Happy New 2020 and putting a pin in 2019

The rest of the team have had their turn. It is interesting to see that we have all been touched by different games over the last 12 months.

The standout for Guy being Control, although we do agree on Blood and Truth being a landmark title for PSVR. Whereas Barrie loved Outer Worlds, I tried it, but wasn’t in the right space. Maybe I need to give it another spin now the fuss has died down. Gerard plumped for Plague Tale, which is title I have seen often recommended, but never looked close enough.

The great thing is, it looks like my Pile of Shame is about to get at least 3 games bigger.

Right now, looking back at 2019 we had some great titles to play and it really is hard to pull out a shortlist of favourites. That said, here’s my take.

Read more

2019 – How Did It Stack Up? (The Barrie’s Highlights Edition)

This years highlights for me are a bit tough. Basically because of all the older games I have been playing.

Thanks to Game Pass on the Xbox I have been enjoying a absolute plethora of classic titles and games I would otherwise not have looked at. And on the flip side many of the great releases in 2019 for me were actually remasters or re-releases.

So I will try and rattle off a few highlights, and of course a disappointment or two.

All these titles were played on the Xbox One X.

Read more

Espire 1: VR Operative, PSVR Review

Espire 1: VR Operative was touted as a fully immersive Splinter Cell-esque type VR game. Which was music to my ears and the slick launch trailer just added to my hype levels.

The game is built around the idea of taking remote-control of a stealthy Espire Robot. Then infiltrating various buildings and factory type levels to take down armed terrorists. An Espire unit can use an array of gadgets, guns and even navigate levels full of verticality with its magnetic hands.

Like I said, a really cool premise.

Read more

Halo Reach (PC): Finishing the fight on a new platform

There’s no denying that Gregorian chants are a cornerstone of the Halo series. They’re unmistakable identifiers for the Master Chief and the fight against the alien covenant. Halo Reach is no exception.

So when the Gregorian chants fired up on the menu screen of the PC version, it brought a smile to both my face – and my ears (if my ears could smile, that is).

I’m not the world’s greatest Halo fan but I’ve played them all. Reach was always at the top of my list as my favourite of the series. Maybe it was because the story told of the close-knit camaraderie between the six members of Noble team. Cat, Emile, Jorge, Jun, Carter and Spartan B-312 (that’s you, by the way). As they take the fight to the covenant on the planet Reach, or maybe it was because Reach wasn’t about Master Chief. Whatever it was, Reach just resonated with me.

Read more

Don’t Die, Minerva! Review (Xbox One X)

Every second game I have played recently seems to be a rogue-like or have rogue-like elements in them.

Thankfully, unlike the rest of the team, I am not adverse to this as I quite like the format and play style that rogue-likes fall into. That is not to say I don’t throw the odd controller in frustration at my 145th death in 3 minutes.

I have just learnt to throw it gently onto the couch beside me. But with a little Luigi flair this could be fun to play.

Don’t Die, Minerva! looks really nice and plays well. Although there isn’t a huge variety in what you are doing and where you are doing it, it maintains that, just one more run, feel you expect from a good rogue-like.

Read more

Espire 1: VR Operative, Hands On

A blur of a few weeks ago at PAX I go to go hands-on with Espire1: VR Operative from Digital Lode. On that day the release had been pushed back to a loose ‘pre-xmas’. It felt appropriate to hold back until a day like today, when the launch date was finally announced.

And that Release Date is THIS WEEK! Yes, THIS WEEK!

The game has been described as a Stealth VR Shooter, Guy has been dribbling over it for months because to him, it’s Splinter Cell VR. Either way Espire 1: VR will certainly tick some boxes.

Espire1 has been put together by a passionate and driven micro team of developers. The game ‘feels’ like a release from a much bigger studio and deserves some attention. I can only hope the install base on the PSVR gives it a strong showing. I for one will be leaping into an Espire unit this weekend. To stealth, shoot, scan, climb and hack my way out of trouble.

Espire1: VR Operative – it’s VR Splinter Cell, what could go wrong?

Read more

PAXAus 2019, being there and slightly square

After all the build up and fervour PAXAus 2019 has been and gone. It was a first visit for me, probably not the last, but my old bones are currently arguing against it. Having become something of a big hitter on the gaming calendar I was keen to see this year what all the fuss was about.

As an eclectic gathering of Gaming, Pop Culture and Cosplay it does the job well, and you can see from the eyes of the consumer that wanders the floors glassy eyed that they are getting all the shiny things they need. I enjoyed the relative tranquility of the table-top game area and retro section, it was a relief from the pressing crowds squeezing through the aisles.

The main event was loud, brash and exhausting, especially when I flew in for a single day with a maximum of six hours on the ground.

But, that’s me, at PAXAus 2019, being there and slightly square.

Read more

Children of Morta Review (Xbox One X)

Meet the Bergsons, the Children of Morta. John, Linda, Kevin, Mark, Lucy, and Joey. Good, solid hero names if ever there was. Living in the shadow of Mount Morta and entrusted with its protection, life has been pretty good for the Bergsons. Until an evil corruption takes hold with in the mountain.

Now it is time to take up arms and save the sacred mountain they call home.

When it comes to games, I don’t mind rogue-likes, talk to @nzbrowncoat and you might just get a different response. So thankfully for him, I have Children of Morta from Dead Mage Inc. to review and he doesn’t.

Read more