I’ve really been letting these Weekend Whammys slip, haven’t I? I’ll be honest, the motivation is a tad lacking at the moment. My physical health took a bit of a plummet recently, and in turn that’s smacked my mental health right in the mental balls. But never mind that because since my last Weekend Whammy there’s been loads of stuff happening, some of it good and some of it bad! I’m going to chat about just a little bit of it, so let’s chat The Last of Us 2, Sony’s PS5 and more.
Assetto Corsa Competizione boasts the official Blancpain license, and that means you get to drive the wicked GT machines from the likes of McLaren, Porsche, Nissan and Audi. Meanwhile the selection of 11 tracks might sound too limiting but each one has been laser scanned and is thus about as accurate to real-life as we can get without actually driving around them in real-life. It also means you get sprint races, night racing and endurance events, all featuring the drivers from the real Blancpain series. Sim racing on console is a niche genre, so when a new game arrives it’s an exciting time.
Everyone has holes in their gaming CV, important games that they’ve missed out on over the years. Mine is a particularly big one: The Last of Us, widely regarded as one of the greatest Playstation exclusives of all time and one of the best games to have been released. With The Last of Us Part 2 away to launch I wanted to finally get The Last of Us ticked off and reviewed in time for its sequel. So let’s see what all the fuss was about.
It has all gone horribly wrong. I had thought that Kate’s hurled vial of perfume would blind the guard long enough that Cooper could slide in, kill the other guard and carry the body off in plenty of time while Dr. McCoy sniped the third guard up on the tower. I thought wrong and now there’s bullets flying everywhere. Ah well, I guess that’s the fourth plan I can crossout. Time to load up the last save again. Welcome to Desperados 3, the first game in the franchise since 2007’s spin-off Helldorado, and developed by Mimimi Games, the talented folk behind 2016’s Shadow Tactis: Blades of the Shogun.
It’s surprising and even arguably a touch disappointing that despite being a Minecraft spin-off, Minecraft Dungeons does not contain a single instance of building or digging. It does, however, look and sound exactly like Minecraft in every possible way, from whatever the hell that noise is when you eat something to the Creepers. And yet when you watch a couple of Creepers explode into a billion little Creeper pieces without altering the terrain it feels fundamentally wrong. In this sense the whole thing is like a very basic reskin of a standard ARPG. The actual Minecraft part of Minecraft Dungeons is missing. Despite this, there’s still a fun and accessible Diablo style isometric dungeon-crawler here.
I remember playing Mafia 2 ten long years ago and being sucked into a world of violence and intrigue. Back then its storytelling amazed me. So I’m pretty pleased that this 1950s period piece about gangsters which got overlooked when it launched is getting another chance to amaze people. Ten years is a long time in the world of video games though, so has time treated Vito Scaletta well? Has D3T Limited done Hangar 13’s mafia masterpiece justice?
Like most kids I was pretty sure that my local pool probably had a massive killer shark lurking in its depths. That didn’t stop me from loving swimming, but I was always wary about the toothy death that could potentially be waiting for me. I blame Jaws for that, of course. Over the years a lot of films and media have painted sharks as terrifying creatures of the sea that will devour anything and everything. But there haven’t been a whole lot of shark based games, for some reason. So when Maneater began circling, a self-proclaimed shark RPG, how could I not be interested?
Sometimes I miss the clarity of being on a mountain bike hurtling down a hill, swerving around trees, carving up berms and nailing jumps. I miss that beautiful clarity where your entire mind shrinks down to a single, overwhelming thought: this is going to really fucking hurt. And it does. It really, really does. I loved downhill mountain biking, but I hated going back up the hills and I was never all that good at it, so I gave up the sport before it forced me to give up on having all my bones intact. Happily I can live vicariously through videogames, so here I am reviewing Shred 2! Ft. Sam Pilgrim.
I guess it’s not surprising that a game about slamming huge meat-slabs into cover before gunning down Locus translates so well into genre that’s about slamming into cover and gunning down bad guys. It would be easy to write it off as nothing more than a basic XCOM reskin if Splash Damage hadn’t done such a damn good job of making it feel like a Gears game through and through. The production values for a game within this genre are nothing short of lavish, with cutscenes being up to Gears 5 standards and actual gameplay being able to pass itself off as one of the main games when it zooms into an over-the-shoulder viewpoint. From the stellar sound design to the way special abilities mirror the main series, Gears Tactics feels like a lot more than just some cheap XCOM clone wearing bulky armour and running around with a chainsaw strapped to a gun.
2020 has already been a crazy year. And yet somehow in the midst of all this mayhem I never would have imagined that the weirdest thing of 2020 is that I’m playing Streets of Rage 4. I never saw this coming. I never once considered that after 26-years since Streets of Rage 3 we’d get a sequel. How did this even happen? Where did this come from? I don’t know. I don’t care, because Streets of Rage 4 is a hell of a sequel.