Most Anticipated Games of 2018!

2017 was a great year for video games, but I think next year will be just as good.

Spider-Man:

This is easy to put on the list. It’s a game about being a web-slinging badarse. Why wouldn’t it be here? Is it the greatest looking game ever? No. I like the bright colours and the kinetic energy. The only thing I really wish is that there was more variety of colour. Maybe there will be, we’ve only seen a trailer, but so far so good!

God of War:

I mean you’re a God with an axe! You travel with your son. Nothing can really measure up to you as you stomp their brains into the ground. I see no issues here.

Red Dead Redemption 2:

A cowboy in what appears to be a very compelling, beautiful, open-world. Sounds good to me. I just hope I get a female option and that there are no microtransactions.

Days Gone:

Zombies! Zombies everywhere! I couldn’t help myself. This honestly seems like a fun game, nothing ground breaking, but I don’t think it has to be. So long as it’s fun with a decent story then I’m happy.

Kingdom Hearts 3:

I hope this game isn’t delayed, it looks amazing. I think Pixar as a video game is never something I thought I wanted, but now I do. So again, please come out this year! It’s a really damn pretty looking game.

Vampyr:

I’ll be a vampire. It’ll be total rpg. Meaningful choices. A flexible plot. Sounds great. Sign me up. The graphics could be better, but I’m not complaining.

Skull and Bones:

I want to be a pirate. I heard that the ship combat isn’t the only element to this game. I hope it has a first person campaign, because then it’s got my attention.

Shadow of the Colossus:

A remake of a classic game. I really want to see that. It looks lovely and compelling. I’m on board.

A Way Out:

Couch Co-op! I missed you! EA can’t be trusted, so I hope to God this is a good game!

Metro Exodus:

This really looks like something different. A shooter with a strong element of horror, with a world that just breathes with character. Awesome. I hope it lives up to the trailer.

Octopath Traveler:

An old school jrpg. I love these types of games, it just needs a great story. For me these games live or die by the narrative. So long as that’s good, everything else should fall into place.

Games I can’t wait for that probably won’t be here until 2019:

If 2017 was great and 2018 has that same potential, I think 2019 could be even better. Honestly, I’m not pulling anyone’s leg.

The Last of Us 2:

This is probably one of the most anticipated games coming out in general. If it’s anything like the first game, I think it’ll be wonderful. I’m certainly looking forward to it.

Dragon Age 4:

I really want this game to come out! It’s been too long! I love Inquisition. I love the world, the lore, the characters. So long as this is improves on the previous game, I think that this will be a fantastic ride.

Cyberpunk 2077:

I honestly adored Witcher 3. It’s one of my favourite video games full stop. I hope it’s just as good as it’s been rumoured to be. I honestly can’t wait for this one. I hope we get some news on it next year, because the anticipation is at full throttle with this one.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

I liked this film more than Wonder Woman. I thought it was funnier, tighter written and had more personality; yet afterwards I was left feeling empty.

I thought a lot of this film was well written, in particular the jokes. It got a good amount of chuckles out of me. It’s a movie with a smart mouth. However Peter was less goofy than the previous film with a lot of his personality lost in the process. Star-Lord and Gamora’s romance went basically nowhere, is was the weakest aspect of the film to me. Baby Groot was funny, but basically a gag character on the level of an animal in a Disney cartoon. Rocket didn’t have much of an ark, even if he was meant to have grown, it didn’t really show.

Then there’s Yondu, he’s supposed to be Peter’s father, even though the film admits he lead to many children’s death. He isn’t a good person, yet the film tries to play him off as sympathetic, he isn’t. He’s just a guy that happened to be good once. I don’t think that there can be any redemption in that, even if the film is pushing it with it’s flimsy attempt to be philosophical.

The only relationship I really bought was between Gamora and Nebula. They both were abused as children and as a result resented each other. They blamed the other for the crimes dealt to them by their father. That is incredibly human and very genuine. I liked that they looked past all that and became stronger as a result. It was the best part of the film for me.

Family is a strong theme in this movie, but other than the sisters relationship, it came across as rather superficial to me. I get that they’re a family, but other than a few points in the film, there was rarely a weight put behind those words.

Drax was the funniest character to me, a real improvement over the first film. The action was good with music accompanying them appropriately. It was very well done.

Go into this one without thinking too much and you’ll probably have a fun time.

Horizon Zero Dawn Review

[This review contains spoilers]

This game is beautiful. I feel the need to emphasise that after the old console vs. pc war rages on. It’s an exclusive for the PS4, and that makes it an easy suggestion for any owner of that console. It’s a good game.

However I, in some ways, felt disappointed by it. Not because it isn’t great, but because I was expecting a fantasy, or fantasy-like game, to be more specific. When this game came out, many outlets sang it’s praises. It was compared very favourably to Witcher 3. To me, that’s misleading. It’s a Sci-Fi game, and a great one at that. The story has twists and turns. It has some sequel bait, which is fine by me, I’d like to play one.

The villain feels generic, taking a sort-of ‘skynet’ approach. However the main character, Aloy, despite a funny name, is a great character. It’s refreshing to me to have a great female character in a leading role in a AAA game.

I’m not sure if that’s controversial or not to say. But after playing The Last of Us and Witcher 3; both games where a playable female character get only a brief appearance, it’s nice to have it consistent throughout a game. A game that doesn’t have a ‘pick your adventure’ vibe like Mass Effect or Skyrim.

