Return of the Obra Dinn review – Meddling insurance provider saves the day?

I’m not sure who I feel worse for right now, Lucas Pope or other devs aspiring to release their own indie hit… On one hand you have to feel for Lucas Pope because now he’s created Papers Please and Return of the Obra Dinn, releasing both to great success and critical acclaim, so now all eyes are on him to see what he does next. Don’t they always say the third album is the difficult one? On the other hand, imagine what it must be like to be a solo indie dev these days, in University or beyond. You can’t win awards and get famous through your hot take on pixel sprite platforming now! No, for you to achieve success what you need to do is come up with a unique mechanic which is simultaneously simple and intuitive but also engaging and involved, you’ll need to write an exciting story which prompts discussion and thought, and then on top of that you can sprinkle in the graphics and animations, which also ought to be unique enough that someone could point to a still frame from it and recognise what it’s from. And even then you’ll still be compared against Lucas Pope. So, y’know, it’s not asking much! Continue reading

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MMGaming Top 50 Games – 40 to 31

Inspired by the PC Gamer Top 100 games list here is the continuation of own list of the Best Video Games Ever. MMGaming’s official Top 50 Games.

Just a quick reminder of the rules and requirements for a game to make it into the MMG Top 50: first of all, the games in our Top 50 will naturally only include those games which one of us (me or Tim) have played. They will also include games from literally any platform we’ve had access to across the ages.

In order to belong on the list the game had to more-or-less fit two separate criteria: the games would have to be something which blew us away at the time of playing it, such that it still provokes an emotional response now, but also a game which we think is still very worth playing today. As such, some games which we are trying to provide a list of games which were both brilliant at the time but also have not aged like hot garbage and so their excellence can only be explained through the lens of nostalgia. Continue reading

Life is Strange: Before the Storm review – Angst me up motherfucker!

(Contains spoilers for the first Life is Strange)

Looking back on the original Life is Strange by DontNod is an odd thing for me. I remember enjoying the game and I remember thinking there were a fair handful of effective moments from it, but also when tasked to actually recall some things about the game what I invariably come up with is that I remember playing as a mousy, impossibly introverted teenage girl who only speaks in super breathy whispers and says super cringey things. And also there were a few absolutely impossible phenomena occurring in the game which absolutely nobody seemed to make a big deal about.

So it’s certainly a strong plus for Deck Nine that they more or less completely captured every aspect of this in their prequel to the game: Before the Storm. Continue reading

Divinity: Original Sin 2 review – Forgive me father for I have sinned. Again.

Multiplayer RPGs. It’s a tough nut to crack when it comes to writing out my thoughts for them. Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed a conspicuous absence of any review of Divinity: Original Sin (the first one) despite the fact that I gave it my game of the year for 2014. This is because I find myself struggling occasionally to decide whether I loved the game quite so much because I loved the gameplay and story and characters, or whether the enjoyment stemmed from the fact that I was experiencing said gameplay, story and characters with Tim. Continue reading

Sea of Thieves review – Why is the purpose of games always gone?!

Sea of Thieves wallpaper

Sea of Thieves by Rare is a game all about wish fulfillment of the highest order. It’s also one of those rare (heh) flashes of brilliant game design where someone has seen a niche in the market which isn’t being properly filled and so Rare have managed to jump into the gap and fill it. Right out of the gate it does something which a few other games have sort of had a dalliance with, but nobody managed to do quite right until now. Continue reading

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice review – You must be mad!

Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice wallpaper

You know what really bothers me about Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice? Something which made me feel really extremely silly and therefore irritated with developers Ninja Theory for making me look and feel silly. Have you heard about the whole controversy that surrounded the game’s save files? The game itself even outright tells you that if you die too often that it would delete your save in a manner of permadeath? I had a big long discussion about this and whether or not I thought it was good game design, whether it was a gimmick or actually could even be construed as a legitimate mechanic. Well it turns out that actually it’s simply not true and doesn’t happen.

Yeah, mind blown.

Apparently there is no permadeath mechanic. The game doesn’t delete your save file. The rot which creeps up the protagonist’s body to show how often you’ve died actually just always stops at a certain level and never progresses higher. It was all a swindle, a sham, a bald-faced lie. Continue reading