Tag Archives: thoughts

Thoughts: Desperados 3

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It’s taken me the better part of a year to get around to Desperados 3. This may seem a little odd given how much I liked Shadow Tactics, the previous game from Desperados 3 developers Mimimi; however, there’s a few reasons for that, first and foremost of which is that, historically, I haven’t liked Westerns as a setting for videogames. I’ve played a few across a range of different genres — Red Dead Redemption, Call Of Juarez: Gunslinger and Hard West are the ones which immediately spring to mind — none of which struck me as being particularly bad, but none of which I managed to stick with for more than a few hours. This is strange because I am quite a big fan of movie Westerns, particularly anything from Sergio Leone, but I can never take them seriously when they’re transplanted into a videogame; matching the mechanics to the setting is always a sufficiently contrived process that I end up feeling like I’m wandering around inside a knockoff version of Westworld and quit shortly afterwards.

This is why I never took the time to go back and play the original Desperados games, and it’s a big part of why I’ve dragged my feet on installing Desperados 31 until now. I’m glad I did though, because now that I’ve finished it I’ve realised two things:

  • It is possible to make a decent Western-themed videogame which doesn’t have to contort itself into unusual shapes to fit into whatever the genre du jour is, which conclusively proves that the problem doesn’t lie with the setting.
  • If I’d actually bothered to play it last year, Desperados 3 would have been a serious contender for my GOTY 20202.

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  1. The other reason is that it was published by THQ Nordic, a company I am trying to avoid giving money to after somebody pretty high up in the company decided it would be a great idea to do an AMA hosted by notorious internet toilet 8chan.
  2. It would have lost to Hades, but I don’t think I played anything else last year that would have beaten Desperados 3 to second place.
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Thoughts: Subnautica – Below Zero

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In this review I am going to try and figure out if the words “streamlining” and “compromising” are inevitable synonyms of one another.

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Thoughts: Resident Evil Village

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Well, this is embarrassing. I told myself I wasn’t going to buy another Call Of Duty after they switched back to doing their oh-so-tedious contemporary settings, but with the werewolves and the giant castle this newest one at least looked a bit diff – wait, what? This is a Resident Evil game?

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Thoughts: Project Wingman

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Project Wingman is an interesting one. It’s an indie take on the arcade-style fighter jet shenanigans of the Ace Combat series that’s been made by a tiny team with a fraction of the budget that a full Ace Combat game would get, but which is attractive to me for precisely that reason. I have never played an Ace Combat game, mostly because the trailers all tend to feature a rather larger quantity of pre-rendered cutscenes and interminable voiceovers than I’m really comfortable with in what’s supposedly an arcade shooter. I bought Project Wingman in the hope that an indie approach to it would cut all of that extraneous stuff out (because it doesn’t have the budget for it) and instead focus all of its resources on the part of Ace Combat that I’m actually interested in: re-enacting Top Gun with a console controller.

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Thoughts: Creeper World 4

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Creeper World 4, then. I do enjoy tower defence as a genre and have got on famously well with games such as Defence Grid and Defender’s Quest and even the ancient Flash classic Desktop Tower Defence, but I’ve never managed to get into the Creeper World series. I think this is down to the series’ gimmick, where rather than defending against waves of enemies who rush in from offscreen to charge through your gauntlet of towers, you’re instead engaged in more of a hybrid RTS experience where you aggressively shuffle towers around the map to beat back a huge, constantly growing mass of purple goo called the Creeper that destroys everything it touches. It’s an interesting spin on the concept, and the guy behind Creeper World basically really likes making games out of simulations of cellular automata so the Creeper has always behaved like a believable fluid, pooling and flowing realistically before surging towards your woefully underprepared defence line. Unfortunately that hasn’t been all that clear up until this point, because the previous three Creeper World games were all top-down 2D affairs where you couldn’t really get a good impression of the true scale of the Creeper infestation; I ended up feeling more like I was fighting a war against the colour purple than I was a all-consuming blob monster and fell out of Creeper Worlds 2 and 3 quite quickly as a result.

Which, in a roundabout way, also explains why Creeper World 4 has been the one to finally click with me: it’s the first title in the series to go fully 3D, and so for the first time I am able to see just how sodding enormous the mass of Creeper bearing down on my base really is. This one change transforms Creeper World from what was ultimately a fairly standard turtling RTS game into something far more distinctive — and fun.

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Thoughts: Per Aspera

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I’m going to state up front that I really wish Per Aspera had turned out differently. My last few reviews have been reasonably negative, and contrary to appearances I don’t like slating bad games all that much; at the very least it becomes exhausting to do it five or six times in a row, so I was hoping that Per Aspera would break that streak. More to the point, though, is that I have been waiting the better part of two decades for somebody to make a game about terraforming Mars. Per Aspera should have been extremely my jam. It definitely looked extremely my jam when I played the demo, with all of the levers I was expecting like modifying atmosphere content, raising the temperature, melting the ice caps and so on. Finally, I thought, somebody has made the terraforming game that Surviving Mars wasn’t, and which Terraforming Mars was a bit too light to really satisfy my urge for1. I tinkered for around twenty minutes and then put the demo down, not wanting to have to repeat (or spoil) myself too much when I played the full product.

In retrospect this may have been something of a mistake, because if I’d played that demo for just a bit longer I might have noticed that Per Aspera is the most broken game I’ve played this year.

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  1. This is not the fault of Terraforming Mars, which is a good boardgame precisely because it keeps things light and abstracted enough for a small group of people to grasp and play in a couple of hours.
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Thoughts: Mars Horizon

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Mars Horizon is a modern take on Buzz Aldrin’s Race Into Space. Is it really any surprise that I had it bought and downloaded fifteen minutes after it released on Steam?

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