Four Game/Movie Releases
American Fugitive is a top-down open-world game that follows a recently-escaped convict in the Deep South in the 80s who is on the run after being framed for his father’s murder. I still haven’t gotten around to playing A Way Out, but I have been in love with its time period and setting since the game’s release, so I think this game can scratch that specific itch. On top of that, I think the house-robbing mechanics seem neat, and I am looking for another good top-down open-world game after playing Shakedown: Hawaii. I have been looking for a new game to play on the Switch, and I think this could be a good addition to my Switch library.
Beat Saber, the VR rhythm game about hitting floating boxes with sabers to the beat of music, finally came out of early access recently. While it is a bit of a cheat to have this game on here considering I have already played it, I still think this game is worth talking about again. Beat Saber is the one thing keeping me attached to virtual reality. It is the only thing worth the set up for me, and every time I play I have a blast. It is easily the best VR game I have played yet, and will most likely make my top ten list this year.
Observation is a horror adventure game where you play as SAM, an artificial intelligence who works a space station when a disaster happens, with only one scientist still alive trying to piece it all together. The game kind of looks like 2001: A Space Odyssey, but through the perspective of HAL 9000, and that sounds really cool to me. On top of that, I am intrigued as to what happened with the space station, and I do enjoy a story about mistrust. I’ll be sure not to ask for a pod bay door opening (sorry for the bad joke), but I definitely want to get my hands on this game.
The final game on this list is one I actually have a few hour in. Void Bastards is a first-person rogue-lite about prisoners in space trying to make it back to civilization. The game is about hopping from one ship to the next and looting them for parts so that you can rebuild your ship and upgrade your arsenal to continue on to more difficult areas. The game has been a blast so far, and trying to figure out what ship I want to go to based on enemy types and what weapons are effective against certain enemies adds an extra layer of strategy I didn’t expect. I can sense where the game can start to get grindy later on, but as it stands Void Bastards is a good time and one of the best rogue-lites this year.
Three News Stories
In a support page talking about the Forge TV, Razer announced they are shutting Ouya services. The shutdown will happen on June 25th, and the only use for the box past that point will be games downloaded that do not require any purchase confirmation to play.
The Ouya was the $100 gaming box meant to play mobile games on TV. The box raised a whopping $8.5 million in a crowdfunding campaign, and it featured some unique features like every game being free to try and the ability to develop games. Things only went downhill from here though, with mediocre sales, a disastrous E3 presence, and various hardware and software issues. Ouya was bought by Razer in 2015, and now the company is shutting down its services next month.
Ouya is the box that came and went, and now it is time to say goodbye to the console everyone has already forgotten.
Back in June of 2018, the World Health Organization stated they will release a new International Classification of Diseases, known as ICD-11. Among the new chapters talking about medicine and sexual health is the addition of a gaming disorder, which will be considered an addictive disorder. The announced date for the presentation of ICD-11 to the World Health Assembly was set for May of 2019.
The World Health Assembly has made its final decision on the matter at the 72nd World Health Assembly, and ICD-11 has officially been adopted, despite backlash from the ESA. The new disorder will take effect in 2022.
According to the WHO in an online Q&A, the diagnosis of the new gaming disorder involves “significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.” According to another website, the diagnosis also includes “impaired control over gaming” and “continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”
What this new disorder will bring will unfurl in 2022, but as it stands the definition seems vague. I find it hard to diagnose myself because I feel the definition is just vague enough to justify both having and not having a “gaming disorder,” but I think this new disorder addition can be used for good by helping others who do spend too much time playing games.
Panic, a studio who published Firewatch and is publishing Untitled Goose Game, announced a new handheld system. The Playdate is a simple yellow handheld system with a d-pad, two buttons, and…a crank. The system will include twelve games that will release over twelve weeks by different developers, with the first one being developed by Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi.
Personally, I think the system is a gimmick despite the promising idea of a crank control, but I would like to see how different developers tackle the hardware limitations and the crank. Playdate will release in 2020 for $150.
The first blog, on the 14th, is a review of Shakedown: Hawaii, a top-down open-world action game in the style of older Grand Theft Auto games. This game is the successor to Retro City Rampage, and plays just like that but with the added gameplay mechanic of managing a business. This game is a lot of fun to play. The humor is spot-on, the business mechanic kept me busy, and the gameplay is chaotic fun with its destructible environments and weapons. The game does peter out in the end, with repetition and a lack of things to do with the money you are making settling in. Despite those shortcomings, my time with the game was solid, and I would recommend this game to anyone looking for a top-down shooter. In the end, I gave the game four stars out of five.
The second blog is a continuation of my Splinter Cell Ranking with the second game, Pandora Tomorrow. This second game pretty much plays like the first game, having Sam Fisher save the world yet again. I really liked the first game, so more of the same is fine by me, but this game does have some issues that are accentuated by the lack of change. This is the only game in the series that isn’t on digital storefronts, which meant buying a physical copy. On top of that, the shadow and darkness issues made the game more difficult to play. I still had a decent time with the game, but I also had a lot more frustration with the game as well. As of now, the game is below the first one, and I am guessing it is going to stay pretty low on the rank by the end.
One Game I am Playing
One game I have been playing over this time is Get Even, which is a, well, a game. I find it hard to describe because it is is many different things. It’s part shooter, part investigation game, part thriller, and some other parts as well. I went into this game with no expectations, and I came out wondering what I just played. While I think the idea of mashing up all of these genres together sounds promising, I don’t think any aspect of the gameplay was well refined. With the exception of the corner gun, a gun that can shoot around corners, the shooting felt poor, the puzzles and investigations are forgettable, and the game isn’t all that scary (if it was even trying to be). Despite these issues, there are some highlights to the game. The story is intriguing, with the ending in particular being heartbreaking, the music is incredible and definitely not what I expected from a game like this, and the voice acting is top-notch. I don’t know whether or not I will review this game, but it is one of the more unique games I have played in recent memory.