Weekend Whammy: What Have You Been Playing?

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So, we’re now officially into 2019 which means hopefully we have an entire year of fantastic games ahead of us. Of course, what it really means is an entire year of trying to remember to write 2019 on forms instead of 2018.

I hope you guys all had an awesome New Year, however you chose to spend it. Did you go out and party? Chill at home with movies and games? Or was it just another day?

Personally, I spent New Year at home because that cold I caught a while back has taken up residence in my chest, which when you have Cystic Fibrosis is not much fun. Cue some hardcore antibiotics and I’ve mostly been ambling around rambling about things nobody else can see. Good times. But I did get two friends round and broke out Playstation VR and the Oculus Rift that I may have purchased over Christmas despite not being able to really afford it. Anyway, we all had a freaking blast with the VR, and then saw in the bells while watching Tucker & Dale VS Evil. While I might not be feeling at the peak of my health right now it was still a nice way to see 2019 in.

The start of a new year is always slow for games, so I’ve been kind of going insane. As such I think I’m going to do a review of Ashen, just to keep things flowing and because it looks like a potentially great game. But I did manage to get a review of Guns ‘N’ Stories: Bulletproof for PS VR out, so go and have a read of that.

Other than that I’ve filled my gaming time with a lot of VR racing using the Oculus Rift and my Logitech G920 steering wheel. I have to say that playing DiRT Rally and Project Cars 2 in VR has been amazing. It’s actually hard to go back to a regular 2D experience for driving now. But I’ve also been playing Robo Recall, an immensely fun game that comes from with Oculus Touch controllers. It’s yet another wave shooter, but it takes the concept and executes it brilliantly by letting you rip robots apart limb from limb, juggle them in the air using pistols, grab bullets out of the air and so much more. It’s fast, intense and incredibly fun. Oh, and it makes you feel like such a badass. At one point I reached out and grabbed a spider-bot leaping toward my face without even looking at it, shot another bot, threw the spider-bot at something else, drew my shotgun and blew both the spider-bot and the other one into little pieces. I felt awesome.

The recent announcement of DiRT Rally 2 which is due to launch in February got me pretty excited, but to my horror Codemasters have revealed it won’t support VR, at least at launch. There is a possibility of VR support being added later if demand is high, though.

Outside of virtual reality I’ve mostly been playing waaaaaaay too much Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. I picked it up on sale a few years back and never got around to playing it, but my recent trip down memory lane in Borderlands 2 VR reignited my lust for loot. The Pre-sequel was a pretty obvious attempt to cash in on the popular Borderlands 2 franchise, but to my surprise it’s still a fairly solid game, albeit one that plays it very safe. The biggest change they made was much lower gravity so that you can leap around like a lunatic. Other than that it’s still the same core loop of shooting and looting, but right now that’s what I want. Something simple to play with hundreds of shiny objects with big numbers that I can drool over.

And in bloody stupid news of the week it seems lootboxes are now a real0-world thing. Some site going by the name MysterBrand is offering virtual boxes you can buy, each offering random contents based off a list of stuff. A box might contain a car or a pocket watch, for example, but will much more likely contain a phone case or other cheap tat. Once you buy and open a box you can agree to ship the items to your address or “sell” them back to the site in order to get credit that you can use to buy more boxes. Hell, some boxes even offer the chance to win a Lamborghini Centenario, which is pretty amazing considering all of those cars have already been bought. If that didn’t sound shady enough there are spelling mistakes everywhere, the site gives out the Email addresses of its “winners” and complete f****** morons like Jake Paul are promoting the site on Youtube. Jesus Christ, 2019, we’ve barely begun the year and I’m already wishing it’d just stop.

EDIT: A few more details have emerged, including confirmation that Mystery Brand doesn’t own a lot of the large items it lists as prizes and will instead acquire them via auction sites and other places should someone win. None of this is mentioned on the site itself.

Alright, ranting over. On to other things. For Christmas my dear sister picked up the new Firefly novel, titled Big Damn Hero. As long-time readers know I’m a major Firefly fan, so a new book was an exciting prospect. Sadly the book doesn’t pick up after the events of the film, instead it tells a story set somewhere between the TV show and the movie. The writing itself hasn’t really hooked me yet and author James Lovegrove seems to struggle to capture the voices of each character, but it’s still nice to be back in the sci-fi/western universe which has otherwise continued to live on through comics. The novel takes the time to flesh out the characters a little more, including some backstory for Mal, and largely succeeds in feeling like another episode of the series, even if it doesn’t feel as sharp and snappy. Ultimately, if you’re a fan of the show I’d recommend picking Big Damn Hero up.

Right, I think I’m going to go back to drinking Lemsips, swallowing lots of pain-killers and hiding under my bedsheets until this damn cold buggers off.

What have you guys been up to?

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