This week Paul takes over Zed Games. Together with Zahra they discuss the news and Firmware updates, then Zahra takes over the helm reviewing Black Skylands before Paul traps us with a review of Webbed.
Tag: PC Games
This week Zahra’s locked in the studio for Lockdown and discussing the News, as well as reviewing Evolution. We also get Rani’s awaited review of Immortals Fenyx Rising, and a heartfelt sendoff from Zahra themselves.
This week Paul and Rani talk big news and review Death’s Door and Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights
Terraria port for Google Stadia Cancelled.
After backing down from a threat to leave Australia over new regulations, and pulling the plug on in-house Stadia game development, the last thing Google needed was more bad press. Well, Google has dug their own grave as Re-Logic, the creators of Terraria, have cancelled their planned Stadia port after Google disabled and removed access to the Re-Logic YouTube account and attached Gmail and Google Drive accounts due to an alleged Terms of Service violation.
After three weeks trying to resolve the issue, co-creator Andrew Spinks turned to Twitter, burning any bridges with the multinational company by publicly tweeting “Doing business with you is a liability.”
Re-Logic has confirmed that while they will continue to support all current purchases of Terraria on Android and Google Play, any future games by Re-Logic will not be supported on Google platforms.
Cyberpunk 2077 and CD Projekt; the Saga continues.
Since the PC release of Cyberpunk 2077, mods have been coming to the rescue to help with some of players’ issues and desires. Sadly, the way in which Cyberpunk 2077 utilised external DLL files allowed hackers to remotely execute code when malicious mods were installed on a player’s computer. This security vulnerability was quickly fixed by the Cyberpunk 2077 community before the 1.12 Hotfix was released by CD Projekt just three days later.
CD Projekt has also announced via twitter that they were recently the victims of a cyber-attack. The announcement included a copy of the ransom note with the attacker claiming to have copied the source code for their most popular games and an unreleased version of the Witcher 3 as well as other files. CD Projekt has stated that to the best of their knowledge, none of the compromised data contained any player or user data. The incident is currently under investigation by the relevant authorities. After the announcement, CD Projekt’s stock dropped by 5%.
Nemesis system patented.
After almost 6 years since the original application, Warner Brothers has finally had the patent approved for the Nemesis system. Originally utilised in Monolith Productions’ Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, the Nemesis system is where hierarchical NPCs are physically and hierarchically effected by player interaction. The patent is already being criticised by developers for the vagueness of the patent’s wording and how this may stifle any similar games from being developed.
The patent is optioned for renewal till 2035.
And finally, some game releases:
On February 11th you can look forward to the console release date of 1bit minimalist RTS game Death Crown, the Switch Release of the action-adventure roguelike Undermine, and the PC and console release of the side scrolling adventure Little Nightmares 2.
We also have Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury coming to the Switch on February 12th. And the Mega Man X-inspired multiplayer roguelike 30XX (thirty ex-ex) is coming to PC on February 17th
Developer: Wube Software
Publisher: Wube Software
Music: Daniel James Taylor
Platforms: PC only – Windows, macOS, Linux
Released: 14th August 2020
Genre: Simulation / RTS / Building / Management / Tower defence
Factorio in my house has a reputation, for my wife knows I will be lost for two days, rave of mathematical ratios and alien biters, and somehow gain the focus of a cramming uni student abusing caffeine and amphetamines.
But what is this, my game of 2020 and drug of choice?
Factorio was successfully crowdfunded in 2013 and released into early access on steam in early 2016. I first played Factorio later that year after binge watching youtubers creating vast belted megafactories. Visually, it is a top down, 2.1D isometric game like RTS games circa 1999, while also having a dreary diesel punk aesthetic. Despite this the world is rich with biomes, natural fauna, and easily identifiable resources to feed the factory.
Game play wise it is a beast of real-time strategy, automation, resource management and base defence.
The basic premise of Factorio is that you have crash landed on a planet and need to survive. This is really only present in the tutorial and when you set off your first rocket, the endgame trigger. The rest of the game is the dieselpunk version of Man Vs Wild while you set your mind to the machinations of the machine, engineering an extravaganza of a mega-base while protecting yourself from the natural life forms attracted by your pollution and hell bent on destroying your creations.
To create your first factory you mine, belt, chop, hand craft and build before progressing to automating with belts, inserters, and trains. The final step, if you are brave enough, the birth of true automation with flying robots, wires and storage all controlled through logistics and programming.
Your factory is now vast and consuming, both in resources and time. You stare bleary eyed at not only how long you have been staring at the screen, but how many hours you have now accumulated in your steam profile. Calculations and spread sheets strewn across your desktop as you have calculated the exact ratios of ore to final products.
This game captivates the engineer in me. The organisation to compact and replicate, modularise and expand. But I’ll be honest, I play on peaceful. For without this, those biters, worms and spitters come in ever increasing waves. They expand and search for weaknesses, and one day you look up from your hard work and hear the alarm and they’re chomping at your power station and everything goes dark.
Speaking of sound, the atmospheric sounds are inconspicuous. I don’t mean that in a bad way, rather everything sounds right for the situation. Footsteps on grass, sand, concrete and metal all sound right for the situation. The intervals between the musical interludes are filled with the wind in the wilds, or if you are in your factory the hum of machinery and belts, the crackle of arching electrics or the soft bells of sonar from the radar tower.
