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.
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.
Iron Harvest certainly does a good job of making itself appealing to any RTS fan. Set in an alternative 1920’s, Iron Harvest mixes infantry with hulking diesel-powered mechs that stomp across the landscape. It’s all inspired by polish artist Jakub Rozalski’s 1920+ series of paintings, which also acted as inspiration for an excellent board game by the name of Scythe. The result is awesome to watch. As squads of gunmen slam into cover and open fire, a massive mech will power into the frame and begin unloading artillery rounds. Mechanically, these machines of war are not vastly different from regular tanks in how they behave, but they sure do look a hell of a lot cooler, don’t they?
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.
We live in a time where all sorts of games are getting a chance to be remastered, remade or even to get a sequel. Some make sense, and some are genuinely surprising choices. I’d say Destroy All Humans is the second one. Originally released in 2005 it did […]
Obviously the world has been a bit of a crazy place lately, so it’s hardly Codemasters’ fault that F1 2020 isn’t as authentic as last year’s game. A day one update will remove the Rokit sponsorship from the Williams car, but Mercedez sexy black livery is going to take a bit longer. And owing to the Formula 1 season starting four months late brand new tracks Zandvoort and Hanoi are in the game but won’t get seen in real-life until the 2021 season. Meanwhile, last minute changes to the calender mean circuits such as Mugello and Imola could potentially get used, neither of which are in the game. Exactly how Codemasters intend on handling all of this remains to be seen, but I think we can forgive the lack of authenticity this year, eh?
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.
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?
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.
The world of motorsports, just like the rest of our little spinning globe, has basically crashed straight into a wall. The official MotoGP season has been postponed indefinitely at this point, leaving all us petrol heads sulking into our cups of motor oil. But this isn’t going to stop Milestone and their latest entry in the MotoGP video game franchise, astoundingly titled…er, MotoGP ’20. Clever.