Weekend Whammy

Weekend Whammy: Rebel Galaxy Outlaw & Pokemon Crystal

I’ve only published a single review this week folks. I’m afraid real life has been sort of getting in the way, and I’ve been having a bit of downer with the ‘ol depression and anxiety. Getting out of bed has been more of a challenge than it should be. But those are just excuses for my lack of work output. I need to learn how to schedule things and balance the site out with real world stuff.

So, the game I reviewed was FIA European Truck Racing Championship which is a niche title for a niche audience. In the end, though, while it’s a bare bones package it was better than I had expected and delivered some quite solid racing. I would have loved some VR support.

Speaking of which, the VR update for DiRT 2.0 finally came out which is going to be a great excuse for me to pick the game up on PC. I’ve seen a few videos of it in action and it looks like awesome fun. Now if only Codemasters would add VR support to their F1 games, eh?

I’ve been playing a lot of Rebel Galaxy Outlaw and the review should be out quite soon. But my basic impressions are good: it’s a simpler, easier game to get to grips with than something like Elite Dangerous and reminds me of games like Privateer. Whereas the original Rebel Galaxy took place on a flat plane despite being in space this one is a full-fledged 3D spaceship piloting adventure, although sadly the ability to fly capital ships is gone. There’s a lot to do, the combat is a blast, it looks nice and thus I’d certainly say it’s worth buying.

I’m wrapping up Wolfenstein: Youngblood as well. I said last week that I thought it had gotten quite harshly beaten up. After some more time with the game I’m sticking to my words, though it does indeed have some big issues. The core shooting mechanics feel great apart from one single new addition that is more trouble than its worth. It’s the characters that have me feeling the most divided: sometimes I like them and understand why they’re written the way they are, or at least I think I do, and then at other times they’re just outright annoying.

Last week I mentioned that I had ordered up a 2DS XL, and I’m happy to say it’s arrived. As a kid I never got into the whole handheld gaming thing, favoring consoles over them, and so my experiences with Mario and Pokemon came from borrowing friend’s Gameboys and stuff. The lack of Nintendo in my life continued throughout the years, but now I’ve found myself wanting some nice, simple, wholesome games I can play on the go. While the Nintendo Switch Lite is coming out soon and would fit the bill, I’m an impatient bugger so I decided to grab the 2DS XL, Super Mario Bros 2, Mario Kart 7, Pokemon Crystal and Luigi’s Mansion 2.

It’s Pokemon Crystal that’s been sucking up my spare time. It’s one of the older games in the absurdly huge Pokemon franchise but I wanted to jump in somewhere that I would feel somewhat familiar with in terms of the Pokemon themselves. Honest, I’m surprised by how absorbed I’ve become in hunting down new Pokemon, training ’em up and then forcing the cute little bastards to brutally beat the crap out of each other.

Okay, look. Pokemon is weird, right? I think we all know this. Little kids just leave home to go on grand adventures involving enslaving small animals with amazing powers, animals that are incredibly dangerous, and then making them fight. On top of that you’ve got Team Rocket running around being the most useless gang ever.

Before I get to the stuff I’m loving I want to mention my pet peeve: being unable to walk more than five foot without getting into a Pokemon battle. If it isn’t some random Pokemon encounter it’s a Pokemon trainer looking for a fight. There were points were I genuinely let out a groan that could be heard several towns over. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the battles, but sometimes when I’m strolling along having to fight fifty things in the span of five steps is a tad ridiculous.

But apart from that I’ve been happily flinging my balls at the local wildlife in a bid to catch ’em all. Or at least some of them because apparently there’s over 600 of the little sods and I’m not sure I have that sort of patience. It’s easy to see why the franchise has been so popular, though; finding and catching Pokemon is a lot like modern looter shooters, the search for the next awesome thing superceding pretty much everything else.

One thing I’m interested in seeing in the newer Pokemon games is whether the idea of forming an actual relationship with your Pokemon ever becomes a thing. In Crystal everybody talks about being nice to Pokemon and forming bonds and my rival is apparently a dick to their Pokemon. But from a gameplay perspective it never seems to matter. I have no idea if I’m a decent trainer or a ruthless tyrant and have no real bond with any of my Pokemon. They’re basically just guns, and whatever one is most useful is the one I favor.

The other game I’ve been playing is Super Mario Bros 2 because I really wanted that classic, simple platforming feel. The game has been delivering that in spades and in piles upon piles of shiny golden coins. It has been great to bust out the DS for five or ten minutes and charge through a couple of levels. As amazing as modern gaming can be the hefty grinding, constant updates, complex mechanics and more can become tiring. Something like Mario is the perfect palette cleanser.

Right, that’s time for me to sign off folks. As always I’d love to hear about what you’ve been playing this week.

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