The classic fetch quest is a staple of gaming, typically found in RPGs that want to pad out their length by sending players scurrying back and forth carrying useless tat. In the case of Death Stranding however, the entire game is a seemingly never-ending series of fetch quests. It’s like Kojima only just discovered them, and after completing a few in other games branded them the greatest thing in the history of videogames ever and built an entire new game around them. As Sam Porter Bridges you are a courier, tasked with lugging cargo of all types across a bleak post-apocolyptic world where the majority of people are hunkered down in bunkers. Chiral printing lets them create a lot of what they need, but there’s also a lot of stuff that still needs to be transported the good old fashioned way: on Sam’s back. In this 40+ hour game the majority of your time will be spent going back and forth, delivering parcels. Exactly how something so utterly boring wound up being so utterly absorbing is a mystery.
So, we’ve managed to officially make it past the half-way points of this utterly crazy year. Putting aside all the madness, that means we’re half-way to the traditional Game of the Year lists where we can gush about the games we love, argue about what we didn’t and remind ourselves why our hobby is awesome. That’s another 6-months away though, and I’m impatient, so just like last year I’m going to do the best games of the year, so far.
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.
We might be in a bit of a draught in terms of big games (at least until The Last of Us 2 arrives next month and is either the best thing ever or the worst thing ever, according to the Internet) but we’ve been a nice stream of awesome smaller titles. It’s been even better if you’re a fan of classic genres with the likes of Streets of Rage 4, and now Huntdown, a pixelated shooter with an old-school attitude, a love of action and some seriously smooth gameplay.
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?
Saints Row 2 proved to be quite the success for Volition so it wasn’t surprising that they almost immediately began work on a third game. However, for the sequel they moved in a new direction, describing it as a reboot for the series with a focus on being over-the-top to help differentiate the game from Grand Theft Auto. Well, they certainly accomplished that goal, but the result is a wildly different game from its predecessor. There’s even big character changes like the boss of the Saints (who you play as) going from a vicious psycho to an almost Nathan Drake-esque action hero. Sure, it was Saints Row IV where the series went completely off the rails and didn’t so much jump the shark as it did blow the shark up with a UFO, but Saints Row: the Third did at least leap over the shark while wearing a luchadore mask and swinging a giant purple dildo. Now, nine years after it first launched, we have Saints Row: The Third Remastered. How has the game held up over nearly a decade?
Activision just recently announced Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2, a remake of the first two Tony Hawk Pro Skater games developed by Vicarius Vision, a team responsible for Crash Bandicoot and Spyro remakes. For myself this is pretty exciting because I’ve been playing the Tony Hawk games since the very beginning. While I’d still love to get a brand new entry in the series, perhaps this remake will pave the way for just that.
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’m not saying that the pressure of lockdown forced me to the tape my family to the ceiling, but I am saying that I need to repaint my ceiling. Yes, I’m back, back again (and listening to some Eminem) and lockdown is a confusing mess as Boris Johnson says one thing and Wales, Ireland and Scotland say completely different things. Should people go back to work or stay at home? Can you drive places or not? Is being in the park okay or will you get yelled at by the police? Nobody knows! So I think I’ll just stay inside and play more games. Seems like the safest choice, really.