Let’s take a meander down the ruined street of memories to a console generation where grey and brown were the predominant colours. The Xbox 360 had been out for a year and was doing well for itself, with several games managing to shift over a million copies. As for me, I was finally looking to move on from my ageing Playstation 2 and join the new generation of consoles with their shiny graphics. As a PS2 owner, the PS3 was naturally tempting – I was familiar with the games already, after all, but the price tag was pretty hefty. The Xbox 360 looked great, but nothing on it stood out to me. And then Epic Games and Microsoft revealed their new game, Gears of War, and suddenly the choice was obvious. It turned out to be a good choice because the Xbox 360 era was glorious.
It’s time to take a trip into the murky past, into the olden days of gaming when point and click adventure games thrived and everyone was well versed in their frequently baffling leaps of logic. First released back in 1993, Day of the Tentacle is actually a sequel to 1987’s Maniac Mansion, not that you need to know anything about that game to enjoy its sequel.
Videogame development is a complex and challenging task that takes years of experience and learning to master. The very best in the industry have spent thousands of hours honing their craft. They’ve burned away countless hours coming up with ideas and concepts for new games or how to take an existing franchise and spin it off into a different genre. But not The Coalition. Nah, they just took Gears of War and, in their own words, “we actually just took existing Gears and just moved the camera up.” Bloody geniuses.
Are you really a lover of games if you don’t have that one title that turns you into a ball of squealing nerdiness? That one game that speaks to you on some sort of spiritual level, the likes of which your own partner can’t even reach? For me, that game is Hades, one of the finest works of art our beloved medium has seen in years, and right up there in my top ten favorite games of all time. A hyperbolic statement for sure, but I’m going to need to you to shut up and just let me have this one, okay? Because now that Hades has hit Game Pass and launched on Playstation, there’s no excuse for failing to experience Supergiant’s masterpiece.
After living through (Well, so far) a pandemic I will never again question why people would insist on trying to re-open Jurassic Park multiple times despite what happened previously. Humans, as it turns out, have amazingly short memories and will insist in repeating mistakes they just made, even if those mistakes happen to weigh several tonnes and have huge teeth. Jurassic World: Evolution lets you take on the role of yet another idiot intent on turning dinosaurs into a tourist attraction, but you’re doing it for the best possible reasons: science money.
Have you ever stared intently at a cup because you’re absolutely 100% sure it wasn’t there a minute ago? Have you ever considered a bucket deeply suspicious? Have you ever adamantly informed your friend/lover/partner/parents/dog that the alarm clock is actually an alien life form capable of mimicking any inanimate object? if you have then congratulations, you’ve probably enjoyed some bloody good drugs. But if you haven’t and want to experience this life of constant paranoia, then Prey is the game for you.
Ah, the humble purveyor of all things healing, helpful and harmful. There’s always a store in RPGs that carries mountains of things a hapless adventurer might find useful, from wheels of cheese to high-quality armour, magic gems and seemingly legendary weapons that they are willing to part with for a relatively small fee. These peddlers of wares are little more than set dressing for us adventurers, their entire existence ignored up until the point where we would like to buy 100 health potions that we will never actually use. But where do they get all their stock from? How the hell does someone who looks like they could barely afford some bread have a legendary sword of demon slaying? That’s where Moonlighter comes in.
There’s nothing quite like the classic mascot platformers, and of course the king of these is Mario, a legendary icon that is locked off unless you own a Nintendo console (or play the naff Mario runner mobile game.) But that doesn’t mean you can’t find some games that come close to capturing the Mario magic, which is exactly what I’m looking at today. New Super Lucky’s Tale is a platformer and love letter to games like Mario 64, Crash Bandicoot and Spyro, so if you’re looking for something breezy look no further.
Look, I’m like 60% certain that I’m not a psychopath with a lust for extreme violence, but I also can’t die that something about brutal X-ray views of innards becoming outtards and spleens being exploded gives me a warm, tingly sensation. It’s for that reason that the manic action of the new Mortal Kombat games is so engaging to me, and it’s at least partially why this week I’m recommending to you Sniper Elite 4, a game that delivers glorious slot-motion shots of bullets obliterating testicles and intestines alike. But, y’know, the rest of the game is pretty good, too.
We all have regrets in life and one of mine is that I was far too harsh on Maneater when it came out last year, scoring it just two out of five while trying to explain that despite its various shortcomings it was also bloody good fun at times. Perhaps I was trying too hard to be a critic, a connoisseur of video games instead of someone just looking for a good time. So let’s set the record straight: Maneater isn’t an amazing game, especially when you look at it more critically, but it also a game about getting to play as a giant shark that munches humans, destroys boats and developers incredible mutations. If you know what you’re getting into, Maneater is a damn good time, and it’s the perfect fodder for Game Pass.