As we round up the penultimate week of our recap, we pick things up with what could be one of the best Move games ever:
I am, of course, talking about Until Dawn; a game which I loved every second of, when I saw it practically a year ago at Gamescom.
A schlocky teen horror film-inspired game, set in a snow blanketed forest, as a group of teenagers try to survive the night whilst cut off from the rest of the world. Forget The Last of Us and Beyond, this was surely meant to be the PS3’s swan song. When there’s a script with such classic lines as “These miners give me the willies… and not the good kind!” and has you using the Move Controller to undo a bra, you know you’re onto a winner.
OK, so I’ll admit that this has the potential to be either hilariously brilliant or simply abysmal, and given that we have seen nothing of this title in 2013, that unfortunately points towards the latter of the two. However, I’ll still have my fingers crossed that we get to see something more of this soon.
Another game which has seemed to disappear off the map is Scribblenauts Unlimited. You can actually hop over to Steam and grab it right this very second on PC, but the EU releases of the Wii U and 3DS versions are nowhere to be found. Similarly, the upcoming DC comics-based Scribblenauts Unmasked is also without an EU release date.
Which is a pity, because the reviews of this game have been largely favourable. You’re dropped into a situation, and have to solve the puzzle and reach the end by summoning whatever objects, animals and contraptions you can think of. How you go about it is entirely up to you, and that’s part of the charm and simplicity to all the games in this series.
Obviously, a library of everything that has ever existed would be quite tricky to maintain for the developers, so for the PC release of this game they’ve opened it up to the Steam Workshop. This lets you expand the library quite significantly, to the literal bounds of your imagination. Better yet, the imagination of the entire community.
I’ve now been forced to cross my toes that Warner Brothers can work their way through whatever is preventing these EU releases.
Metro: Last Light was one of the many titles at risk during the fall of THQ. Thankfully for 4A Games, Deep Silver stepped in and bought the studio, allowing them to keep pushing on with development and wrap up production of this game.
On the whole, this title was rather well received, and Aran’s review pointed to it taking the world of Metro 2033 and focussing the new story in a different direction. Whilst the core gameplay has been polished, with better stealth married to improved combat, it’s the character of Ayrtom and his evolution between the games which stood out.
“In 2033 he was a person unsure of his path and a novice at exploring the dark and dangerous world of the Metro. In Last Light he has grown a lot and is a much more confident explorer and fighter.”
Aran gave it an 8/10, with just a somewhat buggy release holding it back from more.
Whilst the Wii U flounders, Nintendo have had a lot of successes with the 3DS, and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is a part of the collage of games which has made the handheld so popular.
Following on from the Gamecube launch title, it sees Luigi setting off to clear yet more mansions of ghosts. Considering how wobbly his knees get, I’m not entirely sure why he’s doing this. Perhaps Professor E. Gadd has some dirt on him? Maybe there’s an underlying blackmail plot going on?
Al reviewed it, but didn’t mention any of this, and he instead admired how well the game was put together. “The game feels like a real evolution in terms of storytelling and gameplay – everything is richer, bigger and more fun to explore, and the control scheme fits the handheld like a glove.”
Sounds like it deserves to be towards the top of many peoples’ buy lists. I still need to track down the Gamecube original.
Finally, another title caught up in the THQ bankruptcy, developer Relic and its war-time RTS were rescued from an uncertain doom by Sega. They even got a few extra weeks of development time to help polish Company of Heroes 2.
As the war wages fiercely on the Eastern Front, we follow Lieutenant Isakovich through many of the major conflicts. From the brutal retreats during Operation Barbarossa to the crucial turning point at Stalingrad and onwards, we see a lot of variation in locations and environments. The summer of 1941 turns to the oppressive winter, with snow, freezing cold and frozen over lakes, and it goes hand in hand with the shift from rearguard actions to titanic offensives and back to tense small scale engagements.
Relic did an excellent job creating a compelling plot through this collection of battles, and equally deserve credit for crafting a Soviet army which felt distinct and unique, yet finely balanced against the German forces. This is naturally very important when taking the game online, where many will head once they’re done with the single player campaign, with all of these gameplay elements coming back to give an intriguing blend to the potential engagements you might encounter.
For those that don’t fancy the online head-to-head, there was also the addition of a DLC pack entitled Theatre of War, which fleshed out the Eastern Front conflict with fresh scenarios and battles. Some featured online co-op and others were objective oriented to differentiate themselves from standard AI skirmishes. All were there to expand the game, and perhaps help a few more people make that jump to the matchmaking system.
I liked it enough to give it a 9/10.
That’s all for this week, with the the last quarter of our Top 100 of 2013 Recap rounding things out next week.