I am proud to announce that as of 2013 I am finally a qualified games journalist. I got an Achievement that told me so, and that’s the recognition that I absolutely needed. As a fully qualified games journalist, I write Games of the Year articles… kind of like I did in previous years. Some things don’t change.
FORCED, as it’s listed in block caps in my Steam library, isn’t just another ARPG or dungeon crawling hacking and slashing click-fest as you might first assume. In a nutshell FORCED cleverly combines the puzzle-y goodness and seductive challenges of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, the less-is-more customisation and twitchier targeting-based combat of Bastion, and the kind of frantic survival co-op madness reminiscent of Magicka and Alien Swarm. I love that it has no loot to tediously sift through and sell, no inventory Tetris — hell, no inventory — no experience points, no leveling, no grinding, no unwieldy hotbars chock-full of timers and symbols, no woefully unsatisfying stat increases like +1% chance to critical or +5% resistance to fire damage, no specialisation that irritatingly locks you in for the rest of the game, no convoluted skill trees, no mind numbingly inevitable dungeons, no quest drudgery and the typically awful (and pointless) dialogue accompanying them, no long-winded time wasting story that takes itself too seriously — FORCED just lets you get straight down to what matters: the trials and working out how best to conquer them.
Once, when I was teaching, I brought the original BioShock into the classroom to show it off to students. We plugged the 360 into a big projector and played it large. I handed the controller to a student and let him play around.
I was kind of fascinated by the response.
Last week on Twitter I was alerted about the existence of a little game called Ossuary. This is one of those situations where I hundred-percented the game, but it’s a odd enough experience that I’m posting long impressions rather than a full review. I definitely recommend it; it’s certainly not for everyone; but then again what is, especially in games?
We don’t usually bother with news around here, but sometimes it’s News and deserves a remark.
The Industry said a collective “whoa” on Friday when it learned that John Carmack, programming megamind and id Software co-founder, creator of Doom and Quake and Rage, has left the company he built. Several months ago Carmack took on a new role as Chief Technology Officer at Oculus VR – they of the eventual Oculus Rift headset – and it’s on this role that he is going to focus his attention.
If you liked Braid, you’ll probably enjoy The Bridge. It is not by the same creative team, but in terms of mechanics, aesthetics, and structure, it may as well be called Braid 2: the Braidening, Braid Strikes Back.
I’m hurtling down a country highway in an old, beat up station wagon; a pack of ravenous undead cling to the outside and try to claw their way in, all while the vehicle is engulfed in flames. They break in and quickly rip out this poor survivor; the car rolls into a tree, a blazing inferno. Four, five, six, maybe more of the “reanimated” pounce on the driver – this is not Ed Jones’ day. Suddenly, a bright and glorious flash of orange incinerates the attackers granting them their second death. Ed stands up – he still has two legs to do so – and surveys the wreckage: what was seconds ago his coffin on wheels, now his saviour. He’s nowhere near unscathed, but he’s still breathing and that counts. Time to head home.
This is just one of an infinite possibility of harrowing scenarios in Trumball Valley.
State of Decay might just be the Zombocalypse game you didn’t know you were waiting for.
Or, XCOM: Enemy GETS TO MOVE DURING MY TURN
Or, XCOM: Enemy CAN BE HEADSHOT OUT OF SIGHT THROUGH A CAR WITH AN 88% CHANCE TO HIT
Or, XCOM: Enemy IS LESS DANGEROUS THAN MY OWN PANICKED SOLDIERS
“No,” is my guess.
I’m as guilty as the next fan of speculating unfairly about things, though I’ve tried – hard – to withhold judgment on Eidos Montreal’s upcoming Thief. It hasn’t been easy, and I haven’t been wholly successful. But I remind myself that this studio also gave us the workmanlike but excellent Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and I feel a little better. “Teams” and “studios” aren’t the same thing, though, and so far there’s been little evidence that the development team behind Thief understands the franchise they’re working with to the degree that the Deus Ex folks understood theirs.