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.
I grew up in a golden age of gaming, an age that even now we look back at with rose tinted pixelated vision. There are times I wonder why I missed out on some late eighties pop culture, but now I’ve remembered.
I had different Rockstars to my peers – they were magician-like programmers, my posters where full-page game adverts torn from magazines and most of those memories come flooding back when I leaf through this book.
I say book, it’s actually two. Two beautifully presented (in a display box) hardback books weighing in at around 600 pages of fascinating interviews, images and excerpts from the world of Gremlin. It’s a shock to see the salary of a programmer thirty odd years ago.
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.
Horizon: Zero Dawn is only days away from hitting PS4 hard drives. After spending the better part of 15-20 hrs with it, I can say with confidence and frankly some surprise….it is fantastic. A studio solely famous for First Person Shooters has made a clever and very unique game-world. Somehow they have created a game with the best bits of the open world and beast hunting in The Witcher 3, the tried and true ‘RPG lite’ fun of the FarCry games and also the slick, visceral combat of the recent Tomb Raider reboots.
You will play as ‘Aloy’, who has been an outcast all her life. But when the world is under threat her tribal leaders reluctantly turn to her to for help. This open world 3rd person, action adventure is beautiful, detailed and engrossing. Sony could have easily put Guerrilla Games back on the FPS treadmill, making them churn out another Killzone…..but thankfully they didn’t and we got Horizon! Enjoy the full review!
OK, so here goes. A SPOILER FREE review of the latest chapter in the venerable Resident Evil franchise….
Everyone likes a trip to the countryside, especially if it is to see a long lost loved one. But one look at the Bakers lovely Plantation house in Dulvey, Louisiana would cause a pretty quick change of heart. After all, we have all seen scary movies, and we all know nothing good can be going on in this kind of setting. Well the love Ethan Winters has for his wife is strong, so strong that he doesn’t even hesitate on heading in.
I guess this is going to be a really boring game if the Baker residence turns out to be just a lovely old B&B….
The latest entry into a long running and respected franchise from Sega has turned back the clock and dropped players into a prequel of sorts. It’s a clever move and one that makes the experience more attractive to Yakuza virgins like myself.
That clock in question has been turned back to 1988 and you get to ‘kind of’ free roam about in Kamurocho, something of a Red Light district in Tokyo. So, its time to dust off your knuckles, slip on a sharp suit and experience some exotic Japanese culture.