a lot of twists and turns in its narrative, and it carefully builds it up this way and set it up. Therefore, for the uninitiated, it might be worth to check out this game without getting spoiled.

The game also indulges in the lens of curiosity. Being a very imaginative and creative world led by the game’s creative director, it brings much curiosity into the life and culture of living in a different world. The premise is based on a city in the skies, and its colourful nature and hidden political themes bring a lot of depth to the game and make me want to explore more. The answers provided by the narrative rewards our curiosity and make me appreciate the story better,

Combat dynamics brought by environment

This game fulfills the lens of elemental tetrad best by fulfilling almost all requirements. It has a compelling story that is matched with wonderful aesthetics (being cartoony-styled is timeless). The technology is high as well and it explores various fun mechanics of battling in a city in the sky while being futuristic as well. The game mechanics might be a bit straightforward as a shooter, but the rest of the elements more than makeup for this game.

Analysis — BABA IS YOU

Link: https://hempuli.com/baba/


As described in its official website, Baba Is You is a puzzle game where the rules players have to follow are present as physical objects in the game world.

Baba Is You mainly has two kinds of objects which are text object and real object. The text can be a name, a logic word or a property word. The rules in the game are formalised using three texts. For example, in the sentence BABA IS YOU, [BABA] is a name text which refers to the main character, [IS] is a logic word which means having the property, and [YOU] means the referenced object has the property “controlled by player”. A rule can also be stated as “something is something” or “something has something”.

The winning condition:

The winning condition, of course, is also stated using text objects in the game. Basically, we need to let the place where exists the object, which has the property YOU, also exists an object, which has the property WIN, i.e., YOU IS WIN.

What I’m doing and my feelings:

As a player, I just randomly try different combination of words in the beginning stages. Those tutorial stages are quite friendly. I not only can clear the stage with a limited number of attempts but also get the basic ideas of the game. In the following stages, the difficulty of the game increase quite smoothly. The following stages continually introduce new logic and property words which makes the gameplay very interesting.

Elemental tetrad:

  1. Mechanics : The game is a 2D single-player game with dynamic rules. The rules are determined by how the words objects are arranged.
  2. Story: The game doesn’t really have a story.
  3. Aesthetics: The graphics and music are quite comfortable and dreamlike.
  4. Technology: The basic rules are from Sokoban, but the dynamic rule in the game is very creative.


  1. Essential Experience: The players get pleasure by solving the puzzles.
  2. Surprise, fun: There is a large number of possible combination of words which enables players to have many possible rules. There are a lot of them surprising and fun.
  3. Curiosity: This game inspires players to discover new rules.
  4. Problem Solving: This is a puzzle game.
  5. Holographic Design: All the elements of the game are consistent.
  6. Unification Theme: Every thing in the game reinforce the theme – solve the puzzle by manipulate the rules.