After so many Warfares of the Modern, Advanced, and Totally Wacky variety, there was something comforting about Call of Duty going back to World War 2. Playing Call of Duty: WW2’s multiplayer mode now, nine months after launch, is like slipping on an old boot — albeit a boot covered in mud, masonry dust, and the blood of tens of millions of people. It’s also fitting that a game about a conflict 70 years past feels so old. In 2018, and in direct comparison with competitors like Battlefield, CoD’s engine feels like it was of age to actually enlist for the Second World War. That’s a bit unfair, but I spent last month playing Quake, and it feels like it’s learned all the lessons Call of Duty hasn’t from the last 10 years of multiplayer shooters. There’s a decidedly unreconstructed feel to CoD: WW2’s breakneck pace, its rigid animations, and its dinky maps. Navigating those stages feels awkward, too: I kept getting stuck on walls and … [Read more...] about Has Call of Duty: WW2 been improved by its updates?
Eat my dust
It’s 1988 and you’re weaving through clouds of smoke in a back alley, neon karaoke signs buzzing overhead. You’re on your way to a club until you find out someone’s framed you for murder. Things take a turn for the worse, and now the Japanese mafia are after you. What do you do? If you’re like me, hitmen be damned, you go to a restaurant and order everything on the menu. In alternating chapters of Yakuza 0, ex-Yakuza protagonists Kiryu Kazuma and Majima Goro play out their respective stories of testing the limits of loyalty and redemption. Split between fictional districts of Tokyo and Osaka, the level of detail in every nook and cranny of these towns is astounding. The fake food displays in the windows, the tattered signs that point to a six-person bar tucked away behind the main roads. But the best parts aren’t in the main story or even the sights — it’s everything else you’re allowed to do. I’m not particularly interested … [Read more...] about I am living my best life in Yakuza 0
Well folks, here we are again, staring down a substantial set of balance changes and wondering what's likely to happen to Hearthstone's most powerful decks. I'm here to break out the crystal ball and assess the likely impact on the ladder. Let's start with everyone's not-so-favourite horsey... Is 8-Mana a fair price for Bonemare? Delaying the almost ubiquitous minion buffer by a turn makes its aggressive tempo push that much less threatening, and my suspicion is that this means Bonemare probably doesn’t see any more constructed play. It might seem like Bonemare is fair at 8 mana, but fair cards typically don't see play. The parallel thought running through my mind is what happened to Call of the Wild: it was an insane card at 8 and not played at 9. The direct competition at 8 now is Lich King, but the more realistic competition is that decks simply play cheaper, more unfair cards instead, like Cobalt Scalebane. This seemed like a nerf that didn’t really need to … [Read more...] about The big winners and losers from Hearthstone’s latest round of nerfs
After Konami's uncomfortable separation with series creator Hideo Kojima, Metal Gear Survive's first impression is one of cheap fanfiction. But after playing the first three hours, I'm both relieved and troubled to say that Survive is only a Metal Gear game in name. You're dumped through a wormhole into a hazy, zombie-infested world, all the Snake bros and long cutscenes and cognizant clone hands locked away in another dimension. It's fitting, really—besides some cylindrical tutorial robots with long-winded, patronizing explanations for everything, Survive's world is a simple one. It's just a damn survival game. The genre brings its usual problems with it, chief among them that any time a game has hunger and thirst meters, I clam up. It also has resource collection and convoluted menu systems for managing them. (Double-clammed.) There are also zombies. (I can't begin to describe how hard I am clamming.) But in the first few hours, the genre cliches marred by countless poor … [Read more...] about Clumsy brawls with dumb zombies make Metal Gear Survive hard to get into
I am so tired of being the hero. Too often RPGs rely on the 'chosen one' trope to drive a world-rending conflict and take you on a hopscotch journey throughout whatever pretty open world you're stuck in this time. In Kingdom Come: Deliverance, no one knows your name. It might look like Skyrim at a glance, but you're not going to be graduating from the mages' college or throwing fireballs at dragons on snowy mountaintops. Bohemia in the 1400s was a much simpler (yet no less violent) place. Lords were the dragons, monks were the mages, and arrows the fireballs. Chances are, you'd be born into a working class and stuck there for life, the very dream of swinging a sword an impossible one. In fact, that you get to swing a sword at all is one of the few times developer Warhorse Studios' bends the truth for the sake of play. You're not playing the hero this time around. You're a pretty big loser actually. Like, the kind of guy that the nobles won't look at unless they need manual labor … [Read more...] about Being a nobody is better than saving the day in historical RPG Kingdom Come: Deliverance