In 2004 my teenage brain was blown apart by a Bolter shot to the skull. Not only was I discovering the crazy world of girls and hormones, but Relic Entertainment had just released one of the greatest RTS games ever. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War brought the daunting table-top game to PC in spectacular fashion, introducing a whole new generation to the Space Marines, the WAAAAAAAAAAGH! loving Orks, the silky voice of the forces of Chaos and the mysterious Eldar. And best of all? It’s so much cheaper than the bloody tabletop game. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we, and see how Dawn of War holds up in 2021.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a bunch of old games being brought back, like how Streets of Rage 4 resurrected a long-dormant franchise or how Crash Bandicoot 4 brought back an iconic character. Now it’s the turn of Evil Genius, a strategy game from 2004 that had you taking control of a Dr Evil style villain and carving out a lair in which you could plot the downfall of the world. The critical reception was fairly middling but the game earned itself something of a cult status. Now, after years of careful plotting and planning, Rebellion has given us the sequel that the original game so deeply deserved.
Genesis Noir can often feel less like a video game and more like an interactive Experience, with a capital E. It’s an abstract journey through time and space presented as a brooding noir tale about a watch peddler who witnesses the murder of his beloved Miss Mass at the hands of a jealous third party. The gunshot that kills her is the Big Bang, and thus our humble seller of time desperately combs time and space in a bid to find a way to stop the Big Bang itself and save his lady love. It is at times evocative, striking, jaw-dropping, exciting, and at other times is awkward and dull and pretentious. Above all else is unique and creative, a passion project created by a dedicated team across years of their life. I’m just not sure that Genesis Noir is for me. Or for you.
On Kickstarter the folks behind the long-running web-comic Cyanide & Happiness managed to raise $575,000 for this three episode point and click adventure project over 3-years ago, proving in the process that people will gladly pay good money for dick jokes. “The game will be a new approach to point-and-click adventures, filled with dark comedy, drama, weirdness, and an apocalypse in the suburbs.” That’s some big, bold claims about a genre that’s been around since time began, so does does Cyanide & Happiness: Freakpocolypse manage to live up these promises? Eh, not really.
The titular Sir Lovelot is on an epic quest to find the love of his life. To do that he’s going to venture from tower to tower, gifting the princesses that live within them a flower before climbing up their luxurious hair and getting down to…business. But each morning comes the same story of a broken heart. Perhaps they simply were not compatible, or perhaps Sir Lovelot can’t love good, I’m not judging. Regardless, Sir Lovelot heads out to once again seek the love of his life, and on the way to that love maybe find a few more princesses that need might be inclined to engage in a bit of casual rescuing. Ahem
Back in the ancient times known as the 90’s the city-builder genre was the shit, and we had loads to choose from. Pharoah, Caeser, Zeus, Stronghold – those are just a few examples of these games, and over the years these ideas have been built upon, modified and occasionally even thrown out the window, giving rise to a whole host of new and awesome titles. But there’s always that urge to go back to the roots of our nostalgia, and that’s exactly what Nebuchadnezzar aims to do.
Cardaclysm describes itself as a “procedurally generated collectible card game mixed with action RPG elements.” That’s one super sexy sentence that gets my motor running, if you know what I mean. Having been in Early Access since early in 2020, Cardaclysm has now fully launched onto Steam, so it it worth the small asking price of just £11.99? It’s time to D-d-d-d-d-d-DUEL!
If you have somehow managed to acquire a mythical Playstation 5, perhaps using occult rituals or something, then you might also be eyeing up some of the official Sony accessories to go with your sleek new console. The charging dock and the Pulse headset are the obvious choices, but something a bit less obvious is the official Playstation 5 Media Remote that promises the be the ultimate in media control! Er, well, actually, it just promises to let you, “Conveniently navigate entertainment on your PlayStation®5 console with intuitive media and TV controls.” But is it actually any good at that? Let’s find out.
As the first exclusive game available on Microsoft’s latest consoles, The Medium has been an enticing prospect. It also put a bit of pressure on Bloober Team, the developers of such horror/psychological games as Layers of Fear, Observer and Blair Witch. A lot of eyes were always going to fall on The Medium as people were eager to get a taste of the first exclusive, albeit an exclusive also available on PC due to Microsoft’s business model. So, is The Medium a worthy reason to rush out and buy an Xbox Series S or Series X? No. Not really. And not just because you can’t find any Xbox Series consoles, anyway.
It’s hard to see how Destruction AllStars was ever being considered as a boxed, £70 launch title for the PS5. It’s such a weird tale: Destruction AllStars to be one of just three PS5 exclusive games available at launch and was perhaps the most potentially exciting as the three considering the other two were a freebie and a remake of a beloved, older game. Destruction AllStars was not only going to be one of just three launch exclusives, but it was also going to be the only brand new IP, the only unknown quantity. But suspicions were raised when nothing of the game was being shown. We knew it was a multiplayer game about wrecking cars in arenas, but that was it. Then it got delayed, and then finally Sony revealed it was going to be free for Playstation Plus subscribers. There’s fun to be had but it feels like someone accidentally deleted a bunch of content from the game and couldn’t get it back. Four arenas, incredibly boring customization and shallow gameplay make this worth £10-15 at most, not £70, although there is at least a solid chassis for developer Lucid Games to build on down the road.