The current games industry isn’t set up to be friendly to the consumer, I’m not just talking about the new consoles, it’s the whole industry stretching from those new consoles to digital stores through to mainstream retailers. I don’t offer solutions, but merely to highlight some of the issues that are out there at the moment.
After successfully kickstarting development on Wasteland 2 in 2012, InXile Entertainment are back with a third, similarly crowd-funded instalment of the iconic CRPG series, swapping the dusty wastes of Arizona for a Colorado blanketed in irradiated snow.
It’s fair to say that Wasteland 3 and I did not get off to the best of starts. After investing three hours in the game, which was spent acclimatising to turn-based combat and learning the ins-and-outs of its stats system, I returned to find my save files had been erased. I’m still not sure what went wrong. For a game that develops piecemeal, this was upsetting.
I briefly considered whether the snafu had dealt a fatal blow to my objectivity, but reasoning that it had not I resolved to start afresh and move quickly through the opening sections. Unlike my first play-through I was able to save a young Ranger – Pvt. Jodie Bell – from the murderous goon who had taken her hostage, setting me on an altogether different path to the one I had previously embarked upon.
It’s a path that has proven to be one of the richest gaming experiences I’ve had in some time. Which is to say, folks, that Wasteland 3 is very good indeed.
While Chris was reviewing The Persistence, he made a passing comment that it wasn’t as terror inducing as the Shalebridge Cradle from Thief: Deadly Shadows. It sparked a conversation in our Discord about our time with Thief, and more specifically The Cradle. As good games journalists, we decided that sharing Our Tales of the Crade with a wider audience would be worthwhile.
I’ve talked about art of rally quite a lot since seeing it at EGX last year, and I was expecting good things. I wasn’t prepared for just how good this indie rally game was going to be. It’s great fun, and deserves to stand alone as a brilliant game, not just as a brilliant racing game. …
Nvidia have found themselves in the news again with the issues surrounding the business of actually getting your hands on one of their new cards. The 3080 in particular has reportedly not had the best launch, with multiple outlets being hit by purchase bots (makes one wonder just how effective those ‘captcha’s’ are……) only for units to be appearing on auction-sites for ten-times the list price. Interestingly there do appear to be people that
insane, desperate, mad invested in the tech to be willing to pay those prices. Unless of course that’s all part of the con.
It’s a shame. A number of retailers and Nvidia themselves have published press-releases stating that they are working around the clock to ensure the orders go into the hands of people who are, you know, actually going to use their cards, down to and not excluding the possibility of chasing up each order one at a time to check it’s a genuine purchase. Their dedication is admirable but I don’t envy them that job.
I suppose, when you’ve just released what is arguably the biggest step forward in graphics technology this decade, coupled with an almost unbelievably low price-tag, you can bet they’ll want to get it right.
Intros by Jon …
The first thing that stikes me about The Suicide of Rachel Foster is the atmosphere of the old hotel. The main character Nicole has arrived under legal obligation to check the condition of the building before selling it, but unfortunately for her a blizzard hits upon arrival and forces her to spend time in a place that holds bad childhood memories. Exploring the hotel Nicole recounts stories from her childhood while wishing she were anywhere else. Every creak of a rotting floorboard and rattle of a loose tile fills me with unease and a chill that seems unnatural even considering the piling snowbanks outside.
The release of Project CARS 3 caught me slightly off guard, and that shouldn’t be of much surprise as recent racing game focus at The Reticule has been on art of rally, F1 2020 and Dirt 5. Development has again been handled by Slightly Mad Studios with Namco Bandai handling publishing duties, even though Slightly Mad are now part of the Codemasters empire. Having sunk a few hours into the game, I wonder whether the change of ownership of Slightly Mad has had an impact on the game itself with a few elements not quite hooking up as they could have done. …
BPM: Bullets Per Minute is described as a rhythm-action FPS rogue-like. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant at first either so let me explain.
If you’ve played any rogue-likes before you will be familiar with the randomness of each attempt to get to the final boss. Each try contains a different dungeon layout. Within that random layout each room contains a random assortment of enemies, shops, chests, stat and ability and health pickups, level modifiers and secrets, of which there are quite a few. On top of that is the rhythm-action mechanics meaning you can only shoot in time with the music and Awe Interactive have provided a great rock soundtrack which brings the whole game together quite nicely.
Röki had me from the moment Tove, our protagonist, and her little brother, Lars, arrive home at the beginning of the game’s extended prologue. Home being a quaint cabin near the lake, surrounded by layers of dense trees and, beyond them, snow-capped mountains. The place is beautiful, but look past the halcyon visage and you’ll start to notice the cracks.
The lonely wind chimes. The crumpled well. The depleted snowman. The two grave stones. Each one has a story to tell, each one painting a picture of a fragmented family with a big, mum-sized hole in the centre.
Home brings a new depth to Tove’s vocal expressions (the characters express themselves with aural gestures that evoke context-dependent emotions). There’s a hint of sadness and longing, but also of a strength and resilience that’s a result of that pain. This sense of living with and surviving loss hangs over the entire game, lending Röki real poignancy and emotional complexity.
It’s not something I expected from a game that looked like a fun combination of cute and scary built around Scandinavian folklore, but that’s exactly what Polygon Treehouse have done. It’s what makes Röki one of the best games I’ve played all year.
As our weekly Our Week in Games feature has returned, so has my Football Manager habit. I’m big proponent of playing in the Welsh league system especially as Football Manager 2020 includes the JD Cymru North and South. And with the next game in the series expected to be coming later than normal (understandably all things considered), but normal football resuming, a top five list of challenges in the Welsh leagues seems fitting. …