by Matthew Thompson
Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I just talked about what I’ve been playing, so I’m going to run through the games I tackled throughout the summer. I chose a few to give a bigger focus to at the top here while running through a bunch of others in the bullets below. Well, here it goes!
Detroit: Become Human
Coming into Detroit: Become Human, my only previous experience with David Cage games was Beyond: Two Souls. I HATED that game. Rarely do I finish games I dislike so much. I rented it during my early days of GameFly. Back then, I felt like I should really finish games before I send them back. Unlike a game I owned, it wouldn’t be as easy to pick back up as one I quite literally shelved for a bit. That experience would teach me not to force myself through a game rental just for the sake of it. So I had this in my mind when I decided to give Detroit a shot which – despite my feelings about Beyond – really caught my eye during its press conference showings. The fun twist ending to this paragraph is: I really enjoyed Detroit. It is no doubt a flawed experience, marred by some of the same issues that held back Beyond. However! I adored the near-future setting. The scenarios were always either thought-provoking or interesting to see play out. And for a game dominated by dialogue decisions and QTEs, there were at least a few gameplay mechanics beyond those that I really enjoyed – namely the bits where you can see situations play out whether they be past scenes in investigations or your own future actions. What impressed me the most about Detroit was how much the story can diverge. This is a truly branching narrative. Looking back at the flow charts of my actions, seeing whole levels that I never experienced and comparing my story with friends made it clear how different things could go, not just at the end, but throughout the game and that aspect blew me away.
Madden used to be a yearly purchase for me. These days I’d rather spend the time I once whiled away on long virtual football seasons watching the real sport on TV or playing through any manner of other video game genres that I prefer. Still, I usually give it a rent each year and play a few games prior to the real season starting just for the fun of controlling some of my favorite players. Last year saw a rarity for the series: a substantial addition in the form of a new story mode called Longshot that featured a mix of Telltale-style adventure gaming and traditional Madden on-field action. It was a promising first effort and something fresh for a series in desperate need of just that. I was excited to see how they might build on Longshot in its sophomore outing, but I’m sorry to say that Madden 19’s edition subtitled Homecoming is a very disappointing follow-up. Homecoming once again follows Devon Wade and Colton Cruise; Wade as he struggles to make an NFL roster and Cruise washed out of the NFL completely and helping to coach his old high school’s team. The latter is definitely the more compelling storyline. While it often feels clichéd and can be a bit melodramatic, it definitely has some heart. Unfortunately, a lot of the creativity that embodied the first Longshot is missing here. The way it tested your football knowledge? Gone. The fun QB Club-style mini-games that the game show format allowed? M.I.A. Some of the neat ideas they used to mix up typical on-field scenarios? Barely there. Even the dialogue options during cutscenes have been almost entirely jettisoned. I believe there is only ONE in the entire thing. Instead, you will pretty much flop between offensive drives and at times interminable cutscenes for the duration of Longshot: Homecoming’s playtime. It’s not a disaster, but it is a huge letdown after last year’s inaugural effort.
The Dishonored Series
Dishonored has been my find of the summer. I have totally fallen in love with this series. I rolled the dice and bought a bundle of all of them during a PSN sale and it has totally exceeded my expectations. The level design is so intricate that I can’t stop thinking of the amount of work the developers put in to make it all come together the way it did. The styles of play to choose from are so vast that I’d love to just go back and replay scenarios over and over at some point in the future. The world they have built is so interesting that I eat up every piece of lore I stumble across. And Blink/Far Reach is just such a perfect stealth move that I just can’t get enough of it and its incredible versatility. I’m not going to go into more detail here as I intend to write a piece on my favorite game in the series, Dishonored 2, in the near future. I’ll just say this is stealth gaming at its finest.
Some more games I played this summer:
- Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion: This added a really fun and challenging new set of levels for those craving new singleplayer content in Splatoon 2. The final boss and conclusion to this affair is epic. And I love using my Octo in multiplayer. She just looks so damn cool!
- Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon: This was a really good throwback to the old-school action/platformer-style of Castlevania game. Short, but sweet and the way they added replayability was clever.
- Hollow Knight: This is a truly great game, but I – for whatever reason – ran out of gas on it. I’ve never played a Metroidvania of this size. Twenty-some hours in and a bit too much wandering around and my interest just sort of waned. I loved the combat, boss fights, level of difficulty and world design/building though. Hopefully I will get back to it in the future.
- Overcooked! 2: A friend convinced me to get this to play with them and it is hilarious cooperative fun. The game continually adds new things to keep track of in the kitchen, but the best part is all the dumb stuff that happens by accident when you are frantically running about with your fellow chefs.
- Shantae: Half-Genie Hero – Pirate Queen’s Quest: I bought the Ultimate Edition of Half-Genie Hero so I could play all the DLC. This one starring Risky Boots was a fun time that brings back abilities similar to those found in Pirate’s Curse. It is pretty similar to the main Half-Genie Hero game though, so I’ll definitely be waiting a while before tackling the other DLCs since that seems to be the case with them as well.
That will do it for this post! What games were the highlight of your summer? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!