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The Good, The Bad and the Indie for December 2016

It’s December! Which means you can officially start getting all pumped up for Christmas. Unfortunately it also means that most of the Games being releases for the ‘Holiday Rush’ have already been pushed out to encourage early sales so apart from a couple big tentpole titles things are a little light on the ground. Still, I journey on oh noble reader and lay before you the fruits of mine quest.

Yes I’ve been playing a lot of Skyrim, what of it?

The Good

Steep

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hdRiRlxh9M

I miss SSX. Not the weird, trying to be realistic but also trying to be EXTREME (caps intended) final instalment we got but the gloriously goofy incarnations that preceded it. While Steep is very much aimed at that more ‘enhanced realism’ end of the spectrum then the one where I can get a dude with an Afro to spin a snowboard around his head mid-air I’m going to welcome anything that marks a return to the snowy mountains. Oh yeah, and there’s multiple ways of descending a living, breathing mountain and gameplay is solid. I Guess.

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier

Confession time; I hate The Walking Dead. I kind of liked the first series, and liked some of the comics I read, but then they went to that gorram farm and I wanted to throw everyone involved to a pack of ravenous zombies. However, my editor and just about everyone else on earth seems to love it so here we are in the Good list.

Just kidding, while the strength of TWDs fanbase does mean I might get lynched for omitting this entry, the truth is TellTale make good Adventure Games and there’s no point in denying it. People who like TWD tell me that TellTales take on the series is one of its strongest entries so if you’re not a bitter curmudgeon like me you should probably check it out.

Super Mario Run

Is a running game really among the best releases this month? Well, it’s a short month (see comments above) and to be fair I’ve put this here more for what it represents then the game itself. Any move Nintendo makes to extending beyond its propriety consoles should be encouraged because, let’s be honest here, that’s going to have to be the future of the company one day. Plus, I want a proper Pokemon game on my damn phone.  

The Bad

The Last Guardian

Hey! Lower the torches and pitchforks please and just ask yourself this; When has any game developed over the course of a decade and spanned two console generations ever been released to widespread praise? Early playtests of the final build seem to indicate the truth of this with commentators pointing out that this just feels like a game being pulled in different directions with a still stunning art style hindered by gameplay problems.

Look, we all loved Shadow of the Colossus (I’m not gonna pretend I played Ico, and neither should you) but I feel like The Last Guardian isn’t going to be a worthy successor.

Werewolves Within

This game is literally being sold like this:

‘All the fun of playing around a table, but VR!’

Umm…Or I could just play something around a table, with real people?

If VR succeeds, and I mean really succeeds not just as a technological development but something which we all bring into our homes, it’s going to be by providing experiences we can’t get within the real world. Fantastical experiences and innovative games; not just playing a boardgame but with some stupid glasses on.

The Dwarves

I’m really disappointed about this one (You can check out EBs review here as it’s released December 1st), as I love the books that the game is based on and thought some of the gameplay choices looked pretty damn interesting. Unfortunately poor execution hamstrings it and, while not necessarily a terrible game, stops it from being as good as it could have been. Down marks for toying with my poor, blackened heart here.

The Indie

Bastion

Ok this one is kind of a cheat, but come on people it’s Bastion! The game with a soundtrack so good I still have one track on my main playlist. The classic from last generation is getting a re-release for the new Consoles and to be honest I’m pretty excited about it. If you missed this game the first time round it’s time to correct that utter failing on your part!

Shantae Half Genie Hero

Saying Kickstarter is a mixed bag for games is like saying that the sky is blue or discussing the faecal habits of arboreal bears. However, where it can often work best is as an outlet for veteran game developers to carry on series or ideas that mainstream publishers don’t care about. Shantae: Half Genie Hero, fits rather nicely into this mould as it marks the fourth game in a side-scrolling platformer series from the guys who made the generally well received Duck Tales; Remastered for the last generation.

Having hit all their goals the game is now releasing on schedule and so far looks colourful and pretty awesome.

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

This one’s been on Steam EA for a while now but is officially launching December 6th. A tactical game reminiscent of the Commandos series from back in the 90s the goal is to take five characters through a number of challenging missions set in Japans Edo period. There are Ninja, Samurai and presumably questionable hairstyles aplenty.

Frankentsteins Monster (or Zombie)

Dead Rising 4

I have a weird relationship with Dead Rising games and, from talking to other gamers; I don’t think I’m the only one. No one would deny that running around murdering zombies in increasingly comedic ways isn’t fun, but framing all the shenanigans are encounters with incredibly hard to kill human antagonists and a brutally punishing time limit (not to mention the ubiquitous escort missions).  Apparently Dead Rising 4 removes the time limit and adds in a string of mini game missions to help break up the gameplay. It’s also specifically being marketed for its ‘silly’ nature which could be promising.

Not sure where I stand with this one.

So there you have it, all my choices for the month ahead! Alternatively, just wait for January and the Steam Sale to pick up some classics for basically nothing but don’t tell Walmart I said that. I can’t go back to that re-education camp man…I just can’t.

Agree, Disagree? Let us know in the comments!

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John Fletcher

The author John Fletcher

John Fletcher was born in Connectiticut, raised in Philadelphia and then became a man in England. He now lives in Plymouth which sometimes reminds him why his forefathers left there in the first place. Apart from his boring grown up job, John is a gamer, writer and general geek who can sometimes be found dressed as a Viking and swinging axes at other men…luckily most of them are doing the same to him.