Hello, friends! Well, my day didn’t exactly get off to a great start. I loaded my doggo (Laoch, the white German Shepard) into the car and headed out to a lovely woodland walk. But just a few minutes in we walked straight into a group of irate wasps that seemed to have been riled up by somebody or something ahead of us. Whatever the cause, one wasp, in particular, did not like the look of my face, so it hammered into the side of my cheek at full speed and rammed its stinger home. I had to yank the little bastard off, which left the stinger in. After that, I unleashed a string of expletives so loud and descriptive that I’m fairly sure sweet old ladies all the way in Australia held their hands to their mouths and said, “oh, my!” After that, I had to carefully get a wasp off my dog’s head where it was trying to burrow into his hair. So yup, that wasn’t the best start to my day.
Anyway, onto what I’ve been writing about. First, there is my less than enthusiastic impressions of the Marvel’s Avengers Assemble beta. It’s…well, bad, to be honest. And with it launching in just a week or two I don’t have much hope for the full game at this point. The only possible salvation is that the solo missions and the story might be decent.
I also reviewed Griefhelm, a Nidhogg inspired game made by just one person.
It might have taken me a month until after it had launched, but I finally reviewed Ghost of Tsushima. I know, it was a late review but I was just enjoying playing Ghost without rushing. I soaked up its beautiful world, completing oodles of side quests and decimating the Mongol invaders.
Speaking of Ghost of Tsushima, Sucker Punch dropped a bombshell by revealing Legends of Tsushima, an upcoming chunk of free co-op DLC. It’s going to focus on the mythology side of things, which got only slightly used in the main game, and will have up to four players teaming up. I don’t think anyone could have seen this one coming. I was expecting some singleplayer DLC to be announced down the line, but co-op DLC? And it being free is even more shocking. Sure, Ghost of Tsushima has sold very well (2.4 million copies in the first three days) but DLC takes time and money to develop, so charging for it would have been perfectly fine. Offering this for free feels like an amazingly smart PR move and a great way to say thank you to fans.
In terms of what’s coming, I’ve gotten my grubby mitts on a preview build of DiRT 5 from the folks over at Codemaster’s. This build is focused on a brand new mode, so you’ll get my full impressions about that in the next week or two after I’ve had time to crash into numerous walls and blame the car for my lack of spatial awareness.
I’ll also be doing a quick preview based a build of Girl of Glass before its full release later this month. It has a gorgeous art-style, and mixes point and click gameplay with turn-based battles.
And finally, review code for Iron Harvest is in, which is a new “classic” style RTS. The real interesting part of the game is how is set in an alternative 1920s with giant stomping steam mechs. However, I have noted that a lot of folk didn’t seem happy with the beta. Hopefully, the full game will hold up nicely.
I’ve made the decision to upgrade my processor. I’ve been rocking my trusty Ryzen 1600 since it first launched and it has been excellent, handling every game I’ve thrown at it, at a very respectable price. But I’ve decided to jump to the Ryzen 3600 as the price is good and I can sell my old Ryzen 1600 for a reasonable amount to recoup some of the cost. I’m looking forward to seeing the FPS boost I’ll get when pairing the 3600 with a GTX 1080ti and 16GB of RAM, but the best part of the upgrade, and something which a lot of people don’t think about, is actually the improvement in the framerate drops. Having a really high FPS is great, but for me having sharp drops in the framerate is far worse than only getting 60FPS or something. Looking at the reviews, the minimum framerates on the 3600 will be massively better than my current 1600, meaning when those drops occur they won’t feel as horrible. At least, this is what I’m telling myself to justify spending money I shouldn’t have.
I’ve gotten heavily back into playing Vermintide 2 again. The reason is because one of my best friends has recently managed to get into gaming. He had to take a bit of break because he and his wife had a child, and apparently it requires feeding and stuff. Now that it’s sleeping better, he’s been able to get himself a gaming laptop and we’ve been catching up. Despite it launching a few years ago, the feel of Vermintide 2’s first-person melee combat is still absolutely top-tier. The crunch of a hammer hitting a skull is excellent, the weight of a sword swing perfectly judged. It’s just a shame that in all this time the developers have languished in terms of expanding the game with content. The few bits of DLC they have put haven’t been well received by the community, it seems. But no matter, because I’m just having fun catching up with my mate and thumping Chaos Warriors.
The DC Fandome happened. And I forgot about it. But the good thing about that is I logged into Youtube and suddenly there was a bunch of trailers! SWEET!
The first game that was unveiled to the world was Gotham Knights, coming from Warner Bros. Montreal. Unlike the Suicide Squad game revealed later and despite the visual style closely resembling Rocksteady’s Batman games, Gotham Knight does NOT take part in the Batman: Arkham universe.
