Man, I’m a gaming dinosaur. Most of the time I spend with games now is framed with a never-ending, slow shake of the head as I try to comprehend what it even is these days. From open worlds with endless icons pulling me in every direction to entire catalogues of microtransactions that have been carved away to sell for eternal engagement, it’s all a far cry from the titles that got me hooked so many years ago. For me, the shift from PS3/Xbox 360 to PS4/Xbox One was the most noticeable, as suddenly developers could depend on a consumer internet connection, and so games became a service. I feel like the self-contained, more focused AA game is becoming as much of a relic as those that still want them.
Which is why Aliens Fireteam Elite is such a treat. Sure, it has a few modern marketing points ticked – three-player co-op missions (although it’s perfectly playable in single-player with bots) and the dreaded “Seasons” of downloadable content (to go with the laundry list of things you can unlock through normal play) – but, at its heart, it is a game that has a singular focus and it really wants to show you a damn good time.
It’s finally real and official: Just Cause 3 is coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One next year and, contrary to earlier rumours, it will be a full-price release with zero micro-transaction bullshit tying it down.
As I got into bed last night I slipped my hand under the covers and something buzzed against it. I instinctively yanked my arm away while something black and striped and angry crawled out from underneath the duvet and headbutted the light in determined repetition. I wish I could say that my response was calm and measured, but it was more like Free Willy jumping out of the aquarium with a high-pitched yelp to match. It was dealt with.
Now, imagine that scenario but you’re in the middle of a swarm of hundreds of these bastards and all you have is an machine gun. Or replace the bugs with zombies, or lizard men, or tiny red demons, or mechanical spiders that split into more spiders, and more spiders, and more spiders, when you destroy them. Welcome to Crimsonland, where Borderlands meets Earth Defense Force in a bloodied frenzy.
Hang on, I just need to set my watch by the Call Of Duty release schedule. Activision has just released the first full trailer for CoD Advanced Warfare, their latest entry in the FPS juggernaut due out as usual in November of this year.
“But how can we make people care about this one?”, scream the marketers.
If games are dancing, then Nidhogg is the Argentinian Tango. Grace and blood, attacks and parries, personal space being fiercely invaded time and time again. Swift moves sometimes sliding into long-held pauses with heartbeat percussion as underscore. The name for developer Messhof’s newly-released fencing-come-LSD-trip comes from a huge dragon featured in Norse mythology, whose primary interest was the chewing of both life-trees and on the bodies of the unfit for eternity.
And once this game has you, there couldn’t be a more apt title.
The first time I heard of Left 4 Dead was from a forum member at Eurogamer. Because of his involvement in the games industry, he’d managed to snag a preview build of Valve’s new zombie killing game, touted as a pure co-op survival test against screaming hordes and an intelligent adaptive AI. When asked of his opinion, he said that he thought it might be the best online co-op game ever.
I’ve been trying to write the first sentence of this review for twelve hours. The best I could come up with was something about how storytelling in video games can often be forgotten in favour of violent set-pieces or the need to polish multiplayer. How I’m sick of the eye-rolling from all quarters when I eulogise about how video games are as valid a medium for a great story as books or movies. How important it is to then balance the story with the actual playing mechanics.
I wanted to tell you how disappointed I am with Remember Me, the first game from Dontnod, published by Capcom. How the immaculate world of future Neo-Paris that is painted with such detail, and the science fiction story that takes a concept and has the confidence to fully explore its implications, exacerbate the failings in combat design and even basic play testing. I wanted to warn you off, to advise waiting for the bargain bin and leave you with a sense of initial impressiveness leading to final frustration.
The trouble is, I’m just completely split – a day after completion – on how I feel about it. Amidst all the combat repetition and flakiness in the final third, there’s something about this game that has really resonated.