Let’s get this out of the way at the start – Cloud Chamber isn’t really a game. You know when people watch a video clip or a trailer and pick apart all the little nuances of the imagery? Or turn the volume up real loud listening for hidden clues in the vague crackle of a badly distorted audio file? Or trying to hit the pause button just when a flash-frame image pops up? And then discuss findings and theories in…
The sickly sweetness beckoned me once again, promising that this time would be different. This time it wouldn’t taste just like all the others, this time it would last more than a fortnight… And like a mug I believed it, and bought Final Fantasy XIV for my PS3 and gave in once more to the hollow promises of that most seductive of genres. All the others had overpowered me with their sickly, over (or under-) cooked flavours that would inevitably…
Zork. TerraFirmA. Nethack. The kind of games that conjure up memories of squinting at “@” symbols convincing yourself it was a rat, or possibly an ogre. I spent a fair amount of time within their strangely compelling grasp in my younger days, and more recently thanks to the madness of Dwarf Fortress. SanctuaryRPG is not like these games. It is an RPG, and its visuals are all ASCII code, smooshed together to look like mountains and monsters and silver keys….
As the new generation (and the new war) of consoles rumbles reluctantly into second gear, I have decided that, for once, I won’t be jumping on this particular bandwagon only as it hurtles into retirement. For once I will be at the cusp of the technological curve, and damn all those who say “wait”. Damn them and their stupid neckbeards. So I took the step to a brighter future and bought myself a Playstation 4, along with Killzone and Battlefield 4. Four weeks on, here are my thoughts.
I am odd. A rare flower in the game-journo garden of cynicism and critique – I actually liked Bioshock Infinite. Oh, I’m fully aware of the myriad of reasons people had issues with the game, but none of that stopped me enjoying its quirky, broken and in some places utterly bonkers plot, its enjoyable combat system and the beautiful flying city of Columbia. Burial at Sea is Infinite’s latest DLC, set in the far more popular underwater locale of Rapture. It’s fun, confusing and criminally short.
The slightly puzzled verdict that follows is slightly spoilery of Bioshock Infinite, you have been warned…
A pair of stabbing green daggers hold the horde at bay, as a flaming hammer swings around the heads of the soon-to-be vanquished. An arrow streaks from somewhere, felling the largest of the creatures and a frost-frosted shield sparks and clangs as it hurtles between man and beast. Forced is a co-op thing of beauty, that still, somehow, manages to squeeze extreme-frisbee into this scene of battle.
I’m not even kidding.
Minecraft was fun for a few hours. Eventually though, after the final blocks are placed in my wood and stone villa overlooking the sea, the sad truth of my endeavor starts to sink in – it’s all utterly pointless. At least with Lego you can at least pretend the things you build have function, but in the almost-endless forests of Notch’s masterpiece, it’s a case of build and move on.
Starmade is a little different. It lets you build fully functioning star-ships, stations and planetary complexes, fight pirates and other players, all in an infinite void. And it makes you use the word “blocks” uncomfortably often.
I am making the connection between Starmade and Minecraft early because… well, look at it. It looks like an overly ambitious mod for the latter, and often even feels like it. But where Minecraft sets you free in an essentially unchanging landscape with the tools to settle in and build pretty things, Starmade plops you in an endlessly moving universe with the bare essentials required to build a ship, then throws pirates at you.
The Last of Us may be a good game. Many have declared it the greatest game ever, others have commented on its setting, its superb voice acting and the brutality that drives the plot ever onwards. And, as is becoming a frequent occurrence these days, I have an opinion on it. This is not a review however, I have not finished the game and I quite possibly never will. But I want to at least throw my grain of salt onto the scales of greatness and have my voice counted, even though it’s clearly attempting to swim against the current…
I don’t like it.
A dark night, a random phone call, and trousers that allow you to jump like a genetically enhanced grasshopper with its feet on fire – Gunpoint certainly starts with a bang. It follows up with a few more bangs and suddenly you are being hired for all sorts of stealth/jumping/trenchcoat tomfoolery, most of which involves falling out of windows and pestering guards with electrified light switches. Oh, and it’s a bit good.
Shootmania Storm is an epiphany. It’s like someone took the modern expectations of what a multiplayer FPS should be, turned it upside down and shook it until all the bells, whistles and nonsense clattered onto the floor. What was left was sparse, light and clean. No iron-sights, no customisable classes, no massive production values… what on earth was left? An epiphany. As I said.
I just killed a man by throwing a broadsword at him. Before diving out of a window. Backwards. Followed by a hail of bullets fired from his teammates. I hit the ground back first, flip back onto my feet, and vanish in a shower of gibs and blood as a rocket hits me. This is The Showdown Effect, and despite sounding incredible – I’m actually quite annoyed at it. An easy description would be to call on such venerable ancestors…
There are few things I do well, and cry with dignity is certainly not one of them. The mess, the noise and the looks of sheer terror on the faces of the people around me as I dissolve into my own salty puddle is never good. I played Richard & Alice over the weekend, and my house is now empty. *Sniff*
Bang. I’m dead again.
Bang. Thwack. Shot then cut in half by a thrown sword.
Thump. Someone just slapped me with what appears to be a broom. Hey wait… aren’t you supposed to be on my team? Welcome to The Showdown Effect Beta.
A dark night, a delivery to be made and a gas station with no power dominating the scene. It all leaves me very little to go on as Kentucky Route Zero’s first act opens. I knew it was a point and click, I knew it was an indie marvel of some caliber but nothing prepared me for just how weird my next few hours were going to become.
Or just how pretty this game looks when in motion.
Nostalgia is a strange, bitter-sweet thing. Some say we look at the past through rose-tinted glasses, and when it comes to childhood memories involving computer games – the glasses aren’t so much rose-tinted as blacked-out. Our past-selves simply couldn’t comprehend the leaps and bounds of technology and graphical fidelity has made in the past decade or two.
And so, re-playing our cherished memories can be something of a painful experience.