Category: Games

  • 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!


  • 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).


  • 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…


  • 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.


  • Now playing Redfall + the reviews are in

    I have to admit, after seeing gameplay leaks and slight hints of what the reviews would look like, I installed Redfall this morning to check it out for myself.

    Even with the middling reviews, everything people have been saying – even the not-so-great stuff – the idea of the game kinda started roping me in.

    I’ll point you at these two reviews, which I feel are even handed and point out exactly how the game fails to land the more lacklustre aspects.

    For myself, I’m bummed that 60fps is missing at launch, as I could really settle into the world I’ve seen so far. Hopefully that feature is weeks, not months, away.


  • Sea of Thieves: Season 9

    Season 9 of Sea of Thieves introduced a big refresh for world events – both the frequency and tuning (nerfs, mostly).

    While some die-hard players have responded negatively to some of the challenge being removed, I think the upside has been worth it. Events popping more frequently and finishing more quickly means more activity on the seas, which means more player encounters and more loot in play.

    The player-base has responded strongly too. The last 30 days has the highest concurrent peak on Steam since July 2021, and highest average concurrency since July 2022, according to Steam Charts.

    I’m a big fan of the lvl 100 legendary reward, the Legendary Bone Hunter Jacket (above), but I do think the last 20 levels of the seasonal progression were a little light on cosmetics to drive you through to the end.

    🏴‍☠️


  • Now playing: Minecraft Legends

    I’m not sure about this one… Yet!

    I’m a few hours in, and I still feel like I need a few more to really settle into the gameplay loop.

    Great:

    • Somehow the Renderdragon engine looks… great!?
    • Great environments
    • Plenty of charm
    • Systems feel robust

    But:

    • The loop could be explained better
    • The 1080p cutscenes feel jarring
    • This is too complicated for my kids, so who is this for?

    All that said, it’s giving me enough to want to finish the campaign. Maybe I’ll check back in here after beating the first boss.


  • Cult of the Lamb update: Relics of the Old Faith

    Massive Monster dropped the trailer for their new Cult of the Lamb update on today’s Nintendo Indie World Direct.

    The trailer showcases a few new buildings etc, but what really stands out is the amount of combat improvements and additions.

    I’d kind of forgotten how much the visual style of this game absolutely sings. And now a photo-mode too!

    The studio reckons this update will “double” their gameplay. Might be time for a new playtrhough!

    RELICS OF THE OLD FAITH – APRIL 24
    A huge FREE major content update to Cult of the Lamb is almost here!
    📖 New post-game story
    🔪 Deeper combat
    🐛 Revamped bosses & enemies
    💀 More replayability
    📸 Photo mode
    💓 Many requested features

    See how much we’ve added – @cultofthelamb


  • The Minecraft Legends reviews are in

    The Legends reviews are in, and they’re… fine? Quite good? OK? Mixed? Decent actually?

    Open Critic currently has Legends at 73 + 50% of critics “recommend” – which is, coincidentally, almost the exact score that Dungeons got – a game that I feel is still under-appreciated despite it having well over 15M players at this point.

    I have two primary goals in this review:

    Number one – to properly explain what Minecraft Legends is, and number two – to convince you to play it, because this is a really fantastic game that took some time to get into, but after it clicked I was like ‘Holy shit, where did this come from?’

    Skillup

    I don’t always agree with Skillup’s opinions for every game, but you can not deny that he shows his work. Legends seems interesting and fun, and despite the mid 70s score, I’ll be hitting it up on launch day.

    Dungeons was a 74, and I played the hell out of that game. Legends might have the same appeal.


  • Rolled credits: Dredge

    I’ve caught a lot of fish, but I haven’t caught them all yet. I’ve solved some puzzles and mysteries, but not all of them yet. And although I’ve rolled credits on the main story, I haven’t finished playing yet.

    Keep reading