I would just like the take a moment to think about all the awful things which have gone on this week. The Boston bombings and associated events, the fertiliser plant explosion and earthquakes in Iran and China. When such things are occurring, it makes me think that the numerous complaints about minor problems with games are just so petty.
Regardless, this is Our Week in Games, check out what we have been playing.
Dunwall, how happy I am to be back within your city limits. With Columbia having taken over my world recently with BioShock, I am very pleased to find myself back in the murky, whale oil filled world of Dunwall. I was amazed by the city that Arkane had created in Dishonored, and the chance to go back to it with The Knife of Dunwall has been a pleasure.
The DLC pack might not last as long as I quietly hoped, but seeing the sights and sounds of Dunwall once more is a great feeling. The contrast styles between the different areas of the city are stunning with such a brilliant choice of colours across the levels and areas. It certainly wouldn’t be somewhere I would want to live, but exploring this city is just a wonderful experience. Bring on the next slice of DLC, and hopefully we will one day find out more about the lands outside Dunwall itself.
This week I’ve been playing a game which I had been meaning to return to for years, the original Motorstorm. As my first game on the PS3 I have a certain nostalgia for Motorstorm, and a fondness that the later games in the series have failed to replicate. I had previously thought this fondness was simply due to the original game being my entry into the 7th generation of video games. But playing again I’ve realised that my love for Motorstorm comes from a much stranger source – its game world. It seems strange to say this, but Motorstorm has one of the most well realised game worlds of the recent console era.
You see Motorstorm is a festival. A celebration music as well as daredevil racing. This is reflected in the opening intro (which is still one of the best ever), the menus (which feature revellers dancing in front of a stage); hell, even in some elements of the track design. The tone of the game is set early on. It’s a raucous, almost hedonistic atmosphere which fits in so well with the gameplay. Smashing cars off the track feels natural because that’s how you imagine these festival goers would act.
Sadly, Pacific Rift took Motorstorm away from the festival and, while technically a better game, suffered because of it. Later, Apocalypse brought back the end-of-times revelry back to the series but, for some reason tacked on a hackneyed story. Motorstorm didn’t waste time with a story, it just gave you a place and a feel, and that was enough. Stories came from the mood and from the gameplay. I can’t remember a thing from playing Apocalypse‘s pre-scripted story. Yet in Motorstorm, even 5 years on, I can remember taking a big-rig off jump after jump, boosting to the max for over 3 minutes, all just to knock off a biker who swore at me.
This week, Bossa Studios released the full version of Surgeon Simulator 2013, a game they originally made in 24 hours for a Global Game Jam. A game that was originally conceived as a joke is now sat above Bioshock Infinite on Steam’s top sellers list – just think about that for a second.
Surgeon Simulator 2013’s appeal lies in its absurd and deliberately poor control mechanics. You manipulate and rotate the surgeon’s hand and fingers individually. As a result, simple mechanical acts like picking up a pen or inserting a disk in a computer become monumentally complicated. I’m left feeling somewhat like a construction worker must feel on his first day behind the controls of a complex piece of digging machinery. Up, down, down, left a bit, a bit more…and now I’ve spilled the coffee cup, dropped the disk and knocked the keyboard off the desk.
Oh, and did I neglect to mention you’re expected to perform surgery with that hand? That’s right. Using a hand that is nigh-on incapable of grasping a coffee cup without accidentally throwing it across the room, the game expects you to perform delicate a series of delicate surgical procedures.
Needless to say, it’s not going that well…