The week after E3, and all is quiet in the land of video games. Well, things have obviously been happening but beyond Microsoft unveiling Windows 11, it’s been pretty quiet. We can expect things to pick up again in the next few weeks as EA hold some events, with rumours of Dead Space making a return.
While the industry might have been taking a break in general, the Steam Summer Sale has kicked off leading to bonkers price reductions, and bulging backlogs. It’s always a fun time of year. so let us know in the comments what you’ve picked up.
After acknowledging the Steam Summer sale by mindlessly scrolling through hundreds of games without actually buying anything, I decided instead to re-visit my horrendously large backlog and try to finish a game that had been on my list since, well, about 1995.
Until this week, I’d never played beyond the first couple of levels of Doom II. Although I’m not sure it’s actually possible to forget how to play Doom, nevertheless I was taken aback at just how hard a game it can be. The hordes of Hell aren’t exactly keen on making friends and will quite happily gang up on you, teleport in behind you or just leap out of doors you didn’t even know existed. I suspect years of recharging health and cover mechanics have softened me to the sheer ridiculousness of opening a door to reveal half a dozen fire-breathing imps staring right at you. Either that, or I’m getting old.
One advantage I do hold over my former self is now I’m playing on the Switch, which means I don’t even have to get out of bed. An interesting side-effect of this lack of keyboard means that I’m not habitually entering in the cheats I’ve eternally memorised and am instead playing the game properly. Without the god mode and infinite weapons my younger self was so reliant on, I’m beginning to appreciate what a challenging masterpiece this series really is.
I’ve been continuing to work through The Last of Us 2 on the PlayStation 5, a game which I have many thoughts on, and will just need to put pen to paper to share them at some point. I have also downloaded the Monster Hunter Stories 2 trial on the Nintendo Switch, a move which gave me the push required to dig out my dock and hook it up to the TV. No doubt I’ll end up playing it handheld while watching some sport in the background. Writing that reminds me that when the Switch was first revealed, I thought when at home I would prefer to play it when docked. Instead, most of my time with the Switch, whether at home or on travels, has been when playing handheld.
After four years of use though, the battery life is very poor. Will I drop the cash on a new and improved model on day one? Maybe not, but I’m certainly not ruling it out.
Today I decided to revisit an old Half-Life 2 mod from way back in 2009, not long after the release of Episode Two and still in the interim period when folks generally believed Episode Three was imminent (it wasn’t). The mod? Matt Bortolino’s Research and Development, in which the player is armed only with the Gravity Gun and the answer to your problems is always physics. It’s an excellent piece of design, with a heavy focus on environmental puzzles and clever combat encounters. Just when you think oh, it can’t go there, it goes there, and suddenly you find yourself up against a gunship and its helicopter pal.
Sunday, the day of…physics? Check it out.