Based on their childhood experiences in the communist-ruled nation of Romania the developers have managed to create a dystopian world that draws from their own memories of a country that only abandoned communist totalitarianism in 1989. Here they’ve taken their history and moulded it into a bleak vision of workers toiling away on dirty machines and stomping mechs that ensure none escape. Those who step out of line risk death at the hands of large supervisors and plentiful automated gun systems. It’s an oppressive atmosphere that is somehow still full of beautiful, bleak moments thanks to a strong visual style.
If Milestone were a MotoGP rider then they’d be the one that comes into the sport brimming with untapped potential before eventually sinking into the middle of the pack, rarely seen again except for an occasional flash of brilliance. Basically, they’d be Bradley Smith. They’ve been putting out thoroughly middle-of-the-road racing games for years, and have thus far developed three official MotoGP games, with the last one I reviewed being MotoGP ’14. Still, last year’s Ride 2 was enjoyable albeit flawed, so I went into this new digital iteration of my favourite sport with high hopes.
Screaming round a dirt bend at speeds no mortal should ever consider while nursing a punctured tire is when DiRT 4 is at its very best, the frantic desire to be the fastest having to be weighed against the need to just finish the stage and get a chance to repair your limping car. But as we’ll find out there are a few problems holding DiRT 4 back from being as good as it could be.
When everything comes together Hover: Revolt of Gamers is beautiful, a neon-colored blur of fluid movement across rooftops, walls and massive gaps that makes you feel like an ultra precise badass. It becomes even better when you take part in a race that uses the environment well, crafting a wonderful course that clicks with the controls to lull you into that awesome state known as flow. This spiritual successor to Jet Set Radio has run onto the Steam store after several years in Early Access, so now that we can finally get our hands on to it there’s just one question: is it good?
From behind a wall of trees far in the distance my artillery unleashes a barrage of smoke to blind the MG42 heavy machine gun that would otherwise rip my infrantry apart. With cover in place my troops run across open ground and flank the position, only to find an enemy tank has been waiting patiently behind a nearby building, and my own lack of recon means I was unprepared for it. Stupid me. My troops get pinned down, rendering them useless, and then they get demolished. Fine. Time to bring up the heavy armor, complete with air support that smashes the anti-tank guns sitting way back before my own tanks roll in. On another front I’ve got some infantry holding a town with anti-tank weapons supporting them from across the open fields where they can get a good bead on anything big and ugly rolling in to cause trouble. The enemy are starting to reinforce, though, presumably seeking to push their frontline forward by smashing straight through my town. With recon I can see them bringing in artillery, anti-air guns, infantry, and tanks. War it is, then.
It has done my heart good to see Netherealm return from the brink of self-annihilation. The creators of Mortal Kombat were a huge part of my childhood as I spent many happy hours trying to master Sub-zero. But along the way the studio got off-track and Mortal Kombat plunged into the depths, and many thought it would never be seen again. Seemingly against the odds, though, Netherealm returned to form with a new Mortal Kombat that was brilliant, then proceeded to follow it up with Injustice: Gods Among Us, a DC-themed fighting game that was basically Mortal Kombat under the hood but without the gore. The release of Mortal Kombat X saw the studio improve on the formula again, and now here we are with Injustice 2. Spoiler alert: Netherealm have done it again.
One Dog Story is a failed Kickstarter tale. Originally promising branching side-quests, deep NPCs and a plethora of locations to explore what we’ve actually gotten is a much simpler game, albeit one that attempts to keep some of its original vision with the inclusion of multiple endings and a few other things. But failure on Kickstarter doesn’t mean failure as a game, and while One Dog Story may not be anything spectacular there’s an enjoyable, straightforward 2D shooter-platformer here that should keep genre fans fairly happy.