The venerable Halo franchise holds a hallowed place in the history of gaming as one of the greatest FPS franchises ever, even if the more recent entries from 343 Industries are more… divisive. But in the midst of that all that first-person goodness it’s easy to forget the two Halo spin-offs that took the series in very different directions. The two top-down twin-stick shooters were terrible attempts to capitalise on the Halo name and should never been spoken of in polite conversation. Halo Wars, on the other hand, fared much better when it tried to help bring the RTS genre to the Xbox 360 in 2009 and earned itself a sequel, albeit a sequel that eight years to arrive. While Halo Wars 2 is actually the newest Halo game to have been released, it’s also incredibly easy to overlook. I’m here to tell you that Halo Wars 2 is a real-time strategy gem that acts as a great jumping off point for bigger, more awesome RTS titles.
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!
Sup’ my gaming brothers and sisters! Yup, it’s another Weekend Whammy where I spout nonsense and then question all my life choices leading up to this moment in time. I haven’t put out any reviews, so instead I’ll just be jumping straight into the news this week because Sony decided to just go nuts all of a sudden. But I did put out the second part of Best of Xbox Game Pass and thus you should go and read it. Go on. Go do it. Go. GO!
On the very first Best of Xbox Game Pass last week I opted to kick things off with something light and airy and cheerful. Peggle 2 is the epitome of a game anyone can pick up and play. This week in the Best of Xbox Game Pass I’m going completely in the opposite direction with a Grand strategy game that is so Grand it needs a capital G. Stellaris: Console Edition is an epic strategy game where you take control of an entire civilization and guide it as it ventures out into the depths of space to colonize new planets, discover incredible secrets, find alien races, engage in wars that span the galaxy, form alliances and hopefully carve out their place in the universe. Stellaris can be dauntingly huge thanks to its focus on menus and numbers, but if you’re willing to sacrifice almost all your free time and possibly your first-born child to it, Stellaris can also be incredibly rewarding.
MOOOOOOOOOOORTAL KOMBAT! DUN DUN DUN DUN DA DUN. Yes, the trailer for the new Mortal Kombat trailer was shoved out onto Youtube and it’s glorious. Quite honest, after the sheer perfection of the 1996 Mortal Kombat (God, that movie is so hilariously goofy. I love it) I never thought we’d see a modern Mortal Kombat flick, especially because the games themselves are essentially Mortal Kombat movies already. I mean, have you played Mortal Kombat 11? It has over four freaking hours of cutscenes that are so cheesy and melodramatic that it might just make you explode from grinning at the insanity of it all.
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.
Peggle 2 made its way onto Game Pass fairly recently thanks to EA Play getting rolled into the already gigantic library of titles. And what a brilliant addition it is, a colourful explosion of goodness that is fine-tuned to make you smile. Over the years since its initial launch in 2013, Peggle 2 has become a game I go back to regularly when I’m looking to just kick back and relax with something simple yet satisfying, easy yet tricky. While people argue over whether Peggle 2 is a good sequel or not, for me it’s easily the best of the available Peggle games.
Ah, yes, a Weekend Whammy that isn’t even near the weekend. There wasn’t a lot I felt like saying this week, so I’ll keep this one short. But never sweet.
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.