Another week gone and news emerges from a key PC component manufacturer which looks set to shake the business up and firmly ensure the PC is home of the future of gaming. Three weeks ago saw AMD talk about their Mantle API which will entirely replace DirectX. This week sees Nvidia reveal G-Sync which is promised to entirely stop the screen-tear effect many games can be plagued with.
That is some of the big tech news, but what have we seen in Our Week in Games?
A lot of my thoughts that I was going to talk about were covered by Tom Bramwell on Eurogamer this weekend, namely that Ubisoft are becoming a major force in the industry with the next-gen being put on hold thanks to their decision to delay Watch Dogs until next year. While on a personal level am gutted that the game has been put back, I am glad that Ubisoft are giving the teams working on it time to breathe and ensure it is as good as it can be. The game sounds amazing from everything that has been shown off so far, but with any open-world game there are dangers of things not working properly and ruining the game experience. If the time they are taking to fine-tune really improves things, I have not fault with that.
What is slightly more disconcerting ahead of the new consoles launching is Sony’s decision to delay Drive Club, probably in order to ensure the social interactions are tweaked and properly implemented. Again, I have no issue with this as I would rather see a game released in all its glory than a buggy mess…indies with their Alpha and Beta launches are the exception. It does leave the AAA launch line-ups looking a bit light in weight, but Sony have a large range of indie games with them for launch and Microsoft have Ryse and Forza. It will be interesting to see how things go over the first few months of the new console cycle.
I’ve had a curious week. Most of it I’ve spent playing Worms Armageddon against my sister-in-law over the iPad (turn based via the net) or trying to get Jedi Knight 2: Outcast working on my rig. With the former I’m doing rather well, we’re on game 30-odd and I think I’ve lost 3…. As for JK2:O, I got it working very easily, getting a resolution that didn’t push my monitor out of range was another thing.
Eventually though I had success and I was greeted with, well, three rather forgettable initial levels. You see, to get to the lightsaber you have to play three levels of rather mediocre shooter. Once you get to the lightsaber (or rather, enable console and skip them), things become a lot more fun. I was only playing it because of a recent Eurogamer Retrospective and I’m glad I did. Especially after enabling the dismemberment in the game (again via the console and yes, it makes me a bad person). Oh my it’s rather good. The movement, the kinetic feel of the melee, all mixed with force powers that allow you to truly dominate any poor imperial soldier that crosses your path fill you with a giddy joy.
The reborn Sith are another, more challenging aspect, with just enough about them to show off the great combat mechanics but still allow you to feel awesome. There are many a game that could do well take lessons from this superb degree of balance.
I remember, following the first showing of the new Dragon Age:Inquisition footage I joked on Twitter that I wanted someone to make a new Star Wars RPG using the frostbite engine. Now, having played JK2:O, I REALLY want someone to do that- the tech’s there, the lessons are there so why isn’t it already happening!
The American frontier times are an area of history that’s not particularly well covered by the British education system, so this week’s been something of an eye-opener for me. Did you know, for example, that settlers would quite often stumble across caches of futuristic weaponry during their travels, and it was not unknown for those trying to cross rivers to jump too high and end up in space fighting a satellite with a magic wand?
Super Amazing Wagon Adventure has only recently made the transition to Steam from the struggling Xbox Live Indie Games channel, and I’m glad it has. I’ve always been eager to try this retro-romp across the american west, but lacking an Xbox, I’ve just had to console myself by knocking two coconuts together in the living room.
Telling the tale of three brave colonists setting out across the untamed west, Super Amazing Wagon Adventure progresses like a story written by a five year-old, and that’s meant in the best possible way. On my last run-through, for example, we followed a mysterious unicorn to an ambush, which we only survived by luckily finding a laser-gun from the future. After escaping, our wagon was swept up by a tornado and killed by being hit by a pair of flying bison.
Death comes swiftly in the mid-west, be it from bullet or skunk toxin. A moment’s indecision or distraction can see your adventure brought to an abrupt end through often unexpected means, and as your travellers tragically die one by one, you’ll vow that next time you’ll do a little bit better.