Games: September/October 2013

So in between university and such, I’ve managed to play a few games. Most have been of the smaller variety, just things I can jump into and take a look at

Fallen London

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Fallen London is an interesting and exciting game. Set in an alternative and mysterious version of Victorian London, it is a city sold to the Echo Bazar, a group of unknown figures, and transported underground. You play a character waking up in jail before exploring a city filled with devils, clay men, rubbery gentleman and talking cats. This is a city where souls are traded, secrets bought and sold and a person survives based on how persuasive, dangerous, shadowy or watchful you are.

You have a set of 10 actions (with an action refilled every 10 minutes) to spend on stories unlocked by your previous actions or on opportunities. The city of London has been changed and its filled with these storylets to play through. Lovecraftian horrors sit alongside Victorian society and its a unique experience. Its also free.

The system behind Fallen London is something called StoryNexus. I’m experimenting with it to use it as a basis for a world idea I have. Its very easy to expand the game and the limited actions make it perfect for playing over a coffee break.

Pocket Trains

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Nimblebit is one of my favourite mobile game developers. Their past games Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes have all eaten out big chunks of my time and all of them sit on my Android Tablet as I write.

Pocket Trains is a new twist on the formula that Pocket Planes showed off. It still has you going between cities but rather than being able to fly anywhere, each bit of track belongs to a single train. It turns into a careful layout of different tracks, making sure that no train is sat on a unprofitable line and another on one it can’t deal with all the traffic. Its a little bit more of a think puzzle than the previous game. I’m less happy about how key the Bucks system (the pay for currency) has become, being used for basic things like getting new train parts or refuelling the train. However, this is balanced out by how often it drops.

Pocket Trains is well worth a play.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon

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I like me some arcade flying games with jets doing flips through modern locales as some B-Movie plot plays out in the background half ignored by 90% of the people. I thoroughly enjoyed HAWX and its subpar sequel despite wondering how these jets carry 400 missiles and just how an A10 has managed to flip over that MIG29. Not being a big PlayStation person I missed out on most of the Ace Combat series, the granddaddy of this style of game, until it first came out on Xbox with Ace Combat 6. It was good, but I found its storyline a little too bullshit and too serious for its own good.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is a completely different matter. It feels like a Michael Bay action movie, full of things exploding, big bits of metal falling off jets as their poor pilots are forcibly ejected through their canopy by your missiles. This totally fits with their design idea of making the jets bleed. The addition of the CRA (Close Range Assault) is a cool new feature making you feel like a cool ass jet pilot when you down a stream of bad guys with your cannon at close range. It is a little overused in later levels when the sheer number of enemy aces force you to use it on every jet in the sky. Missions that take you out of the jet fighter cockpit and into the heavy bombers, attack helicopters, door gun positions and obligatory AC130 sequence help to add to the game’s fun.

Its not the best game in the world but if you want to get in a dogfight or flip an Apache to avoid an RPG its a blast

Silent Storm

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With the new X-Com expansion coming in November, and realising I would need to start a new campaign, I put my main game on hold. But still feeling the need for some tactical action, I decided to go back in time and play one of my all time favourite games.

I first played Silent Storm when its demo first game out in 2003. I never finished it but I thoroughly enjoyed wrecking my way through WW2. Its expansion pack was released without me realising it and I only discovered it a few years later when I bought the Gold Edition. This was the first time I played through both the main game and its more story based expansion Sentinels.

Silent Storm combines tough, hard as nails tactical combat with a mad historian’s eye for WW2 details (at least in terms of the weapons). The environment is properly affected by your firepower. Enemy dug in to the top floor of a building? Put a burst of PPSH fire through the floor until a body drops through the hole. Need to get into a lock box? Blow it open, but hope it isn’t booby trapped. Luck is fickle with some fantastic one in a million chances coming true. MP40s at close range are still quite punishing though, easily able to knock one of your squad mates down and potentially knock them out of the game entirely.

The Silent Storm Gold Edition is available on both Steam and Good Old Games with the newly released version with the fixes needed to get it working on modern machines. Despite its dated looks, if you like X-Com or World War 2, its really worth picking up.

Dark Souls

Urgh.

Okay, so I’m late to the Dark Souls party. I haven’t got very far at all into the game due to a combination of the PC version being arse and just not having the patience to sit down. Its a fantastic game, something unlike anything I’ve ever played. Its hard work to play through but the sense of accomplishment is great. I’m going to keep playing it but it might be a little slow