Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart opens with a celebration of our two titular heroes, a parade thrown in their honour. As the duo make their way through parade floats that reference their prior adventures Ratchet points out that it has been years since they’ve even done anything vaguely heroic, so why are they being celebrated? And do they really still have it? Are they still capable of daring-do and heroic heroism? Of course, as per the unwritten rules of video games things quickly go wrong; Dr Nefarious arrives just in time to steal the Dimensionator which Crank was going to gift to his friend in the hopes of letting him find his lost people, and the very fabric of space and time begins to rip apart.
Biomutant comes from a small team of just 20-people and has captured my interest every time it has been shown over the last four years or so. And how could it not? It’s an action-RPG about being a mutated mammal who knows martial arts, set in a luscious post-apocalyptic world where humans are long-gone and now it’s just weirdly mutated animals everywhere. I hope that if we ever die out as a species our planet gets taken over by some new, strange form of life that runs around in the ruins of our cities and spends ages making up strange-sounding words to describe our technology.
Days Gone has ridden onto Steam as the latest Playstation exclusive to make it onto PC, opening up Bend Studio’s work to a whole new audience. I reviewed Days Gone when it first launched on the PS4 back in 2018 and found it to be entertaining to play with a strong lead character. A couple of years on my initial thoughts haven’t changed too much, so you can check out the original review for those. Now, though, we the recent news of a potential sequel being turned down by Sony it’s interesting to revisit Days Gone and see why I think it does deserve one to fulfil all the potential it has. And if you just want an idea of how good the PC port is, jump down toward the end of the review.
There are a few reasons why this isn’t a full review of the new Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. Number one is that the sci-fi trilogy contains dozens and dozens of hours of content and doing a full review will take a while. The second reason is that there are already hundreds of reviews for all three games, and while those reviews might not be for the Legendary Edition they remain largely relevant today, so it makes more sense to focus on the technical side of things. But the biggest and most important reason, at least to me, is because I want to take my time with this one. The Mass Effect games are special to me, a massive part of my teenage years and a huge factor in my love of the Xbox 360 era. To review this new Legendary Edition in a timely fashion I’d have to rush through them all, and…well, I’m just not willing to do that to myself. Sorry. I’m going to savour every moment, do every quest and maybe even chase down every Platinum trophy. This partial review, then, is based off of 20-hours with the first Mass Effect and a quick look at the other two games. Plus, the first game features the vast majority of the remastering effort due to its age, and so focusing on that seems sensible.
Rogue-likes might be incredibly popular among a certain group of players who love to torture themselves as they crawl and scrape for every piece of progress, but they’ve rarely made the jump to triple-A, typically being the domain of smaller developers. Housemarque has changed that with Returnal, a game that combines their experience in bullet-hell arcade games with the classic rogue-like experience of dying again and again and again. Throw in gorgeous graphics, a whole bunch of systems and a story that could make a Christopher Nolan movie seem straightforward, and you have the ingredients for a rather interesting Playstation 5 exclusive. But is it worth spending £70 on?
Well, better late than never, right? Weeks after becoming a hit, in no small way due to launching on Game Pass on day one, my review for Outriders is finally here. People Can Fly have been quiet over the years, working on co-developing and remastering Bulletstorm, so it’s great to see the former Gears of War: Judgement developers releasing their own project after so long, a sci-fi third-person shooter with plenty of loot. Is it worth playing? Should you pick it up or download it from Game pass? Yes, and yes.
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.