Wot I Think: Vanquish

It’s my first time with the high-speed bumslides and endless robo-armies of Bayonetta and Nier: Automata dev Platinum’s third-person shooter Vanquish [official site], newly released on PC a full seven years after its console versions. I like to think that this means I see it with clear eyes, unclouded either by nostalgia or a predisposition to root for an underappreciated underdog.

Of course, it may instead mean that I’m unfairly holding a 2010 game to 2017 standards. That may be why I want to say things like “Vanquish looks and sounds exactly like the kind of shallow, noisy, appallingly-written, hyper-macho low culture that people who don’t play videogames think all videogames are like”. Then again, the reasons that people have kept its flame burning for the best part of the decade are surely the same reasons that make me want to say things like “yeah, Vanquish is brillo.”
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Wot I Think: Perception

Perception [official site] has pedigree. It’s the first game from a new studio, but members of the team have worked on BioShock, BioShock Infinite and Dead Space. Crowdfunded to the tune of $160,000, Perception didn’t simply rely on past glories though; it has one of the strongest hooks I’ve ever seen in a horror game. You play as a blind woman, exploring a haunted (?) house, using echolocation to find your way around, and to discover escape routes when necessary. Sounds good? Here’s wot I think.

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Wot I Think: The Surge

Oh, I see. Just as I’ve written an article complaining that no game has learned from Dark Souls’ level design, The Surge [official site] comes out, a Soulsy sci-fi action game which is, on the face of it, about a cataclysmic accident in a robot factory, but which is actually about opening that door over there and finding out you’re back in your favourite corridor. It’s from the same developers as Lords of the Fallen but while Rich found that earlier foray into the land of Dark Clones to be uninspired and shonky, The Surge turns out to be a decent homage to its predecessor, even if it is lacking in several vital areas. Some of that shonkiness, for example, is still hanging in there.
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Wot I Think: Steel Division – Normandy 44

There are two wars raging within Steel Division [official site]. While the Axis and Allies are going at it hammer and tongs in the très jolie fields and lanes of NW France, behind the scenes ‘Plausibility’ and ‘Populism’ – or ‘Wargame’ and ‘RTS’ if you prefer – are scrapping just as energetically for control of the soul of Eugen’s latest offering. Most of the time the fight is close and the game is great as a result. It’s only when Populism/RTS starts gaining the upper hand – something that happens most noticeably during the three short singleplayer campaigns – that things go awry for the mostly excellent Steel Division. Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Rokh

Every week we send Brendan down to the rocky surface of the early access wastes. This time, the Martian survivalism of Rokh [official site].

I only lasted two hours on Mars. I didn’t die of radiation sickness, nor did I succumb to thirst or hunger. I didn’t get struck down by a wayward meteorite, or run out of oxygen and suffocate in my own spacesuit. All of these things are possible in this crafting-heavy survive-em-up. But my time on the red planet was brought to an end by a much more ordinary killer: tedium. Rokh is an absolute masterclass in how NOT to do survival games.
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Wot I Think: Old Man’s Journey

Old Man's Journey

Old Man’s Journey [official site] is a beautiful and thoughtful mild landscape puzzler which is at its best when it focuses on tiny details or on strange delights. The interaction can meander into dullness but there are moments of melancholy beauty to be found and which are arresting enough that it makes the whole thing worthwhile. Here’s Wot I Think: Read the rest of this entry »