Atlas Rising

There is an incredible amount to love in the latest update to No Man’s Sky. It’s taken a year, but the game finally lives up to most of the promises that were made pre-launch.

Kudos have to go to Hello Games for sticking with it despite all the issues and finally getting the game to a good place. I really wish they had just waited the year and released this as the day one experience. It would have blown people away and avoid a lot of trouble.

I liked No Man’s Sky from the start, it was a fun, relaxing game that was something different. It did have issue, a criminal lack of content, some bugs, and quite a few unfulfilled promises. Now it has a story, a fleshed out sandbox, and just a ton of ‘stuff’ to do. It’s now a full game as well as a fun tech demo.

I’m interested to see if Hello Games takes this any further. I’d be happy enough if they left it at this. They’ve done more than I thought they would, and at somepoint they need to move on to new things.

Destiny 2 Beta

I didn’t spend a huge amount of time with the beta, but I got enough time in to form some opinions. In general, I liked it. It’s more Destiny and that is ultimately what I want, but I do have some quibbles. 

Positives: 

  • The story mission was fantastic. It was paced well and having NPCs actually join you in the fight made the work feel much more alive. 
  • The game looks gorgeous, with a big improvement in the graphics over Destiny 1.
  • The stirke was one of the best we’ve seen, with varied environments, and an interesting three stage boss.
  • Slowing time to kill in PVP is great, increasing the thought required in combat and putting the focus on skill with shooting. 
  • I like the new player skills, like he Titan Wall. They add more variety without being overpowered. 

Negatives:

  • I’m not sold on the changes to load out. It feels like it decreases the variety, and some of the power weapons feel weak. Although there was a certain charm to rocking two hand cannons and hot swapping when you ran dry. 
  • Skills and supers don’t recharge fast enough! I grant they need to be slowed down from the ability spam that we saw in D1, but I think they have gone too far. 
  • Guns feel a little weak in PVP, with the strike boss especially taking a long time to burn down if you picked the wrong load out. 

I’m confident that Bungie will sort most of this out in the next few months before release. The core is still great, its just some balancing that still needs to be done. 

Elite Dangerous on PS4 is a solid game. Control on the dual shock takes a bit of getting used to but works well once you’ve practiced. 

The game looks gorgeous and really shines on a huge TV with big speakers. 

Thoughts on E3 2017

E3 is over and, on the whole, it was mostly uninspiring, with far to many games about shooting zombies. There were a few gems in there though. Let’s quickly run through the whole mess and find them.

Nintendo

I really don’t care about anything Nintendo does. The Switch is underwhelming, with underpowered hardware that was poorly thought through (why no glass screen ffs). Umm… Meteroid might be okay, maybe.

EA

Lots of boring shooter sequels, sports games, and a Bioware knock off of Destiny. meh.

Microsoft 

If you ignore the terrible name, the Xbox One X looks the goods, with tons of power and a decent price. The VR headset to go with it was conspicuous absent though. Microsoft also had some great looking games. The Last Night looks incredible, but there was no hint of gameplay, so too early to get hyped there. Ashen also looks.. interesting.

Microsoft also gave me the first truely exciting moment of E3, with a squeal to Ori that has an incredible trailer. I mean, just look at it!

Bethesda

Yet more bloody Skyrim and some VR bollocks. Further meh.

Ubisoft

Finally, we are getting somewhere, with a pretty strong showing. Making the pirate ship part of Black Flag into it’s own game is a great idea. I’m somewhat gobsmacked it took them this long. The new Assassins Creed actually looks interesting too. The game is done to death, but ancient Egypt and much heavier RPG elements have me interested.

Ubisoft also finished off with the best announcement of the entire show. Beyond Good and Evil 2’s trailer is incredible. It’s crazy, original, and full of life and fun. I loved the first game and can’t wait to get my hands on this.

Sony

I liked the way Sony dispensed with all the yapping executives and just played trailers. Especially when they had such a strong showing. God of War looks great, as does Detroit. There weren’t any big new games, but more Unchartered, Horizon, Destiny, and Life is Strange can only be a good thing.

I suppose it could be considered slight depressing that a remake of a 2005 game was the highlight of the presentation for me, but Shadow of the Colossus is one of the great games, and we really haven’t seen anything like it since. It’s worthy of a HD remake.

Seasons!

It’s taken a really long time but the excellent Diablo 3 seasons for PC have finally made it to console. Couch co-op on PS4 is hands-down the best way to play Diablo 3, so super happy  that I can stop compromising and play seasons on the couch now.

Armouries are also a nice addition, and will cut down on busy work re-specing.

https://www.kotaku.com.au/2017/03/diablo-iii-seasons-finally-come-to-consoles/

Starfighter Inc.

Starfrighter Inc. is back on kickstarter and this time it looks like a proper game. I love the premise, a space sim like Elite or Star Citizen, but with heavy emphasis on the ‘sim’ part. The game uses realistic physics for the ships, and no shields or other sci-fi tropes. The ships are fragile, and difficult to control, which looks awesome. I really hope it reaches the goal this time, because I want to plat this.

MASS EFFECT: ANDROMEDA

Super excited for this. With the exception of Mass Effect 3’s ending (which they fixed), the series has always been incredibly great.

I’ve only seen a few trailers, but loving the look of it so far.

Hidden Folks is Delightful

Hidden Folks is a fairly new arrival on iOS and it’s wonderful. There’s nothing really complicated here, it’s a simple ‘find stuff’ game, but the whole thing is so delightfully whimsical. From the beautiful and intricate hand drawn graphics, which are full of cute twists and surprises, to the fun little clues, and the awesome and unique sound design.

It’s not a game that does anything particularly new or complex, but it is just a delight to play that will put a smile on your face.

You should go buy it.

Zelda’s Hard Compare

Breath of the Wild, the latest Zelda game launches with the Nintendo Switch in early March. It takes the franchise in a new direction, grafting it into the open worlds that have been prevelant through series like Far Cry or Assassins Creed.

There have been a mass of previews for this game, including huge block of unedited gameplay, and I have been rather unimpressed. The world looks flat and uninspiring, and worse, the game is empty. There are vast open environments, with nothing in them.

Usually open worlds are jam packed with stuff to keep the game interesting and give you stuff to do. I know it’s only previews, but at this stage Zelda looks boring.

Especially when it comes out only two2 days after Horizon:Zero Dawn. I mean look at this thing! It’s incredible.

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We haven’t seen as much of Horizon as we have of Zelda, but what we have seen is a world packed with stuff to do, and with visuals that are vastly better than Zelda.

Now I am sure Zelda will sell well on nostalgia alone, but any rational person, looking at these two games, would be insane to pick Zelda based on what we know so far.