I can’t stop playing Absolute Drift, and in order to properly explain why, I have to tell you a little story.
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.
Two words: Kevin. Spacey.
Little more interested now?
Excuse the swearing, but the most exciting thing happening in gaming has just been bought out by a social network.
Some games try to be funny with a sparky script written by a bored scriptwriter who dreams of hitting the big league. Even if it manages to rise above the usual misfired dross, the funniest jokes will only work the first time before they become the script equivalent of your Dad dancing at a wedding.
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 still think he might be right.
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.