Every year we wait for that time at the end of August when John Madden bestows his latest sports simulation upon us, marking the beginning of video game season. This year the harvest has been bountiful and immediate. What I’m saying is that a lot of games came out recently and I’d like to talk about what I’ve been playing.
Holy shit Control, holy shit. I’ve been very lukewarm on past Remedy offerings like Alan Wake and Quantum Break, but Control seems like the culmination of everything they’ve learned from producing those games. Control takes place inside of a secret federal building that specializes in messing with forces they don’t understand. Surprise, surprise, things go sideways and it’s up to you to fix it all, I think. I haven’t finished it yet, so things are bound to change.
There are so many things I love about Control already. The Federal Bureau of Control, otherwise known as The Oldest House, otherwise known as the place where the game takes place in, is a constantly shifting office building with plenty of HR posters, memos about book clubs, and training videos in it to make the whole place feel grounded despite the fact that inter-dimensional creatures are hijacking the bodies of the employees and trying to gun you down. The whole place is just so interesting to wander around in and explore.
The combat is no slouch either. You have a gun that can change forms on the fly into either a pistol, a shotgun, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen assault rifles and more referenced in some collectibles. On top of the cool gun though, you very quickly get the power to use telekinesis to hurl just about everything that isn’t nailed to the ground at your opponents.
I could go on for a long time about Control, but I’ll save that for a different article. The last thing I’ll say about it is that while I love the story, combat, tone and world building that’s going on, things like performance and load times are certainly areas that could be improved. Having to deal with minute long load times whenever you take the elevator or happen to fall in a bottomless pit (standard office building stuff) it’s made all the worse by the painfully slow loading bar.
REMNANT: FROM THE ASHES
Let’s be incredibly reductive here for a moment and say that Remnant: From the Ashes is basically an easier to understand and play Dark Souls game with an emphasis on guns and multiplayer. But make no mistake, this game is brutal if you’re playing it solo. That’s why I initially bounced off of it for a bit until a friend picked up the game as well. Now I can easily see why people are speaking so highly of Remnant: From the Ashes, because quite frankly, it’s good.
Like I mentioned before, Remnant: From the Ashes really wants you to play alongside a friend or preferably two. A lot of the bosses and other enemies use the simple tactic of running at you in an attempt to outnumber you, and it works when you’re alone. But with a friend, we were basically the SWAT team if they had to fight horrible nightmare creatures that look like sick trees.
There’s a lot going on in Remnant: From the Ashes, from level randomization to upgrading and crafting equipment, to the general strangeness of the world itself. I’m only a few hours in, but I’m looking forward to continuing my adventurers. I’ll just be sure to grab a buddy before I do.
KNIGHTS AND BIKES
Knights and Bikes is mostly an adventure game with a lot of mediocre combat and slight puzzle-solving sprinkled on top of it. You play as one of two girls on a small island that I think is in the general area of England based on the liberal usage of the letter “U” in their words. It also is about an ancient curse that only they can stop because none of the adults on the island actually believes in it.
The game is a cooperative focused affair with the option of playing solo where you’ll have to switch on the fly between the girls to harness their unique abilities. At the point I’m at in the game, so far one girl has the ability to throw a Frisbee to attack at range, and the other has a ground pound. I’ve heard there are more abilities that get unlocked as you make your way through the game.
I’m not too far in but I can safely say that it’s charming as hell. The characters are fun and interesting so far, and the presentation is delightful, even if some of the graphical elements occasionally get in the way of your basic movement.
At the point I’m at in Knights and Bikes, the two girls have arrived at the city on the island where I’m sure things will start to kick off in a major way. While I am interested to see where the game goes, I don’t know when I’ll get back to it. The previously mentioned two games have kind of consumed all of my free gaming time, and Knights and Bikes just didn’t hook me in hard enough to make me want to rush back to it.
But here’s the thing, there’s a goose that follows you around named Captain Honkers who I love more than anything. So I’ll go back to Knights and Bikes just to kick it with Cappy Honk-Honk.
I’m actually a little overwhelmed with how many games have just hit in such a short period of time, and it doesn’t show much sign of slowing down anytime soon. That being said, it’s a good time to play games, and a less good time to be broke.
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