It’s a mega three week Games to Buy special report. See that sounds a lot better than I have been busy with the holidays and have let this feature drag for three weeks… it’s all about marketing people.
We have four Games of the Week all from the week of December 3rd. Big Pharma, Headliner: NoviNews, Phoenix Point, and Terminator: Resistance share the honors. See below for details At some point, I will have to review the Xbox Game Pass. For now, let me just say it has been a delight. I have gotten into the habit of playing an in game day of My Time at Portia just before bed and I have never experienced a more relaxing game.
Unleash you inner Martin Shkreli as you develop and manufacture drugs to help cure diseases and bankrupt the middle class.
I love a good business management game. There are a lot of options in Big Pharma. You can adjust the way you play to make Big Pharma a challenging puzzle style game or a more relaxing build a factory sim.
You develop drugs by sending explorers out into the world to find ingredients to make said drugs like how you collect dinosaur DNA in Jurassic World Evolution. Then you get to tweak the drugs to add enough side effects that you get to sell more drugs to solve the problems created by the first drug.
Big Pharma seems deeper than most management sims. Colorful and fun with an addictive gameplay loop and lots of room for creativity. (I get to name my own drugs… yay).
Well, after you’re done bankrupting the middle class with your overpriced drugs in Big Pharma, feel free to blame illegal immigrants for the middle class’ woes through the state-owned media in Headliner: NoviNews.
It’s Papers, Please but with news stories rather than individual immigrants. As an aside, when is Papers, Please coming to console? Come on, guys I want to reject the lady escaping a horrible dystopia with her three kids from the comfort of my couch.
Where was I? Oh yes. Fake news. You get to wander around town a bit to see how your propaganda and clickbait are effecting the world around you. It is a bit on the nose overall but creates an opportunity for plenty of replays. Plus, you have sultry foreign correspondent love interest and the chance to adopt a dog. Never a bad thing in a game like this.
Hey, it is an X-Com style game from Snapshot Games whose CEO Julian Gollop is the father of the X-Com franchise. So this is some high quality X-Com goodness.
Two caveats. The budget is a little tight on this one so don’t expect the polish of XCOM 2 or even XCOM: Enemy Within. The other concern is that instead of an alien invasion, it is a seafood invasion caused by global warming. In execution, the enemy design is more Lobster Boy than Lovecraft.
If global warning doesn’t take us out AI will do the trick. So claims first-person shooter Terminator: Resistance.
The current generation of consoles has not been inundated with cheap movie tie-ins as previous generations were. Modern gamers may not realise how mind numbingly awful the vast majority of these movie tie-in games were. So terrifying were the sheer numbers and rote gameplay of such games that gaming PTSD kicks in whenever we hear that they base a new property on a recent movie franchise.
And yet many recent games based on movie franchises have been decent if not good. Terminator: Resistance seems to fit in this category helped immensely by the use of the Terminator movies’ soundtracks and sound effects.
Video game developer Teyon also picked the right genre to place a Terminator game. First-person shooter is an excellent fit for the franchise. Pew pew indeed.
Untitled Goose Game
Untitled Goose Game is the Goat Simulator of 2019. A hit among the social media and YouTube crowd you play a goose that is an anti-social animal being a jerk to nice villagers in a colorful and cartoonish English hamlet.
Some people have compared it to Hitman 2 but I get a Postal 2 vibe from the proceedings. Why it is a hit among the social media crowd is no mystery. Untitled Goose Game mixes anti-social behaviour with the opportunity for puns…. endless puns… which I have very carefully not tried to make. I leave that to the professionals. To reward my restraint I have linked “Weird Al” Yankovic’s I Want a New Duck video below. Enjoy.
Star Ocean First Departure R
Star Ocean First Departure R is a remaster of a better-than-average Star Ocean game. With so many retro style RPG games (Koei Tecmo seems to release one a week.) It is easy for a bonafide classic to get lost in the pixilated shuffle.
With an emphasis on character and team building and tons of choice, First Departure is heads and shoulders above similar looking fare.
Demon’s Tilt is a Satanic role playing pinball game. I mean, how can I not put that on the list? That said, the graphics look a little small and dark, and my history of following through and playing pinball hybrid games for over ten minutes is not good. Still Satanic Pinball.
Everreach: Project Eden
Everreach: Project Eden is pitching itself as a budget Mass Effect. But with the lack of buzz, reviews, and, from what I have seen, actual Mass Effect style game play; I am thinking they may have missed the mark. More Overreach than Everreach am I right? (Hey, I avoided those goose puns above give me this one.)
What I think we have here is a somewhat buggy third person cover shooter with a hot chick avatar. On the plus side, they nailed the hot chick part. Too bad, the shooting looks generic and you apparently have a squad of one pre-rendered character. Shame for Project Eden that The Outer Worlds, an actual Mass Effect style game, just came out.
Regions Of Ruin
You know Kingdom: Two Crowns has really softened my stance on pixilated world-building side-scrolling RPGs. I really enjoyed my time with it before it left Xbox Game Pass (pours out flat 40oz Diet Coke in remembrance).
Anyway, in Regions Of Ruin, you play a Dwarf that reaches the surface and finds the world destroyed and overrun with kobolds and goblins. So you take it upon yourself to commit genocide against the lesser races and build an empire that will last a thousand years. At least that was my reading of the synopsis. Your milage may vary.
SuperEpic: The Entertainment War
Humor in games rarely seems to be subtle (See the Grand Theft Auto series’ use of various sexual puns for business names) and SuperEpic is no exception. It’s the future and mega corporations control the masses through the use of microtransactions. You are fighting this megacorporation staffed almost entirely by fat capitalist pigs.
Outside of that on the nose plot the rest of the humor is the ye olde here is a thing you recognize, and it is in the game, oh aren’t we clever variety.
So outside of the story, we have a Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Game. It seems like quite a decent one. I am not a fan of SOTN remakes, but SuperEpic seems polished enough and different enough to take for a spin.
Pathologic 2 is a very weird horror adventure survival game. The game doesn’t tell you much, has timed events, and doing anything costs you energy. This sounds like a nightmare. Throw in long loading times and awkward combat, and I have a hard time recommending it.
And yet Pathologic 2 has a janky weirdness like We Happy Few had substituting a dark prerevolution Russian village for We Happy Few’s pre-Labour government British village. I am curious to try this even though I may hate it after twenty minutes.
SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions
Vita game port. Colorful with hilariously awful high fantasy dialog. Suitable for a trope drinking game or to play ironically. Outside of the story the gameplay looks solid enough and for a Vita port it looks fairly pretty.