Take a couple of fondly remembered puzzle franchises, mix them up with some multiplayer add a party machine like the Ninetendo Switch and what do you get?
Well it’s certainly fun, but sometimes equally frustrating.
The original Gameboy for me was all about Tetris, that grey/green liquid crystal display and the unforgettable theme tune pumping away. Dropping blocks at speed and holding that big heavy handheld up to my nose in bad light. Yes, those were the days. Puyo Puyo, not so much. To be honest it has passed me by until now and while I could happily rank Tetris up alongside the the Rubik Cube or Othello as ‘easy to learn, difficult to master’ cultural icons I have to say Puyo Puyo is new to me.
I’m a purist when it comes to Mario Kart, having experienced many heart wrenching moments at the hands of the characters and many slating moments of joy. Especially sneaking a 150cc win against Luigi on the Rainbow Road. This was all of course a very long time ago on the SNES. When consoles were simple, you couldn’t Tweet or Post anything you did and the gameplay mattered, especially in glorious Mode7 graphics.
So twenty odd years later and here we are with a polished version of the wiiU Mario Kart, a extensive track list, extra modes and a host of characters new and old.
Sometimes games, even big Triple-A titles, just fail to pique your interest with all their promotion and hype. Meh, another reboot, another sci-fi shooter, another save the planet storyline…. This was Prey, for me anyway.
Then one snippet of commentary about the game hit my ears, ‘a sort of spiritual successor to System Shock 2’. Excuse me?!?
So I quickly watched a short promotional trailer and all of a sudden I was fizzing like a little kid on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to bring him a new bike. And what a bike it turned out to be!
In the open world of shooter games such as the FarCry titles, I am always looking for ways to play the ‘sneaky sniper’ type character.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 has been designed from the ground up to offer this exact experience, with open world situations geared towards an elite military sharp shooter. Unfortunately some glaring technical miss-steps stand in the way of this game achieving its goal of a refined sniping experience.
Anyone who has played an open world shooter in recent years will know what to expect here, as Ghost Warrior 3 walks some very well-trodden ground. That’s not to say the open world design and mission structures are terrible, they just don’t stray far from the norm. Within each large open world region is a safe-house. These are the main character’s base of operations and have the traditional ‘Equipment’, ‘Skills’ and ‘Communication’ stations to help you prepare for each mission.
Skill points are earned by playing in a particular way, so sniper kills earn points in the sniping skill tree. Whereas a run and gun play style, will earn points to spend on assault skills. The skill tree will seem very familiar to most and frankly didn’t alter my approach to the moment to moment gameplay much as I leveled up. Once skills are chosen and gear has been selected, the mission always starts with driving the forever handily parked SUV, to the mission start point.
Nintendo has always been something of a mystery to me, recent years I have been sold by the hardware, but never enough to stick with it. Maybe its the family friendly vibe or just that the killer apps have been just way too cutesy.
Don’t get me wrong I’ve lived and loved some good times with Nintendo, mainly SNES, various Gameboys and the ultimate couch co-op machine the N64. Of course those were the olden days, before things got online and social, before Trophies, Achievements and Coins.
Having been in the wild for a couple of months, we’re late to the Switch party, but that’s often not a bad thing. Continue reading →
I love when a great game slips right under the radar and surprises you. Even more so when it is a genre you really enjoy. Vikings – Wolves of Midgard, an action role playing game from Games Farm, has done just that. And having just watched all four seasons of Vikings on TV, I am well primed for this adventure.
Unfolding from a central hub that is your home village, you embark on a series of raids to obtain various goals and to unite the tribes against a greater evil. Once each area is united or conquered you can revisit it in the form of a hunt, with the goal of killing a set number of animals or monsters. It is a format that works and with the ability to return to areas, missing out on gathering collectables during the original raid is no longer a game killer.
I would hate to sit down and actually add up how much time I have put into the Mass Effect universe over the years. I could probably make a rough guess and say it would be in the hundreds of hours. And that’s not even counting the series of novels and comics I have also worked my way through.
Lets just say, it is safe to assume that I’m bit of a Mass Effect fan. Now after a 5 year hiatus, Mass Effect: Andromeda has arrived and it is wonderful to be back amongst the Biotics, grumpy Krogan and deep lore, that makes Mass Effect such awesome Sci-Fi goodness.
Something happened around nine long years ago, Call of Duty exploded into homes across the world. After a fairly regular crack at World War II the franchise needed a kick in the arm, actually the genre needed a kick in the arm and Infinity Ward stepped up to the plate.
Modern Warfare was a cinematic shooter experience, the single player campaign was groundbreaking, taking notes from some classics and narrative tricks from the likes of Half Life. Then it shook all that up in a big box of Michael Bay, brought in some epic voice talent and became a global journey overshadowing any Bond movie.
It was a game that captured imaginations from the moment you loaded up the Kill House training session with the legendary Captain Price, all the way through to clearing the post game bonus level Mile High on Veteran difficulty. It was a shooter that encouraged you to replay missions, not only for collectibles and trophies/achievements, but because they were incredibly good. The game had legs and that’s why even the second hand bins had it for years at almost full price.
Now this would have to be one of the most painful reviews I have written in recent times…
No, Torment: Tides of Numenera is a fantastic game. A game I have been waiting forever for, since I backed it on Kickstarter a couple of years ago.
The problem is I tried to chop off my finger recently and have just had the stitches out, and typing on a keyboard kind of hurts!
So let me take you through the world of Torment, while going through a bit of torment myself.
Let me just say up front, Torment: Tides of Numenera won’t be for everyone. Complex story lines, just as complex decisions and some quite lengthy dialogs to read, with a fairly high level vocabulary used. But don’t let this put you off, any time invested into the world of Torment will reward you tenfold.
I’ve always been a fan of stealth games and to my mind, the power of the current crop of consoles has afforded this great genre a bit of a resurgence. Styx: Shards of Darkness is probably best described as a ‘Tolkienesque Splinter Cell’. (Would never have predicted writing that in a sentence) Instead of a burly secret agent at its core, Shards of Darkness has a fowl mouthed, fourth wall breaking Goblin – who is short on stature…. and scruples.
Styx made his sneaking debut in 2014 in Master of Shadows, which I loved… until my 80% complete save file was ‘lost’ and I never had the gumption to start all over again. Master of Shadows was met with mediocre reviews which were in fact fair, due to a lack of polish and a bit of jank. Fortunately, Cyanide Studios have doubled down on Styx: Shards of Darkness and have built beautiful multi-path levels, unique skill trees and thankfully this time, enemies with functional A.I.