Hello my friends, I’ve somehow managed to acquire another bloody cold, so I’ve not really been doing very much over the past couple of days. Still, I wanted to get a Weekend Whammy out there and ask about what you fine folks have been playing over the past week or two? Me? I’ve been sneezing, mostly. It’s been…not fun.
First of all, like always, let me quickly recap the other stuff I’ve posted up since we last chatted. Stormland VR came from the folk over at Insomniac and had some gloriously smooth movement mechanics, a fun world and solid combat. Sadly, repetitive missions and a clumsy end-game stopped Stormland from being something truly special.
Next up I reviewed the SCUF Impact Syndicate controller for PS4 and found it to be a really nice piece of premium tech, albeit one with a huge price-tag.
And then I spouted off a bunch of my nonsensical opinions on a variety of news topics in Patch Notes. This edition included the winners of the Game Awards, some thoughts on the Xbox Series X and more.
I made a slight mistake in my last Weekend Whammy when I mentioned that Halo was finally coming to PC. I had forgotten that Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 both came to PC back in the day. Now that I’ve got just one of my many mistakes cleared up, let’s quickly chat about Halo: Reach, the first release in the Master Chief Collection for PC.
Firstly, I’m glad the very same community that rallied around Halo: Reach some nine years ago have returned and are once again making multiplayer chat a miserable place. Seriously, I jumped into my first multiplayer match the other day and was greeted by a bunch of arguing people, somebody blaming their team for being crap and two other people accusing everyone else of cheating and hacking. Things…things did not improve over the years. I guess some things never change.
Still, I’m having fun in the multiplayer and the campaign is a pretty good romp, though I don’t think it holds up all that well in 2019 as I thought it would. There are a few glaring problems with the package though, which I’ll be delving into when I review it soon. But for now for the meagre price of £7.99 Halo: Reach is a solid purchase.
Owing to my cold I’ve carried on my strategy binge, swapping over from the epic scale of Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance to the much smaller Company of Heroes 2. It’s such a fun change because in Forged Alliance it’s all about big armies and making decisions on a huge map. Something like Company of Heroes 2 though, is more about individual units. The right soldier or tank in the right place can make a huge difference. There’s something so satisfying about making the right choice in CoH2 and watching as you hold the line or push forward into enemy territory. Plus, it’s always hilarious to commit various war crimes, like targeting medics without mercy. FOR THE GLORY OF THE EMPIRE! Wait, shit, no, wrong RTS.
But even CoH2 was proving a bit much for my fuzzy brain to handle, so I’ve ventured back into the relaxed world of capitalism known as Tropico 6. Personally, I think from this year Anno 1800 is the superior city-building strategy game in terms of mechanics and depth, but Tropico 6 has a friendlier, more relaxed vibe that makes it nice to sink into for a few casual hours. I mean, I say that, but after about an hour of building I inevitably end up stressing out because I have all the forward planning skills of your average 3-year old eyeing up dad’s awesome sharp saw. It’s kind of amazing really; despite my adoration of RTS and strategy style games and having played them for something like two decades now, I’m still kind of crap at them. Perhaps the best example is the Civilization series which I freaking love playing, but I admit that I have no idea what I’m doing. I never have a plan, rarely know if I’m making the right calls and basically take it all one turn at a time before inevitably decided to just blow everyone up.
Finally, I’ve been playing Boneworks which describes itself as an experimental physics based VR game. Basically, everything in the game is driven by physics, including your virtual body. It’s both absolutely amazing and completely infuriating. Amazing because it the physics behind the game let you interact with the world in incredibly ways. Infuriating because your in-game hands get caught up on stuff, or doors don’t open right or…well, a host of stuff. Without having true presence in the world trying to account for avatars limbs and things is downright tricky at times. A full review is coming, but due to the cold I’ve not managed to get much time with the game yet – VR with a cold is a horrifying feeling. I still remember sneezing while the headset was sitting on top of my head and it fell down over my eyes. For a brief moment I thought I’d sneezed myself into a different dimension.
I’m starting to get pretty hyped for The Witcher series coming to Netflix in the next week or two. They’ve put out a series of short trailers introducing the world and characters, and so far I’m loving pretty much everything I see. In particular Henry Cavill is impressing me with his passion for the role of Geralt. He’s played through The Witcher 3, read the entire series of books, which he described as “amazing,” and seems to know his Witcher lore pretty well. I also gained immense respect for him when he recently replied to a question about toxic fandom, saying that:
“I understand what you are saying, but when it comes to fans, it is a fan’s right to have whatever opinion they want to have. People are going to be upset especially when you are talking about books or games because you are never going to be the exact person who they had in their head or who they played in Witcher 3 for example. I don’t necessarily consider that toxic; I just consider that passionate and it’s something which I obviously had to come to terms with over the years. For me, with the comparison is not like that with Geralt walking into a bar. The comparison is more meta. It’s more to do with xenophobia, and sexism, and colonialism and all those effects that has on people and who they divert their fear and energy towards and that tends to be Geralt. Because he is a guy who exists outside of society. He’s not part of a group when he walks into town. And he looks so different from everyone else and no one can control him. He is faster, stronger, better at swords, and apparently can do magic as well. You can’t control him and you fear him. And therefore all of your energy, especially in a crowd of people, will be diverted at him because of everything that is happening above you in the world.”
Now that is a fantastic way of dealing with the question. He’s respectful, honest and doesn’t dwell on the negative aspects that can sometimes stem from passionate fans. You can check out his full interview in the video below.
If Netflix can really deliver on this then I believe The Witcher could become the next Game of Thrones in terms of popularity. Maybe that’s just a pipe dream, but I’d love to be able to have conversations with random people about The Witcher in the same way I could with Game of Thrones because it was so universally popular.
That’s all for this week, folks. Look after yourselves and have fun.