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.
In the past, I’ve often failed to see the appeal of gaming orientated laptops, largely because their battery life is so short that taking one on a train journey or something seems a bit pointless if there’s no nearby wall socket handy. Still, sitting in the middle of the woods playing The Witcher 3 is kind of cool. The laptop I was using to do this is the ST-Plus from Thunderobot, a predominantly western company who are now seeking to move into the eastern market with their products. As this is my first laptop review let’s see if I can muddle through this with my already limited dignity intact.
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.
The variety of themes which game designers can find ways of slotting mechanics into never ceases to amaze me. Sagrada is all about using dice to craft stain-glass windows, and while the theme is fairly superficial it does lead to some rather stunning components and a strong presence on the table. But the most important thing of all is that when you open the box you’re greeted with ninety brightly colored dice and a handy-dandy bag to put them in. Ninety dice! What a time to be alive, eh?
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.