It was the year the PS4 launched and Tequila Works had a colourful and exciting new game showcased as a Sony exclusive.
That game was RiME, evoking memories of anything Team Ico related even at that early stage it looked serene, enigmatic and had a simple quality that made you want to know it better. Blockbusters teased in that year came and went, blockbusters from following years have been and gone, then it was suddenly now and the time for RiME.
First off this isn’t an easy gig, it really is fair to say the game has delivered in spades and if I had a choice I would leave it right there, smack on 111 words. But, life isn’t like that, life is something else.
High fantasy swords and shields combat in video games, is just not my thing…blasphemy I know. Personally I dig Sci-Fi settings, full of mech suits and advanced weapons. So roll up ‘The Surge’ to tick some boxes! It does have to be said, under the hood it is essentially a Dark Souls wannabe, but to actually label it as such without qualification, sells it way short.
After an awesome and pretty disturbing opening sequence, where the main protagonist gets out of his wheel chair and into a new set of robo legs. You are chucked into a partially destroyed factory complex and taken through a few basic combat encounters to learn the ropes. Controls are straight forward and camera controls are great. Some initial audio logs and interactions with a holographic lady lets a plot begin to form.
That being said, after about 5 hours of playing I honestly couldn’t tell you what the story was or who the main characters were. However, that’s not the game’s fault. I was just so focused on gathering gear, tech materials (XP) and opening up shortcuts that I just didn’t care. The star of this game is its combat, everything else just became secondary.
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.
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.
Tom Clancy Ghost Recon games have been around for a while and in many guises, personally I have preferred the more recent future-now takes on the genre, but Wildlands is bring that back to Ground Zero. Throwing your hand built protagonist and his three teammates into a quest to clean up Bolivia on a wave of destruction.
Sounds great so far and mostly it is.
Having avoided the Beta preview I went into Wildlands blind and without any preconceptions. Straight off the bat I was impressed by the scope of the environment. Being offered a huge open world to tackle as you see fit is a great thing in anybody eyes and you don’t have to look far into your back catalogue for top notch titles that have offered similar experiences.