The premise is that Batman is dead, and so now Red Hood, Nightwing, Bat Girl and Robin are stepping up their efforts to protect Gotham city, utilizing the power of two co-op to do it. Or you can just play solo. The good news is that we got a good chunk of gameplay to watch which showed off some of the combat and a boss fight against Mr. Freeze. I’m also very intrigued with the Court of Owls making an appearance, as Scott Snyder’s Court of Owl runs is one of my favourite reads. Hopefully the developers can do the Court of Owns justice.
The bad news is that Gotham Knights looks a lot like the DC version of the Marvel’s Avengers game. There seems to be loot, damage numbers popping out of enemies as you beat on them and even levelling mechanics. None of this means the game absolutely will be terrible, but it does suck away my initial sense of excitement and replace it with a deep fear that this is going to be a live service game. Again, that doesn’t automatically condemn Gotham Knights I suppose, but given the poor quality of live service style games so far it’s hard to muster much hope. But maybe I’m assuming far too much.
Anyway, Gotham Knight launches sometime in 2021, so there’s plenty of time for us to get a better look at the game and a stronger idea of what WB Montreal are going for.
The other DC game to be announced comes from Rocksteady. Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League is indeed set in the Arkham universe, although it takes place in Metropolis. Because it isn’t launching until 2022 we only saw a CGI trailer, so it’s hard to know exactly how it’s going to play out.
The trailer was pretty fun, showing a good dynamic between Harley Quinn, King Shark, Deadshot and Captain Boomerang. And I loved that the trailer ended with an evil Superman showing up, being controlled by Brainiac. Poor Superman gets turned evil a lot these days, but let’s be honest: an evil Superman is a bloody terrifying thought, even if the idea is overused. Given the title of the game I’m pretty excited about the prospect of getting to go up against the Arkham universe Batman as well. And Wonder Woman. And Flash. Oh man, this could be so cool, if they pull it off.
I’m not entirely sure why they bothered to show us Suicide Squad, though. It’s not out until 2022, so I can’t get excited for a game that isn’t coming out any time soon. I’d honestly rather they had just waited until they could give us a true look at the game. But then, I’m not a fan of lengthy marketing campaigns in general.
The delay of Halo Infinite was a shock, mostly because they’d shown off just a week or two before, meaning it seems likely the fan reaction to what they showed was probably a big part of why they chose to push the game back until 2021. Now, there has been a couple of big changes, with Joseph Staten returning to take up the mantle of campaign lead. Meanwhile Pierre Hintze of the Masterchief Collection has jumped over to take on the lead of the free-to-player multiplayer portion of Infinite. When you mix all this with lurking rumours of the Xbox One version of the game potentially getting cancelled, it paints a picture of a game in trouble. Hopefully this delay is what 343 Industries needs to get Infinite back on track.
But while I think the delay is good news for Halo, it does leave Microsoft in a tricky position. Now that Infinite isn’t coming until 2021, the Xbox Series X has been left with almost nothing for its launch. Xbox doesn’t have a lot of big-name exclusives that it can use to sell a new console, so having Halo was a pretty big deal. Now, the new console is left with multiplatform games like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and smaller titles. It just seems like Microsoft are struggling to provide compelling reasons to pick up a Series X.
One of the biggest news stories of the moment is the ongoing legal battle between Epic Games and Apple. I’d highly advise checking out the Virtual Legality video by Hoeg Law on Youtube as he breaks down the legal jargon behind the case, explains it all in detail and also discusses why it’s highly unlikely Epic can win this fight. It’s fascinating stuff. I’ve got a lot of thoughts on this, but I’ll summarise it: while I have no problem with Epic attempting to prove Apple have a monopoly and even agree with them trying to get Apple to drop their cut from 30% of profits to something lower, the way Epic deliberately breached the rules of the App Store and then attempted to weaponize the Fortnite community is a piss-poor way of handling things.
Finally, news came through that new Oculus users will have to use a Facebook account to sign in, and existing users like myself will have to use a Facebook account from 2023 onwards. This is despite Facebook’s own promises that this would never happen, made when they purchased Oculus. If you refuse to use a Facebook account you can continue to use your Oculus offline with limited functionality. Unsurprisingly this has pissed many folk off, and rightfully so.
The only reason I’m not more angry is that I already assumed Facebook were harvesting data from my Oculus as soon as they bought the damn company. Ultimately, it’s a shitty move and a useless one that they claim will make everything easier, but is actually the opposite. It also raises a bunch of questions, like what happens if your Facebook account is banned due to voicing opinions that Facebook don’t like? Will you be locked out of your games?
Bluntly, it’s yet another move from an already shady company to allow them to suck up more data and use it to beam bloody adverts. Give it a year and they’ll be popping up in your headset, too. Just imagine playing Beat Saber when suddenly “HOT SINGLE LADIES IN YOUR AREA!”