When I read a press release with a subject title starting “Celebrated’ I tend to roll my eyes. When it’s regarding For the King though, a smile comes to my face as it actually is celebrated. I wrote back in May 2019 that the Switch release “brought new life to what is a gem of an RPG“, and I am very pleased to read that the game now has over 3 million players across the numerous platforms it released on, success which has brought about an expansion which releases today on PC.
Stylish card-based fighting game, Fights in Tight Spaces has today been confirmed for an Early Access release date of 24th February, and the free Prologue has also been updated. Exciting times indeed for a game that I’ve long been interested in. With over 20,000 players trying out the Prologue, the team at Groundshelter and Mode 7 Games must be looking forward to seeing the reaction when the Early Access version is available. The game is pretty much feature complete, with the developers expecting about 40-hours of play from the Early Access edition. While the Daily Challenges won’t feature in the Early Access version at launch, the team expect to use their time in Early Access to introduce a new character and further balance the game based on player feedback.
I played the Prologue back in December and was left very impressed with the style of the game, and the action was pretty damn good to. The Prologue has been updated with a refresher UI and replay system to check out all of your best hits. You can find Fights on Steam here, and while you wait for Early Access to launch, you can find the free Prologue right here.
As part of the Steam Games Festival, I stumbled across a demo for Railgrade, a construction strategy set around building railway lines on a far-flung colony cut-off from Earth. The demo is painfully short giving the briefest of a tease as to what the full game will offer. But it was just enough to pique my interest.
The big news this week was the big unveiling of the Mass Effect remaster. It is a series which defined a generation, and is going to be returning with plenty of lens flare and a bit less sexualisation of FemShep. There’s a lengthy interview on Eurogamer which is very much worth a read.
If you want some other Sunday reading, I’d point you in the direction of this GI.biz article which looks into the broader consequences of Google’s decision to close their internal Stadia development teams. Streaming certainly has a future, but what it looks like is still very much up for debate.
And now, on with Our Week in Games.
The release of Hitman 3 has been met with high praise from critics, but not all as gone entirely smoothly with friction around integrating with the previous titles in the trilogy causing concern, especially for the PC community. It leads me to wonder whether IO Interactive missed a trick by moving away from Hitman 2016’s episodic release structure?
The return of the Command & Conquer brand last year with the remasters of the Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert was met with a warm reception, and served to breathe new life into the C&C forums on Reddit. My casual monitoring of those sub-reddits led me to stumbling across a post about Commanding Nations. This is a prospective indie RTS from a team known as Seven Volts Games which is drawing inspiration from Command & Conquer: Generals, what was a divisive game in the community at one point but has had its image rehabilitated following the disaster of Tiberian Twilight.
From looking at the official site, Commanding Nations is at a very early stage in development, but the team will be launching a Kickstarter soon. I’ll be keen to see how things pan out once the Kickstarter launches, and whether the team gets the funding they need to push on with development. For those who yearn for a certain era of RTS though, this might be one worth keeping track of.
I wrote the other day about Half-Life: Opposing Force, an article which inspired me to return to the 1998 classic. I wrote about Half-Life at length back in 2019 where I talked about some of the joys and downright headscratching moments. My recent foray back to the Black Mesa complex took me to the Surface Tension chapter, it’s a strange one which has some highlights, lowlights and more of those moments where you wonder what Valve were doing.
When you talk to someone about their favourite moments of the Half-Life series, people will often cite the opening tram ride through Black Mesa in the original or the G-Man’s prep talk during the Half-Life 2 opening. There might be some souls who favoured Xen with others who would dig deep into the back catalogue and mention something from Blue Shift. It would be a rare fan indeed who would have a favourite moment from Opposing Force, the first expansion to Valve’s masterpiece, but coming from Gearbox Software. I was a fan of this alternative take on the Black Mesa incident, but YouTuber BAST Brushie is a true fan, having created a reworked introduction for Opposing Force using the latest Source engine tech.
We might have ticked over to a new year, but we still have thoughts to share on the games from 2020. We have talked about Our 2020 Year in Games, a joyful tale of our adventures in gaming through that topsy-turvy year. This time we’re taking a look at our Games of the Year. Some of us might have multiple Games of the Year, others might just have one, but there is one simple rule, the game must have been released in 2020. Here we have Chris sharing thoughts on his top games from 2020.
There are so many games that have come out this year which I haven’t played, yet I know would have been worthy of a spot in my Games of the Year list. I’m thinking of games as diverse as CyberPunk 2077 through to Hades or even Half-Life Alyx. As it is, I’ve still played a whole heap of games, and what follows are some highlights of 2020’s releases. There’s no particular order, but let us know what what you’re Games of the Year were.
It’s been five years since Half-Life: A Place in the West started life as a free comic available via the official website, four years since it was released on Steam (remember the Greenlight initiative anyone?) and nearly three since Valve granted the team, headed up by Mike Pelletier and our very own Ross Joseph Gardner, use of the Half-Life licence. It’s been a wild ride for the duo and their team, revealing in September that 2020 has, as you can imagine, been a rough old year which has delayed many of their plans for taking the story, and technology, forward. But here they are, finally releasing remasters of Chapters 1 and 2, along with a newly revamped Steam app to read it in.