Geekly Review #163

Christmas is so close now, that probably means we won’t be about much now with us both having some time off to chill out, relax and see some family. Having said that this past week has been extremely good for me and games!

Astroneer

Last week saw the release of Astroneer a new space survival game in early access, yes, I know another one. But I have to say that I actually think this is really good so far. You basically land on a planet and have to start a base and survive against the elements.

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What’s different about Astroneer though is that for starters it looks completely different to most games with a very minimal low poly style with bold colours splashed across the world. Secondly there is a very minimal UI element to it, if fact there isn’t really one, items display on your backpack and you can just click and drag them around to connect them to other items to let you build, it’s a really simple idea and I think it works well. Base building is also very simplified with you essentially building platforms out from where you start and adding to them as you go.

astroneer

My first few hours with the game have been hugely enjoyable and full of interesting moments. Exploring cave systems, finding crashed satellites, uncovering mysterious items to research. I’m really pleased with it all and very excited about what the future of the game holds.

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There is also a multiplayer side to the game where you can either have friends join you or you join them. At the moment it all just works locally, so if people joined you and you then left the game, they would be kicked, so you kind of can’t really create bases together unless you’re always online at the same time. The developers actually addressed why this was and basically said it was because they didn’t have the expertise in networking at the moment, but eventually there will be server hosting etc…

Space Hulk: Deathwing

We also had the release of Space Hulk: Deathwing last week after it was initially delayed. It’s L4D but in the Warhammer 40k universe and with the success of Warhammer Vermintide it’s hardly surprising that the 40k world was looked at too.

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Space Hulk: Deathwing is a First-Person Shooter experience based on Games Workshop’s classic Space Hulk boardgame set in the universe of Warhammer 40,000. Space Hulk: Deathwing was developed on Unreal Engine 4, and offers you and up to three of your friends the chance to experience a desperate battle against Genestealers in the claustrophobic tunnels of a Space Hulk. You also gain skills, new abilities, and new equipment as you earn experience during missions.
Space Hulks drift along the currents of the Warp, the immaterial dimension of Chaos. Made up of gigantic, mangled asteroids, ship wrecks, and other stellar debris, they can grow to the size of a moon, and often contain treasured and ancient lost technologies. They are often also infested with broods of the lethal Genestealer.

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In the game you take on the role of a Space Marine from one of the most secret and most feared Space Marine forces: the Deathwing of the Dark Angels Chapter.
As a Librarian, you can also master the destructive powers of the Psykers. Your skills and performance in battle grant you Fervor Points to spend on 3 skill trees, allowing you to improve your abilities and unlock new powers.
Don your Terminator armour and arm yourself with the iconic weaponry of the Space Marines and face the threats that await you in the Space Hulk.

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I’ve only played the first level and solo, but I have to say that I like it! It’s atmospheric it looks pretty good and plays well too. A lot of people have been having some issues with performance but as of now I’ve not noticed anything major. Stomping down the narrow corridors of ships with hordes of aliens scrambling towards you is really cool and makes for some really intense moments. Whether it has the logevity and keeps things interesting over the course of the game remains to be seen.

Deep Rock Galactic

A little while back I told you to look out for Deep Rock Galactic, a co-op mining game. Well it’s in closed Alpha at the moment and I was lucky enough to get a code for it along with an extra one for a friend – it is co-op after all!

In the Alpha there are two missions to tackle, one for 1-2 people and another for 3-4. Me and Ross tackled both on our own because we’re hardcore! The first mission was pretty easy and we breezed through in about 5 minutes. You have a goal to collect a certain amount of gold by mining through caves. You have 4 different classes to choose from, each one offering up a different set of skills to use – grappling hooks, flame throwers, turrets, flare guns, that sort of stuff!

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During the course of the level you’ll encounter bug like enemies hell bent on eating your insides and you will have to use all your skills to survive.

The second missions was a lot longer and a tad more difficult with us getting lost in the caves and being overrun by bugs a few times. But in the end we conquered it.

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I really think that Deep Rock Galactic has potential to be a hit of a game, it has some interesting ideas that I’ve not seen in co-op games before and it’s executed well too. I’d definitely like to try it out with 4 players at a later date.

-Will

I’m back from New York, and truly gutted by that. The silver lining to my post holiday blues is that I’m off work till the 29th December, so I’ve got plenty of time for games and the festive season to pick me up.

Everybody’s gone to the Rapture

Before I went away I signed up to PS+ for a month as I really wanted to play Chinese Room’s “Everybody’s gone to the Rapture”, and it was one of the free offering’s for PS+ in November that would have expired while I was away. I only played the game when I got back last week, and have only actually had 2 fairly large sittings of it before completing it. I can’t really explain much about it other than I really enjoyed it. The walking simulator see’s you explore fictional village of Yaughton in Shropshire England. The game is set in the 80’s so all the deserted vehicles and houses have that distinct retro feel to them.

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The village as mentioned in deserted and that leaves it with a really creepy feeling, even more so as you explore and encounter orbs of past resident. It’s these orbs that are the direction of the game as you play out villagers moments in Yaughton prior to the apocalyptic event that seemingly sends everyone to the Rapture.

The game is actually really beautiful visually, and was a nice experience walking from one end of the village through to the other. Although it’s a little slow as the characters movement pace is frustratingly slow. Still thanks to the scenery and visuals of the game you can often look past this minor annoyance. I enjoyed entering as many buildings as I could and finding out what happened to the residents of the houses I was exploring. The pub’s had a real charm to them despite being abandoned. It is also very easy to pick up trophies from too if that’s something you’re after, Which I admit I did partake in too.

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It’s a game I’d been wanting to have a go with for quite some time, but never pulled the trigger to buy. One of PS+’s better offerings that’s for sure.

Spending, Spending, Spending & Christmas time off work

More so a little off topic tangent about my plans over the course of my time off work. While in New York I picked up ‘Song of the Deep’ physical version for PS4. I grabbed it over there as the physical version isn’t out in the UK yet, and I’m a fan of physical media for gaming, and also a fan of Insomniac games. So it was a no brainer. I also managed to get a physical copy of FireWatch thanks to Limited Run Games. It’ll be arriving in about a week, unfortunately it means I won’t have it in time for my whole week of festivities off work, but still I’m incredibly happy to have snagged a physical copy of this game, as like Everybody’s gone to the Rapture, It’s a game I’ve come close to buying on many occasions but held out for some reason or another.

I also randomly picked up GTA:IV for PS3. After the week in New York, I wanted nothing more than to walk around Liberty City, revisiting the sites in albeit slightly different places. And as I never had it on PS3, figure I’d get it on that platform to play through the story again and pick up some trophies on the way.

And with my time off, I hope to get some of the back catalogue out of the way too. Uncharted 4, Heavy Rain, Killzone if possible. As well as GTA:IV on PS3. We shall see.

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December for me

 

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