Posts Tagged ‘Bethesda’

Prey: the game that makes locked doors cool again

Prey [official site] isn’t the game I thought it would be. Clearly, Prey isn’t the game that anyone thought a game called ‘Prey’ would be until relatively recently, given its years in development hell and eventual total departure from both the first game to bear that name and the axed second one that was supposed to. But even when I played it twice over the past couple of months, doing so within time constraints, with my eye only on making progress, I formed an inaccurate impression of Prey. I thought I knew exactly what it was, and I knew I’d like it, but I wasn’t sure I’d love it. I certainly didn’t think it’d turn out to be the game I’ve enjoyed the most so far this year.
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Prey’s opening hours show that the setting is the star

I thought the monsters and mimicry would be the stars of Prey [official site], but I was wrong. The real star is the Talos-I space station, which manages to be a convincing functional space and a delightful collection of hidden routes and challenges. In my first couple of hours with the game, I thought the setting was a too-predictable mixture of offices and industrial machinery, but six hours in, I’m finding it hard to hard to tear myself away.

Despite all of its powers and tricks, Prey is a game where I’m not so much interested in what I’m doing as I am in where I’m doing it. The combat irritates me more often than it excites me, the creatures pestering rather than petrifying, and the upgrade system hasn’t convinced me yet – but if Talos-I continues to be such a warren of possibilities, I’ll gladly spend another thirty hours or more there.

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Quake Champions Beta: a revitalised classic with some modern ideas

Here’s the most important thing you need to know about Quake Champions [official site]: I shot a man to death with a railgun while we were both flying in mid-air. As we passed each other like trains in the night, he exploded into jelly, and a very deep voice bellowed “Impressive!” into my ear. For a split-second I felt like a god, a pure, unstoppable force of destruction. Then a bolt of brilliant green from another player instantly dispelled me of that notion.

It’s moments like these which Quake III: Arena always sought. Not the bit where I died, that happens all the time. It’s that minute instance, that unmeasurable sliver of time where something so remarkable happens that you don’t quite believe it was you who did it. Frankly, I never believed I could do it, which is why despite multiple attempts I never really got on with Quake III, preferring the broader, more varied multiplayer offering of Unreal Tournament back when such distinctions mattered. Quake Champions has me wondering what I missed, which is as high an accolade as I can give this free-to-play multiplayer shooter in its beta form.

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Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind is scratching that itch

I have been cynical from afar, which is a polite way of saying I’ve been privately thinking ‘aargh, kill it with fire’ about The Elder Scrolls Online‘s [official site] massively multiplayer recreation of revered singleplayer roleplaying game Morrowind. I didn’t want to be a snob, but the pairing of an MMO hamster wheel with the high watermark of Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls series read to me a whole lot like adapting chess into a match-3 game.

Two days into the closed beta, and I’m cautiously eating my unspoken words. Which is a mild way of saying that I feel that itch. That itch to spend my every waking moment in it.
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Morrowind forever

I’ve got a piece going up later today about my thoughts on the closed beta for The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind (short answer: I like it lot more than I’d expected to), but I wanted to write a little too about why the original Morrowind, aka The Elder Scrolls III remains a high watermark of roleplaying games for me. Why it’s a place I forever yearn to go back to.
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Do alien powers make Prey more than another sci-fi shooter?

A few weeks ago, I played through the first section of Bethesda and Arkane’s upcoming first-person-shooterbut Prey [official site] (no relation, other than in name, to the original Prey or its aborted sequel). I like it well enough, particularly the Total Recallish sense of intrigue it raised about what was really going on and whether the player-character was the person they believed themselves to be. At the same time, I’m not sure how much I truly had to say about it, outside of description.

It was there, polished and pacey, absolutely the kind of thing I traditionally enjoy in an action game – but it was guns and monsters and doorcodes. Where was the thing that made Prey unique? I’ve been back and played a later section of the game, amongst other things I’ve transformed myself into a stack of towels and now I have a much clearer sense of what this new Prey really is. I can show as well as tell you why. Read the rest of this entry »