Anno 1800 is the next edition to the city-building series, Anno. Taking place in, you guessed it, 1800, the game is all about building up a city in the Victorian era. I have never played an Anno game (or really a city-building game in general), but I think this is a great jumping-in point. I love the Victorian era, and I think it would be a lot of fun for me to build my own little industrial empire. Anno 1800 released on the 16th for PC only.
This neo-noir action platforming game follows a ninja has he does what he is told: to kill people. I am always attracted to the neo-noir style, but Katana Zero is more than that. This game reminds of Hotline Miami, as for the game borderlines on being a puzzle game because of its instant-death. On top of that, the story looks trippy in an interesting way, and I am interested in seeing what is there. Katana Zero released on the 18th for PC and Switch.
Turn-based strategy and Indiana Jones setting, what more could you want? Pathway is a game I have been following for awhile. I am a fan of turn-based strategy games, so having that plus its 30s treasure hunting vibe makes for quite a premise. On top of that, the campaigns are randomly-generated, which means more replayability. Pathway released on the 11th for PC only.
World War Z
The one game out of the four here that I did actually buy is World War Z, a third-person Left 4 Dead-like. Taking place in the World War Z universe, you play as different sets of characters in different parts of the world as they deal with the apocalypse in their own way. Despite it feeling like a copy of Left 4 Dead, this game stands apart from the rest for its incredible zombie hordes and progression. Seeing hundreds of zombies fall down a giant hole you are trying to climb out of is still a sight to behold. World War Z released on the 16th for PC, Xbox One, and PS4.
Three News Stories
During EA’s press conference back in June of 2018, we learned (in a very awkward way) about a new Star Wars title from Respawn Entertainment (Titanfall, Titanfall 2). After some waiting, Respawn released a trailer to their new game, Jedi: Fallen Order, on the 13th. Fallen Order is a single-player action that follows a Jedi in hiding after Order 66, the order that wiped (almost) all Jedi from existence.
The reason why this game is significant is because of both the state of Star Wars games as well as single-player games both from EA and in general. For years, a single-player Star Wars title was something that was stuck in limbo, starting with Star Wars 1313 back in 2012. On top of that, EA isn’t too fond of short, single-player experiences, which makes this announcement all-the-more shocking. But even above EA, more and more games are shifting towards online experiences that keeps the player entertained for years, so a release like this is a good counter-balance for the video game industry.
In other Jedi: Fallen Order news, EA is getting flak (and deservedly so) for a tweet by them about the game. In the tweet, EA stated “No microtransactions. No loot boxes. And no, we won't be adding them. A single-player Star Wars story for those of you who are ready to become a Jedi.” EA is notorious for forcing microtransactions and loot boxes into their game, so seeing them try to take the high ground on an issue they are notorious for causing is quite goofy.
More news about this game will surely come over the next few months, so let’s hope we don’t hear anything about cancellation. Jedi: Fallen Order is expected to release around November of 2019.
On the 10th, Sony announced that a long awaited feature, the ability to change your username, is in effect. This issue hasn’t been solved until recently, as for there are a lot of technical issues around a username change in the Playstation ecosystem. People will be able to get one free name change, but after that, it will be 10 USD for non-PS plus members and 5 USD for PS-Plus members. One thing to look out for are games that can be affected by the change, as for some games can be damaged by the name change by either a loss of saves or other issues.
Shortly after, on the 16th, Wired got an exclusive interview with Mark Cerny talking about the next Playstation. This new system (most likely named the Playstation 5) will be out sometime in either 2020 or 2021, and will feature a bunch of improvements over the general hardware upgrades. The console is said to include an SSD drive, the ability to turn on ray tracing, the ability to run at 8k, and be able to run PS4 games, among other things. Nothing will likely be shown until next year, but the new console overall sounds really promising.
On April 15th, a fire broke out on the roof of the famous cathedral of Notre Dame, which saw the collapse of the roof and the spire. Since then, a lot of different people and organizations have offered donations to the restoration of the cathedral. But video game company Ubisoft may have a bit more to offer.
As well as offering around 500,000 Euros to the cause and free copies of their game Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Ubisoft just may be able to offer technical help in rebuilding the cathedral. Unity takes place in Paris, and includes a near-perfect rendition of the cathedral, so their work in the game may come of use. It is hard to say if the Unity version of Notre Dame will be used for the restoration of the building, but the fact that a video game can be used to help rebuild a famous building alone is exciting enough.
Following this event, two separate things happened to Unity. The first is that so many people decided to pick up the game, the servers had to be expanded. The second (and much more surprising) piece of news surrounding the game is that the game is being review bombed with positive reviews. A lot of review bombings are negative, so seeing a positive review bomb because of their efforts is both strange and uplifting. While I don’t review on Steam, I did recently do the ranking of the game, and I can say that the work done to improve the game from its original launch state is worth the review bomb.
The Notre Dame fire is very unfortunate, and I hope it sees a speedy recovery, Ubisoft or not.
On the 14th, I released a blog on an upcoming first-person arena shooter titled Splitgate. I have heard some talk about this game before picking up this beta, so I was a bit excited to try it out. Unfortunately, what I found didn’t quite live up to what I wanted. The blog itself is very short because, well, I had very little to talk about. At its core, it is a competent shooter that adds portals in to great effect. It isn’t common to see a new premise to a game feel so strong, but this game nails it. Outside of that premise, however, is a basic, copy-and-paste arena shooter with a slower speed and very little reason to play. Hopefully the developers will add more to the game by release, but as it stands now this won’t be any game that replaces any of the heavy hitters, and it may not even get an audience.
On the flip side of things, I found Generation Zero to be a game I quite like, and I talked about it on the 17th. Despite the poor reviews, I still wanted to try the game out, and try it out I did. All of the issues brought up by others are valid, but I still managed to set them aside and have a fun time with the game. I love the combat because it matches my exact skill level with first-person shooters, and every robot encounter was just as great as the last. I am not a fan of survival games, but this game has a very light amount of those mechanics for me to enjoy it without being too intrusive. I could go on and on, but I wrote a blog about it, which is linked above. I still wouldn’t recommend the game, but I personally had a pretty damn good time with it.
One Game I Am Playing
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
I am close to being caught up on Assassin’s Creed; but before I can fight across Greece, I must first take down those pesky Templars in London. Taking place during the Victorian Era, you play as either Jacob or Evie Frye as they go across London doing what Assassins do best. Of course, this was going to be a game I inevitably come to because of the rank, but the time I have had with it so far has been really positive. This game feels like a refinement over Assassin’s Creed: Unity, as well as a true callback to the older Assassin’s Creed games. On top of that, the new additions to the game as well as the time period and the gang themes it takes up are a blast to be around. My thoughts may change on this game over time, but as of now this game is a rock-solid entry into the series, and just may be in the top three-or-four on my ranking. Expect the full blog in the near future.