Its become a bit of a joke around the Internet that game reviewers often cite Dark Souls in their work. Anything remotely challenging is compared to Dark Souls, and any vaguely similar game design elements are, too. But in the case of Ashen it’s a very fair comparison. In many ways Ashen is Dark Souls Lite, a game that takes what people love about Dark Souls and finds ways to pare it back into a streamlined package. Somehow, Ashen still manages to be its own thing, too.
Having been named the leader of an entire rebellion and charged with incredible responsibility I cannot help but feel my troops may be questioning their choices as they watch me float a cow into the sky before triggering the booster rockets strapped to its backside, sending it spiralling into the air before it crashes into a nearby cliff. This isn’t some cunning ploy to distract the enemy or some ingenious new bovine weapon, it’s just me dicking around. This revolution is screwed. The oppressed masses are about to become the squashed masses.
The tale of the Darksiders franchise is one fraught in peril. The first game drew many comparisons to the likes of Zelda but still managed to carve out its own niche thanks to the intriguing world and story which saw War, one of the four Horsemen of the Apocolypse, accused of starting the end of the world before its proper time. The sequel followed War’s brother Death and introduced a host of new mechanics that included mountains of loot, a horse and wide, open areas and I adored it. But then tragedy hit as publisher THQ went under and the Darksiders franchise was seemingly lost. Salvation appeared, though, as the Darksiders name was bought alongside a bunch of other IPs by who then gathered up a bunch of the original Darksider’s developers and with them forged Gunfire Studios, and so after 4-years and a lot of doubt we finally get the sequel we’ve all been waiting for. But was it worth the wait? Read on to find out, dear folk. *dun dun DUN!*
So far I’ve knocked out people with a fish, a brick of cocaine, a thrown apple and a variety of blunt objects. I’ve also drowned people in toilets, blown them up with fireworks, fed them poisoned chips, shoved them off cliffs, dropped sharks on them, squashed them with speakers and so much more. I’ve dressed as a waiter, a garbage man, security, a fast food vendor, a servant, a racing driver, a doctor and even a pink flamingo. It’s all just in a days work for a professional Hitman.
Talk about pressure. It was eight years ago that Red Dead Redemption, a sequel to the oft forgotten Red Dead Revolver, hit consoles and took the world by storm. Rockstar are known for their craft, but even by their standards RDR felt special, a western in video game form that told the story of John Marston, the gruffest man who ever did gruff. Eight years is a long time to wait for a sequel. Well, a prequel, actually, as now we delve into the infamous gang of Dutch Van der Linde, the very same bunch that John was ultimately tasked with taking down eventually. With the narrative shadow of Marston looming over everything, can the game still tell a compelling story while improving on the wild west themes? Yes, yes, and a thousand times yes.
Could Lovecraft ever have known just how popular his unique brand of cosmic horror would become? Since his work is now public domain the Cthulhu name is everywhere, including literally hundreds of board games, books and video games. You can’t escape tentacles, green mist and hard-boiled detectives going slowly insane, it seems.
A few years back Ubisoft made the wise decision to halt their yearly release of Assassin’s Creed titles in favour of taking the series back to the workshop for a revamp. Many, myself included, hoped this would be the company finally figuring out that annual releases burn out the audience and don’t provide time for the developers to take player feedback into account properly. The year off proved successful as Ubisoft launched Assassin’s Creed: Origins to a pretty good reception. But now it seems we’re back on an annual cycle once again as a year later we’ve got a new AssCreed game.
Tossing a Ford Cosworth with a sickening amount of power around dirt bends in the U.K. sounds like something I’d like to do on the weekend, but given that I can barely afford to survive on Pot Noodles it’s also a bit of a pipe-dream. Well, nearly, because for the fourth iteration on the massively successful Horizon spin-off series developer Playground have opted to head to the United Kingdom, so when the opportunity to pick a supped up Cosworth presents itself I don’t hesitate. You can keep your Bugatti Veyron.
The Dakar rally is an epic test of driving skill, endurance and navigation as it spans hundreds of kilometres over unforgiving sand dunes and tricky terrain. Just completing the thing is a massive achievement, never mind actually winning it. Despite how amazing this all sounds there hasn’t been a Dakar game in years, which feels like a missed opportunity. Can you imagine a sort of DiRT Rally experience, but bombing over dunes rather than driving along a track? Well, that’s what the new Big Moon aim to do with their new Dakar 18.
If there’s one thing that I’m always going to feel disappointed about when it comes to the rebooted Tomb Raider franchise it’s that Lara Croft never once picks up her awesome dual pistols. No, for some reason this iteration of the tomb raiding badass focused on her bow, which just isn’t as cool, I reckon. Ah well. This third game marks the supposed end of the trilogy, and is also the only game of the three not to be developed primarily by Crystal Dynamics who this time assumed support duties to Eidos Montreal. So, does the series go out with an explosive arrow or one of the infamous gruesome death scenes?