Sometimes games can be difficult to talk about coherently. Take Seven: The Days Long Gone, for instance; there were times when I was genuinely enjoying its open-world stealth-RPG mechanics and unique world, and yet there were also other times when I utterly hated it. It can be pleasingly willing to let you figure things out for yourself, and it can be annoyingly vague about many things. Its parkour can let you smoothly slide into a heavily patrolled area, and it can be breathtakingly clumsy in its controls. This new game from a bunch of ex-Witcher developers is one hell of a mixed bag from start to finish, and it feels like every 30-seconds of gameplay is a rollercoaster.
There is a well-known line in the Star Wars movies that applies perfectly here. “You were the Chosen One! You were supposed to destroy the Sith, not join them. You were supposed to bring balance to the force, not leave it in darkness.” Of course, it’s the scene in Revenge of the Sith where Obi-Wan Kenobi faces down his former Padawan and friend Anakin Skywalker, or as he now calls himself, Darth Vader. Still, it’s apt here. While last years Battlefront left a lot of people feeling let-down I still quite enjoyed it despite its issues. I had high hopes for a sequel, and yet EA managed to fall deeper into the Dark Side, taking the beloved Star Wars name with it.
It has been two years since we last had an Assassin’s Creed game, the previously yearly franchise taking a small break in order to go back to the drawing board for a sorely needed refresh. Except what we’ve gotten is more of a patchwork quilt made up of pieces from lots of other popular games, resulting in the best game in the franchise in years while also being a poor Assassin’s Creed game.
2015’s Hand of Fate from Defiant Entertainment was one of those genuinely wonderful surprises, a game that came out of nowhere with a small budget and a loving team who had a concept they wanted to turn into a reality. So over two years later we’ve got a sequel, and like the first game it has come out of nowhere. I didn’t even realize there was going to be a Hand of Fate 2 until the press release stating it was released landed in my inbox. Is this one a wonderful surprise, too?
The mighty Roman Empire is ingrained in my head, such a big role it has played in history. But while many people can envision marching columns of Roman troops conquering everything they came near there are huge swathes of their history that is much lesser known. It’s in one of these lesser-known eras that Numantia has settled its strategic routes, telling a tale firmly entrenched in reality and embellished with a few heroic characters.
A sprawling open-world, microtransactions, RPG levelling mechanics, loot and clusters of mundane side-quests that have been copied and pasted. These, it seems, are the foundations of modern triple-A video game development, the industry pumping them out like there is no tomorrow. And yet here’s is Bethesda and MachineGames putting out a linear, singleplayer FPS without a microtransaction in sight that is easily the best shooter since 2016’s awesome DOOM reboot. It’s almost like you can make a quality game without slapping consumers in the face, isn’t it?
God damn, Warner Bros., you couldn’t just release a game without finding a way to stuff microtransactions into it, could you? Before Shadow of War even hit stores shelves it was revealed that there would be purchasable loot crates, and understandably the Internet was not happy, especially since Warner Bros. had already announced different tiers of the game for you to buy on launch. Having played through the game I can at least confirm that they are optional, but at the same time they’ve clearly influenced the design as the end-game is a brutal slog in order to get a second ending that feels as though it was made with the sole intention of pushing players toward spending real cash. It’s a shame because these microtransactions cash a shadow (see what I did there, eh? EH!?) across what is otherwise a very fun title.