I should make it clear that I am aware of Tomb Raider, I’ve yet to play it, but that is another good example of a female-lead franchise.

I liked the overall story. I like the mystery that surrounded everything, it drew you in. I even found myself reading notes left behind by the dead civilisation, listening to audio logs. I was also surprised by the inclusion of a lesbian couple earlier in the game; when listening to the last words of a dead woman. It was sad, and poignant. I felt for that couple, just based on one audio log. That’s difficult to do, but I found the inclusions of that, by interacting with the world and coming with your own conclusions, to be one of the strongest aspects of this games storytelling.

I also find it interesting that Aloy had no interest in romance, something that’s normally a staple of games like this. When you can make choices in a game, normally it also leads to ‘love’.

The choices that are in this game are limited, but when they’re there, they feel important. It should also be noted that all your actions, for the most part, feel significant. Especially for the main plot. I felt like I was making a difference, that I was saving the world as we knew it. That I had something to prove and everything to lose.

The story does however have some faults, some key characters introduced at the beginning were wasted potential, they died too early. They could’ve made a larger impact later on, like Rost for example.

I also found the side missions to have a repetitive structure ‘track something down, kill a robot dinosaur, return thing back to person’. This felt weaker overall and like ‘busy work’. However the main plot lines, as stated before, are strong and avoided these issues.

Another problem I had, was that there were impressive cities, yet unlike games like Skyrim, I couldn’t just randomly walk into people’s houses. That felt immersion breaking to me.

The game play is fun, but I found the ‘stealth’ parts to be the weakest part. Especially with the over emphasis on the red bushes, this is something Shadow of Mordor did far better. The attacks via bow and arrow are, however, fun and satisfying. The spear feels closer to a last ditch effort weapon, but is competent enough to be a main weapon for those that prefer it.

The health system, I thought, was unique and easy to use, far better than Shadow of Mordor in that regard. It actually allows you to keep your herbs on hand.

Horizon Zero Dawn is a fine game, that I think, is mainstream enough for mass appeal. It’s good, with a strong story, I’d recommend it to almost anyone.

Mass Effect: Andromeda Review

 

[This review contains spoilers]

Mass Effect: Andromeda is a good game and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that. It certainly isn’t perfect, it can have pacing issues (depending on your style of play…however it’s also a bit of a design flaw); and the character animation can be clunky.

But the story has heart.

I love Jaal. In some ways he should’ve been the main character, because really, it’s more his story than the ‘Pathfinders’. He grows from distrusting you, your people (the ‘aliens’), to seeing the great things you accomplish. The things you do for peace. You change his mind with your actions, and by being his friend. He begins standoffish, but if you play far enough, he considers you family.

This is huge, considering the Angaran trusted the Kett and were betrayed. You’re the alien. You have to be better, otherwise you’re no better than the villains of the game.

This is where the game could’ve capitalised on it’s choice mechanic. Do you gain their trust, make Andromeda better for everyone, or do you fuck up? Do you become worse than the Kett?

The game never goes there and it’s a waste of potential. That’s my biggest criticism of the game. It’s good, but it could’ve been better. It should have been better. Your choices should shape the future for Andromeda. Yet it barely did, your choices, for the most part, were superficial.

Except for a few, like breaking up a romantic relationship or gaining an alliance with the Krogan. I’ll admit when I chose the Salarian Pathfinder over Drack’s scouts, he called me out on it. And it hurt, because in someway, I had betrayed him. It was a small thing, but it made me feel like he’d never truly trust me again. By putting the mission before him, I had made a sacrifice, and no apology was going to fix it.

It’s a shame that this doesn’t happen more often. That’s it’s the only choice I regret, but would make again. It’s the sort of thing that separates a good and great game.

The characters, for the most part are good. Drack is an old man that could kick anyone’s arse. Peebee is insecure, but with a confident bravado. Kallo is great, and will always weigh in on Salarian issues.

Then there is Reyes Vidal. He’s cocky, a crook, and the perfect lover. I mean he’s just the perfect flirt, irresistible. Though I love that you can punch him if you take the friend route.

The loyalty missions are fun. The main mission has a good story, the Salarian ark being a highlight. Again though, the game suffers inconsistent pacing. There are times where the main quest can be forgotten in favour for side missions, or when other quests are put on ‘Hold’. You’re not sure when you can ‘get back’ to them. This makes the missions lose momentum, and when doing other tasks, important details can be forgotten by the player. This makes the story just that much more disengaging.

The game design can also lead to this, with it’s long drives to locations, to only have a cutscene before needing to fly to another planet. This can become tedious, another disengaging aspect.

The ‘alien’ Sudoku should be noted as a take it or leave it feature.

The gameplay was good, but to me, was played best as a cover shooter. Though watching other players, and listened to other people’s comments, it seems to be a highlight for most players. Especially with the addition of the jetpack. I enjoyed it, but I thought games like Titanfall 2 had better combat.

The art design is where this game really shines. Each Remnant vault was a treat to explore, and a feast for the eyes. They felt epic, both in scale and meaning. The gravity well only adding to that experience, as if you had truly entered the unknown.

As I stated above, this is a good game. Yes the character’s glitch, yes it can be annoying. But, for the most part, the voice acting is good. The characters grow as people, and you grow with them. There is a true sense of discovery in this game. Of being on the frontier of space. The writing, though inconsistent, shines where it really counts.

I may play this game again, and that to me, is compliment enough.