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%.
I’m on a spaceship with a talking tree, a creature that most definitely isn’t a raccoon and a space Llama. In any other game this could be considered weird, but in Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s just a Monday. Assuming they have Mondays in space. It was never brought up. The point is, the Guardians of the Galaxy are one of the strangest groups in comic books, and until Marvel turned them into a household name in 2014 they were a relatively unknown bunch of misfits that dealt in some of the weirdest aspects of the Marvel universe. So a videogame based on their antics sounds like a perfect fit. We deal in weird shit all the time. How does their first foray into games hold up?
German developer Monokel are the new kids on the block, entering the fray with their first project, White Shadows. These are probably the game’s I hate reviewing the most because criticising any new developer trying to enter the scene with something cool and different feels like running up to a child and punching them in the kidney. But as I always I write reviews with the player in mind, not the developer. White Shadows is certainly unique and a hell of a debut for a new company in many regards. It shows incredible artistic strength. The gameplay just isn’t up to par, however. So let’s jump into this.
The Avengers heading to Xbox Game Pass was probably, to steal a phrase from Thanos, inevitable. It sold okay but struggled to make its development budget back, and its reception was rather lukewarm. Hell, my own review was hardly a glowing recommendation. But now that it’s on Game Pass? Well, Marvel’s The Avengers becomes a more enticing prospect. It may have found its true home. Time to suit up.