The musical composition of Daniel Hames Taylor highlights the desolation and feeling of isolation while still remaining calming and optimistic, it is also memorable and repeated enough so that years after playing, reopening the game and listening to the game’s music brings back instant nostalgia to the hours of gameplay you previously invested. However, should the music grate on your psyche, as in most things in this game, there’s a slider for that.
Overall while I’m sure you can tell I enjoy the game there are some teething issues for new players. The controls and key board shortcuts are extensive and while the tutorial shows a good selection of the basics, the huge selection of inbuilt shortcuts can be overwhelming to learn. There’s also little after the tutorial to tell you what or how to do things. You are left to your own devices, a research tree, and your own brain to guide you. This tends to lead new players to restart their first map a few times before getting into their stride. And when you set up your map everything has a slider, from the progression of the biters to how rich ore patches are, how many natural cliffs, water fronts and trees you need to cut down, destroy or pave over to expand your ever growing factropolis.
The developers Wube Software continue to actively develop the game, while also developing new toys and squashing bugs. The modding community is also highly active and can add different gameplay loops and complexities to your engineering marvel.
If this has wet your whistle for a play you can find a demo available at factorio.com, or you can buy if from that same website or from steam.
Developer: Double Fine
Australian rating: PG
Halloween in Australia is weird. I’ve only had kids come to my door in costume twice, but people love to complain about how this American holiday has invaded our calendar. White Australians complaining about cultural imperialism is odd, right? Kind of tone deaf and crass? Christmas isn’t any more Australian, and we mainly use Halloween as an excuse for adults to dress up and get drunk anyway, like we do every other holiday.
The Costume Quest games are an insight into why Halloween is such a big deal for Americans, letting you play a gang of kids dressed up in dodgy outfits – a robotic suit made of cardboard boxes, a superhero costume that’s just a blanket cape and a pair of underpants on the outside – who are given free rein to roam the suburbs and pretend to be heroes and monsters while eating all the sugar. Those suburbs, by the way, are being invaded by aliens under the cover of Halloween and only you can stop them. Adults won’t believe that big green weirdo is a Grubbin from the planet Repugia and not just someone in a better costume than you, and anyway, you don’t need adults to stop them when you have The Power Of Imagination.
Australian rating: MA15+
I hate reviews that start with a history lesson, but Wasteland 2 needs some context. I’ll try to make it a short history lesson at least. Here goes.
The original Wasteland was a turn-based post-apocalyptic roleplaying game designed by Interplay in 1988, in which cowboy Desert Rangers protected irradiated Arizona from raiders and robots and, if you played like me, got gnawed to the bone by giant mutant rabbits like they were fleshy carrots being chomped by Bugs Bunny. It was popular enough that Interplay started work on a sequel, but not popular enough for publisher Electronic Arts, who cancelled it and then refused to sell them back the rights. Interplay self-published a different post-apocalyptic RPG instead, and that’s the origin story for the classic Fallout. Years later, the Fallout series has changed hands and members of the original Interplay team, now calling themselves InXile, finally got the rights to their game back and – with help from fans via Kickstarter – made the sequel they wanted to make decades ago.
Australian classification: MA15+
The first time I played this remake of Gauntlet I accidentally shot the food within the opening five minutes, so if the only thing you need to know is whether it’s possible to destroy an entire roast turkey with a single, poorly aimed arrow just like in the original, there you go.
Gauntlet is a remake of the 1985 arcade game that gave us one of our first four-player co-op experiences and birthed a bunch of memes about the wizard needing food badly. Arrowhead, the developers of Magicka, have focussed on that arcade multiplayer experience and created a fast-paced action RPG that boils Diablo down to potent stock.
Platform: PC, PS4
Australian classification: Unrated
Plenty of games have kludged together the tactical depth of turn-based battles with the high-stakes immediacy of real-time fighting, letting you freeze combat to issue commands then watch things play out, maybe taking control of simple actions or just looking on till you need to take over again like an interfering theatre parent. Transistor, a new action RPG from the developers of Bastion, takes a similar approach: pause time to cue up some powers, watch them play out in a second of glorious bullet time, then run around like a headless chicken till your ability to freeze things refills.
You play Red, a singer who has lost her voice, as she travels across the city of Cloudbank towards a reckoning with the individuals who took it from her. The Transistor is both weapon and companion, a high-tech sword/artificial intelligence/soul-storage device/all-purpose problem solving tool, guiding and advising you as you cross the city. But a legion of robotic beings called The Process are in the midst of dismantling Cloudbank and you’ll have to fight through them to get both answers and revenge.
Australian classification: Unrated
Vertical Drop Heroes HD is a fancied-up remake of a browser game you can play online at Kongregate (hence the HD), which is about adventurers exploring dungeons by jumping ever downwards from platform to platform (hence the vertical drop). It’s not so much a dungeon crawler as a dungeon faller. Nobody’s called a game about exploring a dungeon from the traditional left to right Horizontal Walk Heroes, so I guess that’s still up for grabs.
You start by picking one of three randomly generated heroes, each with different special abilities, weapons, and names, meaning you might be choosing from the mighty Hellspike, Skybane, or… Owlguard. Their appearances are random as well: big, boofy cartoon heads topped by helmets, hoods, masks, or flowers. If you don’t want to play a flower-wearing hero named Owlguard I don’t know what’s wrong with you.