Posts Tagged ‘review’

Wot I Think: Hand Of Fate 2

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The great rage is dead within me. I no longer feel hatred. In the first Hand Of Fate (review), a sly and effective singleplayer collision of roguelite and collectible card game, I fought onwards primarily due to a deep and burning desire to wipe the imagined smirk off the face of The Dealer, an AI-controlled dungeon master and nemesis rolled into one, whose e’er-taunting voice was the exact sound of a perpetually-raised eyebrow.

Hand Of Fate 2 is a superior sequel in many respects, but either he’s mellowed or I have. Now, we play the game together, fond old sparring partners rather than eternal enemies.

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Wot I Think: Call Of Duty: WWII Single Player Campaign

Fully expecting another ghastly CoD campaign, I’ve been utterly surprised by the shooter I’ve just played. Be shocked – Call Of Duty: WWII is a decent single-player game. And there’s not a loot drop in sight. Here’s wot I think: Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Assassin’s Creed Origins

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A soft reboot four years in the making, Ubisoft Montreal’s Assassin’s Creed: Origins is one giant step back in time plus a smaller step forward in terms of world design, a stumble in terms of its levelling system, a sideways hop as regards combat and an exercise in jogging on the spot in terms of missions. This is exactly the kind of complex footwork that leads to messy accidents during parkour sequences, but somehow, the game keeps its balance throughout, though it’s not quite the revival I was hoping for.

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Engare is a beautiful puzzle game of Islamic art and spirographs

In an attempt to teleport some geometric Islamic art from one location to another, developer Mahdi Bahrami failed to notice a spirograph had flown into the telepod. That’s my theory anyway. The result is a very beautiful, very relaxing puzzle game called Engare.

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Wot I Think: Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus

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Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus does not pull its punches. Early in the game a returning villain asks, “is this what a hero looks like?” She’s mocking and threatening a wounded, degraded and broken woman. She’s about to execute that woman.

Wolfenstein’s answer is a defiant “yes”. Its heroes don’t look like any one thing because they are many and they are diverse. They are survivors and fighters and thinkers, black, white, American Jewish, British, German, male, female, disabled, disfigured and powerful. They’re also flawed – sometimes too angry, sometimes too selfish, sometimes too afraid to face up to reality – but they are the kind of people you’d want in your corner if the world went wrong.

They’re also the game’s greatest asset and its most potent weapons.

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Wot I Think: Destiny 2

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It’s 4AM and I’m whispering with strangers in the dark. I found them online through a private channel, arranged a meeting in secret, and set my alarm to wake under cover of night. We’ve already got a plan, but we need to talk it through, to get on board with each other. We need to make sure we won’t get caught this time.

I promised my wife I’d stop doing this, but these are the sacrifices I have to make in order to finish Destiny 2’s Leviathan raid.

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Overgrowth doesn’t feel ready to leave Early Access

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The most satisfying moments in Overgrowth [official site] take place in mid-air. Rabbits are typically good at jumping, but they’ve got nothing on their anthropomorphic cousin, Turner, the martial arts master and hero of this critter-bashing romp. His leaping ability borders on the power of flight. During those seconds, suspended in the skies above the game’s largely empty battlefields, it feels like anything’s possible. Invariably the landing disappoints. Sometimes fatally. That’s Overgrowth: lots of potential, rarely reached.

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Wot I Think: A Hat In Time

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Where Yooka-Laylee attempted to revive Rare’s Banjo-Kazooie formula, A Hat in Time [official site] strikes at a different vein of nostalgia. The 3D platformer attempts to split the difference between the open-ended adventuring of Super Mario 64 and the more guided point-by-point platforming of Super Mario Galaxy. The result is a work of obvious grace and imagination that never attempts to rise above its obvious inspirations, but still consistently delivers the same kind of warm fuzzies that its favorite Italian plumber deals in. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think – South Park: The Fractured But Whole

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South Park: The Fractured But Whole [official site] is essentially the show’s greatest hits, with 20 years worth of call backs, characters and gags, all built around a LARP-inspired RPG that sees the town’s foul-mouthed kids beating the snot out of each other. If this sounds extremely familiar, that’s because I’ve also just described its predecessor, The Stick of Truth.

Crab People, magical farts, obsessively collecting social media pals, Morgan Freeman — they are all back. Only the switch from wizards and Elves to superheroes, something that could have been a superficial change, manages to keep it from feeling like watching a repeat.

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Wot I Think: The Evil Within 2

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The Evil Within 2 begins by wearing its heart on its sleeve; here’s a burning house, and oh no, the protagonist’s daughter is inside it. From the outset, it yells in your face that this is going to be a Tragic Dad story, the most beloved of videogame narrative tropes. And it never really rises above this familiar narrative conceit as Sebastian Castellanos explores a horror world filled with bad science and twisted terrors in pursuit of his kidnapped daughter. It’s predictable. In other hands, it could’ve been trite. But The Evil Within 2 revels in its horror b-movieness. It embraces it, telling a surprisingly heartfelt and sincere tale of a man who just wants the best for his loved ones. Even if he has to descend into actual hell and face off against some of the most hideous monsters ever conceived in order to achieve this. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Jydge

Jydge [official site] feels extraordinary in how, well, liberal it is with its format. Over the last few years we’ve become very ysed to top-down games demanding an enormoys amoynt from ys, in varioys splendid ways. Whether it’s Hotline Miami’s brytal timing, or any nymber of games’ reqyirement for meticyloys stealth, I’ve developed a keen sense of paranoia when it comes to sych games. So mych so that Jydge’s anything-goes approach tripped me yp at first. “Oh!” I realised. “I can jyst go bonkers!” Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think – Middle-earth: Shadow of War

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I never thought I’d be playing Pokémon with Tolkienian orcs, but here I am in Middle-earth: Shadow of War, standing with my army before the fortress of Khargukôr amid the snowy peaks of Seregost.

