BioWare’s career has been filled with incredible games, from Star Wars: Knights of the old Republic to the Mass Effect trilogy and Dragon Age. For many, myself included, the company has a special place in our hearts. Yet things have been rough for BioWare of late, with Mass Effect: Andromeda falling flat on its oddly animated face. Now, we have Anthem, a new live-service, co-op looter-shooter in the vein of Destiny and The Division that has been in development for nearly seven years. After spending dozens and dozens of hours in Anthem, though, I can’t help but wonder what the hell happened in those seven years.
Reflecting on yet another failed attempt at an extreme track in Trials Rising at some ungodly hour in the morning, I come to the conclusion that this series has probably evoked more emotional responses out of me than the majority of story-driven games. This is literally a game about riding a bike from one end of a track to the end without falling off too many times. Somehow, though, it can make me laugh, smile, yell, get angry and threaten to murder my friends. I didn’t murder them, though. Honest. It was just heat of the moment. Now hand me a shovel, would you?
Ah, the 90’s were a hell of a time for the real-time strategy genre. It was the birthplace of one of my favorite games of all time; Total Annihilation. It was also the time of Command & Conquer, Age of Empires, Homeworld and Starcraft. It seems that developer Pathos Interactive view this as a golden age, too, because Bannermen feels and looks like it was ripped out of the 90’s and shoved into 2019. The problem is, even by the standards of the 90’s Bannermen isn’t very interesting.
Crackdown 3 serves as the perfect example of a game being announced long before it was ever ready to be. First announced some five years ago and originally scheduled for a 2016 release the game has a rather troubled development. Ideas of using the Cloud to power an impressive level of destruction were the big marketing point, so now that the game is finally out, what have we actually gotten?
Look, Intruders: Hide and Seek’s biggest fault really isn’t one of its own doing. You see, it constantly made me wish that we had gotten an official VR update for Alien: Isolation. As I hid in a cupboard in Intruders: Hide & Seek and watched one of the three goons look for me I couldn’t help but think how amazing the same thing in VR would have been in Alien: Isolation. Sorry, Intruders, it’s not you, it’s me. My heart just belongs to another.
Here’s a little known fact; while the original DiRT Rally may title itself as a rally sim it’s actually a horror game in disguise, especially in VR. It has an uncanny ability to constantly put you on the edge of your driving limits with rocks, trees and drops mere inches away from your spinning tires. It’s fucking terrifying, like being stuck on a roller coaster that’s falling apart while you urge it to go quicker and quicker.
Y’know, I don’t know why it’s called Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs when none of the birds look particularly furious. Sure, they maybe look a tad serious but when you bring them up to your face they’ll cheerfully wave at you, ready to achieve their goal of smashing stuff up and probably dying in the process. If I was one of these birds I think I’d be a tad more angry at the prospect of some psychopath using a slingshot to fire me face-first into stuff.
These days there are very valid fears surrounding massive corporations, the power that they wield and how much of the world they already control. Their influence is often terrifying, especially when you begin to research how only a few corporations own the vast majority of the media we consume. The point is, Spinnortality plays on problems in an entertaining strategy game about making money, pushing around governments and directing Earth toward the future you want. Oh, and you can build a giant laser on the moon.
While platformers might not be powerful juggernaut that they once were we gamers are still treated to a relatively slow but steady stream of new games in the genre. Unruly Heroes is the latest in that stream, but as always the question is a simple one; is it actually any bloody good? Yes. Yes, it is. This is a hugely entertaining romp that’s near perfect for family gaming.
on Shafer’s At The Gates has had a rather long and tricky development spanning some six years, a Kickstarter campaign, personal struggles and finally launch in 2019. As for the titular Shafer, he used to work for Firaxis, the same company responsible for Civilization series. In fact, Shafer was the lead designer on Civilization V. In 2012 he left to form his own company called Conifer Games which then launched a Kickstarter in 2013 for At The Gates, a new 4X game. So, roughly six years after its initial funding has Jon Shafter’s At The Gates been worth the wait?