Oh it’s been a wild week in the games industry, with the spotlight shining bright on CD Projekt Red and CyberPunk 2077. It was only earlier in the week that we were discussing our interest in the game over on our Discord server, and then we were struck by the latest delay to the planned release date. This time it sounds like optimisations to the current-gen versions are holding things back, but we shouldn’t be surprised that some developers are experiencing issues with their cross-gen approach.
With CyberPunk though, it’s the issue of crunch which causes most consternation for one part of the audience, while others are making disgusting threats against the developers for the delay. The industry is polarised at the moment, but I think we can all agree that enforced crunch isn’t something to be celebrated or encouraged, while the attitudes of some aspects of “fandom” should be condemned in the strongest way.
Now that we’ve got that murky business out of the way, hit the break for this weekends Our Week in Games.
Monday night was a night free of house moving paperwork, and one where I found myself with a good few hours of free time to get stuck into some games. Unfortunately, after recently finishing off The Order 1886 and The Outer Worlds, I was left at a loose end. I found myself reluctant to get stuck into anything else on the PlayStation (I’ve still got The Last of Us 2 on my pile of shame still in its shrink wrap) with the new machine just a couple of weeks away. Looking at the PC, I soon found myself disillusioned with Baldurs Gate 3, so flicked through my Steam list for half an hour. I must have started and closed half a dozen games without giving them more than five minutes of my time, but ultimately I settled on Gears Tactics, a game which I really quite enjoyed back in May. With my current two monitor setup, it also gave me an opportunity to catch up on some WWE for the first time since the first lockdown in March.
I’ve had two monitors on my desk since the start of lockdown thanks to work letting me take on home, but it has only been the last month or so where I’ve made us of the screen space for my own PC. Even better, I found a Samsung 28″ 4K screen on amazon at only £200 which is giving me so much wonderful screen space. My rig might not handle 4K at all on anything more challenging that Excel, but for browsing the web and watching Cardiff lose again, it’s perfect.
if you want something weird and wonderful, you should check out a stream of Autobahn Police Simulator 2 from one of my Dirt Rally 2.0 rivals I spoke about last week. It’s one of those special simulators that everyone is entertained by.
It’s been a couple of weeks since my last OWIG entry and what a busy couple of gaming weeks indeed! In my quest to significantly reduce my gaming backlog I actually managed to finish three games. Lightmatter being the first, a short but enjoyable puzzle game filled with Portal references and some decent but not overly ambitious puzzle mechanics. The second was Amnesia: Dark Descent a game I’ve been meaning to play for years and with it being close to Halloween I thought ‘what better time to play a horror?’. I’m happy to say that despite being ten years old this game still holds up with some really scary moments and I really enjoyed it. My third and final completion for the week was Doom (2016) and what an enjoyable little game this was! I’ve heard good things from friends but being able to jump all over the place and split enemies in twine with all kinds of overpowered weaponary was something that should definitely be experienced by ones self.
It’s been a while since I’ve touched Divinity: Original Sin 2 but recently me and three friends have started a co-op campaign. It’s been a great bit of fun so far and a completely different experience from the first game that I played solo. It certainly makes exploring a detailed map and carefully levelling your team much faster when you have four people contributing and with around 12 hours played together our party is finally starting to gel in combat after a rocky first few encounters. I used to play D&D every week but with lockdown and visiting restrictions since March this has stopped dead and Divinity seems to be a decent short term replacement for this.
On the writing front I published my review for Crown Trick an enjoyable but tough turn-based roguelike from publisher NExT Studios. I also started a review for Pacer which should hopefully be finished at some point this week.
Much like Chris I’ve also purchase a new monitor, a 1440p 27″ Acer that looks an feels much better than my old budget screen. I’ve used the old and new monitors to make a dual screen set up and while it took some time and tinkering with settings to get used to the new look I’m loving it now. As I type this I’m watching the Hearts v Hibs semi final and while gaming I’ll often have friends streams up or an open wordpress review when doing my writing bits. Why didn’t I do this sooner?!
The (additional) delay of Cyberpunk had a weird effect on me. Having got to the point in Tarkov where save for the odd offline-raid I’m no longer ‘getting’ anything out of it, I was all set to just ‘hold on’ and wait for CD Project Red’s (hopefully) masterpiece to arrive. The plan was then to just lose myself in that game for the rest of the year to the exclusion of all others. I’d purchased Star Wars: Squadrons to tide me over until it’s release and despite it getting one of the highest scores I’ve ever given on this site, since having completed everything the prospect of no additional content has, somewhat paradoxically, removed the urge to play.
So that left me in a weird sort of limbo- one that I decided to fill with some indie games rather than fork-out any sizeable sum on another AAA title.
The first up was Noita by Nolla Games. If you haven’t played this excellent side-scrolling rogue-alike I urge you to give it a go. The sheer level of destruction and carnage on display is something to behold- and once you get hold of some of the more…. ‘explosive’ spells, then the fun ramps up noticeably. Couple that with a fully modelled world-system where every single pixel is modelled- then you’ve got something truly special. Only yesterday I managed to throw a wiggling egg which let out a baby terror worm. This worm then attacked the enemies near. A stray shot from said enemies triggered an explosive crate which THEN blew a hole in AND ignited a large tank of oil. Said oil then caught fire, somewhat spectacularly, and swamped the enemies, worm and (nearly) myself. Given gravity is, you know, a thing, this lake of burning oil then dripped through the level setting on fire and killing everything in it’s path. It was truly glorious to behold and that isn’t even in the top ten of ‘Noita’ happenings that I’ve witnessed.
The other title I’ve started delving into is Darkest Dungeon by Red Hook Studio’s. Now I’ll admit that I’m a little late to the party on this having seen every man and his dog play it- but there was always something else to distract me so I never quite had a reason to delve in, until now. And it’s glorious. I’m still learning the ropes and it’s clearly going to be a punishing game, but my word it’s fun. Now I don’t quite get the same enjoyment out of the narrator as others do (perhaps I was spoiled too much by bastion) but it hasn’t tempered my enjoyment or enthusiasm for the title. There’s enough depth and strategy to make even the most punishing encounters feel ‘fair’ and the art style and direction are really growing on me. I can see this being a game I keep coming back to over the years.
So yes, while the Cyberpunk delay has been frustrating it’s allowed me to find two excellent little indie games that I’m more than confident will keep me going until 2026 when Cyberpunk actually get’s released….
I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely surprised that Cyberpunk has been delayed, but it’s not a game I’ve been particularly excited about either. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’ll be very shiny and triple-A when it does finally come out, but as a rapidly aging adult with children and a full-time job, my gaming habits have been increasingly all about short-burst indie games. I did try Dragon Age again a few months back, but after a few hours of fantasy folk asking me for help sorting out their lives I declared their mystical world beyond saving and loaded up Spelunky instead.
This week, Epic added the unnecessarily sub-titled Ghostbusters: The Video Game to their free game offer, so I’ve been spending my time during Halloween stuffing spirits into tiny little boxes. It’s not a particularly good game – the action is scrappy and confusing and the cut-scenes don’t seem to mesh particularly well with my graphics setup, with the audio lagging behind the images by several seconds. It does however allow me to play with a proton-pack, and as someone who grew up with a toy Ghostbusters headquarters and plastic proton-pack that fired foam bullets, I’m loving it.
You youngsters can keep on streaming Phasmophobia for your ghost hunting thrills – I’ll be too busy writing my name in a wall with a portable particle accelerator to care.