Posts Tagged ‘review’

Wot I Think: XCOM 2

In 2012, Firaxis took on the seemingly impossible task of reviving one of the most beloved PC games ever made. The original X-COM is widely considered to be one of the masterpieces of the nineties golden age, and since its release there have been sequels, spin-offs and unofficial revivals, but Firaxis’ XCOM was a complete, licensed reinterpretation. It was also rather good. Now, with XCOM 2 [official site] ready for release, Firaxis aim to improve on the formula that made Enemy Unknown such a triumph. Here’s wot I think.

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Wot I Think: Rise Of The Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider [official site] expands on and improves the core pillars of the series’ 2013 reboot. What it doesn’t do is change the formula significantly. Lara Croft is still a young woman and we’re witnessing the process by which she will become the titular crypt corrupter. As in the previous game, she’s soon stranded in an unwelcoming environment with little in the way of equipment and no network of support. Over the next twenty hours or so, you’ll guide her from branch-gathering and hide-hunting to full-on military engagements and supernatural shenanigans. Here’s wot I think.

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Wot I Think: Darkest Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon [official site] begins with a foreboding admonition. It’s a game about making the most of a bad situation, you’re told from the outset. Your actions are permanent, therefore the quests you embark upon will often end in failure. “Heroes will die,” it says. “And when they die they stay dead.”

These preeminent words of wisdom project an honest sentiment that’s not only a tone-setter for Darkest Dungeon, but also serves to define its makeup: through each stage of development – from its beginnings, its crowdfunding success, a year-long stint in Early Access, and now onto full release – developer Red Hook Studios envisioned a brutally difficult game that would offer little in the way of concession. But does the game make death and despair engaging? Here’s wot I think.

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Wot I Think: Pythagoria

Pythagoria [Steam page] is an awful lot more like maths homework than it is a regular puzzle game. But if you’re a giant weirdo like me, then you might secretly have rather enjoyed maths homework (the only homework I ever did). In fact, if you’re a colossal weirdo, you might have spent a good proportion of a sabbatical a couple of years ago sitting under a tree in a park with a pad and pen, re-learning algebra from a mobile app. So yes, Pythagoria does rather appeal, despite that. Except, oh dear, my brain. Here’s wot I think:

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Wot I Think – Homeworld: Deserts Of Kharak

Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak [official site] is a prequel to the legendary Homeworld space real-time strategy games, but this time – heresy! – set on land, as the Kushan race battle angry clans to reclaim ancient technologies found on the sandy planet they currently call home. While some of its developers (including studio boss and former Relic art lead Rob Cunningham) worked on the original games, this first began life as the unrelated ‘Hardware: Shipbreakers’, before morphing into the free to play multiplayer ‘Homeworld: Shipbreakers’ and then finally to the traditionally-sold, singleplayer and multiplayer package it is now. Deserts of Kharak has some bloody big boots to fill – can it possibly manage it?

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Wot I Think: Gemini – Heroes Reborn

A game based on one of the most consistently ridiculous and astonishingly dreadful TV shows ever made? How could I resist? Except, huh, something weird’s going on here. Gemini: Heroes Reborn [official site] isn’t… this isn’t entirely terrible. In fact, there are some really good ideas in here – far more than in the freshly cancelled series reboot after which it’s named and themed. What a confusing situation. Here’s wot I think:

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Wot I Think: The Westport Independent

The Westport Independent [official site], once a gamejam experiment, is now a full game. As it succinctly describes itself, it’s “a game about censorship, corruption and newspapers”. As the editor of a paper in a fictional post-war country in the mid-1940s, you must work out how you will approach your job under an increasingly fascist government. Does it successfully speak its mind, or might it need some heavy editing? Here’s wot I think:

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Wot I Think: Oxenfree

I came to play Oxenfree [official site] just after finishing a podcast series called The Message. The Message is essentially an eight-part radio play. Its central mystery involves a strange broadcast, possibly from outer space which seems to carry with it a curse. If you haven’t listened to it I’d recommend it.

The reason I’m bringing it up ahead of telling you anything about the game is that I feel like Oxenfree is actually closer to that kind of unnerving or slightly creepy radio play which is packed with subtle interpersonal stories than it is to other games I’ve played. I also think that part of why I enjoyed it so much was that I was treating it in that same way, letting the characters chatter and the story unfold where I might otherwise have become impatient.

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Wot I Think: Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen

Originally released on PS3/Xbox 360 back in 2012 and then updated to Dark Arisen in 2013, Dragon’s Dogma [official site] is a tough game to pigeon-hole. It’s a bit Dark Souls, a bit The Witcher, a bit Skyrim, and a bit Shadow of the Colossus. But is it a bit good, especially coming to us after a generational upgrade? Here’s Wot I Think.

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