Overjoyed with my recent paycheck, I thought I’d treat myself to Ubisoft’s The Division. Spoiler alert, I returned The Division within an hour and a half of playtime – you’ll find out more about that in this (relatively short and sweet) post.
When The Division was released in March, I largely ignored it. I’d enjoyed Destiny in the past, but I didn’t think that Ubisoft’s attempt at an MMO third person shooter would be particularly good. Their push toward the ‘Ubiworld’ style of game is off-putting, with most games (including a particular favourite of mine, Assassin’s Creed) being a slightly different world with the same objectives; short introduction to the world with control tutorial, large blacked out map that you reveal by attacking and conquering outposts, then fast travel between each one to run between mission markers.
When this genre of MMO third person shooter had been done so well by Destiny, it felt like a cash-in on Ubisoft’s part.
Ark: Survival Evolved might seem like your run of the mill sandbox survival games, but it has dinosaurs! I had all too easily passed over Ark when it had first come out as another offshoot of the survival simulation genre, which I could easily experience by booting up Minecraft. However, it was on the Steam Summer Sale so I thought I’d give it a shot.
You wake up on an island, with a loud and unskippable cutscene, looking at a thing embedded in your arm. Don’t worry if you missed it first time though because it plays every time you have to respawn which, if you’re as bad at surviving as I apparently am, you’ll do a lot. As per survival sim tradition, your first objective as a newly awoken test subject in the wild is to punch a tree for some wood, pick up some stones and fashion some sort of crude tool so you can hatchet trees instead!
In 2009, Rocksteady gave fans around the world the chance to don the mask of the world’s favourite billionaire superman with Batman: Arkham Asylum. Having captured the Joker in unknown circumstances, you bring the Clown Prince of Crime to the ‘best’ institute for the criminally insane; the titular Arkham Asylum. In one night, things rapidly spiral out of control and you’ll need to use your skills and gadgets to set things straight.
In lieu of an excuse of “weekend shenanigans”, I did actually manage to play some games! One of them, as you can see from the title, was Super Meat Boy. Designed by Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes, developed by Team Meat, Super Meat Boy is a bloody take on the platforming genre.
You are Meat Boy and you must save your girlfriend, Bandage Girl, from the evil Dr Fetus (it doesn’t need to make sense, dammit). To accomplish this, you will enter a Dark Souls-esque repetition of smashing your gooey, fleshy body into various sharp objects until you win. Run, jump, slide… The basics are all there.
In Memory Of The A-Team Eduardo ‘Cyclops’ Fournier Olga ‘Prophet’ Popova Shaojie ‘Chilong’ Zhang
Before I got sucked into Dark Souls 3, I had a little void of things to play. So I decided to treat myself to XCOM – not the new one, because that would have been extravagent. Instead, I got ‘Enemy Unknown’, which I’ve just found out is actually a “reimagined” remake of the first game. Research counts, kids!
XCOM is a turn-based, isometric tactical shooter about an alien invasion of Earth. You are the Commander of the XCOM Unit, a group of soldiers who like to shoot aliens all over the globe. You will need to manage your funding, research, engineering, training and surveillance to succeed – which, as you can tell from the start of this article, I didn’t quite manage.
While we’re on the subject of games with cool concepts but disappointing results, let’s talk about Murdered: Soul Suspect.
You are Ronan Keating, ex-criminal turned detective in a town called Salem (oh yes, let’s get knee deep in the allegory right now) – despite being a hipster dressed like a 1930’s cop in the modern era, you’re pretty chuffed with your luck. So you decide to go arrest a local thug, only to get shot and fall out of a window. Oh no! No time to mope though, now you’re a ghost detective! Get out there and solve your murder!
City Simulation games seem like a weird, niche area of gaming that only a few people would truly enjoy. Taking into account the surprising popularity of SimCity games in the past, it’s not a particularly strange concept. I’ve sunk a good, few hours into SimCity 4 and enjoyed watching the time fly by. For a while, Maxis seemed to corner the city planning market with bigger and better games coming out regularly. After their ‘slip up’ with the latest SimCity, however, there hasn’t been a better time to try and take that trophy.
Along came Cities: Skylines, just over 2 years after the flames had died down, who took that trophy swiftly and strode off triumphantly. Released by Swedish developer Paradox Interactive, Cities: Skylines is an excellent replacement for the city planning series.