I wrote about my experience with the Battleborn beta the other day, but I hadn’t yet experienced playing online with others in a co-op story mission, which is what I did today. This is where the game really shines (at least for me), and I found myself having a blast playing with strangers through this (although maybe I was just lucky and got paired up with some good teammates). This is not a game that I had any thought of getting, but based on what I experienced, it’s now something I want to play more of. I’d call that a successful beta sell. I also want to continue experimenting with the other characters.
So I got to try out the open beta for Overwatch today – a game I kept getting confused with Battleborn, and vice versa – and let me tell you, it doesn’t take long before you feel just how slick and polished this thing is, in the way Blizzard is just so damn good at doing. Despite the fact that I thought Battleborn’s aesthetic’s were quite nice, there’s just something about Overwatch that feels nicer – maybe it’s a personal taste thing. I also had a lot of fun playing a few matches – although it can be frustrating when you’re playing opposite a team of players who obviously have experience – and tried a few characters, and can see that a lot of the fun of this game would even be in just trying out all of them, as they really do feel unique. In the beta showdown (Battleborn vs. Overwatch), for me, I think Battleborn is the one I would get the most fun out of, and that’s simply because I’m more into playing co-op story missions than mutliplayer deathmatch type stuff. But there’s something special about Overwatch, and I think that’s going to make it hard not to want to get it when it comes out next month.
A few months ago I wrote about getting the first Assassin’s Creed Chronicles game, China, and although I was quite enjoying the start, I got a bit sidetracked at the time and forgot to get back to it. This past weekend I finally remembered to get back to it, and found myself playing through the entire thing in two sessions. In fact, I had such a great time with it that I didn’t want to stop, and so picked up the set that includes the two sequels, India and Russia, and so far India is just as fun and engrossing as China (although I did prefer the calligraphy-inspired art in the latter). I’m just so in love with the 2D stealth gameplay – this for me is way more fun than the regular Assassin’s Creed games – and it makes me wish they’d just keep making these with even more country settings. Yes, Mark of the Ninja did this kind of thing first, and although that is a really great game, I prefer the country-flavor and setting of these Chronicles game.
I recently wrote about really getting into the Ajin manga, and now that I’m all caught up we get an anime series that debuted today on Netflix (although it originally aired in Japan at the start of the year). I’ve watched the first two episodes, and I’m really digging it, but that’s maybe because I like the manga series so much – so far, this is a straight adaptation. I also really like the look of the show, which is done in cell shaded CG, like Ghibli’s Ronia – makes everything look very sharp, which is a nice contrast with the occasionally messy manga art (the backgrounds are sharp, but the character art can veer towards the slightly cartoony). There’s also a trilogy of animated films happening (the second one will be out soon), but I’m not sure what it covers.
I wasn’t really paying that much attention to this game, but there’s an open beta happening for it this weekend, and so I decided to give it a try. The first thing that surprised me when I started playing it was that it’s a first-person shooter – see, told ya I wasn’t really paying attention – because from all of the colourful character art I had seen for the game, I was sure it was going to be played in 3rd person (which I would have really liked). But OK, so FPS it is, and I grabbed a character that throws knives (I forget his name), and played through the first campaign episode, solo. It did keep me interested enough to play through the entire episode and defeat the final boss, and what I loved the most about the game is the art style – beautifully colourful and cartoony, with cool designs for the characters you can choose to play. In terms of gameplay, on top of the basic FPS structure, I liked how abilities and upgrades are done MOBA-style. I haven’t played it multiplayer yet, which I realize is really what this game is going for, but I can already find the appeal, and wouldn’t mind playing more of it.
As you may have noticed, I tend to play a lot of games instead of just spending a lot of time on one, and I’ve pretty much always been that way –I want to experience as much variety as I can, which is to the detriment of ever doing a big deep dive in a game like others do (the only game I’ve ever put in more than 100 hours is Destiny, and that was definitely an anomaly for me). Another reason I do this is because it’s a good way to see what works in games, and what would make sense to incorporate in whatever game you’re working on (or what you should try to avoid). So, this brings me to World of Tanks, not the thing I would normally be attracted to – a free-to-play multiplayer online shooter with WW2 tanks – but I know it’s the bee’s knees for a lot of people, and so I’ve been curious to check it out ever since I noticed that it was available on PS4. I did in fact do that today, and after a few matches, I’m surprised to say that I was really getting into it, and that I’m already seeing the appeal, and why it’s such a successful game – I was even already getting into the upgrade loop. The controls are simple, but they work, and I was having a pretty good time trying to find a good point on the map that was covering me up, and allowing me to snipe down opposing tanks. I don’t imagine I’ll be sticking with it that long, but for now it’s good fun.
This is one of those classic games that I absolutely adored when I played it back in the day, and playing the new Remastered edition is my first revisit since then (they’ve already announced a remaster of Full Throttle, which is another classic LucasArts adventure game I love, but that one I re-played a few years ago). I’m still fairly early in the game, but man, I’m getting so many fun nostalgic feels already, especially hearing Hoagie’s voice. They did such a great job on this, giving it a modern aesthetic, but not messing around too much with the original gameplay and story.
Another game from this month’s PlayStation Plus lineup that I was quite looking forward to playing is Shutshimi – like I said, I really like 2D shooters. I’ve just played a bit of it, and right now I’m not sure if I’m missing something, but I’m a bit underwhelmed. It’s a neat idea, to play the same (or very similar) short levels, but each time with a wacky mod (slow, fast, upside down, etc.), but the lack of variety in what I was facing felt a bit boring. Maybe I unlock more variety by playing a lot more? At the very least, I don’t feel like it’s giving me a lot at the start to really want to play a lot longer.
This is one of the offerings from this month’s PlayStation Plus lineup, and one that I was quite looking forward to playing, as its the first original IP from Armature (born out of a few developers who worked on Metroid Prime leaving Retro Studios). After reading about it, I figured it would be right up my alley – an overhead space shooter (and I sure love shooters) that is done in multiplayer. I went through the tutorial, which was all good and fine and neat, but then when I played through my first real match with live players, I found myself constantly dying, and frustrated at the lack of progress I was making on the map. Maybe I was just unlucky and faced off against people that had been playing a lot more than me (even though I was playing it on the day of release), but it did turn me off a bit. I’ll give it a few more matches though, to see if I can get into some sort of groove.
After devouring the Ajin manga (I’m all caught up and waiting for new chapters), I’m now on to something completely different, and that I wouldn’t have thought I’d enjoy reading (it was recommended by the same friend who suggested I check out Ajin). Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice, in English) is basically a junior high romance, about a bully who after being nasty to a deaf girl, becomes regretful, and tries to start a relationship with her. It’s definitely not the type of thing I thought I’d be reading and getting really into, but I find myself really enjoying it. I’m still only about 10 or 11 chapters in, but look forward to reading through it all.