Welcome to another edition of Our Week in Games here at Reticule Towers. It has been an interesting week as we figure out what, if any, response we will have to the ongoing ‘Gate’ incident that is taking place within gaming culture. We have decided that on some occasions, it is better to stay away from the fire rather than stick our hands in it. I will say this though; there are numerous sides to the initial argument over journalistic ethics and whether websites should cover cultural issues beyond just posting the latest AAA FPS trailer. The sad fact is, that room for any reasonable debate on these topics has been destroyed by a very vocal minority who have taken things to awful extremes. Our last comment on the ‘Gate’ incident will be this – take a look at this Eurogamer piece which which states that We cannot let this become gaming culture and the fact that the abbreviation of post-game phrase, Good Game (GG) will never quite sound the same again. I also wonder how the retail site GamersGate has been coping in the midst of all this nonsense.
With that, we resume normal service with Our Week in Games.
I’ve finally managed to get round to play Rocksteady’s classic Arkham Asylum. I’m not sure why I’m only just getting round to this now (the TV show Gotham may have something to do with it), but it is certainly about as great as I was promised, which is rare enough. The most remarkable thing about it, and the reason why it sits in the remarkably small pantheon of good superhero games, is the sheer strength of the sense of embodiment. Everything, from the way in which the default movement is an assured stride, to the way in which the Batsuit becomes more and more ragged as the night wears on works to make you feel like Batman, rather than simply playing a fighting character shaped and dressed like him. It really is quite the treat.
So, apart from generally making a nuisance of myself…. I’ve been playing OHSOMUCHSTATEOFDECAY.
State of Decay passed me by on initial release. I don’t know what it was. But the promotional material made me think it was something else entirely, a cross between Dead Rising and GTA. I ‘meh’d’ and moved on. It was only the fact that I’m a sucker for any kind of survival game, and that it was £3 on Steam that I actually picked it up, and you know what? This may actually be one of the best Zombie games I’ve ever played….
There I’ve said it. It feels good to be ‘out’.
State of Decay works, and works so well because you’re an average Joe/Jolene. Let that sentence actually sink in. You’re not Rick from TheWalkingDead, nor are you able to wade through hordes of the undead with nary a care. You’ll also be disappointed to known that you can’t attach a lawnmower to a BBQ and an axe to create an spinning axe that cooks Zombies. Instead, you’ll run out of breathe somewhere between attacking Zombie number 5 and 8. And then you’ll die horribly.
Its realisitc. Insofar as a game set in a Zombie apocalypse, full of gaming cliche and conceit can be. You see a horde of Zeds? Yeah, your best option there is going to be to hide. Especially when the ‘special’ zombies start to arrive. The Juggernaut in particular is deadly. I mean, avoid at all costs deadly.
Instead, you scavenege, you hide, you deal with infestations and hordes and try to gather enough survivors and materials to set up a good community. But it doesn’t stop there. There are other factions in the world and while most, for sure, are there to further the story, or to provide you with experienced survivors, some are hostile.
The fetid cherry ontop of this decaying pie, is the fact that Survivors are individuals. They have fears, needs, game show trivia skills and more interestingly, can get sick. Can die. Can turn into zombies, and wipe out your entire base. This is further enhanced by the fact that the game continues when your logged off. Now, it’s nothing close to real time (thank the gods), but it’s enough so that when you log back in after a week, you genuinley don’t know if you’re going to find a happy base or a room full of (possibly reanimated) corpses….
One particular anecdote sticks out. I return from a mission (and there are missions, some very time sensitive: such as rescuing survivors or runners) to find that one of my survivors has shot another. Seriously, this happend. ‘Their’ rationale was that the person they shot was injured and they thought they may turn into a Zed. I hadn’t even known that the victim was injured; they’d got hurt on a supply run that they’d gone too, off their own back while I was out.
After I’d picked my jaw up off the floor, I tried to shoot the perpetrator. Obviously it didn’t work. But when THEY later got injured and I had the option to quite literally take them out the back and shoot them, I did just that.
I can think of no other game I’ve payed with this level of complexity and independent action. Granted, it’s probably just a series of interacting algorithms that’ll become obvious over time, but hell, as it stands I’m amazed and incredibly hooked.
This feeling was further cemented when I got one of the main characters killed (horribly I might add) and my ‘second’ got ripped in half by a juggernaut. Literally.
My word, it’s rather good.
If you like open world games, Zombies, survival and hiding a lot, then get this game. I’ll be the one hiding behind the wall….
I was going to open with a comment about Patrick taking so long to get around to playing Arkham Asylum, but the fact is that despite talking about how I was determined to complete the game at long last back in the first ever Our Week in Games, I didn’t actually get around to finishing it in that run. At some point later on, buried amongst the proceeding 100 Our Week in Games’ that I finally got around to finishing one of the finest games of the last generation.
Back to business though as my week has been spent playing Destiny, which you probably already know as my Verdict went live this week. Others might not be massive fans, but this is one game that will definitely be near the top of my Game of the Year list. I know that a lot of people claim Titanfall to be their favourite shooter this year, but while I had fun with it, I never clicked with it in the same way that I do Bungie’s title.
When I haven’t been shooting aliens, I’ve been playing indie title Iron Fisticle on the PC (Verdict soon…if I get around to it) and more FIFA on the PlayStation. I’m halfway through the first season in Be a Pro mode, and I wonder how people can play the game through numerous seasons in a short space of time. Even at 5-minute a half, each match takes the best part of 15-20 minutes to complete once the loading and replays are factored in. I’m enjoying it immensely, don’t get me wrong…but I yearn for the simpler times of the new Football Manager.