• Rolled credits: Control

    Well, I definitely waited way too long to play this game.

    While you can fairly level a few criticisms at the game (an uninteresting skill tree, not enough definition in the weapon variety, the ending?) it’s an excellent game.

    More and more, I tend to vibe with a game based on how well-realised the world is, or how close the developers hit the mark with what they “were going for”. Control oozes style – a sense of place, mood and tone. And the game gives the spaces a reason-to-be with kinetic satisfying combat.

    Highly recommended.


    Watch after playing:

    “Brutalist buildings have a tendency to loom. They’ve got too many windows, or none windows…”

    Simone de Rochefort – Polygon
  • Now playing: Control

    I started, then bounced off Control back when the Ultimate Edition first went on sale.

    At the time, I recall, there was a dire lack of save points in the game – which meant early on when I found a difficult room, I had to run down 8 hallways to get back to the death-room just to die all over again.

    Maybe I was getting frustrated, or maybe I was just worse at gaming (probably both), but that experience was enough to send me looking for something else to play.

    So after I finished Jedi Survivor I decided to forgo the enticing call of Diablo IV and head to The Oldest House instead.

    Well, I love it.

    It’s conceptually deep, with fun combat and a unique way of presenting the world. It’s probably my favourite game I’ve played this year so far.

    Let’s see how it holds up.

  • Rolled credits: Jedi Survivor

    Combat, movement, romance, drama – everything about Survivor was dialed up from Fallen Order.

    The levels are excellent, both in design and dressing, with gorgeous textures, foliage and lighting. Combat is tight and responsive, with much better boss balancing as compared to Fallen Order. Story and production are top-tier, which incredible music and sound, and wonderful performances.

    The only real shame was performance. I played 30fps for the vast majority of the game, which took a little getting used to, but to me fell more immersive. Even then certain areas on Koboh absolutely chug, and I switched to 60fps for the final bosses (no spoilers).

    Jedi: Survivor is up there for me in the best game I’ve played this year – it’ll definitely be on my top ten. Highly recommended!

  • The coolest games I saw today – Summer Games, Dev of the Devs, Devolver Direct

    Despite the ghost of E3 looming over June, the Summer Games Fest, Day of the Devs and Devolver Direct all went live today.

    I sorted through the avalanche of announcements and trailers to find the *coolest* stuff!

    Keep reading

  • Rolled credits: Planet of Lana

    Planet of Lana wears it influences on its sleeve, and while I don’t think it reaches the highest highs of Playground’s INSIDE, the fact that you can fairly compare the two is a huge compliment to Wishfully Studios – made even more impressive by the fact it’s their first game.

    Planet of Lana is a genuinely polished experience – it’s well paced, beautifully art directed and staged, wonderfully scored. The story and acting are simple but very effective, with the gameplay journey propelling you towards an emotionally resonant conclusion via puzzles, traversal and cinematic moments.


    Recommended: Luke Lohr’s interview with Creative Director, Adam Stjärnljus has some fantastic insight into the game’s development, including composer Takeshi Furukawa emailing him out of the blue to discuss scoring the game (Adam initially thought it was a hoax).

  • Linked: Behind the development of Redfall

    …to the makers of Redfall, the mediocre reception was no big surprise. The project suffered from unclear direction, frequent attrition and a perennial lack of staff, according to more than a dozen people who worked on the game.

    Jason Schreier

    Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier spoke to several anonymous developers about Redfall, and what led to the disastrous launch.

    A few notes:

    • Redfall development began during a tumultuous time when Zenimax was looking to be acquired. Their games historically had been critically well received but failed to sell huge numbers. This lead to a mandated focus on more “service” type games and MTX oppotunities.
    • Reportedly up to 70% of the developers that worked on Prey left the studio, and they then had difficulties hiring for a live service co-op game when the studio’s reputation was built on im-sim single player experiences.
    • The game had microtransaction plans in place for its first three years of development; this was ultimately scrapped.
    • Some working staff had privately hoped Microsoft would cancel the game, or allow for a full reboot.

    Inside the making of Redfall, Xbox’s latest misfire [Bloomberg]

  • Now Playing: Planet of Lana

    Planet of Lana wears it’s inspirations on its sleeve, but isn’t bound by them.

    As a huge (huge) fan of INSIDE and the Ori games, I wondered if PoL wouldn’t quite do enough to break free of the outrageous standard of quality and polish those games have set the genre. And while it doesn’t quite hit those lofty heights, in my experience so far it is at least in the conversation, which is a huge compliment.

    Dense but clear environments, a wonderful soundscape, and thoughtful level design are the standouts so far. I wondered if the puzzling would end up overly simplistic or stale, but the first full cave section has alleviated my worries.

    I’ll likely complete Planet of Lana in the next day or two. More soon…

  • No, idiots, GTA 6 is not going to be a PlayStation exclusive

    In late February 2019 an anonymous game developer posted a leak on Pastebin. They claimed to be employed by a small studio contracting on a PS5 launch title.

    Keep reading

  • Now playing: Jedi Survivor

    Like what I assume is half the world, I’m playing Jedi Survivor at the moment.

    It’s incredible, taking everything from Fallen Order and dialling it up to 11 – the action, presentation, cutscenes, systems, stories, animation, environments. It’s very, very impressive.

    I’m playing at 30fps, quality mode. It does take some time to get used to, but the presentation is fantastic, the frame rate is solid, and UE4’s motion blur helps a lot.

    I get the feeling I’ll be spending a lot of time with this one.

  • Linked: Xbox “wasn’t involved” with Redfall

    I’m still gathering evidence on exactly why or how Redfall was allowed to release in this state […] However, I have been told by multiple sources that Xbox was entirely hands-off with the project, and that the game doesn’t fall under Xbox Game Studios’ director Matt Booty’s responsibilities — because rightly or wrongly, right now, Arkane is not an Xbox Game Studio by internal definition.  

    Jez Corden

    Xbox wasn’t involved with Redfall, but it’s still blamed for its quality [windowscentral.com]