The orc in charge is a dainty fellow who calls himself Krímp the Rhymer, and I can’t help but admire his fashion sense in this grubby world. That immaculately crafted leather jerkin. That bycocket with the two red feathers that match the shafts in his quiver. Such style. I almost want to let him be. Fortunately he shatters that thought when we meet in person and he blurts the cringy battlecry “Your fate has gone from bad to worse / You face an orc who speaks in verse!” Some crimes can’t go unpunished. Read the rest of this entry »

Cheap Golf is daft, quite fun, and knows your name is Susan

Cheap Golf [Twitter page, apparently] was one of the first projects to try out Kickstarter’s week-long fundraisers, a silly scratchy project from Pixeljam offering a minimalist minigolf game, with extra nonsense.

It came out this week (in early access), having previously raised its $9,000 goal via a splendid figure of 666 backers, and it’s – well, it’s as silly as it looked. And quite fun. Read the rest of this entry »

Steamworld Dig 2 is a gentle jewel

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I’ve got a hookshot. Have you got a hookshot? I bet you don’t. I bet you’ve just got hands. Borrrring. Despite Steamworld Dig earning John’s admiration (so much so that he also used the comedy word “aplomb” when describing it) I had never played it. But I’m glad to have picked up its sequel, Steamworld Dig 2 [official site], in which a friendly robot called Dorothy goes looking for her uncle Rusty, the hero of the first game, in the deep mines beneath a western-style town. To get ever-deeper she has to dig, fight insects, plant bombs, and most importantly, hookshooooot.
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Wot I Think: Hob

Hob [official site] is immediately striking in its lovely decorative design. Torchlight was pretty in its own way, but here Runic have struck upon a gorgeous aesthetic, something that looks like it could be a Zelda spin-off (as in, not like any of the previous Zelda games, but could easily be the next one, complete with chopping grass). Your character, a hooded creature with glowing blue eyes, is accompanied at the very start by a large protective, gibberish-intoning robot, who very quickly sacrifices one of his enormous arms after yours is lost to a creepy purple infection. Equipped with a bloody great robo-arm, you’re then far better ready to charge about its ever-expanding lands. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Heat Signature

"Hello dad, yeah it's all gone a bit murdery"

The man who killed my mum is floating off into space. Should I feel glad? I was supposed to bring him in alive. I put a trap down in the corridor of his spaceship and the moment he stood on it, he was teleported into the void. That might not sound like the best way to bring somebody in alive, but it was part of the plan. Running to the nearest window and blasting myself out after him? Also part of the plan – my trusty pod would pick us both up before we suffocated. But then it all went wrong and now I am slung over a guard’s shoulders while my target is drifting away, dying.

This wasn’t part of the plan, but in Heat Signature [official site] plans crumble like biscuits dunked too-long in tea. Technically, I’ve failed the mission, but at least my mum is avenged.

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Wot I Think: Total War – Warhammer 2

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In three more turns, the ritual will be complete, and I’ll be one step closer to controlling the Vortex that holds the forces of Chaos at bay. In two more turns, Skaven and Chaos armies will be at the gates. I’m surrounded. By land and sea they arrive, this howling mass of warped warriors and chittering rat-men. Army, after army, after army, all attempting to stop the ritual. Total War: Warhammer 2 [official site] is a race, and it’s an utterly savage one.

From the safety of the other side of that campaign I can tell you that I survived. Just. Reinforcements made it in time, slaughtering the rats and warriors by their hundreds. It was touch and go for a bit, though, which is fairly typical of Creative Assembly’s bloodthirsty sequel.

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Wot I Think: Divinity Original Sin 2

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We were supposed to be heroes. As you play through Divinity: Original Sin 2 [official site], your character and companions will be many things to many people: thieves, killers, saviours, fugitives, outcasts, demons, nightmares, lovers, traitors, jackasses, adventurers, pranksters and fools. But heroes? You can play through the entire game, multiple times, and never feel like much of a hero.

There’s just so much to do in the world that doing good can feel just a little to obvious.

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Wot I Think – Dishonored: Death of the Outsider

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Me: someone who believes that gothbro apparent trickster god The Outsider is the worst thing that ever happened to the Dishonored games, and thus positively relishes the chance to kill the blighter.

Also me: someone who is absolutely determined to play Dishonored games without causing even a single fatality.

Hmm. Standalone expansion Dishonored: Death Of The Outsider [official site] makes life pretty tricky for me, then. Read the rest of this entry »