Watching the survival genre explode in popularity has been weirdly fascinating, a bit like watching a building being demolished; exciting, cool, and then everything gets a bit hard to see before it’s left as a crumbling heap. Okay, maybe that’s a terrible analogy, but I can’t help feel that survival games are something of a trend that’s on the rise but due a collapse relatively soon. I think that’s mostly because as a whole survival games aren’t very good games. I mean, I’ve had a lot of fun in Rust, but as an actual videogame it’s a bit naff, doesn’t have much to do in it and largely relies on its player interactions.
I was just idly sitting around, browsing through games when I came across Omensight. It’s a relatively quiet period for games at the moment, so I decided to fire across a code request despite knowing nothing about the game. Boy, am I glad I did. Omensight turned out to be more than worth my time, and hopefully at the end of this review you might just think it’s worth your time, too.
There are many games from the Xbox 360 and PS3 generation that never made it to PC but deserved to. For example, despite the pleas of thousands upon thousands of gamers a port of Red Dead Redemption never happened. But when you consider the vast catalogue of titles itching for a PC port Bullet Witch is not something that would spring to mind. This 2006 release was released to fairly middling reviews back in the day, and while it managed to sell a little in Japan it flopped almost entirely in UK. Now, some 12-years later a PC port has been released with absolutely no fanfare, little warning and very little in the way of changes. In other words, this is a game that was made on a tight budget, didn’t do very well and has suddenly turned up 12-years later out of the blue. Okay then.
Set in a Steampunk version of the 1800s with everything having gone to an iced-over hell due to a sudden ice age which somehow snuck up on humanity people have decided to leave the cities in order to found new homes using large generators, massive machines that burn coal to provide some warmth amidst conditions reaching -70c. As the captain of this expedition it’s up to you to construct a city, maintain hope and keep everyone alive. No pressure.
Being the head of a corporation commited to designing a range of spaceships in order to fulfill contracts that call for cargo hauling, pirate extermination, mining and more sounds pretty freaking awesome on paper, especially when it lets you design those ships. Having spent a few years in the wilds of Early Access this is exactly what Starship Corporation aims to be, a management strategy game with a sci-fi dressing.
Describing a game as a mash-up of other titles is often regarded as lazy writing, and I should know because I do it all the time. However, sometimes it’s appropriate because Spellforce 3 is Baldur’s Gate meets Age of Mythology and in its mixture of RPG leveling and RTS base-building you can find mechanics taken from numerous games from across the years. It’s like a Frankenstein’s monster, all stitched together, a little rough around the edges, prone to getting in trouble with local villagers and yet has a heart of gold. Or at least, the heart of somebody.
2015’s Hand of Fate from Defiant Entertainment was one of those genuinely wonderful surprises, a game that came out of nowhere with a small budget and a loving team who had a concept they wanted to turn into a reality. So over two years later we’ve got a sequel, and like the first game it has come out of nowhere. I didn’t even realize there was going to be a Hand of Fate 2 until the press release stating it was released landed in my inbox. Is this one a wonderful surprise, too?
The mighty Roman Empire is ingrained in my head, such a big role it has played in history. But while many people can envision marching columns of Roman troops conquering everything they came near there are huge swathes of their history that is much lesser known. It’s in one of these lesser-known eras that Numantia has settled its strategic routes, telling a tale firmly entrenched in reality and embellished with a few heroic characters.
A sprawling open-world, microtransactions, RPG levelling mechanics, loot and clusters of mundane side-quests that have been copied and pasted. These, it seems, are the foundations of modern triple-A video game development, the industry pumping them out like there is no tomorrow. And yet here’s is Bethesda and MachineGames putting out a linear, singleplayer FPS without a microtransaction in sight that is easily the best shooter since 2016’s awesome DOOM reboot. It’s almost like you can make a quality game without slapping consumers in the face, isn’t it?
God damn, Warner Bros., you couldn’t just release a game without finding a way to stuff microtransactions into it, could you? Before Shadow of War even hit stores shelves it was revealed that there would be purchasable loot crates, and understandably the Internet was not happy, especially since Warner Bros. had already announced different tiers of the game for you to buy on launch. Having played through the game I can at least confirm that they are optional, but at the same time they’ve clearly influenced the design as the end-game is a brutal slog in order to get a second ending that feels as though it was made with the sole intention of pushing players toward spending real cash. It’s a shame because these microtransactions cash a shadow (see what I did there, eh? EH!?) across what is otherwise a very fun title.