It has been nine long years since Warner Bros Montreal last released a game. Batman: Arkham Origins was the forgotten child, shoved to the side as people referred to the Arkham “trilogy” developed by Rocksteady. And while it was certainly true that Arkham Origins didn’t hit quite the same highs, Warner Bros Montreal still delivered a rock-solid Batman game. With that success, the future seemed bright for Warner Bros Montreal as they were primed to take over the Batman license while Rocksteady moved on to other things. But then they released the Batgirl DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight and…vanished. Reports of canceled projects such as an Arkham Knight sequel starring Damian Wayne and a Suicide Squad title threw the entire studio’s existence into question. Nine years is a long time for a studio to expend money without putting anything out. Here we are, though; Gotham Knights, a brand new Batman game that isn’t set in the Arkham universe, a chance for Warner Bros Montreal to don their cape and cowl again, an opportunity to prove themselves the heroes we deserve.
Asterigos: Curse of the Stars is yet another game in a long line of games that wants to liken itself to the “souls” genre despite actually having very little in common with From Software’s desire to beat people into submission. Aside from a lack of a map and losing some resources when you die, Asterigos has nothing to do with Dark Souls or its ilk, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in good qualities. While it might not offer anything new or groundbreaking there is a solidly designed action-RPG here that offers a lot of content for a relatively low price, and for the right person that’s going to be a killer deal.
The Dakar Rally is one of the coolest motorsport events in the world, an epic race across the vast expanses of Saudi Arabia that tests not only pure speed but also navigation skills and endurance. Cars, trucks, quads, bikes and buggies blast along tracks, leap over dunes and slide around bends in a bid to get the best time in stages that span hundreds of kilometres. It’s also a testament to just how crazy and arrogant humans really are – we see an endless desert and think to ourselves, “let’s drive some stuff over it!” Dakar Desert Rally from Sabre Interactive is the latest attempt to capture the magic and epicness of the event and I’m happy to be able to tell you that it’s quite a step up from the 2018 game. This can be a rewarding game for anybody willing to put in the time, but some rough edges keep it from being truly great.
The massive monstrosity that is the Embracer Group continues to gobble up more and more developers and intellectual properties, and regardless of how you feel about that one good thing has come of it; a willingness to mine their extensive catalogue via remasters and remakes, many of which seem to designed to test whether there’s an audience for a brand new game. In 2020, Black Forest released their remake/remaster of Destroy All Humans, a cult classic from the Playstation 2 days where you played as an alien invading Earth. Now, the much-beloved sequel has gotten the same treatment from Black Forest, making me wonder if we might finally get to see Destroy All Humans 3. That’s the future, though – let’s focus on the here and now; is Destroy All Humans 2: Reprobed still fun in 2022 and has Black Forest done it justice?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is kind of like a remaster, remake and entirely new game, all at the same time. It takes stages, ideas and other elements from the classic TMNT arcade games and mashes them together with some modern sensibilities. It’s like asking the pizzeria to take all the possible toppings and throw them on the pizza, but instead of some hideous gloopy mess that tastes like Master Splinter’s backside, you end up with a great pie. Cowabunga, dudes!
This foray into the bug extermination by Slitherine isn’t based on the original book that was published in 1959. Hell, the fact that there even was a book will probably surprise a lot of people. I’m glad that developer Artistocrats chose to focus on the movie, though, because while I do usually hold that films based on books are typically inferior to their source material, in this instance I firmly believe the movie to be vastly superior to the pen and paper version. Plus, the movie is far more commonly known, although as much of a cult following as it has, the Starship Troopers name doesn’t have huge appeal. When I was a kid, Starship Troopers was a goofy, gory action flick, but as I grew up and rewatched it I started to notice its tongue-in-cheek humour and its emphasis on war propaganda. It’s a great movie and you should absolutely go and watch it. Although you certainly don’t need to have seen the film to enjoy this tight, fun little RTS, without the context the movie provides you might be left wondering if the game is being completely serious or if it’s taking the mickey. It’s the second one, in case you didn’t figure it out.
Ye olde London was not a nice place. Grime, dirt and detritus covered the streets, smog hung in the air, hygiene was more of a myth than reality and people disappeared on a fairly regular basis due to being pressganged, walking down the wrong alley, drunkenly stumbling into the ocean or any number of delightfully degrading deaths,. Living day to day was a hardship for the common people, made all the harder by the absurd cost of meat. But…humans are meat, right? Seems like a prime business opportunity. Cue the Ravenous Devils, Hildred and Percival, and their lives of butchery and business management.
Probably every review of Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is going to refer to this game as being Borderlands with a coat of Dungeons & Dragons paint. But as unoriginal as that might sound, it’s also an incredibly accurate statement that explains everything about the game that you need to know. This is essentially a reskin of Borderlands 3, and with that comes a lot of good and a fair bit of not so good. The shooting and looting loop is excellent and the humour is much stronger than it was in the previous game. But on the other hand, the structure of the game has barely changed since the original Borderlands and there’s a strong sense Gearbox needs to think about how to evolve their missions designs. In short, if you still love Borderlands and have a soft spot for fantasy then this is going to be for you. And if Borderlands is starting to grind your gears, it’s best avoided. Me? I fall firmly into the first camp.
Horizon: Zero Dawn was the surprise of 2017, in many ways. It’s not like people weren’t excited about the prospect of a new game from the developers of the Killzone franchise, but a new IP is always risky and Guerilla was taking a sizable step out of their comfort zone, going from a first-person shooter to a third-person action-adventure set in a massive open world. Any doubts were quickly smashed into pieces though, as Forbidden west sold over 2.5.-million copies in just the first two weeks, and as I write this that number is now over 20-million. Clearly, Sony had a new franchise on its hands and a sequel was all but inevitable, especially as Guerilla had carefully laid the foundations for Aloy’s next adventure. Half a decade later that sequel has finally arrived, and while it’s not a true PS5 exclusive, Horizon: Forbidden West is a safe, solid follow-up that will doubtless sell millions more copies before the series disappears for another 5-years.
Achievements and Trophies can tell you a lot about a game. They can inform us of how people played a game, or at what point they started to give up. In the case of The Waylanders however, the Steam Achievements paint a damaging picture of just how quickly players gave up on it. An Achievement for completing a story mission, an unavoidable Achievement earned a mere hour or two into the game, lists a measly 17.6% of players have got it. That number gets almost halved for the next story achievement, just 8.1% at the time of writing this. And the Achievement for reaching level 3, which doesn’t take long, is just 2.9%.