Journey to the Savage Planet – New Lease on Life

Good morning. What year is it?

I fell asleep on Earth and now I’ve woken up after an unknown number of years, alert and refreshed. Kindred Technologies are just the best, aren’t they? They call themselves the “4th best” space exploration company, but they really speak to me as a normal human being. I didn’t have much to live for so I signed up for their “experiment”. The year was 2034 and I got myself into 5 million dollars of debt from working too much and… wait, is that how working is supposed to work? I’ve never had the time or energy to think about it. Anyway, I’ve been given an opportunity to redeem myself by being launched towards a random planet in an experiment to find a habitable environment for humans. I was feeling lucky and sure enough, managed to land somewhere in one piece. Let’s see what this place is all about.

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ReCore – Metroid Composite

What happens when you get the director of Mega Man and three people from the Metroid Prime team, then rush out a game with their names as the selling point? Something pretty forgettable, evidently. ReCore came out in 2016 with so many bugs they had to make a “Definitive Edition” on the same console a year later. Since then the game has been sitting in discount bins and Game Pass, tempting me with mild intrigue. I’ve been in a Metroid mood lately so I decided to see what this game was all about.

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Lonely Mountains: Downhill – Open Air Time Trials

What a great day. There’s nothing like being out in nature, completely free. You don’t have anywhere to be, and you’re riding your bike happily along. You start riding a bit faster, not because you need to be anywhere, but because the mountain is daring you. You scoot around the corner to get a better view, then get faster and faster downhill. WOOOOO!! YEAH! Suddenly it’s getting twisty… better slow down. Nah, you can handle this!

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A Plague Tale: Innocence – Life Before Toilet Paper

The year is 1343 AD, in a small village in medieval-era France. You’re having a nice day when a messenger runs into town screaming. There’s been an outbreak!

The Black Death! It’s coming! The plague is coming!

What do you do? Do you believe it? Do you assume the worst, or shrug it off? This could be a lie to force people out of town. It could be true. It could have taken weeks for this news to get here. Some people hid in their homes. Some people traveled to find more information. Some took to alchemy. Some descended into madness and violence. A Plague Tale: Innocence tells this story from the very vulnerable perspective of young children. They are separated from their parents, and forced to face a mass outbreak of disease on their own, dealing with all the best and worst aspects of human behavior on the way.

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Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – Psychosis Simulator

Is this really worth writing about- you didn’t enjoy it- you liked it- you don’t know if you liked it- you can’t write- you should write- this game might be misunderstood- you can do it- every experience is different- the game isn’t worth it- the game is worth it- at least it’s interesting- don’t hit that submit button there’s no going back.

These are my friends from Hellblade who stayed in my head. This game has a very large emphasis on sound design, as everything you do is narrated by dozens of tiny voices whispering at you constantly throughout the game. It’s made to imitate the feeling of psychosis and mental illness and warns you of its heavy themes before you start the game. Senua’s Sacrifice is a very personal journey where you explore very detailed environments and the dark corners of your mind.

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Prey – Out of this World

Good morning. My name is Grubdog and this is my new place. I’ve been chosen to go into space and work at the Talos I Space Station. They’re doing some interesting things up there, but I’ve got some training to do before I’m ready. I feel so different since I got to this apartment, like I’ve become a brand new person. I can’t remember much about who I was before, but maybe that’s just the excitement overshadowing everything. Even walking around my room, there’s button prompts over objects like I know what they can do in advance. I can grab and throw this chair, but why would I want to do that? Chairs are for sitting on, but I guess life in space was going to be a bit less comfortable. I picked up a lot of objects and put them down just because I could.

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Blazing Chrome – Just Chrome It

The year is A.D. 21XX and humanity is…. ah screw it, you’ve heard it all before. This is yet another videogame where billions of humans have died and you are our last hope. There’s just something about ultimate apocalyptic destruction that makes for a good action game. Or survival game. Or story-heavy RPG. Or driving game. First-person shooting. Golf. Heck, is everything better without humans? No, that question is too deep for this game’s colour palette. Humanity is on the brink of extinction and it’s time…

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Super Lucky’s Tale – Always Landing On Tails

Glada blad daneeashe blap blurp dawesome! Oh excuse me I’ve become an NPC inside a book and this is how I talk now, but I can still write in English I guess. That’s right I’m inside the Book of Ages and there’s a bunch of whimsical worlds here. Coins and platforms hover in the air and there are no rules at all. Oh except, you can’t rotate the camera too much. Small details. You also die if you hit something three times, but there’s plenty of lives to go around. I’m going to tell you all about a Fox who’s come to save us all, his name is Lucky. You see, this book is being threatened by the evil Jinx and the pages are being overrun by Kitty Litter. The who and the what now? Well, all you need to know is the fox’s name is Lucky and this is Super Lucky’s Tale.

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What Remains of Edith Finch – Time Well Spent

Sometimes all you need is a good story. Whether you’re reading one or writing one, the power of an event unfolding in your mind can not be underestimated. An entire world can come to life right in front of you. Things that are far away can feel like they are right there, if only just for a moment. You can’t have them but you can feel them. Through stories, people’s actions can exist long after they’ve been performed. History can be preserved. A single moment can become its own feeling to go back to. Sometimes you need a bit more though. Sometimes you need a good videogame.

What Remains of Edith Finch is a slow-paced adventure game that takes you to the large Finch family mansion, surrounded by dense forest. Many tragic events have happened here and it has resulted in every Finch family member dying in different ways, and you’re there to investigate what this curse is all about. With no real knowledge of who you even are or what’s waiting in the house, it has a very curious feeling right from the start. All you really know is your character “inherited” this place but hasn’t come here in years. Why would you not visit your gigantic house? It’s this detail that gives a subtle hint of danger and intrigue. How bad could it be? Continue reading “What Remains of Edith Finch – Time Well Spent”

Hydro Thunder Hurricane – H2-Zero

Forget EVERYTHING you know about water racing games. That probably won’t take much effort, but let’s take Wave Race for example. You know that slow struggle to shift your weight as you set yourself up for the mercy of the waves? Well now you can FORGET that! Hydro Thunder says no to physics as you fly through the water at 350kph. It’s set in the future with advanced boats and stadiums with multi-layered water racetracks… and dinosaurs. What future is this? Forget that too. There’s no story or lore here. That only slows us down. We’re going racing!

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Catching Up – Xbox One in 2018

We’re approaching the end of 2018 and I’ve just got myself a brand new Xbox One S, five years into the lifespan of Xbox One. It’s a new world for me as I’ve been playing nothing but Nintendo stuff for the last few years, having a great time it must be said. I never had a PS4 either so this is my first time dipping into the 2013 “next-gen” console family, which is now this-gen, or half-gen to the Pro and X which will be last-gen again next year. Phew. Whatever you want to call it, I have a lot of gaming to catch up on and I thought this was a unique perspective worth a little writeup. I was lucky enough to get my XB1S bundled with Red Dead Redemption 2 and Forza Horizon 4, two very expensive new release games. The whole bundle was $100-200 AU cheaper than a Switch or PS4 by themselves, which is ridiculous. Xbox is priced very well and has huge support in Australia, and I was in a good spot to take advantage of it. It just felt like the right time with Nintendo’s Switch holiday lineup mainly focused on two games I’m not that interested in. I got home with my new Xbox and it felt like Christmas again. The old, fun, child-like Christmas, not the new HD remake “Adult Christmas” which is full of disappointing social engagements. This was going to be fun on my own terms.

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