Our Week in Games – Week 132

Our Week in Games – Week 132

When you read this, it will be a Sunday, and hopefully Wales will yet again be Grand Slam Champions., but that’s a by-the-by as you’re here for the games. It has been another big week for games industry happenings with the soft launch of Super Nintendo World, and confirmation that the UK games industry generated £7bn last year. Gaming is well and truly mainstream, but yet it doesn’t always feel like the politicians treat it that way.

If you want a low-down on these topics, there ever reliable GI.biz has you covered. Rob Fahey takes a look at why the opening of Super Nintendo World indicates the famour developer has targets set beyond just the video games industry, and James Batchelor bring the low-down on the record breaking £7bn figure.

Chris

My palms were sweaty, knees weak, arms were heavy.

No, I wasn’t doing some Eminem karaoke, but that serves as an apt description of my physical state as I entered my first GT Sport online race. I’ve recently been dabbling with GT Sport once again, this time on the PlayStation 5 for some added gloss, and after a decent enough week of singleplayer racing I braved Sport mode where the competitive racing happens. Before I could enter a race, I had to watch two videos which highlighted the importance of driving safely and more crucially, fairly. The talk of driver ratings and safety ratings by themselves were enough to set the nerves on edge, and the stakes were raised exponentially when the qualifying window opened for the race I had decided to enter.

It was a Group 4 race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, taking place over 5 laps. I didn’t need to set a qualifying time, but I felt it best to get into the swing of things. Of those who set qualifying times, I was last, two seconds off the closest competition and more than I care to remember off the pole sitter. I had one goal though for the race, and that was to get through all five laps without wrecking the race of anyone else, and without beaching my car in the gravel trap.

I pulled it off, completing the race safely, and although I was ultimately forty-seconds behind the race winner, I was happy with my effort. Will I return to the online side of GT Sport? More than likely, but I doubt I’ll ever be challenging for a champagne moment on the podium.

For what it’s worth, I wrote my contribution this week while watching some Cymru Premier football on S4C (with English commentary on), it’s always strange to consider how my gaming habits (a bit of Football Manager this week) impact on other parts of my life. Maybe I’ll share some Football Manager tales next week…

Ross

I think we’d all like to know why Chris wasn’t doing some Eminem karaoke.

I haven’t done a tremendous amount of gaming these past few weeks owing to work, but I did manage to complete my run through Dawn of War II and its expansions.

Prior to assault-jumping into Dawn of War II, I checked it out on Steam, which informed me I’d previously played seventeen hours of it in 2010. I had a patchy recollection of this—it would’ve been the first summer of university, which tracks. But I couldn’t tell you the details. I didn’t remember the game ditched base building, for instance, which seems like a pretty big deal.

So I wasn’t filled with confidence going into Dawn of War II for the second time having largely erased it from my memory.

It’s likely the reason I had a hard time adjusting to to it and why my first instinct for the review was to list all the ways in which it wasn’t like (read: not as good as) Dawn of War and its expansion packs. This would’ve been a mistake.

I’m glad I gave Dawn of War II time to win me over, because it’s exactly the kind of smart, inspired reinvention that the franchise needed. The kind of reinvention it was already known for with the likes of Dark Crusade, which went beyond what’s expected of expansion packs to deliver a fresh and original experience.

I likely didn’t appreciate the transformation into a tactical squad game with RPG elements, allowing my love of the original to eclipse what this game was offering. But it’s also true that Dawn of War II’s narrative, and the characters who tell it, is generally blander with little in the way of interest taking place.

More than anything else, Dawn of War II is an exemplary example of a developer revolutionising their own concept—and succeeding.

The expansion packs are just as successful. Winter Assault. Dark Crusade. Soulstorm. Chaos Rising. Retribution.

Or, to put it another way: dual campaigns, planetary meta campaign, system meta campaign, corruption system, and a campaign in which all races are playable for the very first time. It’s so dedicated to doing something new every time that I can’t help but really admire. It’s been a royal blast.

Right now I’m trying to play Dawn of War III, a controversial sequel to say the least—and I can see why. More on that next week (providing I manage to actually make some progress and not give up).

Nick

Some days I’m desperate to play something with a bit of tactical thinking. I look through my library for a game that requires serious thinking about how to approach an enemy, where every step must be cautiously thought out before stealthily approaching my target.

And then there are other days, where I want to run screaming into a hailstorm of enemy fire just for the hell of it, so thank goodness for Ravenfield. Laughing in the face of most first-person battle games, Ravenfield is quite capable of throwing over 300 bots into the mix without breaking a sweat, dumping you into the middle of sheer chaos and just leaving you to get on with it. There’s no strategy here – there’s no time for it. You just run forward, screaming at the enemy and holding down the trigger until you inevitably die.

Through sheer coincidence, like Ross I’ve also been delving into a world of both grim and dark courtesy of a selection of Warhammer 40K mods by Lordaloa. Ravenfield is a perfect fit for the 40K universe, where life is brutal, short, and there is most definitely only war. Life as an Imperial Guardsman isn’t an easy one – unlike the famed Space Marines of legend, a Guardsman isn’t endowed with super strength, near indestructible armour or devastating weaponry. The Imperial Guard deal with problems by throwing wave after wave of men at them, hoping that eventually the other side will run out of bullets.

So forwards I charge, alongside my fellow guardsmen into a torrential onslaught of lead and plasma. Most of us will die, but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make.

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