Hey, we managed to get a regular feature two weeks in a row! That’s a new record.
With the acquisition of Oculus Rift by Facebook, I know that all of us – every reader, every staff member here at Tap, and really everyone – cannot wait to get our FarmVille fix through a headset. That’s all I’ve been thinking about this week! Being able to see my computer just really takes me out of the social game experience.
That said, Rome wasn’t built in a day (it took at least eight turns, I expect), so we have to find something to occupy ourselves until we can bug our friends incessantly from right in front of their faces. Here’s just a few things that the Tap staff have been using to pass the time.
Developed by Bullfrog Productions | Published by Electronic Arts | PC | 1997
Know that when I was a wee scamp my time with Dungeon Keeper was prematurely cut short because of a game breaking bug (the first I’d ever experienced I might add) where the AI went into permanent Derp Mode and refused to do… well, anything really. I’d spend ages amassing my army and waltz into the enemy’s territory to be met by a half built dungeon full of angry beetles and imps aimlessly pottering about. Posted patch disks and Bullfrog memos advising me to PKUNZIP the contents in DOS didn’t help either so I stopped playing and never picked it back up.
It was with great elation then, that GOG for a weekend in February gave it away for free so I could finally, after nearly 18 years, continue my long lost love affair with it. For many sessions I was as besotted with it as I was when I was a kid, and as a wiser adult I’m perhaps even more impressed with how well it still holds up. Unfortunately, the messy combat, game flow and overwhelming lack of control later on killed the experience for me so its corpse is festering in the graveyard at the moment. Who knows, it may rise as a vampire. — Gregg
Developed by Adhesive Games | Published by Meteor Entertainment | PC | 2014
I’m not a mech fetishist but HAWKEN is home to some of the coolest looking mechs I’ve ever seen, apparently drawing heavy inspiration from Kow Yokoyama’s Maschinen Krieger ZbV 3000. The world that Adhesive Games have crafted to harbour these heavy metal harbingers of doom is beautiful and refreshingly varied too, and a great example of careful art direction and execution trumping that of AAA behemoths like Titanfall.
In the last few weeks I’ve sunk over 60 hours into HAWKEN which is bloody impressive, particularly for a F2P title. I think what’s made it stick with me is the higher time to kill –meaning that firefights are decidedly tense and skillful affairs; the moment-to-moment mech management –hiding and self-repairing, watching your weapon heat and fuel levels; the verticality of the maps; and the game’s unique Siege mode which sees both teams gathering and delivering energy units to launch a battleship at the enemy’s base, all while duking it out over a central anti-air battery to maintain dominance over the skies. It mixes elements of capture the flag, king of the hill and control point into one really exciting and dynamic game mode. — Gregg
Messhof | PC | 2014
Nidhogg paid for itself in 70 minutes with three friends and two pads. Without doubt one of the funniest, most immediate and downright satisfying and intense local multiplayer games I’ve ever played. So yeah, it was pretty good. I wish I’d recorded our play sessions; hysterical cursing, cries of laughter and all. — Gregg
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Developed by Starbreeze Studios | Published by 505 Games | PC | 2013
Brothers is a game that speaks in silence. It’s about a journey and companionship and different kinds of loss along the way, and unlike Journey, it involves real cooperation to overcome the many obstacles and hazards that stand in your way. Granted, that cooperation might be on one pad, with both of your own hands, but Starbreeze Studios take this dynamic to some really interesting and unprecedented places, adding up to something that, for me, is up there with Another World and Ico. A couple of the sequences I found a little fiddly and unforgiving, and while the music was generally pleasant, it felt overplayed and cloying at times. Still, Brothers is a beautiful, surprising, short and, above all, sharp experience. It was in Dix’s Games of 2013, and rightly so. — Gregg
Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut
Developed by Access Games | Published by Rising Star Games | PC | 2013
Holy crap. Like, really. Holy crap. After AJ and Steerpike both championed Deadly Premonition, whose concept I always liked but which was panned enough I didn’t give it much thought, I picked it up cheap on Steam. Don’t…don’t do that. It’s…I’ve played bad ports, but…but…I just…I don’t…I can’t… —Dix
Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut
Developed by Access Games | Published by Rising Star Games | PS3 | 2013
After the fiasco of the “blazing along at 20 fps” PC version, I found a PS3 copy of Deadly Premonition, and unlike the PC port, this one actually runs. Yes, it would be ugly for a PS2 game. Yes, it’s still a bit clunky. Yes, the combat is functional at best. It’s also…very strange. None of this is surprising. I am not yet very far – and not yet on the Deadly Premonition bandwagon – but at least this one is playable, and there’s enough to it yet that I’m eager to delve further into its mysteries. —Dix
Two weeks in a row is a record to be proud of! Gregg, I’ve seen you on Steam playing Nidhogg and Hawken and meant to ask you about them. It seems that they’re serving you well. And Dungeon Keeper! Though not a wee scamp for the first DK (I was more of a medium-scamp at the time), I remember it well and enjoyed it immensely. My preference is for DK2, but it’d be fun to go back to the roots after all these years. In a way I think it might age better than its successor has.
Brothers is a beautiful game. The kind of thing you get when design leadership is in the hands of someone not constrained by long-held views on what can and can’t, should and shouldn’t be done. Occasionally fiddly but an amazing emotional journey, and really pretty to boot.
Dix, it can take a while to really get on the Deadly Premonition bandwagon. When I played, I spent several evenings just sort of generally having fun, then something clunked invisibly into place and I was consumed by the mystery. Thinking in York terms, talking to myself in York tones, organizing my virtual day according to York priorities. I hope you find it as enjoyable as I did. After the obsession began it became one of those get home/play until bed games. You get drawn into the weird world and suddenly, terrifyingly, it starts making more sense than the real one.
York priorities might be a problem for me – I don’t like coffee!
Just don’t tell him that!
Glad to see you’re enjoying HAWKEN so much, Gregg! We should try and do a few matches together some time. With 60 hours sunk into it I’m sure you’re twice the mech jockey I am. 🙂
Eeesh, when you go up against an A-class mech piloted by someone who knows how to play it’s rough no matter what level you are! Like most twitchy, team-oriented games, my relationship with HAWKEN is one of love and hate; I love having a close game where every point is being fought over right till the bitter end, but hate it when there’s a skill gulf between the two teams, with one getting absolutely trashed.
When was the last time you played it Shaun? I’m led to believe a lot has changed in the last six months or so.