I’m on a spaceship with a talking tree, a creature that most definitely isn’t a raccoon and a space Llama. In any other game this could be considered weird, but in Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s just a Monday. Assuming they have Mondays in space. It was never brought up. The point is, the Guardians of the Galaxy are one of the strangest groups in comic books, and until Marvel turned them into a household name in 2014 they were a relatively unknown bunch of misfits that dealt in some of the weirdest aspects of the Marvel universe. So a videogame based on their antics sounds like a perfect fit. We deal in weird shit all the time. How does their first foray into games hold up?
Wolf's Gaming Blog
I always hate writing about myself, it's such a pain in the ass to know where I should start.
I'm twenty-six years young and love to play, as you may have already guessed. When WolfsGamingBlog.com started up it was simply because I found writing to be a good form of stress relief for when my Cystic Fibrosis was getting me down or simply because I had been having a bad week. When I started writing I never dreamed that people would actually read it, or that it would ever get this big. It's mind boggling.
My writing isn't the best, but through trial, error and the comments of readers I strive to improve it so I can provide fair reviews. My ultimate goal is to prove that not everyone in the gaming media are corrupt idiots intent on delivering false reviews.
Other than that I'm a fully qualified lifeguard and used to teach first-aid and life-saving skills to kids. What more is there to say? Hmmm, well I love music, reading and films. I'm a drummer, enjoy going swimming and tend to get distracted by shiny objects.
Is that a fifty-pence?
Merry Christmas, you dirty animals!
Yes, it’s that time of the year again when presents are opened, food is eaten and at least one family member flips the Monopoly board. And like every year I just wanted to take a minute to wish you all the best. Like 2020, 2021 hasn’t been the easiest of years but hopefully, you’ve muddled through with minimal fuss, minimal Covid and minimal desire to punch people in the face.
Halo Infinite certainly opens with a bang, leaping straight into a cinematic that picks up exactly where Halo 5 left us during its cliffhanger ending. We witness the UNSC Infinity being destroyed at the hands of the Banished, while the Master Chief is systematically picked apart by the hulking form of Atriox, a character first introduced in Halo Wars 2. As opening sequences go it’s definitely explosive and attention-grabbing, but it’s also the first example of how Infinite can feel rushed and at odds with itself; you never get to take control of the Chief and join the fight for the Infinity. The destruction of the Infinity, a major part of the Halo lore, is glossed over in a brief cutscene, the death of its crew barely shown. There was a perfect opportunity to create a level built around the desperate fight to save the ship and the inevitable loss you would have to suffer at the hands of Atriox. For some reason, however, 343 opt to tell the players what happened and rarely show, a theme that permeates the entirety of Halo Infinite.
German developer Monokel are the new kids on the block, entering the fray with their first project, White Shadows. These are probably the game’s I hate reviewing the most because criticising any new developer trying to enter the scene with something cool and different feels like running up to a child and punching them in the kidney. But as I always I write reviews with the player in mind, not the developer. White Shadows is certainly unique and a hell of a debut for a new company in many regards. It shows incredible artistic strength. The gameplay just isn’t up to par, however. So let’s jump into this.
Microsoft did us all a solid by dropping Halo: Infinite’s free-to-play multiplayer like a freaking ODST from the sky when we weren’t expecting it. It was a big-boy play by Microsoft and was instantly rewarded by a tidal wave of people downloading and jumping into what many consider to be the year’s biggest release. To the credit of Microsoft and 343 everything held up well and Halo: Infinite’s launch wasn’t plagued by the server crashes, bugs and glitches that most other launches these days get hit by. And yes, I’m looking directly at Battlefield 2032 as I type this. A few weeks on and just days ahead of the Halo: Infinite campaign launching, I’m here to review the multiplayer. Am I late to the party? Yup, but to be perfectly honest, that’s because I’ve been playing Halo: Infinite and couldn’t be arsed to write this when I could be nailing headshots like I nailed your mum. Oh God, this game brings out the teenager in me.
Indie games are the home of some of the best puzzle-based experiences around because they are willing to take unique, interesting ideas and run with them, or in some cases roll with them. That’s Tandem: A Tale of Shadows in a nutshell. The opening cutscene lays down the basis of this weird story: little Emma is intrigued by the disappearance of Thomas Kane, the only son of the famed Kane Illusionists who disappeared a decade prior. Scotland Yard have failed entirely to penetrate the twisted Kane mansion which houses all manner of oddities. On her way to the gothic abode a teddy bear falls from a speeding carriage, and to little Emma’s surprise, the bear immediately jumps up and pursues the runaway vehicle. Together, Emma and Fenton the teddy enter the mysterious home of the Kane’s and wind up working in tandem to solve the numerous puzzles that hide dark secrets.
Jurassic Park: Evolution 2 was ultimately a charming but slow management game that suffered from a lack of depth. The magic of breeding and looking after massive dinosaurs gave way to fairly bog-standard gameplay interspersed with moments of chaos when a T-rex broke free and ate a few paying customers. When Frontier announced a sequel I was excited to see if they could fulfil all the potential the original had of being a casual but hugely entertaining sim-park title. As evolutions go, this one has a few random mutations that need to be removed from the genome if there’s going to be a third game, but overall it’s a decent improvement. It’s bigger, it’s meatier, it’s toothier. If the first game was the classic T-rex, this is the Indominus Rex. Welcome, to Jurassic World: Evolution 2.
Halloween may have already passed in a sugar-induced blur but that doesn’t mean I can’t talk about spooky stuff, right? Sunshine Manor is actually a prequel to 2016’s Sunshine Camp, although you don’t need to have played that. It has all the hallmarks of a creepy good time: a weird mansion, a mystery to solve, some demons and even a cult! It’s all wrapped up in a rather nice visual style, too, that harkens back to the 8-bit days. Hell, it even has a dog you can pet! What more could you possibly want?
Let’s take a meander down the ruined street of memories to a console generation where grey and brown were the predominant colours. The Xbox 360 had been out for a year and was doing well for itself, with several games managing to shift over a million copies. As for me, I was finally looking to move on from my ageing Playstation 2 and join the new generation of consoles with their shiny graphics. As a PS2 owner, the PS3 was naturally tempting – I was familiar with the games already, after all, but the price tag was pretty hefty. The Xbox 360 looked great, but nothing on it stood out to me. And then Epic Games and Microsoft revealed their new game, Gears of War, and suddenly the choice was obvious. It turned out to be a good choice because the Xbox 360 era was glorious.
So many games these days release broken or have their review code held back until the very last minute because the developers and the publisher aren’t confident about the reception. It’s so refreshing when indie developers come along and are proud and confident of their work. So confident, in fact, that Exor Studios have a demo of The Riftbreaker available to play, plus the Prologue. That confidence is well-founded, though, because while The Riftbreaker does have some problems it’s also a great blending of genres, combining base-building and some good ‘ol fashioned shootin’.