Watch Dogs: Legion takes place in a future London where drones cruise through the sky, cars drive themselves and everybody dress like they’ve just walked off the set of a punk rock video. However, a private security company by the name of Albion essentially rules London following a series of devastating bombings that are blamed on DedSec, the same group we’ve been following for the prior two games. As a member of DedSec you know that your hacktivist group has been framed, but by who and why is the mystery that needs solving. Luckily for you, the people of London are ready to rise up, and you can literally play as any single one of them. Previous Watch Dogs have presented the idea of anyone being able to rise up and make a difference, but Legion makes it a reality by making every NPC you meet a potential DedSec operative. So, is Watch Dogs: Legion another by-the-numbers Ubisoft game, or something special?
With Cyberpunk 2077 having been delayed for the *checks the calendar* 124th time, there’s a bit of a gap in the market for some grungy sci-fi. Enter Ghostrunner, a first-person game that describes itself as a “hardcore FPP slasher.” I’d describe it as the bastard baby of Mirror’s Edge and Dishonored. It’s fast, frenetic, and frequently exhilarating. It’s the kind of game that can make you clutch your mouse like it owes you money.
Massive tyres, 1,6000HP engines, insane jumps and incredible drivers who are willing to crash, bash and trash their vehicles in the name of competition and entertainment. Yup, monster trucks are all sorts of awesome, and playing Monster Truck Championship has made me add a new item to my wishlist: drive a monster truck. But for now Monster Truck Championship will have to do, so let’s see if this newest attempt at capturing the size and power of these awesome machines stacks up, shall?
The Star Wars license is not what it once was thanks to the new, divisive trilogy and the inconsistency of EA’s games. But Star Wars still has the power to tap into our collective nostalgia, and we’ve all just been waiting for EA to get their act together and start using the Star Wars license properly. Star Wars: Fallen Order was a pretty good step forward, and Star Wars: Battlefront 2 has grown into something far stronger than it began life as. But now Motive Studios and EA have come out with Star Wars; Squadrons, a space combat game where you pilot X-wings and TIE fighters, and live out all those childhood fantasies. Or at least, the childhood fantasies second to having an actual working lightsaber.
Just like the Hulk himself, Marvel’s Avengers is two very different personalities in the same body. The first is a single player game with a reasonable story and a handful of decent missions. It wouldn’t rival the likes of Marvel’s Spider-Man or the Batman: Arkham series, but it’s mindless fun. The second personality is a live-service game for groups of up to four players in the vein of Destiny with heavy monetization that intends on adding new characters and content over the coming years. Like the Hulk and Bruce Banner, these two personalities are almost always at odds, struggling to co-exist. But unlike the Hulk, Marvel’s Avengers isn’t big, green and awesome.
THE year was 2012 and the world had not yet burst into flames. It was a simpler time. It was also the year one of my favourite RPGs came out, amidst a bunch of drama surrounding its development owing to the fact that Rhode Island had helped fund the game’s creation. 38 Studios was founded by former Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling with the aim of turning his gaming hobby into something more, and to create awesome new RPGs with the help of Todd McFarlane and R.A. Salvatore. He succeeded: Amalur is excellent, and in some alternate reality its sequels would have kicked ass. But despite solid sales of 1.2-million copies, too much money had been spent on development. Payments weren’t made on time, 38 Studios began to collapse. It would take near four years for the court case between Rhode Island, 38 Studios and Curt Schilling to be settled. So it’s something of a miracle that eight years later we have Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-reckoning, a remaster of the original game and a spark of hope that we might still yet get a sequel.
The Dirt series has had a bit of trouble settling on an identity, with DiRT 2.0 being the pure rally sim and then DiRT 4 trying to juggle rallying and a bunch of other stuff on the side. But now it seems like Codemasters might be settling into a rhythm because DiRT 5 is on the opposite end of the spectrum from DiRT 2.0. The colours are vibrant, the music is loud and the focus is on jumps, bumps and wheel-to-wheel racing. We don’t even know if there will be any regular rally stages. With around a month until launch, Codemasters offered me a preview build of their newest mode: Playgrounds, a place where you can make your own events and share them with the world.
The “beta” (Read; demo) for Crystal Dynamics forthcoming Avengers game was open to everyone to play over the weekend, so I jumped in and spent some time smashing stuff as the Hulk, flying around as Iron-Man, kicking ass as Black Widow and generally avoiding playing as the annoying Kamala Khan as much as possible. With less than a month until the Avengers is out, this demo is our chance to see if we’re going to get an awesome new superhero game that can stand with Marvel’s Spider-Man and the Arkham games.
“Wake the fuck up Samurai, we have a city to burn.” Ah wait, that’s the wrong game. Despite not featuring the shining excellence of Keenu Reeves, being overshadowed by The Last of Us Part 2 and getting considerably less attention from Sony than Naughty Dog’s long-awaited disappointment, Ghost of Tsushima has ended up being a fantastic end to the Playstation 4’s long line of strong exclusive games. Ghost of Tsushima is selling great and breaking records, and it thoroughly deserves to. Marvel’s Spider-Man let us be the web-slinger. Red Dead Redemption 2 let us live our cowboy fantasies. Ghost of Tsushima lets us live with honor as Samurai.
The classic fetch quest is a staple of gaming, typically found in RPGs that want to pad out their length by sending players scurrying back and forth carrying useless tat. In the case of Death Stranding however, the entire game is a seemingly never-ending series of fetch quests. It’s like Kojima only just discovered them, and after completing a few in other games branded them the greatest thing in the history of videogames ever and built an entire new game around them. As Sam Porter Bridges you are a courier, tasked with lugging cargo of all types across a bleak post-apocolyptic world where the majority of people are hunkered down in bunkers. Chiral printing lets them create a lot of what they need, but there’s also a lot of stuff that still needs to be transported the good old fashioned way: on Sam’s back. In this 40+ hour game the majority of your time will be spent going back and forth, delivering parcels. Exactly how something so utterly boring wound up being so utterly absorbing is a mystery.