Some titles will send gamers of a certain age into a misty stupor. Gauntlet is one of them, thirty or so years ago it was breaking new ground as a cash hungry arcade game. Allowing four, yes, four players to simultaneously charge around dungeons hacking, slashing and collecting gold. It was also noticeable for the audio cues the game would throw out, when a character was low on health for example.
The arcade game was one thing, but it was also not readily available to the masses, home computer adaptations soon were and it wasn’t long before playgrounds were awash with tales of legendary slaughter. My platform of choice was the Commodore 64, graphically not as flash as the Arcade, but near enough to keep the atmosphere and fun. Also, worth noting that the expansion ‘Deeper Dungeons’ was a game I played until the score meter hit its maximum and would go no further.
I digress, Gauntlet by tradition throws together four players in the guises of a Barbarian, Valkyrie, Wizard and Elf. The franchise has seen a few changes since its humble one-button beginnings, it wasn’t that long ago I played through an RPG-lite version in the previous generation of consoles. What Arrowhead have attempted here is to bring the series back more closely to its roots and it has succeeded in parts. What they have also created is something that modern players would expect in character progression and upgradeable skills.
In 2015 the term “Video Game”, does not do justice to what developers are now able to produce for this great time-sink of ours. But, it is the label attached to interactive entertainment and we all know what it means, so I won’t turn this into a games are art debate just yet. Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture is certainly interactive entertainment, but I would argue it is not a “game”. It’s more grown up, more delicate and a wonderfully thought provoking experience which I found it immensely refreshing to “play”.
The title Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture (EGTTR) sounds like a post-apocalyptic tale, and I suppose in some ways it is. But at its core are simple human stories of love, loss, family and faith. At times, it is so heart-breaking that it can feel a little close to home, which for a “video game”, is a true achievement and to that end I am very mind-full of being spoiler free in this review. So, the player is dropped into an empty British village, faced with the mystery of what happened to the occupants. They appear to have left or disappeared at short notice, leaving everything behind, even the washing on the line flapping in the wind.
It’s never made clear who or what the player actually is and even now I still can’t get my head around that, but without spoilers we will have to leave that discussion alone. During their journey through the game the player is given glimpses into touching interpersonal interactions between a small group of main characters, all set amidst the mysterious events befalling the village before the actual players arrival.
Batman, perfect for video-games, a cultural icon and undoubtedly the fastest thoroughbred in the DC stable. Developers Rocksteady have had a solid run with their Batman franchise, spanning generations of console the games have gone from strength to strength. With this being touted as their last Batman game they have pulled out the stops to deliver the spectacular along with the darkness.
A lot of fans have been hanging out for this particular Bats adventure, I wonder if it’s turned out Keaton or Clooney?
Arkham Knight does deliver exactly what it says on the tin, an open world adventure in a huge chunk of Gotham. Plenty of familiar adversaries and gadgets galore. The game is a visual feast and along with the open spaces Batman has a gigantic vertical playground to swing around. Traversing the city is smooth and effortless as the Bat-grapple is always ready to grab onto something with a quick press of a shoulder button. Swooping around the tall places, gliding from building to building and being moody on rooftops is always good fun.
1993, the year conventional cinema died and the year that dinosaurs ruled the earth once more. Universal studios were surfing a cash cow that was about to change everything. Since then we’ve seen spectacle after overblown spectacle thanks to blue and green screen technology, CGI has become a mainstay and arguably the wow factor has gone. Fast forward to 2015, Jurassic World is a big budget crowd pleaser and opening takings show that the dinosaurs still have pull.
Of course there’s a game along with all the other merchandise you could think of and of course the best people to take up that challenge are Travellers Tales by wrapping the concept up in lots and lots of Lego bricks.