I finally beat one of the biggest games of the year and, arguably, of all time with Uncharted 4 and there’s a slew of new smaller games arriving now or soon as well. Check out everything below in this edition of Gamebox 2.0
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End: In a nutshell, Uncharted 4 is a masterpiece. It’s easily the best entry in the series and the best looking game I’ve ever played, as you will constantly just have your jaw dropped by the sweeping, incredible vistas of Scotland, Madagascar and the pirate island of Libertalia. The cast is excellent as always and Troy Baker is a great addition as Sam Drake, the long lost brother to Nate, who needs Nate’s help to find the treasure of pirate Henry Avery. The pirate framing is a ton of fun and there’s references to stuff like Goonies and it also doesn’t go into weird supernatural territory like the other entries, which is the only sore spot in what are all incredible games. The climbing and puzzle solving is brilliant and combat has gotten a major update with more opportunities for stealth and Nate’s grappling hook and rope offering up new avenues to navigate the combat areas. If you own a PS4 and don’t have Uncharted 4, it’s a must buy.
Infamous: Second Son: Speaking of Troy Baker, I finally also beat one of my LTTP games with Infamous: Second Son. I think Infamous 2 is still the high point of the series but Second Son is a very solid second place. The variety of powers is pretty cool with Smoke, Neon and Video all feeling extremely different but I never felt like I was completely powerful, as the standard troops with machine guns would still be major annoyances. I may be remembering wrong but I think Infamous 2 offered up some sort of shield to compensate for bullets and I don’t think Second Son has that, but it would have been extremely useful. It’s pretty fun running around a heightened version of Seattle, although there’s really one mission on the Space Needle that really takes advantage of the city’s landmarks but overall it’s a solid superhero game that is totally worth the $15 it is now.
BOID: Coming from TinyBuild, BOID is a free new RTS on Steam where the only resource is your troops. The backstory is that you are sent to investigate a satellite that has crash landed on a distant planet and the unique nature of the satellite allows you to take control of local lifeforms. You take control of Spawner points that are always producing new generic troops and then you capture different points that allow you to transform those generic troops into different unit types like a slow but powerful crab or a healing medic jellyfish like creature. The goal is usually to wipe out the enemies’ troops, which is achieved by taking over spawner points from them to cut off their troop production. It’s an interesting idea but I just couldn’t really get into the aesthetic and it seemed a little boring to me but, since it’s free, if you are into RTS games, you don’t lose anything checking it out. It also has Twitch integration where the chat can type special commands to affect the game.
Buck: Currently on Kickstarter, Buck is a noir action/adventure game where you play as Buck, a anthropomorphic dog who travels the wastelands interacting with other animals and taking on various missions. Buck will gain new abilities as the story goes on, allowing him to reach new areas previously inaccessible a la Metroid and he has a mix of melee and long range combat options. The art style and gameplay really reminded me of the Shank series and the world is interesting and well fleshed out. There are just over 10 days left in the Kickstarter, so you can head over there, check out the demo and then donate if you want to see more.
Tumblestone: A staple of the last few years at PAX East, Tumblestone is finally here to offer up some great single player and multiplayer puzzle action. At first glance, it may seem like it’s a match 3 or falling style puzzle game a la Tetris but you actually have to strategically shoot groups of 3 stones of the same color and you have to be aware of what those three will leave uncovered after they are gone, because you could leave yourself with only 1 or 2 of another color and have to restart the whole board. The multiplayer requires lightning fast analysis of the board and quick and accurate reflexes and the single player, while slightly less intense, will still make you think and plan out your strategy as you go through a goofy campaign throughout history. Definitely check it out on Steam, PS4 or Wii U now or, if you have Xbox One, you can get it for free on July 16th as part of Xbox’s Games for Gold program.
Furi: Currently free for PS Plus members and also available on PC, we got to check out Furi at PAX East but the full game offers up much more intense boss fighting action. You play as an escape inmate of a crazy, fantasy prison and have to fight your way out to freedom but a number of powerful opponents stand in your way. Combining bullet hell shooters and intense, reflex straining combat, you battle the bosses in two phases, first at long distance to wear down their health and then close in for a sword fight/duel portion. Each boss has multiple lifebars and each time you wear one down, they become even more difficult as they incorporate new weapons or tactics. The game is super tough but it looks and feels great, with music from retrowave artists like Carpenter Brut and art design by Takashi Okazaki, who created the characters from Afro Samurai.
LA Cops: I checked it out at PAX East 2015 but I finally own the game now on PS4 as it was on sale on the PS Store. Embracing all the cliches of 70’s cop shows and movies, you pick a pair of detectives and then have to take down criminals, rescue hostages and destroy drug caches in various locations around Los Angeles. The game is basically Hotline Miami with some squad mechanics, as you can have one detective hold to cover a door or hallway or tell them to take out a criminal or move up. While it’s not one hit death like Hotline, you still can only take a few shots before your cops are dead, so you have to be methodical and strategic. The rotoscoped looked is pretty fun and there’s some goofy segments between missions, although there really isn’t an overarching story.
Super Mutant Alien Assault: Another game we got to check out briefly at PAX East this year, Super Mutant Alien Assault is out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC. The game is an instense shooter with randomly generated levels and enemy arrangements and you control a security droid on one of three ships fleeing Earth with the last of humanity who has to defend them from invading aliens. Each level features some sort of secondary objective besides fighting off enemies, like keeping batteries charged or making sure certain objects don’t reach a critical level and explode. Those secondary objectives add to the already intense fights with the enemies and even though each level is only about 5 stages, it’s rough to get through to the boss. The game features tons of weapons to pick up and power ups to unlock and it plays great, with a fast paced, old school arcade style feel.
MilitAnt: An old school run and gunner from Xibalba Studios, MilitAnt puts you in the shoes of a soldier ant who has to defend his kingdom and their powerful Crystalite from the invading armies of the Termites and other insect factions. Being an ant, you have four arms which can each hold a different weapon and you have two available at any given time. You also have a melee attack and can lock onto enemies who are in the background and on the same level as your ant warrior. I really like the world the game builds out, it almost feels like some lost 80’s or 90’s toy line with the various insect factions having different specialties and specific looks but the gameplay is a little rough. The lock on never really feels solid, since you have to flick the right stick and enemies seem to continuously spawn in annoying locations, like behind you as you pass through an area that was already cleared. The guns also have an overheat mechanic that is frustrating, especially when you are up against the gigantic boss insects, which are definitely highlights. It’s on PS4, Vita and Steam now if you want to check it out.