The Wild Eight: It’s a Mixed Bag

This article is based on the Early Access game around March 2018

Following the completion of Resident Evil VII, I was in that drifting void between titles; not quite wanting to go back for DLC at the moment, but not really ready to move on to a more solid single player experience (I’m still playing F:BR in the background to satisfy my multiplayer needs). Luckily my wife and I both spotted that “The Wild Eight” was reduced on Steam and having been struck by the low-poly visuals we saw it as a good chance to give it a shot and check out this Early Access Survival game…

My long-held misgiving about the perils of Early Access are well documented, and in this case likely justified. “The Wild Eight” has been Early Access for some time and still isn’t that much of a polished experience. I’m writing this bit in italics because I don’t like criticising a game that isn’t full release for being buggy, but this game is full of bugs and it needs to be mentioned. Just starting the game was often a challenge, getting the lobby to work the next one, and this was before we even managed to play any of it. We saw animals walking through walls, at one point my character wouldn’t walk anywhere, some enemies didn’t seem to do any damage, some areas seemed to be filled with toxic gas, but there was no visual indication, we restarted once because the animals wouldn’t attack (they just stood there whilst we pummelled them)… oh, and one time the entire contents of my backpack from a few lives ago suddenly spawned in front of me…   Continue reading “The Wild Eight: It’s a Mixed Bag”

Prototype Mansion: This Game Contains Scenes of Explicit Parody

Fun Thing to Remember: This article was written early December 2017 and is based on the state of the game at that point… also Hello ‘future people’! How are those hover cars working out for you?

I find Raccoon City a comforting place, which might say something about me as a person given how zombie infested it is on a typical day, but I largely square it away to being due to the huge influence that Resident Evil 2 has on my tastes as a gamer. I’ve written before about how much I miss the level of detail conveyed in the visual presentation of those early PS1 era survival horror games, but that’s just one part of their unique blend of obtuse puzzles, cheesy take on Romeroesque horror, bizarre locations, and skewed take on reality that I enjoy. It’s unsurprising that my interest was therefore piqued when I first heard about “Prototype Mansion” from indie team “Jupiter Lighthouse“. Described by the developers as a “Love Letter” to those early 90’s survival horror games, ‘Prototype Mansion’ currently exists as the first episode of a title clearly heavily influenced by and parodying that era.  Continue reading “Prototype Mansion: This Game Contains Scenes of Explicit Parody”

PU:BG – Bathroom Surprise!

It’s been difficult to miss the wave of enthusiasm within the gaming community for the fabled ‘PLAYER UNKNOWN’s BATTLEGROUNDS’; a currently early access title with its roots set in the modding community (like so many great games before it) and with a user base now measured in millions. Having only a cursory understanding of the game, but a high degree of curiosity, I jumped in a couple of weeks ago and with about 24 hours of playtime I’ve been staring at a blank screen trying to work out how to go about wrapping up these hours in a digestible and entertaining form… If I’m honest I’ve begun and scrapped half-a-dozen attempts to take a witty spin on it, or begin in a quirky off the wall way, and come to the conclusion that for PU:BG, a blunt direct approach might just be the best for what is in essence a clean and straightforward concept.

If there is anyone out there that still has no idea what I’m jabbering on about, PU:BG is a Battle Royale game based on an open world island; 100 players skydive in, all with the aim of being the last standing. Periodically the blue shimmering play boundary, known only as “the circle” shrinks, forcing those hiding and trembling survivors to scamper from their rabbit holes into the rapidly diminishing territory. Players outside the circle are ‘encouraged’ back in through the use of physical damage, and an occasional air strike is thrown in just to keep everyone on their toes. Other than that the game is fairly standard shooter fare with weapons, health, & armour pickups in buildings, vehicles to move hastily (but noisily), and an island peppered with soviet era towns, buildings, & bridges along with a healthy dose of wilderness. The task can be tackled in solo, pair, or four person squad modes and although the island is always the same, the vector of the transport aircraft along with the shirking play-zone seems to keep gameplay fresh whilst allowing the player to quickly recognise landmarks (and even pick out the odd favourite  haunt amongst the buildings). Continue reading “PU:BG – Bathroom Surprise!”

Paladins Beta: A Weekend of First Impressions

Since its beta release back in September, the Steam storefront has been pushing and shoving me into ‘Paladins’ via a less than subtle almost continuous presence on my recommended list and often up there in the hallowed reaches of the featured titles. I’m assuming that the hefty number of hours that I’ve spent scurrying around the deserts and factories of that other, now free-to-play, class-based shooter, TF2, has swayed the great recommendation algorithm into drawing this particular circle around me…  And I’m carefully avoiding (or more accurately: typing and deleting) descending into a rant spiral about the jumbled mess that is the Stream storefront in favour of rambling about my experience with that fantasy class-based FPS, ‘Paladins’, thus far.

… nice place… 

Continue reading “Paladins Beta: A Weekend of First Impressions”

Soviet City: An Early Access Review

These are ‘early access’ impressions  of ‘Soviet City’ as of the date of publication

‘Soviet City’ brings tension and oppression to the city builder by throwing the genre into an alternative history where a brutal socialist regime is in control of a scorched and dying Earth; the last chance of the population is to build a rocket to harvest energy from the sun. The player steps into the roll of some mid-level government bureaucrat charged with the unquestioning execution of a series of five-year plans dictated by the higher powers which all involve the development of a new ‘Soviet City’.

‘Soviet City’ is a new title from Polish developer ‘Chicken in the Corn’ and from the outset it is clear that this is no ‘Sim-City’ clone; I’d even struggle to call it a city builder. Building roads, government facilities, farms etc. is one aspect of the game, however the challenge is in resource management, population management and meeting specific goals. The strategic placement of buildings acts as one way to ensure that everything runs efficiently but this isn’t about creating a nice living environment for your growing population.

Just your typical Soviet City

Continue reading “Soviet City: An Early Access Review”