It’s Monday, so let’s take a quick peek back at the last week of gaming for me as well as some interesting news stories I read as well. The allure of the Australian Outback continued to call to me, I brought love back to the galaxy and danced with some friends, and I even spent a little time wandering the shadows trying to get myself off the grid. I even dusted off the PS4 and tried out a few of the free PS Plus games that had been sitting in that backlog.
Games Discussed this week:
Forza Horizon 3 - Xbox One/PC (Price Vaires)
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime - PS4/Xbox One/PC ($14.99)
Furi - PC/PS4 ($24.99)
Transformers: Devastation - Xbox One/PS4/PC ($49.99)
Shadowrun: Hong Kong - PC ($19.99)
I “finished” Forza Horizon 3 over the past week, which means I just did the last of their “Showcase” events. In all honestly, this is one of the areas the game falters, as the events don’t feel as “epic” as they make them out to be. Sure, the idea of racing a jet or a blimp seems like it might be cool, but in the execution it really just felt like a mediocre showpiece to give some false sense of progression. The final event (with the aforementioned blimp) was especially disappointing as it had you “racing” down a mountain road in what I’ve described as a “souped up golf cart.” The payoff for having this cool festival just didn’t seem to fit with everything else, luckily everything around those events is so good it doesn’t really matter.
After last weekend’s great success, a few friends and I managed to complete the campaign mode of Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, and that game is just a pure joy to play. Everything I said last week holds true, and this week we even unlocked a few different ships which changed our playstyle a bit but overall it’s a great co-op game with a charming story and excellent music and visuals.
My long neglected PS4 (which had not been turned on since Uncharted 4 was completed) finally was brought back to life as I was looking for something new to play. While there isn’t a real “exclusive” I wanted to play, I had several games I’d been sitting on that had accumulated over the past several months of being a PS Plus subscriber. The first of these was Furi, which is basically a series of boss battles with combat similar to Dark Souls, only sped up significantly. The game looks amazing, with a unique almost “anime cartoon” kind of style that really pops. The sci-fi/cyberpunk samurai you play as looks pretty cool, and the boss designs are just as unique. I just wish there was “more” to the game other than the boss battles. It even goes so far as to allow you to hit the X button once you finish a boss fight and have the character auto walk to the next fight. During these walks (which are LONG AND SLOW) your companion, best described as a man in a bunny suit, tells you about the other prisoners and your next boss battle during these long walks. I’m not sure how long the game is, but I was starting to get a good sense of the combat near the end, but make no mistake this game is difficult.
After that, I booted up the latest Transformers game, which I can only describe as the 80’s cartoon brought to “life.” It was comforting to hear all of the original voices from the cartoon (except Starscream since the voice actor passed away) spout off their lines that definitely felt like they were out of a lost episode. The combat itself is simplistic, and being able to transform from robot form to car form at will is nice, and the levels even include a nice mix of combat, platforming and even some car sections. The game began to become overwhelming though when I reached a checkpoint, and I saw that the game includes equipment, items, and even permanent perks, all of which can be bought, researched, and crafted. Also the characters have individual stats and different equippable weapons (both melee and ranged) and my eyes began to glaze over as I started digging into each subsequent menu. I wish the game was a bit simpler as I know I’m going to have to dig into those systems to get the most out of it.
Finally, after months of sitting in my Steam library after backing it on Kickstarter oh so long ago and never playing it, I decided to give the latest in the series a try. At this point the games are well known, and I didn’t notice anything really different so far in my playtime with the game. It looks good, plays like it should and has all the cool cyberpunk trappings you know and love (or loathe). I’m going to keep poking at this to see if anything really has changed but I’ve enjoyed the other 2 games so I’m sure this will still be satisfying.
Cool Story Bro
There were a couple of interesting pieces of news on the VR front, with the Oculus conference going on last week we finally got a release date for their touch controllers and found out you will be able to go “room scale” with that headset. The surprising thing here is that the cost of that experience is now more than just buying an HTC VIVE instead, which makes me more satisfied with my choice of VR headset, I’m just looking for a more robust library of games to play on it. In addition to the Oculus news, the Playstation VR headset embargo lifted, and game journalists seem extremely mixed on their experiences, with some praising the device wholeheartedly and others being much more skeptical and frank about their negative experiences. I was initially on the fence about picking this up (leaning to the yes side) but after the coverage this week I’m going to wait and see if they can get the kinks worked out.
The best piece of news I read this week actually covered the game development process, specifically the last week leading up to a game being submitted for “cert” As someone whose “normal” life has me dealing with a similar area this was a fascinating read that I would love people to spend some time absorbing as there is such a misconception about development and this is an amazing look at the process as a whole of shipping a product. The product in this case is a AAA game (Gears of War 4) and the access the reporters were granted is amazing, and I only hope there is more of this kind of reporting coming down the line.
You can read all the articles Motherboard did on their embedded piece about the game here.