I just killed a bear on a beach. It took me a few attempts—mostly because I find dodging animals attacks fraught in Assassin's Creed Odyssey, much like I did in Origins—but I finally shot the thing with enough fire arrows that it went down. While I normally wouldn't expect a game to justify the logic of a boss battle with a bear, an investigation of a nearby shipwreck, strewn with bodies, reveals the reason why it's there. The bear was being transported by shady smugglers, until the boat crashed. The character who sent me to kill the bear was a smuggler too—something she didn't tell me at the start of the quest. Confronting her, I choose to blackmail her with what I've discovered about her illegal activities. Rather than pay up, she angrily draws her sword, and I kill her pretty quickly. If I'd responded with "this stays between us" rather than "this stays between us...for a price", the quest would've ended with no fight, and this NPC would still be … [Read more...] about Assassin’s Creed Odyssey hands-on: RPG-style choices bring the game’s story to life
Story about life changing
Video games, as a medium, don’t have many auteur creators — designers who produce games for big publishers yet somehow manage for their personal obsessions and peculiarities to shine through. Consider Jeff Minter, a man whose catalog demonstrates an equal fascination with Atari’s Tempest and camelids. Or Hideo Kojima’s obsession with Hollywood popcorn flicks has led to Metal Gear, a series of intricate action games with arcane storylines. Akitoshi Kawazu’s abiding interest in tabletop games gave us SaGa, Square Enix’s most mechanically impenetrable role-playing franchise. Fumito Ueda created Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian, three games about the role that companionship plays in overcoming isolation. And so forth: all games heavily driven by a singular vision, even when the pursuit of those passions works to the detriment of the end product. Twenty years ago, another auteur appeared on the scene with the arrival of the first game … [Read more...] about Xenogears’ story lives on, thanks to its ambitious creator
Here in the United States, it was about 3 a.m. I had no idea what time it was in Sweden where my friend lived. He didn't care, either. He was drunk and sad and needed a shoulder to cry on, even though that shoulder was across the world. He wanted to die. I didn't want him to die. So, for three hours, I talked to him until he passed out and I could hear him snoring on our voice chat call. It wasn't the first time I'd talked a member of my guild down from the edge. In movies and cartoons, MMO guild masters, or GMs, are often depicted as a 30-year-old man with a neckbeard living in his mother's basement, living off Mountain Dew and Doritos. They're generally goofy and fit the outdated stereotype of a nerd—yelling at their computer screens, surrounded by two or three monitors and thousands of dollars of gaming equipment. I'm none of those things, but for the last five years I've run a 100-plus member guild in Ultima Online, an MMO I've now been playing for nearly two … [Read more...] about My life as the grandma guildmaster of Ultima Online Forever
Good and evil is barely the start of it, frankly. Fable is one of those rare, fascinating game series upon which nobody can really seem to agree about anything for very long. It's a shallow RPG, or maybe it's a canny and satirical examination of RPGs in general. It's hilarious - oh, the burping! Or maybe it's just juvenile. Let's face it: Fable's easy to the point of being obsequious, isn't it? Or maybe it's choosing to measure itself in ways that go beyond mere difficulty? It's no surprise, then, that with all this discussion churning around it, the world of Albion is so often defined by a mechanic that it doesn't even contain. As a young child, the story once went, you will find an acorn. If you plant the acorn, green shoots will emerge from the earth. Years later, after a long life of consequence and heroism, you will return to the place that you planted that acorn and a huge oak tree will tower overhead. A lovely idea, isn't it, that a game would be both so reactive and so poetic, … [Read more...] about What’s Fable really all about?
While some fans of the series were disappointed when Monster Hunter XX came to the Switch as a Japan-only exclusive, the good news is that we don't have to suffer in region-imposed torture any longer. The latest big fish in the franchise's pond, Monster Hunter World, is finally here, and it blows the previous western releases out of the water. For seasoned players, the gameplay loop in Monster Hunter World is immediately recognisable. Your job is a cycle that involves crafting weapons, bulking up, killing monsters, and looting them for materials. However, a well-crafted narrative has not traditionally been a part of that gameplay loop, and that may have been a deterrent for those looking for a foothold into the franchise in the past. Luckily for them, the first major point of difference here from the previous mainline titles is the way that the plot and gameplay are grafted together. A spinoff, Monster Hunter Stories, stepped off the beaten track by introducing a simple yet satisfying … [Read more...] about Monster Hunter World Review: Larger Than Life