I’m struggling with an introduction this week, after Microsoft announced their massive price-cut it seems like the industry has been fairly quiet away from the whole Twitch plays Pokemon Red hooha. I’m sure there are many other wonderful things taking place on Twitch that haven’t been publicised as much, but that surely shows how our gaming medium is expanding into new territory. If you aren’t streaming anything right now, hit the break to find out what we have been playing in the latest Our Week in Games.
I’ve been playing more Divinity: Original Sin this past week, a game which has a lot of promise, but one which gets the better of me in combat. You can find my Early Access impressions on the site tomorrow. I’ve also been playing a bit of Halo 4 at long last. Last Sunday I played some local co-op with a friend and we had a blast through some of the early levels while our girlfriends gossiped in the other room. It was great fun, but playing on only half a screen doesn’t do the game justice. I didn’t think a game from the previous generation would look as good as Halo 4 still does, and to really appreciate it, you need the screen to yourself. As such I did play it a bit more by myself, again having a good time of it blasting away aliens. It looks great and I can get along with the combat surprisingly well for a console FPS. I’ll admit, sometimes I am a bit too much of a PC snob.
… Nothing wrong with being a PC snob…. Sometimes…
This weeks been a killer in my day job, so it’s only this weekend where I’ve managed to get to sit down in front of my rig so I reserved the time for something special. It’s Thief, and you’ll see my impressions on the game in the next week or so on the site: I’m deliberately taking my time on this game given the hugely polarised opinions the game has generated. You can think of The Reticule review as The Definitive internet review… Ahem.
It’s odd. I stress I’m only a few hours in, but there’s clearly an awesome game here, though I’m very concerned that it is going to be trapped under some startlingly poor design decisions. As a prominently PC-centric gamer, and having grew up with the original games, I am finding the console-centric artificial-limitations that have been imposed on the game to be rather frustrating. It’s clear that the developers have done lots, more than most in fact, to allow these to be largely disabled in the options for those who want to, but some things are too fundamental to change. Some compromises too invasive.
That said, gods it feels good. The level of attention, for an AAA game, is astounding. The graphics too, maddeningly low-res cutscenes aside, are really pushing my ageing rig. It’s at times, quite special.
I’m, quite literally, on the fence at the moment- the direction the later later levels take will decide it’s fate.
Now excuse me while I go turn all the lights off and try to ‘steal’ my son’s stuffed-bear out of his bed without him waking up….
2014 was always going to be the year it happened – the year my five year old PC finally cast me an incredulous look and said “nope, we’re not doing this”. I just never imagined that it’d be Double Helix’s Strider reboot to finally do it. I thought Thief and Watch Dogs were the greatest threats, but no, dare to come at the Grandmaster with anything less than a DirectX 11 card and you’ll be laughed all the way back to the desktop.
Whether this is a case of the developers letting the PC reach its full potential alongside the new generation release or a case of falsely excluding DirectX 10 cards, I’m not sure. Getting the message that I’m not wanted in this generation of gaming, I’ve been playing the original Strider Hiryu instead.
It’s easy to love the cyber-communist aesthetic and control, and so far, every time I’ve played I’ve managed to edge a little bit further despite the game’s difficulty. My excuse for not playing it before? I wasn’t so old when it came out, and Hiryu has hardly made himself known in the last 15 years. Still, that’s kind of the point of being a ninja, even one who shouts every time he swings his sword.
This week the Yahwg occured. Despite my every efforts to prevent it, there was nothing I could do to prevent a torrent of unstoppable, devastating yahwg yawhging its way across the countryside, so all I could do was spend a few days preparing for its arrival. The biggest problem of course was that no-one’s particularly certain what the Yahwg actually was, so my preparation mainly consisted of spending several days in the nearest tavern downing my sorrows.
The Yahwg’s complete indifference to your actions is remarkable. Where most games would see you fighting to prevent an apocalypse, the Yahwg is inevitable, an unescapable…thingy you are powerless to prevent. Instead of fighting the yahwg, it’s instead up to you how you spend your final days before it, be it drinking, hunting, brawling or studying. Your actions and developments prior to the ‘event’ shape your destiny after it.
I’d love to see more games take this approach. I’m sick of always playing the hero – once in a while I’d like to experience a game where bad things happen and instead of saving the world, rescuing the princess or chucking a ring into a volcano I’m just trying to hold off my inevitable demise as long as possible. Project Zomboid had the right approach, – less games please about how I lived, and more about how I died.