Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide

Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide

The universe of Warhammer fantasy has drawn to a close. Games Workshop has stated that their fantasy line of miniatures is now defunct and as a giant banner they’ve laid the ‘End Times’ moniker across their products as a last hurrah (before rebranding and re-releasing as ‘Age of Sigmar’). While the miniature game is known for high expense, time and effort, there are a number of digital games that have a much lower entry point. Vermintide feels like it’s one of the best and it resembles nothing of the game that spawned it. Aesthetically, the gothic world of Warhammer is painted in blacks and greens with hints of orange and brown. The muddied pallette fills out well when placed upon the stonework, timbers, fur and glass that makes up the world around you. The five playable characters all have excellent designs with outlines that remain unique against the world. Hordes of ratmen (Skaven) pour over the geometry of the world while seven specialized foes hold outlines as unique as the players. This ends up giving us scenes filled with enemies without losing the ability to read what’s going on around you. In terms of gameplay, players of Left4Dead (L4D) will find Vermintide familiar. Co operative missions take four players through a linked campaign, pushing the narrative of the game forward. Each mission has a different requirements to complete it, from destroying mechanisms created by the Skaven to opening up ways for smugglers to bring food into cities for survivors. At the end of each successful mission, treasure is divided out to the players. All gear is assigned to one...
No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky

The last time in recent memory that a game created as much controversy as No Man’s Sky. If you’re interested in what I think of the hypetrain and all those broken promises, well just go look up totalbiscuit. The idea that the devs were less than responsible with their hype train pretty much sums it up for me. I think that if this were any other game, based on the promotional materials provided, gamers would have cautioned each other. “No Pre-Orders” and “Don’t believe the bullshots” are common phrases before release, and instead people embraced these things with No Man’s Sky. But if we strip away what was promised and only look at what is presented, what sort of game are we left with? What core gameplay mechanics can we boil the game into, check our crucible and see if we can find that elusive rare material: fun. If you’re not familiar, a quick rundown: No Man’s Sky is a procedural (but not randomly) generated universe which contains a bevy of flora, fauna, races, elements, planets, moons, stars and civilizations. This means as you wander about, you have no idea what you’re going to come across and unless someone else was there first (which is unlikely) you can even name your discoveries. At least in theory you can name them because apparently Hello Games didn’t implement semaphore locks in their databases, meaning an offline player can name something because they never got the notification it was already named. Weird game design choice, in my opinion. So that’s what exists, but how is the player left to interact with it?...
A Story About My Uncle

A Story About My Uncle

I’ve enjoyed many a game that were short and linear. Portal, Papo and Yo and Grandpa’s Leftovers were all great experiences with each one crafted around a very solid core mechanic. With Portal, we had the eponymous portals. With Papo and Yo, the giant monster switching between rage and peace. With Gandpa’s Leftovers we had the delightful ‘geometry slicing’. Add to that list one ‘A Story About My Uncle’, the best web-slinging game since Spider-Man (and probably the only one not carrying that title).   Beginning with the narrator, a father, telling his daughter a bed-time story we are dragged into a world of wonder located in an ephemeral ‘somewhere’. From caverns to floating islands, ice caves and the uncles cabin, we zip along as the narrator describes for his daughter a grand adventure about searching for his inventor uncle. Of course, needing to navigate this Jim Henson-esque world you need a certain mechanical mobility and to that end you use an energy whip. It delivers you from one solid surface to another. Limited energy keeps you from just staying aloft forever, although upgrades to the gauntlet and other gear enable you to expand your movement repertoire and you’ll need to as late in the game will be some rather devious puzzles (although nothing too strenuous for most gamers).   While the game isn’t all that long (3-6 hours, depending on skill level) and has a very limited cast of characters, it feels very well polished and iterated upon. The puzzles are never unfair, the game never leaving you with the need to know what happens next and aside from...