Archive for the ‘Bastion’ Tag

Minecraft’s released, and here are five games you might want to look at first.   Leave a comment

I’ve had a bit of a disappearance due to work and, well, gaming. However, in recent news was the long announced (and inevitably delayed) release of Minecraft which brought a lot of things that irritate me to the forefront.

Its user score hit amber on Metacritic a short while ago. I don’t think it’s a mediocre game, far from it, but I can understand the reaction of many of the gamers who are reacting against the squealing Notch fanboys and the strong bias of professional critics who rally behind the idea that the game is the best thing since sliced bread. I thought the older user score of 7.5 was a little more realistic, but it’s continued to drop.

Here I wanted to put forward five games out around about the same time that, I would argue, are a better investment than Minecraft. Of course, it’s all mostly subjective (assuming you’re not a dyed-in-the-wool games are art type) and there aren’t many games that do what Minecraft do the same way or as well as it, but none the less:

#1) The Binding of Isaac

The Binding of Isaac has a classic, rogue-like element mixed up with older console adventure games. You won’t get anywhere near the amount of play hours out of it as Minecraft, but it’s a great example of indie weirdness. It has a vague allusion of Judaic mythology as the player controls Isaac who must escape the basement from which his warped mother wishes to sacrifice him, encountering monsters and deformed siblings on his way to freedom.

#2) Saints Row: The Third

In many ways, Saints Row picked up where GTA 2 left off. By the time GTA 4 was hitting shelves, the series had gone a tad insane in many ways. The first two games were anarchic and did not take themselves seriously in the least. GTA 3 started a trend of trying to add a gritty side to the games and by the time GTA 4 was on screens everywhere, it was hard to see coherence between the bleak existence of the central protagonist and the zany slapstick carried over from the earlier games. Saints Row became, in many ways, the true inheritor of the pure slapstick of the first two GTA games.

#3) Orcs Must Die!

An interesting new take on the old tower defence model. Your basic job is defend a series of towers from hordes of orcs and their cohorts. The production values are good for an indie and the game has good humour running throughout that does not feel forced. As with games like Sanctum, the game boasts a large amount of DLC and the ability to get involved with the suppression of invading forces as opposed to merely leaving it up to the defences you build.

#4) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Most people will know why this game is considered great already, but I’ll re-iterate here. State of the art graphics and sound with more varied terrain than Oblivion, randomised dungeons and countless quests, a more skill-focused character design with perks each level. Based off a new internally-designed engine and a new character generation system, the game opens up a lot more possibility for customisation than removed with its radically changed character design. The game world feels more real, more dynamic than Oblivion and the continued improvements in these areas point to even better in the future.

#5) Bastion

I have to admit, I was rather late on the bandwagon for this one. There’s very little to say against this game though, a paragon of action adventures, it combines elements of gritty fantasy with frontiersman Wild West and post-apocalyptic searching. The aim of the game is to rebuild the city that has fallen under a terrible blight (known as the Calamity) and cracked into several floating islands by finding and reclaiming the cores, bringing them to the sanctity of the bastion where the townsfolk were meant to gather. The game features gameplay and stylistic choices influenced by JRPGs, of which I’m not normally a fan, but its execution is slick and well-crafted.

I’m not saying Minecraft is a bad game. I just feel there’s a lot of hype around it and that the rating of 7.5 I first saw was a lot more realistic to the end product than the near uniform bleating of the praising critics. After his bad air with Bethesda and the nastiness with Yogscast at MineCon, maybe the mediocre user reception will make Notch a little more humble, because he needs to be brought down a peg or two.

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This week in gaming   Leave a comment

The quick cap news

* Introversion say that it’s unlikely they’ll work with Microsoft again after porting Darwinia and Multiwinia to XBLA.

* Microsoft admits that the mimicry of the console model in Games For Windows was flawed, but promises future improvement.

* A new GTA game is in the works under the codename of “RUSH.”

* Blizzard’s next MMO is already playable; at least, according to the company’s co-founder, Frank Pearce.

* Bungie is now claiming that its MMO reveal at GDC was a joke in response to rumours. Of course, it could simply be damage control.

* Valve’s new security technology, Steam Guard, is showcased with Gabe Newell revealing his Steam password as a show of confidence. The consensus is that this will turn out to be a silly move.

* On the Valve note, PC gamers may have to endure the pain of playing co-op Portal 2 with someone who doesn’t use a keyboard and mouse in FPS games.

* EA announce that they may focus more on the PC gaming market as increased PC revenue via digital distribution and the free-to-play model makes the platform more and more attractive.

* Call of Duty: Black Ops has become the best-selling game in US history, selling over 13.7 million units according to retail tracking firm NPD.

* A huge dichotomy has occurred between reviewer and user scores on Metacritic for Dragon Age II. Users have been complaining about a dumbing down of the game and the game has, at the time of writing, 278 negative reviews to 18 neutral and 84 positive.

Main news

So, great news for indie gaming fans. Serious Sam is being outsourced to create a series of indie titles set around the character. While I am no huge fan of the Serious Sam games, it’s always interesting to see what indie developers and fresh minds can make of larger IP. Warner Bros. is picking up action-RPG Bastion, the first game from indie studio Supergiant and one that features a dynamic narrative. Finally, there’s Hawken, a mech-based FPS indie title with extremely impressive graphics that will surely help ease the pain of Mechwarrior 5’s slip into vapourware. It will most likely be a downloadable title, according to developers.

Besides that, it seems indie smash hit, Angry Birds might be coming to Facebook in a “Collaborative” form, according to developers. This comes alongside news that the game made a profit in excess of $70m from a small budget of $140k. The move to Facebook is not unusual given other news that Rebellion have started a new social games division after the success of Facebook-based Evil Genius.