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Author: Chris Evans

An unforgettable adventure in The Forgotten City

An unforgettable adventure in The Forgotten City

I do enjoy it when a mod reaches the big time and launches as a standalone game. Think of Counter-Strike and DOTA2 and you have two genre defining games that were born from mods. I’m not going to make an outlandish claim that The Forgotten City is going to be a genre defining release, but for something which originated as a Skyrim mod, it is an extremely impressive adventure.

Hit the break for some thoughts, but watch out: spoilers lie below.

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The Serenity of Moonglow Bay

The Serenity of Moonglow Bay

I like fish, but I don’t like eating them, nor do I have any interest in trying to catch them. Yet when it comes to Moonglow Bay, I’m not only enjoying catching them, but I’m learning more about them, as well as making tasty meals from my catch.

This is a charming, voxel-art lightweight RPG from developer Bunnyhug and published by Coatsink, which sees you take a rookie angler to east coast Canada to restore the fortunes of the rundown town of Moonglow Bay. You open the game by creating your character from a small number of pre-set looks, complete with choice of pronouns. Should a game featuring the ability to choose your own pronouns be something worth having to highlight? No, it should be common place in games where you create your own character, but I’ll applaud Bunnyhug and Coatsink for producing an open and inclusive game.

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Our Week in Games – Week 154

Our Week in Games – Week 154

FIFA the governing body of world football, and FIFA the football series from EA have long gone hand-in-hand, with many probably only knowing of it as the game. But it appears the governing body and EA are heading for divorce. FIFA are looking to diversify their licensing agreements, while EA are actively discussing renaming the franchise. The game series itself is coming under increasingly heavy criticism for the continued use of loot boxes in the Ultimate Team mode.

Wesley Yin-Poole on Eurogamer has a fantastic interview with EA Chief Experience Officer Chris Bruzzo. It’s an insightful interview and shows that EA will continue to use loot boxes in Ultimate Team as part of the FIFA franchise, but if the franchise was to change name, I wonder whether EA would change their approach and introduce monetisation more akin to a season pass.

While we ponder the future of one football franchise, its worth thinking about the disastrous launch that eFootball has had. The successor to Pro Evo Soccer, this one has gone down like a lead balloon, even if the live service football theory might be one EA follow themselves. Time will tell!

In the meantime, hit the jump for Our Week in Games.

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Battlefield 2042 – Open Beta Impressions

Battlefield 2042 – Open Beta Impressions

My Battlefield history is filled with moments where I dive into incoming fire to revive a fallen comrade, typically to just end up dying myself. I love the Battlefield games, but I’d never count myself as even being in the top 50% of players when it comes to metrics like the overblown K:D ratio or score per minute. What matters to me is teamwork with all that entails with the revives, throwing around health packs and capturing control points. Having played the Battlefield 2042 open beta over the last couple of days, I’m pleased that these elements of action still exist, but am left wondering whether they’ll be recognised in the broader meta of the game.

Before I get into that in any further detail, hit the break for my first impressions of EA and DICE’s upcoming title.

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Commanding Nations targets February for Early Access

Commanding Nations targets February for Early Access

It was way back in March that I spoke with Pourya ‘Redfirm’ Arami about Commanding Nations, an ambitious RTS taking inspiration from the legendary Command and Conquer. I’ve been quietly keeping track of the progress Seven Volts games have been making, and things seem to be taking shape with an Early Access launch targeted for February 2022 and a Kickstarter campaign soon to kick-off.

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Clearing the Backlog – The Last of Us Part II

Clearing the Backlog – The Last of Us Part II

Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part II might have launched last year to critical acclaim, and plenty of in-depth critique, but I purposefully left it to one side. I didn’t want to rush into what I knew would be an emotionally draining game, especially not in the middle of a global pandemic. I did eventually make a start on it towards the end of 2020, with my PlayStation 4 straining at the seams to run the game.

A house move later and an upgrade to running TLoU2 on a PlayStation 5, and I finally found the time, and mental energy, to finish it. And what a roller coaster ride of a game it is.

What follows will include major spoilers, so please don’t read on if you intend to play this afresh.

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Mini Motorways – The Mini Verdict

Mini Motorways – The Mini Verdict

Mini Motorways made its debut on Steam at the end of July, and will be coming to the Nintendo Switch next year, but it still feels absolutely like a mobile game at heart. Perhaps, though, I should correct myself there. It feels like a touch game at heart. This isn’t some in-app purchase driven knock-off, but a very smartly thought-out city builder that begs to be picked up and played, one which will undoubtedly find a very welcome home on the Switch.

Coming to Mini Motorways on the PC without having played it, or its predecessor Mini Metro, I was immediately struck by how clean and fresh it looked. I’m a sucker for good-looking art, and with Mini Motorways, where everything is fairly minimalistic, there is more than enough character to draw me in. I love the way the cities expand as the days and weeks tick by, but in such a subtle fashion that you don’t realise that you’ve progressed from managing the road network of a village at the start, to now trying to tame the sprawl of a megalopolis. A sprawl that is all your own doing.

An end of game image of Beijing in Mini Motorways
The end of game reviews of your city are what I live for.

Once a few in-game weeks have passed and your starting route between two houses and one work place has grown exponentially, it’s wonderful to take a moment to pause, delete your original road networks and create things afresh to best take account of how your city has evolved. A city that has evolved to grow around your roads, with houses sprouting in the most awkward of spots but able to be ignored. Meanwhile the new business that sets up on the other side of a river when you have run out of bridges to plop down will be what finally brings a game to an end.

It might not be your traditional city builder, and yes it might work best on a touch device, but Mini Motorways is a gem, and comes highly recommended.

Embrace your Inner Sky Brown – The Ramp Out Now

Embrace your Inner Sky Brown – The Ramp Out Now

Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you’ll know it’s Olympics time, and Team GB have Sky Brown competing in the park discipline. Today you can (nearly) emulate Sky with The Ramp, an indie skateboarding title from Paul Schnepf.

Unlike Sky’s adventures in Tokyo, The Ramp features vert skateboarding across a handful of locations, and that’s pretty much it. On the Steam page, Paul describes The Ramp as offering you 15 minutes of flow for “the price of a medium sized cinnamon pistachio latte”.

The Ramp is out right now on Steam, and I’ll be putting down the price of a fancy coffee for 15 minutes of flow.

Monster Hunter Stories 2 – Preview

Monster Hunter Stories 2 – Preview

I’ve tried a couple of Monster Hunter titles, including the mega-hit World which opened the game to a whole new audience. However, I’ve never really clicked with the titles in the past, finding them lacking direction and boasting an overwhelming number of combat mechanics.

Now, having played the Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin trial on the Switch over the past few days, I’ve potentially found my style of Monster Hunter game.

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