Tried a few demos a few days back and it became an example of how games have changed in the last few years:
Valkyria Chronicles 4
Did the intro mission and it was… well, OK, but I thought it’d be more than it was. Years back I might have liked this more, the whole limited engagement, the attack once per character, but now? Now I was getting irritated that, having been told I have a tank that can demolish obstacles, it couldn’t go past a single fence! What was in yesteryear a perfectly acceptable limitation had become far less so now. In the end? I concluded it was too restrictive, limited and convoluted for its own good.
Although, it’s also notable that the combat system here suffers due to games like Divinity of Sin being on the PS4. That also has its limits, but not so many as this.
Shadow of War
Having not got on so well with the first one, I probably shouldn’t have bothered with this but there was so much talk of improvements, I decided to give it a chance.
I can see the appeal of this for a lot of people, it’s just that I’m not one of them. The whole ‘dominate’ orcs thing sounds cool, much like the nemesis system, but it just doesn’t come to much. I got a Captain as bodyguard and then the idiot got himself quickly killed. And yes, I got the ‘help your bodyguard’ prompt, but you know what? It’s an orc, like I give a shit - this ain’t Discworld and Sir Terry isn’t here to render a portayal that does win me to the orc point of view.
Then there’s the world and that enemies can randomly turn up out of nowhere. I get that they are going for an evolving world, one where the unexpected can happen, but it really puts a spanner in the works you come up. You’ve accounted for these five guys yeah? Ok, fine, what about these three caragors we’ll throw in now?
And then there is the Arkham-style combat which suffers a couple of problems. First, if I’ve stabbed and slashed an enemy five times they shouldn’t be merely stunned, they should be dead. Like Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag enemies take too many hits without consequence. Second, damn Talion is floaty, they’re going for that whole Arkham feel, where Batman zooms over the battlefield hitting thugs everywhere, but it doesn’t feel right.
There is an awful lot of content here certainly, but none of it looks that fun to me. The combat feels repetitive and I don’t care about Talion either. So I can see the appeal, see why it’s a success but it’s not one for me.
Wipeout: Omega Collection
It’s hard to admit that a game series you loved has been surpassed, but it’s true. Wipeout HD was an amazing game, it truly was but it’s also a decade old and in that time? Redout.
Redout is, in every respect, Wipeout’s heir and successor and it goes much, much further. So much so that playing Wipeout after having played it, Wipeout feels far too tame. It keeps the tracks mostly level for instance, Redout’s tracks have a couple of 360 degree twists and much bigger jumps.
It looked nice enough, but the handling was less precise, the races less exciting - time has not been kind to this game.