After the summer drought, the inevitable tidal wave of games over the winter period has well and truly hit home. With more games than I know what to do with and more being released every week I still find myself going back to classics like Half Life. Does that say something about today’s games, or is a bit of retro gaming on everyone’s agenda from time to time? Over to The Reticule towers and we’re into week 19 of Our Week In Games, enjoy.
What a week to be on holiday. First of all Hitman: Absolution arrives on my doorstep a whole twenty four hours early (thank you Tesco), secondly I finally find the time to get playing some of my back list of Steam games including Half Life (about time) and thirdly I get all my Christmas shopping done almost a month in advance!
First impressions of Absolution are great, I’ve not played a Hitman game since Hitman 2 and clearly a lot has changed since then. Strangely enough the size of the environments and scale of the contracts you need to complete initially seem to have decreased from what I can remember. The artistic style is amazing, strong colour choices remind me of Mirrors edge and the details are many and good ones at that.
Half life is one of those games I should have played a LONG time ago but for whatever reason just didn’t get around to. It’s really good (although I’m sure I don’t need to tell you lot that) and I’m glad I’ve finally got round to it. I played Half-Life 2 a couple years ago on Xbox 360 and was surprised at how similar this one was despite being six years older. Not being much of a PC gamer I might have to get around to hooking up my controller for this one if I can.
Short one for me as I am on my way to London for some wrestling action in just a matter of minutes. I have largely been playing Far Cry 3, and I am absolutely loving it. There is an awesome antagonist in Vaas, and the other characters I have encountered so far come across brilliantly, especially Dr. Earnhardt. Truly though, the highlight of the game is the world, there is so much to do and see.
A favourite moment came during an assault on an outpost. As I approached the rickety fence surrounding one side of the area, I heard the growling of a tiger, and then suddenly there were shouts from the guards about said tiger. Gunfire and screams ensued, and soon enough the tiger had taken down two of the enemy for me, while sadly losing its own life in the process. I carried on sneaking around, deactivating the alarm point and taking out one guard with my silenced sniper rifle. I then climbed on top of a building and performed a takedown on another guard before eliminating the last opponent with my bow.
Outpost capture without even being noticed, all with the help of a tiger. Good times indeed.
I’ve been playing Dota 2 again recently. I’m happy to report that I occasionally win matches against actual people from time to time, and that in the meantime the bots aren’t as god-awfully suicidal as they once were.
But what I actually found myself playing most, of all things, was SimCity 2000. Which is from 1994. For some reason I thought it was a little younger, and that just makes me feel a little older. The impending 2013 reboot isn’t helping that feeling.
Bit of back story: going through the attic, I found one of my original PCs and decided to see if it still worked. So in the guise of determining whether it was worth keeping or disposing of, I suffered its chugging and grinding and fired up the only game that was still installed on its hard drive.
And for the next couple of hours instead of boxes I handled the arcologies of the very same city I had nurtured years before. Alternating between playing “properly” and between summoning every conceivable natural disaster like a wrathful god COWER, BRIEF MORTALS.
I’ll assume everyone’s fairly familiar with the concept of city management games, so I won’t list off all the features as if it’s deeply revelatory and meaningful, but the fact that I can cut funding to roads (getting screamed at by the advisor) and then watch my infrastructure crumble is still funny to me.
Anyway. It took me a long time to clear the attic, but that’s priorities for you; Edopolis was getting ruined by a tornado. Because I’d triggered it deliberately. But they can’t vote me out, because I’d just summon a gargantuan robotic eyeball alien to crush their homes.
That’s politics for you.
Susan Ashworth, known in her neighbourhood as the crazy Cat Lady, is a lonely 40-year old on the verge of suicide. She has no family, no friends and no hope for a better future. If that doesn’t sound like a promising start to an adventure, I don’t know what does.
This week I’ve been playing The Cat Lady, an adventure by Harvester Games. To call the game ‘dark’ would be an understatement – I’ve been in pitch black caves with sunnier dispositions. In comparison, Amnesia represents a merry jaunt through a cheerful National Trust property, one with full disabled access and a themed children’s play area.
Susan’s journey doesn’t take her across the world and won’t turn her into a hero. She is a flawed human being, one who’s given up on life and those living it, as a result the game feels like a radical departure from the usual acts of gaming heroism. The real and unreal constantly collide throughout, and when you’re left with no idea what is real and what is imagined, then combining inventory items becomes the least of your concerns.
I’ll be covering the game in more detail in the near future for its release on December 1st, but for now here’s a trailer that’s guaranteed to fill your day with sunshine and light.
Wrongly listed in many people’s worst game of all time lists, Zero Wing is known primarily for its hilarious and poorly translated introduction. “All your base are belong to us” and “Someone set up us the bomb” are two classic lines often quoted from the game. In terms of gameplay though it isn’t actually a bad game; bland, yes; generic, yes; but not bad. Had it not been for its Engrish then it would have been forgotten, just like the many many other side-scrolling shooters on the Mega Drive.
It seems strange that shoot ’em ups, which were once so common, have now become such a niche genre. Nowadays they seem only to exist as bullet hell shooters on PSN, XBL or indie games on PC, such as the excellent Akai Katana Shin or the beautiful Sine Mora. Could a triple A shoot ’em up with a reasonable difficulty curve be a commercial success nowadays? If Child of Eden‘s (a rhythm based rail shooter and spiritual successor to Rez) sales figures are anything to go by then no, but it’d be nice to see someone try,
Oh, and to prove I also play modern day games I’ve been playing F1 Race Stars, but you can read more about that in my full review.