Noria is a deceptive game, its lovely artwork which features a massive floating mountain hanging high in the sky producing a myriad of thoughts about what its theme could be, but a wheel-building game of politics wasn’t quite what sprung to mind when I first saw it, I have to admit. But that’s what we’ve got.
So, the game’s big selling point is the sizable, plastic three-tiered wheel on which three cardboard rings sit and can be rotated. Into these rings, you’ll be inserting little cardboard discs that control the various actions you can take throughout the game, with each ring being spun around to the next segment at the end of your turn and thus changing what you’ll be able to do on the next turn.
Having done very well so far with their Cloud line-up the folk over at HyperX have decided to have a stab at creating a wireless headset so that you can happily amble around your house oblivious to the cries of your attention-starved family while listening to music. Good times. Or at least, that was what I initially thought but as it turns out the Cloud Flight, which retails for around £120, isn’t very good for ignoring those people in your life that you feel obligated to be around. It is, however, rather good at gaming.
A small development team with a vision and a huge game four years in the making that began its life on Kickstarter, Kingdom Come: Deliverance has come a long way since it first appeared in the public eye. It’s an RPG set in 1403 in the kingdom of Bohemia and places its emphasis on strong storytelling and realistic mechanics, including hunger and a compelling swordplay system. But for all of its brilliance there are a lot of flaws to fight through, too, so let’s have a chat about this wonderful, beautiful, hugely flawed beast. There’s a lot to get through.
In the dead of night, I’m wading through a deep swamp that’s hindering my movement, feeling far too vulnerable for my own good. To the right of me I can hear the echo of rifle fire as several players duke it out for dominance, but as a solo player I have to be more careful. Ignoring the gunfire and steadily weaving through the myriad of beasts lurking in the darkness I make my way to the final clue which reveals the location of my quarry; a giant arachnid that’s far too realistic for my liking. And that’s when I freeze, the nearby ambient noises having changed and alerted me to the sound of other players who are also hunting the beast. Two of them emerge from the treeline, the probable victors of the gunfight I heard earlier. They’re unbearably close to me, and for me, it’s the tensest moment I’ve felt in a video game in a long, long time. A 2-on-1 fight won’t go well for me, not with these rifles, but at the same time, the temptation to take out the competition is strong. I take aim and…
Man, I’m just not sure how I feel about Battalion 1944 after many, many hours in its virtual battlefields full of madly bouncing soldiers careening through the air while they carefully take aim, a truly stunning recreation of what the Second World War was actually like. Yes, what they teach you in school is simply untrue; the Allies won the war purely through an incredible tactical innovation where their snipers would leap into the air and around corners, gunning down all that opposed them.
Ah, the detective, a classic figure from books and movies alike, the man or woman capable of solving the greatest of mysteries via a series of incredible deductions and, in the case of Benedict Cumberwhatshisnname’s Sherlock Holmes, plentiful insults because everyone else is stupid. Small Detective looks to take the basic premise of something like Cluedo and shoves it into a tiny box. Good things really do come in small packages
As a movie fan, I can’t how many times I’ve seen a man or woman wronged by the villain before setting out to gain vengeance against the perpetrator, their friends, their family, their dog and anyone within a several mile radius. It’s a simple plot device that has been the driving motivation behind some of the best action movies ever, with a prime recent example being the mighty John Wick who had a pure, direct reason to go on a rampage; some jerks killed the dog his dead wife gave to him, and also stole his beloved car. As reasons to go on a rampage go, it’s a pretty good one.
Having successfully pillaged everything surrounding their village in Raiders of the North Sea our happy band of blood-thirsty Vikings reckons it’s time to explore the larger world so that they can pillage it, too. At least they’re consistent, I suppose. Yes, this is the third game in the North Sea trilogy and going into it I was very curious as to whether designer would opt for a heavier, deeper experience for the last game in the series before all three get bound together by Runesaga, or would stick with the lighter feel.
As a member of the kilted nation known as Scotland, I’ve always felt that me and my kin don’t get much representation in video games, our brief appearances usually being limited to some swearing or a heavily stereotypical character who loves drinking fighting and is ginger. But Wulverblade seeks to put Scotland in the limelight, specifically, our history against the mighty Roman Empire where the Pictish people held against the best the Romans could offer before Hadrian’s wall was constructed and Rome decided it just wasn’t going to be worth the bloody effort.
Ah, the Vikings. According to my beloved Champions of Midgard these infamous folk loved to fight trolls and slay various other beasts, but Raiders of the North Sea paints a slightly more realistic portrayal of them. Here they don’t fight monsters, they just raid presumably innocent monasteries and assault fortresses for fun. Yup, like any good Viking who has been raised properly your main task in life is to gather a crew and then raid the various outposts, villages, and monasteries at the top of the board, all in the name of glorious loot and glorious victory points.