Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Monthly Free Games (July 2016)
Accidentally lost this whole goddamned thing, so I'm re-creating it from memory. We'll see how it goes. Basically, it's a great month for fans of long, unskippable cutscenes and mechanics so deep as to be obtuse. LThe rest of you can play Gat Out Of Hell if you haven't already.
Banner Saga 2 (XBox One)
This is a tactical RPG with gorgeous hand-drawn-looking animation. But it's the kind of game that rewards time with it. Probably time spent learning the battle system by playing the first Banner Saga. I mean, I was introduced to two completely different ways to spend my characters' Willpower during the tutorial. There's a lot going on there, is my point, But it's the best of the complicated games this month.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (XBOx 360)
It's a last-gen tactical shooter. So it means a lot of walking, a lot of peeking around corners. Flashing, banging, breaching, and clearing. Odds are high that if you like this kind of thing, you've beaten this twice by now, because there aren't a lot of games doing this kind of thing these days. Not my bag.
The Crew (XBox One)
So I fire this up, and I'm racing a pickup truck across open ground fleeing cops, and then I'm updating my futuristic nav system, and then I;m driving to Detroit for an underground street race, and the whole time, my brain is nagging me that I've done this before. So I look it up, and realize I must have participated in the beta on PS4 many moons ago. Didn't like it then, don't like it now. It's pretty, but it's "underground street racing with a plot", which as a genre is just fucking exhausting by this point after all the Needs for all the Speeds.
Take the battle system from your Devil May Cry's or your Ninja Gaidens (XBox Era version). Throw in a little bullet hell twin stick shooting. Make it a series of one on one boss fights. And then, say, between the first and second fights, include five fucking mninutes of slow walking and talking through artfully designed but sparse backgrounds. Sometimes the game takes over and walks for you. Oh, and it's got one of those weird camera-relative directional controls that never feels right. There's something there if you're a die-hard action gamer willing to endure Furi's bullshit, but most won't.
Saints Row: Gat Out Of Hell (PS4)
Bought it, played it, loved it. Don't know how any of it will work without the context of a Saints Row 4 playthrough, but it's over-the-top open-world superhero gaming (emphasis way more on "super" than "hero"), set in the pits of Hell itself. Lots of fun.
Call Of Juarez: Bound In Blood (PS3)
I'm going to be honest. I didn't bother downloading this, because a couple months back, they gave away Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, and I'm assuming the sequel is much the same. Good but not life-changing Wild West FPS with a modicum of style. If I'm wrong, let me know.
Fat Princess (PS3)
Ugh. This is an early pseudo-MOBA, essentially a top-down multiplayer Capture The Flag game with wild colors, a hat-based class system, and cake. I started a game, and a bunch of computer-controlled characters were running around like crazy people and I just couldn't fucking take it because, well, I'm too old for this shit, and I was too old for this shit when it came out, too.
Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines (PS Vita)
It took me 20 minutes to figure out this was an RPG. First I had to create a character. Then I had to choose c "trade", or class, for my character and my two brothers. Then I had to sit through a long, unskippable anime. Then I got dumped into an elaborate menu system, and by the time I figured that out enough to get to the core gameplay, it turns out it's a standard "wander the overworld, touch a monster, get swept into a turn-based batttle kind of deal. Piled on top of this is system after system and dialog box after dialog box, up to and including a "breed and play as your descendants" component. You'll know if you'll love this.
Prince of Persia: Revelations (PS Vita)
Originally on PSP, this is a portable side story to a PS2 game, and oh, does it show. It's got that "Better Than PS1 But Not Quite As Good As PS2 Launch" models and textures thing going on. Movement is clumsy, combat is an awkward version of Sands of Time's elegance, and there are, shockingly, long, unskippable cutscenes. There are a nigh-infinte number of ways to have a better action-adventure experience, even free on mobile.