This week has seen 2 remarkable releases on consoles and PC. First Headlander, the new game by Double Fine, Tim Schafer’s studio. Read more
This is long and ranty. But I feel that it is important.
You guys absolutely got the industry you wanted.
We got here through slow degrees. Like the proverbial frog in the pot - although, it didn't actually seem that way to begin with. So, very quickly, let's talk about the divide between modern games and how they monetize and older games and how those raked in the money.
In the bad old days, a game was a once-off experience - for the most part. You bought the game, it had absolutely all the content on the disk and off you went. This wasn't absolutely universal, of course - even back then we had what were known as "Scenario Disks" and added content through content builders - Things like the Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures construction kit.
But if you bought a game you would be assured of ALL the content. At least until a scenario disk/expansion pack rolled around. There was no messing around with day one DLC [a misnomer, but we'll get there] or very many "added content exclusives." The game you took home was - generally - the same game your European friends took home on the day of release.
Then, Bethesda cracked open the door through Horse Armor and everything changed.
But it's important to realize an important thing about this whole fiasco: we can't go back. We can't stuff the genie back into the bottle. But we can maybe make executives think twice about fleecing us.
Please note: This article is LITTERED with links. They will open in a new window and will take you off-site.
Now that four-in-February is behind us, I thought I'd take some time to look into games that I'm at least a little curious about for the calendar year of 2016. I have divided my choices into three broad sections:
Things that will almost definitely be with us in the near-future or before the end of 2016.
Things that might make it into 2016, but you never know.
And, finally, things that I'm totally worried about. Sometimes with good reason.
So, let's take a look and see, shall we? Read more
If so, then GOG has the perfect game for you: Day of the Tentacle. Better still, it's Day of the Tentacle remastered, so you get a modern looking game and modern sounds alongside the original charm of the DOS version - which you can flip to at [almost] any time.
And time is of the essence, because you'll be cast into three time periods while you play - the past, the present and the far future. Use twisty time-travel logic to solve puzzles spanning all three ages and witness the hilarity as LucasArts works it's curious brand of comedy magic.
It's a magical time, because if you pre-order between now and March 22, GMT you will also get exclusive Day of the Tentacle wallpapers, courtesy of GOG.
You can pre-order here.
I am generally the kind of gamer who savours the experience (savour being code for I take forever to finish a game). I'm still toiling away on games from years ago all the while my collection builds up to the point where it becomes slightly daunting to think about what to play next (seriously, I'll get around to finishing Dragon Age: Inquisition one of these days but having seen the Bull sexy time scene I think I've seen all the best parts).
For my #4iF list I decided to go with a mix of new and old as well as a variety of gameplay types. First off I'm going to start with a little old school RTS revivalism by finishing the campaign of Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak. Designed by Blackbird Interactive, a team made up of the designers of the original Homeworld and published by Gearbox Software who acquired the rights during the sundering of THQ the game was originally intended as a "spiritual successor" to the Homeworld series and started under the name of Shipbreakers.
When Gearbox picked up the rights they heard about this project and invited the team back to help not only build the re-release of the original Homeworld games but fold Shipbreakers into the Homeworld universe. The premise was already very familiar with only a slight twist to the story it was able to slot in as a prequel rather nicely. I look forward to exploring the world of Kharak before the Mothership helped the people retake the stars.
To liven things up a bit I'm going to swing from RTS into action-adventure, I'm going to work on putting Assassin's Creed Syndicate to bed. I've been working on that since release and what's dragged it out so much is that it has been so fun! The game world is rich and interesting and just chock-full of interesting gameplay. In a lot of ways it's felt like a final return on the promise of the series for the first time in years. We have strong and interesting protagonists with a believable relationship, the bad guys are not so cartoonish and the story makes more sense than the last few. Can't wait to polish this off!
Next is a bit twitchier, when Halo 5 dropped so did Assassin's Creed Syndicate and it's been a challenge to find time to spend with it. Destiny has taken up most of my shooting schedule and I've just not felt the need even with Microsoft's really interesting podcast and cross promotion.
That changes this February, the saga of Master Chief is just a vague excuse for me to spend time with my very own virtual Nathan Fillion. I mean it's not hanging out with Mal and zipping around the 'verse misbehaving but it's still something. Damn that man, he does have the rugged good looks of an action hero!
Lastly a classic that I never completed, this is a sin especially for an old school gamer like myself. I feel incomplete having never finished this but now I will right wrongs by completing the saga of Manny in Grim Fandango. The quirky and unique adventure game from the great minds of Doublefine Studio for LucasArts.
Thankfully under Disney's leadership Doublefine have started loosening the choke hold they have on older properties and letting some of them get licensed or even re-released. With Grim Fandango Doublefine made a concerted effort to update without altering the game leaving the obtuse and at times cryptic gameplay intact (I mean not as insane as Gabriel Knight's method of obtaining a fake moustache). This is an interesting historical piece of software as it shows how gameplay, even within a fairly niche genre like adventure games, has evolved over the years. A game that at one time used mechanics considered normal could now be considered quaint, dated or just downright cryptic!
So that's my February in a nutshell. Now to step up to the challenge! (Also, have to find some time to fit XCOM 2 in there now that's going to be a challenge!)
Steam is not the only one that has nice sales. I was able to get my hands on the second Costume Quest on the PS3 for $2 not long after it was released. I played the first one and it's DLC on the PC and I thought they were nice RPGs with a really simple combat system. I had some issues with the combat in the first game because I play most PC games with a mouse and keyboard combo. When you were in a fight you were prompted to execute key presses of shift, tab, spacebar, etc. So, when executing some attacks I accidentally left/closed the game a few times before giving up on the costumes that required those kind of keys. That made my choice easier to go the console route for the second one.
Let me give you some background story just in case you haven't played the original. Costume Quest is a turn based RPG that places you in the shoes of a Reynold, a regular kid, on a quest to save his twin sister, Wren, who was kidnapped because she looked like a giant candy in her Halloween costume. Since it's Halloween, everyone's wearing costumes and depending on which one you're wearing you'll have different abilities, in and outside of combat. I don't want to spoil the story so I'll leave it at that. Writing is top notch as it always is from the Double Fine folks.
In the second game you can choose whether you play as Reynold or Wren to save Halloween from an evil dentist, Mr. White. You'll be time traveling, like Doc and Marty, to the past and then back to the future in order to put an end to the dentist's plans. Combat has been changed. In order to make your attacks more powerful you'll have to correctly time your button presses. All costumes have the same timing mechanism, but their timing is different, so you'll have to get used to each of them. They've also added strengths and weaknesses to costumes and enemies Pokémon style. You can also use Creepy Treat Cards to spice up the combat with special effects.
This game can be played and enjoyed by adults and kids. My kids loved watching me play and then they took turns playing their own save files. It takes from 6 to 8 hours to finish, but I suggest you take your time with it. If you try to rush it you'll get quickly bored by the combat and the constant need of having to go to a fountain to heal your party.
One last thing, I may be getting old, but I think the text in this game is hard to read. They chose a font that's a bit weird and its size is too small for me to read it comfortably from the couch. I have a 32'' tv so that may be part of the issue. I'm seriously considering buying a larger tv because of the small text in games these days.