Thoughts: Back 4 Blood

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“Man, all of these games that take heavy inspiration from Left 4 Dead’s co-op horde shooter formula are great and all, but they’re all missing something. I wish somebody would just make a modern version of Left 4 Dead.”

Back 4 Blood is released.

“No, not like that.”

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Thoughts: Age of Empires 4

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“The next generation of real-time strategy gaming!” proclaims the marketing blurb for Age of Empires 4. This is technically true, since aside from assorted mediocrities like Grey Goo and Company of Heroes 2 I don’t think anyone has taken a proper big (or at least medium-sized) budget stab at the classic RTS since Blizzard released Starcraft 2 back in 2010. Unlike those failures, Age of Empires 4 has the support of a big franchise name, a big publisher — they don’t get any bigger than Microsoft — and it’s being developed by Relic Entertainment, who are in theory a seasoned RTS studio thanks to their experience with Dawn of War and Company of Heroes. But if Age of Empires 4 is indeed the next generation of real-time strategy gaming, then I have to say it looks a hell of a lot like the twenty year-old Age of Empires 2.

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LucasArts Time Machine: The Curse Of Monkey Island

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And so, after a rather longer period than I anticipated, we come back to the beginning. This whole series was prompted by my booting up Curse Of Monkey Island back in October of last year, and wondering: why was Curse the last high-profile 2D point and click adventure game that LucasArts made? Was the genre an evolutionary dead-end? Was the lure of 3D graphics — which were exploding in 1997 thanks to the Voodoo accelerator card — too strong to resist? And considering Curse in particular, I wanted to get a bit more context on just why LucasArts had abandoned their previously wildly-successful genre at precisely the moment they’d managed to usher it to its apotheosis — because Curse is absolutely fantastic.

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Thoughts: Pathfinder – Wrath of the Righteous

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Pathfinder: Wrath Of The Righteous is the most ambitious game I’ve played so far this year.

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Thoughts: Deathloop

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I must admit, it’s something of a minor miracle that I enjoyed Deathloop as much as I did given the amount of complaining I’m about to do.

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