virtual reality.

by Rob Outterside

Urrgh. January. It’s that time of year when the predominate colour for me just seems to be grey. Grey sky, grey weather, grey people, grey me, grey you, grey everything. The come down from the New Year and Christmas wipes you out and it’s like reality itself is kicking your head in. So when boring old reality doesn’t cut it how about a computer game one? Here’s some games I’ve got my Mk.1 on…

Alien : Isolation – Colonial Marines was a fiasco and I was as appalled (and above all disappointed) as anyone else who played it. In the end all that need be said is that the finished game readily reflected its tortured development. A sullen, chastened silence fell on the series and another game be released any time soon seemed unlikely. Then – earlier this year –  came word of a new Alien game. One that would be more in keeping with the spirit of the original film.

Instead of the run and gun one-man army antics that have so stultified Colonial Marines, this one involves an eerie, prolonged battle of cunning with a single Xenomorph. What gun play is involved this time around will apparently be very limited and the Alien itself will be impervious to these kind of attacks, leaving you having to hide (since being caught in the open by it will mean death) and outwit it – something I’ve not seen before in such a game and in keeping with the source material.

In the original 1979 film, the crew of the Nostromo had access to weapons after all, they simply couldn’t use them. Shooting the Xenomorph would just give you a massive spillage of its corrosive body fluids, rupturing the ships hull and turning the crew into space porridge when they lose cabin pressure. So they are left having to work together to somehow outmanoeuvre their unwelcome guest – even as their efforts are sabotaged by the Company spy in their midst, Ash.

It’s still not quite clear how this one will pan out. Will it be a pure alien vs. human duel?, will the struggle to outwit the alien be mirrored by a battle with your human colleagues, some of them thinking more of capturing it for the Company? Its too early to say but I’m looking forward to finding out.

Metal Gear Solid 5 : Ground Zeroes – MGS? Sans David Hayter? What fresh Hell is this!?
Set for a March release, Ground Zeroes will set the scene for the upcoming MGS 5 : The Phantom pain. Carrying on with what we saw in MGS : Peace Walker, the story will be delivered in chapters – but other changes are bound to irritate the veteran Metal Gear elite. The slo-mo bullet time feature doesn’t bother me too much since its limited to when your discovered and can be switched off, but regenerating health? To me that’s like Resident Evil 6 ditching the notes and memos you’d find dotted around the game world in previous RE outings. It’s dumbing down plain and simple.

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I can go on and on about this and that and how it won’t respect the continuity of the series story line and how it wont be the same with Kiefer Sutherland doing the voice of Snake – but the simple truth is I’m still looking forward to it. I’ve played just about all the games and the idea of me not getting this one as some sort of half-arsed protest vote is absurd really. So I’ve got my eye on this one.

Destiny – 3 classes of playable character, space craft, tons of firepower, a giant white god-like orb in the sky – what’s not to like? It sure looks nice and it will straddle both the PS3 and PS4 ( like MGS 5 will) which is good news for your bank balance. The developers have made full use of the licence granted by the sci-fi setting and have gone to town on the locations (the concept art alone will cause eye/forebrain overload). We still don’t know if there will be three separate stories – one per type player class – or merely one – but if the game lives up to its promise of giving us entire planets to go open world on it shouldn’t matter too much!

The Evil Within – any game which makes use of Bach’s Suit no.3 in its score will have me thinking of Morgan Freeman wondering around that library in the film Se7en – poring over “Paradise Lost” and “Divine Comedy” – splendidly evocative stuff. If the game play I’ve seen is any thing to go by they seem to have worked out some sort of real-estate time share deal with the Otherworld from Silent Hill – with a protracted game of cat and mouse with a chainsaw wielding lunatic through a tiled, cluttered insane-asylum type location featuring prominently. The truth is there’s a ton of stuff we’ve seen before – on screen pointers for picking up items, scripted set piece shoot outs that pit you alone against a wave of zombie style baddies. I’ve got my eye on this one but we’ll have to see if they take the standard issue features and give them to us in some original way – or just stick to the formula.

So there you have it! – all is not lost when we have games to look forward to!

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