Jake Dubusker ’15
Oh how you mock me, Destiny, releasing for consoles made almost a decade ago but holding out on a PC release until at least 2015? That’s like continuing to force-feed a dead horse right in front of a hungry dog! Now how else will people find out how overhyped and shallow the game you’ve shoveled your prettiest lighting effects into is? Well that’s hardly fair, it does come from Bungie after all, who made Halo 1 & 2 then dropped off my radar completely because those are the only ones that got a PC release. Still, they were basically good, but what am I to do now? The very next new release I could possibly review would be Final Fantasy: Curtain Call which is still over a week from release. This is usually the time when other game reviewers and journalists take time to praise older games to pass the time until releases and introduce newcomers to old classics, or take stances and form opinions on noteworthy events in the game industry. Sadly I cannot take either of these paths, every old classic I could review has already been reviewed and praised to death by every other game reviewer and their dogs, and I don’t have much of a grasp on the latest story-worthy events because word of mouth for those kinds of things doesn’t usually penetrate the massive rock I live under. So now I take the righteous and risk-free path of the coward, gathering many semi-recent games that I found and are worth your time.
If you’ve played a Metroid game before, you know what this game is like. Strider is a remake of the old series of the same name updated with fancy lighting and 3D models but still keeps gameplay on a two-dimensional plane. It’s very much a Metroid-vania game, characterized by a huge and sprawling world loaded with enemies which you must brave your way past to retrieve power-ups in order to reach even more areas. One way it differs from Metroid is the combat, taking an almost Devil May Cry direction, you have a sword and you dice people up with it in a very satisfying and stylish way, that pretty much sums it up. I could go on for a long time explaining the mechanics in depth, but even the more casual of gamers have played a Metroid or Castlevania before, so the best way to send this game off is with a simple recommendation, the first minute of gameplay will draw you in far better than a lengthy review.
Shovel Knight is a game that invokes pretty much every platformer from the NES generation such as Mega Man, Super Mario Bros., Zelda II, etc. Designed specifically to look like an NES game, it features the titular character Shovel Knight and his quest to rescue his partner Shield Knight from the evil curse that trapped her cast by The Enchantress. Standing in his way are her elite minions, The Order of No Quarter, all with their own quirky weapon or theme. At first glance it’s easy to write it off as nostalgia bait, but right from the start it’s clear that there’s quite a bit of depth to it. Combat is simple, you swing your shovel and enemies die, but the real challenge in the game is in the platforming. The levels have a lot of variety and are mostly easily finished by even the less skilled of players, but there are hidden areas and additional challenges like all over that will satisfy any hardcore gamers’ needs. It’s as if Shovel Knight took the best parts of all the best platformer games on the NES and combined them into a skillfully arranged and surprisingly diverse game, and for only $15 this should be an easy sell.
Wolfenstein: The New Order
Wolfenstein is one of the series that practically invented the first-person shooter genre alongside the rest of Id Software’s children Doom and Quake. More recently though their games haven’t been doing so well, the 2009 game titled Wolfenstein (a name picked just to mess with people’s filing systems) was almost remarkable in how dull and mediocre it was. The New Order sought to change that trend, and I’d say mission accomplished. World War II shooters may seem overdone but The New Order takes it to a flat-out alternate history, where the Nazis found secret hidden technological artifacts that shot them centuries ahead of the countries they fought, so the game takes place in the 1960’s, where Nazi Germany has taken over the world and you fight in the inevitable Resistance. It really doesn’t do anything remarkable as far as shooters go, but it executes everything well, design and mechanics are solid and gameplay is kept varied enough to be interesting, gunfights are spiced up with lasers and energy weapons, along with the occasional mech suit or other similar mechanic. In addition it has over ten weapons slots and non-regenerating health, the two elements guaranteed to improve any shooter. It’s definitely left me wanting more of the game, which may come because I remember hearing about a sequel being in the works somewhere. Any fan of FPS games can’t go wrong here, it does nothing new but it does everything very well.
Next Week: I scramble for more filler material before new releases kick in