Of all the things I imagined Firaxis doing, mostly involving getting on with XCOM 3, there was never a point where I considered them getting their hands on the Marvel license and making a turn-based tactics game involving the Midnight Suns, cards and attending a weekly book club meeting with Blade where you end up discussing a Kree book outlining their military doctrine. And yet here we are. Firaxis has taken their genius and attempted something interesting and a little weird, mixing a bunch of ideas into a chunky 40+ hour adventure. Like a long-running comic’s canon, Marvel’s Midnight Suns is…complicated.
The Crossfire franchise was something of a mystery to me, a name that has been around since the early 2000’s and boasts of being the biggest FPS in the world. Yet, like me, you probably haven’t even heard of it. In 2020 the free-to-play shooter laid claim to a whopping 6 million active players, with most of those being in Asia, and has grossed over $ 10 billion. Over the past few years, there’s been an effort to push Crossfire into Western markets, as well as turn into a multi-genre franchise. So, with my limited knowledge of what Crossfire is, I decided to check out Crossfire: Legion, an RTS developed by Canadian studio Blackbird Interactive.
Like a sleeper car with a highly tuned engine under the hood pulling up to the starting line, Need for Speed: Unbound arrived with almost no hype, despite developer Criterion returning for the first time since 2012. Leading up to its launch there had hardly been any marketing and review codes weren’t handed out until launch day, usually an ominous sign that the publisher either doesn’t have any faith in the game or that there are some big issues. But just like that sleeper car sitting on the line, when the flag drops Need for Speed: Unbound unleashes all that hidden potential. It’s not the best racer out there, but it’s the best game in the series for a long time and a lot of fun. Provided you can put up with the horrendous story, that is.
Following up on greatness is never easy. Santa Monica had the element of surprise when they revived God of War in 2018 and so when the world got to experience the epic return of Kratos it became a hit of Godlike proportions, selling millions of copies, snatching up awards like Kratos grabbing Hacksilver and becoming one of the most beloved Playstation games in history. But God of War: Ragnarock doesn’t have the element of surprise; we know what to expect now, what Santa Monica can do with the Ghost of Sparta. So after a 4-year wait, has God of War: Ragnarock delivered the epic climax we were all hoping for?
Initially released a year ago on PC to a very positive rating, this rogue-lite FPS where you blast away heaps of baddies while collecting upgrades has made the leap to console. Gunfire Reborn was a supremely pleasant surprise to me, coming from absolutely nowhere and being a good time from start to finish. It’s also another solid grab for Game Pass in Xbox’s continuous mission to find content to feed its ever-expanding subscription service. This is the kind of game you can stumble upon while browsing Game Pass, download on a whim and wind up engrossed in.
It has been nine long years since Warner Bros Montreal last released a game. Batman: Arkham Origins was the forgotten child, shoved to the side as people referred to the Arkham “trilogy” developed by Rocksteady. And while it was certainly true that Arkham Origins didn’t hit quite the same highs, Warner Bros Montreal still delivered a rock-solid Batman game. With that success, the future seemed bright for Warner Bros Montreal as they were primed to take over the Batman license while Rocksteady moved on to other things. But then they released the Batgirl DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight and…vanished. Reports of canceled projects such as an Arkham Knight sequel starring Damian Wayne and a Suicide Squad title threw the entire studio’s existence into question. Nine years is a long time for a studio to expend money without putting anything out. Here we are, though; Gotham Knights, a brand new Batman game that isn’t set in the Arkham universe, a chance for Warner Bros Montreal to don their cape and cowl again, an opportunity to prove themselves the heroes we deserve.
Asterigos: Curse of the Stars is yet another game in a long line of games that wants to liken itself to the “souls” genre despite actually having very little in common with From Software’s desire to beat people into submission. Aside from a lack of a map and losing some resources when you die, Asterigos has nothing to do with Dark Souls or its ilk, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in good qualities. While it might not offer anything new or groundbreaking there is a solidly designed action-RPG here that offers a lot of content for a relatively low price, and for the right person that’s going to be a killer deal.
The Dakar Rally is one of the coolest motorsport events in the world, an epic race across the vast expanses of Saudi Arabia that tests not only pure speed but also navigation skills and endurance. Cars, trucks, quads, bikes and buggies blast along tracks, leap over dunes and slide around bends in a bid to get the best time in stages that span hundreds of kilometres. It’s also a testament to just how crazy and arrogant humans really are – we see an endless desert and think to ourselves, “let’s drive some stuff over it!” Dakar Desert Rally from Sabre Interactive is the latest attempt to capture the magic and epicness of the event and I’m happy to be able to tell you that it’s quite a step up from the 2018 game. This can be a rewarding game for anybody willing to put in the time, but some rough edges keep it from being truly great.
In 1991, Monkey Island 2: Le Chuck’s Revenge dropped a bonkers cliffhanger on fans that wouldn’t ever get truly addressed. The man who created the series, Ron Gilbert, left Lucas Arts after the second game was released and with him, the exact plan for the story of Monkey Island was gone. But the series wouldn’t end there – several more adventures would be released that tried to capture the magic of the first two, and all the while Ron Gilbert dreamt about getting to make a third game. That dream would take three decades and the Monkey Island IP going to Disney to come true. Made by Terrible Toybox with Gilbert at the helm, Return to Monkey Island is a triumphant resurgence for a beloved series.
Since 2016, Blackmill has been putting out World War 1 based shooters. Verdun and Tannenburg have both tried to provide a somewhat authentic experience of the warfare of the time, pitting teams of players against each other using period weapons. For this third entry, the developers chose the Italian front, specifically an area of the Isonzo river which was the only feasible place for the Italians to attack the Austro-Hungarian forces which had fortified the mountainous region. Half of the Italian’s war casualties would occur in this small area as they attempted to overcome the core problem they faced; to cross the river they needed to eliminate the Austro-Hungarian defenders but to eliminate the defenders they needed to cross the river.