There’s no doubt that the games market is now more competitive than ever with new online stores arriving on the scene seemingly every few months. But it’s still dominated by Steam, with Epic Games Store making huge strides, especially with its free games offers, some of which are quite outstanding. I only mention this because I now feel spoilt for choice– so many games, so little time. My Epic Games library is almost 75% populated with games I’ve received for free, half of which I haven’t even installed yet. Ain’t life a bitch?
A Liberal Taste In Games
I enjoy a wide spectrum of game types, from FPS to arcade racers and I’m particularly fond of post-apocalyptic shooters, one of which is Mad Max, an underrated game that gives you the freedom of a massive open world which you race around in a customisable car, ramming and harpooning your enemies into submission, then collecting their loot.
In Mad Max, water is much more than a commodity and means survival or death, with weapons and ammo also being scarce. These two factors give the game its rawness and it’s one of the few games I’ve played where hand-to-hand combat with some nifty dodge moves is a very satisfying way of winning a fight. In fact, it’s not a shooter at all, which makes a pleasant change. Ultimately the goal is to capture resources and territories, similar to Rage 2 and the Far Cry games, but it’s much more satisfying, especially when you’ve beefed up the Magnum Opus car to monster standards. In other words, loot equals upgrades, which is the key to progression in Mad Max.
All Tomb Raider Games
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider was the last of the reboot trilogy and we’re all looking forward to what Crystal Dynamics has in store for us in Lara’s next outing. I’m hoping for something a little more gritty and tough for Lara Croft because I think she’s mellowed into a shadow of her former self far too much. Having said that, I’ve played every TR game since 1998 and continue to play them regularly, especially the last three. Not just for the visuals which are stunning, but for the platforming puzzles, the dumber than dumb enemies, and the locations from Mexico to Thailand. Replayability is the mark of a timeless game and the Tomb Raider series has this in spades.
I play one or two survival games, but they’re mainly survival horror with hordes of zombies or aliens with acid for blood making life challenging, so it’s a pleasant surprise to come across a hardcore survival game that puts you on a desert island with nothing more than an inflatable life raft, the clothes on your back and some meagre supplies. Stranded Deep couldn’t be more different because you have to survive through your wits and ingenuity, from building your first shelter, acquiring water, to finding ways off the island. You quickly become absorbed in ways to scavenge flotsam, jetsam, and anything the island has to offer in terms of consumables such as coconuts, wood, and palm leaves. Not only that, but there are also shipwrecks in abundance, as well as many other islands within easy reach of your new home.
I found it incredibly satisfying to build my first shelter and campfire and then quickly set about building a water still because water and food are the only currency worth considering in this new world. The crafting options are logically set up and very often you need to venture further afield to find that missing piece of tarp, which is a lot of fun when you find yourself diving through partially submerged shipwrecks or venturing off to a neighbouring island.
The possibilities with Stranded Deep are seemingly endless and I can see myself playing for months on end. But there is one irony– many people dream of finding themselves on a deserted tropical island, with no tiresome possessions from the real world. However, I now find myself collecting stuff that I think might be useful, so my main camp is beginning to resemble a junk shop. The reality is that my workshop in real life is similarly stocked, so not much change there then. What I also find heartwarming is that this game is made by Beamteam, a small independent developer from Brisbane, Australia, founded by two young blokes with a passion for gaming and programming. Coming in at no more than 2GB of storage and with superlative graphics — the sea is simply amazing to look at — it really is a testament to the imagination and care that the small team has put into this game.
If I don’t want to tax my brain too much, I’ll play an arcade racer like Forza Horizon 3 or 4, Forza Motorsport 7, or one of the Grid series of racers and try to beat the AI, which is invariably geared against the player. But I don’t mind that because it adds flavour and pushes you harder.
If I had to decide which was my favourite racing game, it would be a toss-up between Forza Horizon 3 and Forza Motorsport 7.
My favourite shooter at the moment is The Division, which is strangely prophetic since it was launched in 2016, long before the current pandemic, yet the story follows a similar line with New York being the epicentre of a deadly pandemic. Playing it under total lockdown was weird to say the very least.
Other games I play include:
- Sniper Elite 4 — kill Hitler in a variety of fun ways
- Far Cry New Dawn — post apocalyptic Montana where everything is pink
- Metal Gear Solid V — more stealth than a shooter and probably the very best there is
- All three Deus Ex games — even more stealth
- All the Hitman games — stealth personified
- Cyberpunk 2077 — hasn’t quite grabbed me yet
- Resident Evil 2 & 3 — scary and very atmospheric
- Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 — fly literally wherever you like. The very best flight sim bar none
Let us know what your favourite games are and why.