Space Invaders, a cornerstone of today's multibillion-dollar global games industry, turns 40. The gender pay gap is alive and well for video game streamers (especially in the US). And Americans, for the most part, won't pay to win a video game—but China doesn't necessarily see what the big deal is.
So, what are you playing?
I'm working on my review of Songbringer on Switch, a retro-affectionate, blatantly obvious Zelda homage that might be a touch too self-aware for its own good. I'm not quite sure yet, but I'll be sure to let you know in my review.
It's a single, laser-like focus this week. DCS has released an early access version of the F/A-18C. The "F" in "FA" stands for Fighter, which is distinctly uninteresting to me because it is typical in a dogfight for the other guy to shoot back—I don't win those kinds of fights. On the other hand, the "A" stands for Attack, by which they mean drop bombs and fire rockets at targets on the ground. The folks on the ground can shoot back too, of course, but they usually aren't as lethal as other airplanes. That's what guided missiles are for anyway, but those aren't yet included in the early access.
As with pretty much all DCS airplanes, the F-18 is a study level model. If you aren't familiar with the term, it means that you have to study reams of documentation and operating manuals, or (and this is what I do) watch a whole lot of how-to YouTube vids. I reviewed the first real study level DCS jet (the A-10C) many years ago, so I have been with these guys for a very long time, but they continue to impress me with their incredible simulations of some of the worlds most venerable fighting aircraft. If anyone is looking for me, check the fantail of the US aircraft carrier John C. Stennis—I will probably be splattered against it a few dozen times until I manage to learn how to land safely on it.
I am wrapping up a few things this week. Primarily, I am poking around with Dark Souls Remastered, still trying in vain to understand the appeal of the game. I have almost organized my thoughts on why the "Souls" genre just doesn't work for me, and am hoping to submit a review soon.
In other news, I am still happily playing around with Defender's Quest: Valley of the Forgotten DX on my Vita. I have also started a new save file on my PS4. I have also started another new save file on the PS4 at work. I'm playing a lot of Defender's Quest, friends.
As Hotel Figueroa in LA slowly revealed a Fallout 76 mural, I've revisited Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 4. Each game has pros and cons that we could paint all over the side of that building. But I'm learning more about myself as a lover of role-playing games. How, in video games, I value internal character development over pet/kick the dog binary choices. Or how I like systemic storytelling opportunities over authorial direction. Or how I like rolling the dice with vague dialogue choices more than reading them word for word. And how I like Fallout 4 more than the other two—and how that falls out of line with the prevailing opinion coming from most game critics. But hey, we like what we like, right?
I also have The Banner Saga 3 in my hot little tactical Viking combat hands. But that's all I'm at liberty to say for now. Well, I will say this: When a preview copy of a video game is available this far ahead of launch, it usually bodes well for the game itself. It speaks to a confidence in the product from both the development and marketing teams.
I have had the pleasure of playing a fantastic multiplayer game called Onrush. The 7v7 driving, demolition derby is as fun a multiplayer game I've played since Killing Floor 2. Lots of vehicles and customization in a fast paced competitive game where smashing your opponent is both a hoot and key to winning the round. There are a few places where I think they missed opportunities in making the game further personalized for each player, but the game is sooo good just the same. If you are looking for a solo campaign with teeth, you should probably look elsewhere. The single-player stuff is grotesquely easy compared to player vs. player. I was bored after just a few rounds in comparison with the multiplayer. The full review should be forthcoming.
I have also decided to restart South Park: The Fractured But Whole seeing as I don't think my brother and I will have a chance to keep going. The game is easily 50% less crude than the first and the battle system is some 50% more involved. That isn't to say it is a 100% better than the first game, but it is a much more intricate game than the first. Don't worry...there are still enough fart jokes to go around.