Friday, 1 June 2018

Some videogame rambling

Blogging’s been a touch light due to actually getting some work done (huzzah!) and being mildly pestilent (buggerydoo).

Anyway, there has been some recent videogame news that caught my eye and I thought was worth a quick ramble. So ramble shall I.

Fallout 76 is to come out. I imagine a proper reveal and launch date will emerge during this year’s E3, but the murmuring at the moment suggests it’s not a ‘proper’ Fallout (ie a single player RPG along the lines of Fallout 4, or New Vegas). Instead, it sounds like a (primarily, at least) multiplayer online tosh pit, probably including at least some element of base-building.

I rather liked the building in Fallout 4, although I didn’t like Garvey being a nag (and a layabout, why did *I* have to save every damned settlement whilst he frolicked through the streets, whistling and doing nothing?) or the paid DLC nonsense. However, with Fortnite, PUBG and perhaps now H1Z1 dominating the time, and wallets, of millions of gamers it’d be unsurprising if there were a battle royale aspect.

I’m not a fan of multiplayer gaming, and not just because I’m a misanthropic monster who dwells in an isolated cave on a remote North Sea island and whose only human contact is when the local villagers annually deliver me seven redheaded maidens to appease my wrath. It’s quite remarkable, really, given how much time I’ve sunk into Skyrim (much, much more than Fallout 4) how Bethesda have managed to announce various releases since, only one of which I’ve bought, and none of which I’ve played for even 10% of the time I put into Skyrim. But, gaming is a business. If you can make eleventy billion dollarydoos with Elder Scrolls Online *makes the sign against evil* and it takes less time than creating The Elder Scrolls VI: Your Grandkids Will Be Dead Before This Comes Out, it makes financial sense.

Will I be getting Fallout 76? Well, let us imagine a lovely world in which time and money were no object. In that marvellous realm of fiction, the answer would be: almost certainly not.

A more tempting prospect would be the forthcoming Tomb Raider, the third entry in the reboot of the mega-series. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is pencilled in for the middle of this September which really isn’t that far off now. I’ve played both immediately preceding instalments, as well as perhaps a third of those preceding the reboot, and have high hopes this will live up to the standards recently established.

It’s also being touted as completing the ‘origin trilogy’ which will see Lara Croft emerge from the cocoon of ordeals as an arse-kicking heroine. Although she did seem to be there by the end of the second game, if not the first… Anyway, it’s set in South America, with jungles and incredibly steep pyramids all around. This means both camouflage and never skipping leg day will be vital if Lara is to survive this particular adventure.

We are not yet certain what endangered species Lara will be murdering, or what priceless artefacts and/or cities she’ll be wrecking, but I’m sure that’ll come out in due course. Camouflage does play a role, though whether that’ll be just mud and leaves, or something akin to Metal Gear Solid 3’s approach, I don’t know. (As an aside, if you haven’t played Rise of the Tomb Raider yet, you can get it on Amazon for the PS4 for £16, so it’s worth a look).

One thing I will say against Shadow of the Tomb Raider is that the fancier ‘Croft Edition’ comes out 48 hours earlier. That kind of thing is just nonsense, in my eyes. Bonuses in swankier editions should be limited to cool extras like maps, posters, that sort of thing. Getting to play earlier because you’re Captain Moneybags does not sit well.

I’ll probably end up getting this, but not at launch.

On the new games front, this last is a ‘sort of’ entry. The Banner Saga Trilogy Bonus edition for the PS4 comes out towards the end of July (£30). The first game was the first, and so far only, game I’ve ever bought electronically. I have to say I liked a lot about it. The art style is interesting, I liked the strategic combat, and the element of uncertainty/deceit with the characters was intriguing. I also liked the ending a lot. However, I never got around to buying the sequels. Hard to say if it just slipped my mind, my dislike of electronic stuff got the better of me, or what. It’s not the best game ever made but it is a good game and well worth considering, particularly if you enjoy tactical combat, Viking(ish) settings, and tough moral choices.

Speaking of electronic stuff, I still plan on getting Blood & Wine DLC for The Witcher 3 at some point (this may seem like I’m absentminded, but given at least 16 years elapsed between me buying the first and second entries in the Death Gate Cycle, this is a small delay). I might also see about getting some XCOM 2 DLC at some point, but less sure about that.

On a wider note, rumours abound that the PS4 is drawing towards the end of its life cycle, although that still means going on to 2021. Given the bullshit pulled with the PS4 Pro, I shan’t be in a hurry to throw hundreds of pounds at Sony next time around. I’ll wait a few years, and see if they pull the same nonsense again.

And don’t forget, if you enjoy fantasy (serious or comedy), do check out my Amazon author page and the lovely five star reviews:


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