The Isle of Man TT is absolutely insane, a relic of a bygone era where racing was raw and dangerous. It’s 37.73 miles of public road weaving through several towns and then up the Snaefell Mountain that gets shut down so that a bunch of lunatics on beautiful motorcycles can scream around the epic track, taking the 274 corners at horrifying speeds while blasting between houses, barely missing pavements and even leaping into the air. It’s simply amazing to watch, a yearly spectacle that has given birth to legends like John McGuiness, Michael Dunlop, and Guy Martin.
Milestone have been around for years, quietly pumping out a variety of racing games that have rarely amazed but have clearly found themselves small audiences. Now, though, Milestone are back with another original IP and while it’s unlikely Gravel is going to be competing with the big boys of the genre it’s a surprisingly robust and enjoyable arcade racer that revels in letting you scream around corners.
Although it seems to have been forgotten about Metal Gear: Survive is not actually the first Metal Gear game without the legendary Kojima at the helm. It is, however, the very first Metal Gear game produced since Kojima and Konami parted ways in less than ideal circumstances. The pressure was on Konami to show the world they could handle the beloved franchise, so what was the first thing they did? An open-world survival spin-off. With zombies. *facepalm*
A small development team with a vision and a huge game four years in the making that began its life on Kickstarter, Kingdom Come: Deliverance has come a long way since it first appeared in the public eye. It’s an RPG set in 1403 in the kingdom of Bohemia and places its emphasis on strong storytelling and realistic mechanics, including hunger and a compelling swordplay system. But for all of its brilliance there are a lot of flaws to fight through, too, so let’s have a chat about this wonderful, beautiful, hugely flawed beast. There’s a lot to get through.
As a member of the kilted nation known as Scotland, I’ve always felt that me and my kin don’t get much representation in video games, our brief appearances usually being limited to some swearing or a heavily stereotypical character who loves drinking fighting and is ginger. But Wulverblade seeks to put Scotland in the limelight, specifically, our history against the mighty Roman Empire where the Pictish people held against the best the Romans could offer before Hadrian’s wall was constructed and Rome decided it just wasn’t going to be worth the bloody effort.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter starts with a warning about how it’s a story-driven experience that doesn’t hold your hand, a rather bold claim given how there’s a substantial portion of gamers who will actively dislike a game if they deem it to be patronising or being too intent on gently guiding the player through its world and mechanics. I was instantly intrigued by this message; did it mean The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, a game that was originally released in 2014 and has only just made it to Xbox One, was going to be full of challenging puzzles that taxed the mind? Would it have a vast world full of mysteries into which you were dropped with no real direction? So many questions.
Flying games are a bit of a rare breed on console, so when one turns up its hard not to get a little excited about leaping into the cockpit and shooting down some unlucky pilots. This one from developer Ace Maddox was actually released on PC back in 2017, so its had a lot of feedback since then and plenty of time for changes to be made before its Xbox One debut on January 12th.
There is a well-known line in the Star Wars movies that applies perfectly here. “You were the Chosen One! You were supposed to destroy the Sith, not join them. You were supposed to bring balance to the force, not leave it in darkness.” Of course, it’s the scene in Revenge of the Sith where Obi-Wan Kenobi faces down his former Padawan and friend Anakin Skywalker, or as he now calls himself, Darth Vader. Still, it’s apt here. While last years Battlefront left a lot of people feeling let-down I still quite enjoyed it despite its issues. I had high hopes for a sequel, and yet EA managed to fall deeper into the Dark Side, taking the beloved Star Wars name with it.
It has been two years since we last had an Assassin’s Creed game, the previously yearly franchise taking a small break in order to go back to the drawing board for a sorely needed refresh. Except what we’ve gotten is more of a patchwork quilt made up of pieces from lots of other popular games, resulting in the best game in the franchise in years while also being a poor Assassin’s Creed game.
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.