Tag: Game Pass

  • 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).


  • 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 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.


  • Sorry everyone… People are not going to stop talking about Microsoft’s ABK acquisition once it’s done

    The New York Post is reporting that Microsoft intends to close it’s ABK acquisition, despite any ongoing roadblocks from the FTC in the United States. This report includes a spicy quote via a source that “they are going to cram this down the FTC’s throats”. 😳

    It’s been widely reported that the CMA (UK) will approve the deal this week (Update: in a huge move this did not happen, the CMA blocked the deal!), and most observers anticipate the EU will follow in May.

    Today’s reporting has been met with some optimism on Twitter that once that deal is “done” everyone will move on…

    Whatever it takes so we can stop talking about it!!!

    @NeoGameSpark

    Ain’t no way.

    Even if the close the deal in May/June, all of these topics will continue to play out loudly in social media spaces:

    • FTC machinations are ongoing. Microsoft might close he deal in spite of the FTC dragging its heels, but that means the FTC may sue for an injunction. Microsoft are obviously confident in their position since the FTC will, globally speaking, be out on a limb all on their lonesome.
    • We have no idea what the acquisition means for Game Pass. FTC activity might hamper any meaningful business integration in the immediate term – so when will the games come?
    • Any and all ABK game news/announcements will be the subject of intense console war noise well into 2024 and beyond.

    If you’re into the banter, you’re going to keep having a good time.

    If you think it sucks, keep that block button ready.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Now playing (always playing): Sea of Thieves

    Today (ish, depending on your timezone), Sea of Thieves turned five.

    After a few seasons of taking some time away from the seas, I returned late last week with the Season 9 update. It feels almost at the same level of invigoration as the Shrouded Spoils update, with more world events, more lures for pulling players together, more fog, more megs, more… well, everything!

    Keep reading


  • Impressions: Wo Long Demo

    Long way round.

    I’ve played through the Wo Long demo a few times now, which means I like it a lot.

    As someone who’s never played Nioh the systems set-up is new to me, but I’ve found the morale/spirit interplay to be intriguing and super engaging. Why can’t I stop thinking about this game?

    Keep reading


  • Flight Simulator – NZ Update

    Aoteroa.

    It makes me feel homesick to see all these locations highlighted in such a caring way. Time to reinstall.


  • Now playing: Atomic Heart

    Mustachioed robots and crispy critters.

    Despite the wide range of critical reactions to Atomic Heart, Game Pass proves it’s value once again with a Day One release.

    First impressions

    Firstly, the game is gorgeous. It’s certainly on the short list of most impressive Unreal 4 games to date, and – aside from a few hiccups – runs at what feels like a rock solid 60fps on Series X.

    Keep reading