Ones We’ve Played:
Overwatch (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Marcus
After only playing the beta, I can already say that Overwatch is one of my favourite games of all time. I was never really big on the class-based, semi-MOBA style shooters – like Team Fortress 2 for example- so I wasn’t expecting to be blown away. Boy was I wrong. Overwatch is a team based objective FPS with 4 classes, and 21 characters with set abilities. It’s about building up a solid team composition to counter the opposing teams, and changing when they counter yours. It’s a game about adapting and teamwork, and it works really well, not like Team Fortress 2, as I felt that was more of a game about solo plays and less about managing your team to optimally attack/defend the enemy.
My main problem with TF2 is the balance, I really felt that some characters, like the Pyro, were pretty overpowered, and some were really underpowered, like the Soldier. Maybe it’s fixed now, but I haven’t played it in a while. However, Overwatch nails it, not a single character for me stood out as over/under powered. Even in beta, I never felt cheated out of a death because the opponent ‘picked a better character’, even Bastion, the robot turret character, is pretty balanced, even if he is annoying as hell!
The characters are also really interesting. The character designs are very stylistic and suit the tone of the game, quite light hearted and colourful – like a nice lil’ Disney film. Most of the alternate skins are cool too, even if I didn’t get to see every one. Each character has a pretty distinguishable nationality, mainly because half of the stuff they say are straight up stereotypes. However, it’s not done in an offensive way, they’re pretty mild, and the game represents lots of nations, so it isn’t picking on one in particular. I think it gives the characters a more memorable feel, linking them loosely with what you already think of the nation they’re from.
Not only are the physical designs superb, the mechanical design is spot on. There are 4 classes: assault, defense, tank and support. Each class feels very unique, and necessary for each team to have at least one of each, and the characters inside those classes are very different, and are useful in certain situations, like one tank being more useful if the opponents have a strong offense, and one being great for pushing a strong defense. Each of the characters specials are used in synergy with not only your other moves, but the moves of your allies, all forming together to create a team.
This is where Overwatch shines the most, the team play. It’s perfect; every character has counters, every character has a role to fill, every character belongs in the game, and will fit in with another team in some way. There aren’t any ‘lone wolf’ characters, each relies on their teammates to deal with counters and cover weaknesses. This is why you should buy Overwatch, and no doubt will it be at least one of the best games of this year.
That’s my first impressions, remember, I haven’t played enough of the game to know absolutely everything about it, only being open for a few days, and some things may change after release and beyond.
One Piece: Burning Blood (PS4/Xbox One/PC) – Reuben
Of One Piece games, the only one I’ve played is Unlimited World Red, and with that everything bar its perfect visuals is nothing particularly special. Now, as I’m not particularly bothered about Pirate Warriors, which a lot of people seem to be, what I’d love is a quality One Piece fighter – maybe in a similar vane to the Naruto Shippuden games or Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaiichi (or Budokai 3). As a result, it won’t come as too much of a surprise that I’ve been anticipating Burning Blood since I’ve known it’s coming. And it won’t come as too much of a surprise that I was pretty excited when I saw there was a demo for it available for download. Of course, I thought I’d give it a go.
I haven’t played it all that much, but I can gather from what I have played that it isn’t the best game in the world. Although the visuals are perfect in game, most everything else is in the same vane as Unlimited World Red other than the fact that the soundtrack seems pretty dull and the colour’s less prominent – whilst the menus seem boring as (but it is a demo). As I said, though, the visuals are fantastic in game. It really brings the comic to life like no other game has done before, with the character modals looking good and the cel-shading along with the Japanese onomatopoeia working wonders for it. Gameplay wise, however, it already seems a little repetitive, over-the-top (I know it’s One Piece, but for the game it doesn’t work that well) and not as fun as it could be.
I bet you’re still wondering how it works. Well, it’s a one-on-one to three-on-three arena-based fighting game a little similar to the Naruto Shippuden games, which, really, is a classic example of a game which unfortunately does indeed work to a decent extent through just button-mashing. That is because there is a lack of combos and complex fighting maneuvers, and it is just, “press square”, “hey, you might as well press triangle”, “oh, hold L1 and R1 and see what happens”. Well, it’s not just that, but it might as well be. The only thing that works really well is the dodging and movement on the stage, and even then the camera angles closeness can get in the way. It’s just a disappointing experience.
Nonetheless, it is just a demo, and so I can’t say anything more than about how it plays, looks and sounds. Maybe there’s a great campaign that One Piece fans like myself could really appreciate, and maybe the soundtrack across the whole game is better, I don’t know. The massive character roster will also be much appreciated, and it would probably be a lot better as a whole game. But, as a whole, the gameplay just isn’t complicated or well-executed enough to be great, and, for now, though this is still a pretty neat game, it’s not going to be a masterpiece. I might wait until this one goes cheap to get it, and I recommend that’s what you do too if you’re a One Piece fan.
DOOM (Xbox One/PS4) – Milo
I was one of the flippin’ loads of people who played the DOOM (capitals necessary) open beta a couple of weeks back. I was already moderately interested from what trailers I saw before playing it, displaying what looked like a variety of gorious kills and maimings, each meaty in their own right.
From what I played of it, I wasn’t disappointed.
Naturally, I got my ass handed to me on a silver platter along with some delightful amuse bouche (the caramelised onion tartlets were simply to die for), but that didn’t take anything from the sheer childlike wonderment of pulling out a man’s spleen directly through his anus, or something to that effect.
During the games I played, I found that the weapons were slightly more powerful than I anticipated, but that made it easier for a filthy casual like myself to score a few hardly-earned kills every now and then. However, I was royally buggered, even more than before, whenever the damn Revenant Demon made an appearance. For those who don’t what a Revenant Demon is, it’s a jetpacked bastard of an enemy who will bend you over backwards like a poorly placed hydraulic pump.
Moreover, coming from someone who prefers story mode over multiplayer, I will have to see what people make of the campaign, if there is any, before I give Bethesda my dolla dolla.
Ones We Haven’t Played But Look Neat Anyway:
Shadow of the Beast (PS4) – Reuben
Shadow of the Beast was originally a 2D platformer in 1989, but now it’s a ridiculously violent 2D platformer which looks super nice and super bloody at the same time — in 2016! This PS4 exclusive isn’t getting the most glowing reviews, but it still looks pretty neat — check out the video above. See a review: http://www.pushsquare.com/reviews/ps4/shadow_of_the_beast
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered (PS4) – Reuben
This strategy RPG shooter has come back from its original release in 2008 for the PS4 this month. It’s probably one of SEGA’s finest in recent times, and it received a lot of praise at the time (and it is now), so it’s nice to see it return — who knows? I might play it. See a review: http://www.pushsquare.com/reviews/ps4/valkyria_chronicles_remastered
Tadpole Treble (PC) – Reuben
From Matthew Taranto, of Brawl in the Family [sort of] fame, Tadpole Treble has come to Steam this month and is scheduled for a release on the Wii U at some point. It carries over the nice art of Brawl in the Family with it’s nice lil’ cast of lake inhabiting creatures including the playable tadpole himself, Baton, as you as the player go through a song-driven story with rhythm based gameplay. To be honest, so far it doesn’t actually look that great, but I appreciate Taranto’s ideas behind it, and I’m sure a lot of people would appreciate this game. See more here: http://bitfinitygames.com/
Well, there’s also Uncharted 4. Everyone knows about Uncharted anyway, but there’s gonna be a review of it soon (from Cam). So that’s why that wasn’t mentioned in this.