[Official] What are you playing?

  • Need For Speed: Unbound

    I'm starting to feel just how irrelevant the Need For Speed franchise is becoming now. There hasn't been a stellar entry in this premier racing game franchise in over a decade, and this latest entry Need For Speed: Unbound, does little to assuage this feeling, as it continues to let the franchise tumble around in the microwave of mediocrity.

    The main problem with Unbound is the name is misleading. Unbound means there are no shackles or restrictions, yet in this effort invisible walls, a refusal to let you experiment with course routes, and a confinement to largely tame urban street races, makes this year's NFS entry a tumbleweed that's sweeping wearisomely by.

    The only distinguishing feature of the latest NFS, is a sloppy and garish artistic presentation that looks ugly as it tries to be hip with the cool teenagers of today. The art style is flat and revolting, coming across like vomiting colourful goop that'd easily fail in a 5 year-olds painting competition. This aesthetic is dragged into the gameplay, represented as visual flecks of "coolness", as your car will spout colourful drawn-on wings as your car vaults into the air, and adds an extra plume to the gas your ride will give off when you drift.

    Certain aspects of the gameplay are irritating. Cornering feels like an elephant has just plonked its oversized buttocks on your car, and crashing can be a controller-crushing frustration as traffic litters the streets, putting pay to your speed-freakiness if you aren't particularly careful. Suffices to say, Unbound falls in the face of its grander contemporaries in the genre such as FORZA Horizon 5 and EA's own GRID: Legends.

    The cops still hang around to cause more headaches in Unbound and they add next to nothing of substance to the racing experience. Sometimes they'll appear right after you completed a race, forcing you to evade them, but thankfully they are easy to outrun on low-heat levels-but they're unwanted attention to say the least.

    The story is all about rising up to prove yourself as a racer-pretty much the same old setup as other NFS games. Characters are idiotic and unfortunately, they'll be sitting with you in the car you are racing, so if you want a free blight of badgering headaches to accompany your intense racing you'll get it here. Also expect talk of food and possums too because y'know Need For Speed has to be seen as hip and cool, even though calling this outing cool is like calling a pig between two wooden planks a bacon sandwich.

    Online, it's pretty nice to jump into playlists-a series of races between you and up to 7 other drivers, but there are no concessions made for inexperienced racing gamers, who will be thrown in at the deep end and swim or sink with the sharks. Finding sessions is easy enough, but there are times where you will be left hanging in lobbies too.

    There remains the feeling that NFS: Unbound is sticking to tried and true formulae to get by. The story is weightless, the characters are a bunch of brain-dead morons, the racing is passable but without vigor, the sense of speed is good if you can avoid the traffic and dodge the dregs of questionable handling, and the artistic choices made make the game stand out but for mostly the wrong reasons. There's not much in Unbound to complement, it's just another Need For Speed game for better and worse, showing few fundamental improvements-but hey if you like your racing game's vacuous and dumb then it might be what you're looking for.

  • I'm a few hours in NFS Unbound and I'm pleasantly surprised! Really enjoying it rn.

    The drifting mechanic and the nitrous system are real fun to learn. The art style makes me actually care for my character's look, spent a lot of time picking out the right clothes and stuff. I also like the risk of losing money if you perform subpar in the higher stakes races. The soundtrack selection is also pretty great, I'm not the biggest hip hop fan but it works so well with the vibe the game is going for.

    I guess the thing that I feel mixed about is the city, there's nothing that makes this location stand out for me. Also the cops are very mid so far, no threat. The story is nothing to write home about but it's very unintrusive, so we all good.

    Got a few more hours in the free trial so I'm gonna make the most of it.

  • @jdincinerator

    I've completed the trial now and I am appreciating the game more than I did when I wrote my overwritten diatribe. I retain most of my criticisms, but I am getting on with the handling now and I'm not so butthurt by how the game presents itself. Like @bam541, I appreciate that the soundtrack complements the game's vibes, although I still think it's mostly junk. I'm used to EA's terrible modern OSTs from the likes of UFC 4, so that's why I feel grumbly about this game's music.

  • Maybe I am just old man yelling yells at cloud, but I listened to the entire Unbound soundtrack ahead of time and it was really out there to say the least. It has my favourite A$AP Rocky song "Palace" which I'm glad they chose out of all of his songs, but the rest. Damn.. it sounds like cheap soundcloud rap or something. I did not vibe with 95% of it.

    I've already seen some awesome early day photos coming out of the PC version.


    In regards to Callisto; the reviews have been turning my off. I'm not scared of a little swimmin' in 7's but some of the flaws mentioned make me want to save my 89.99 + tax. So I opted not to save it but spend it on Ragnarok instead. I've been having a really good time so far.

  • High On Life

    I was really anticipating High On Life being a refreshing alternative to all the serious narrative adventures and games that strap you into their risk-free safety harnesses. What I got was an FPS with talking cuss-spewing guns who won't shut the hell up, and gratuitous swearing that encourages me to stick sprigs of celery into my ears whilst yelling like Steve Carrell in Anchorman. If you like Borderlands-like humor you will likely get on well with High On Life, but if not you may not find it amusing.

    I can appreciate that each gun has a special ability, aiding you with the game's platforming challenges, and proving to be trusty instruments for toying with the goofy warblers and critters who inhabit each world you visit.

    Initially I was able to appreciate High On Life's uncanny sensibilities and humor, but when the blue pee-shooter Kenny won't stop blabbering and cussing, I started to sense how grating High On Life will end up getting. The other guns are just as mouthy, which doesn't do much to make attempts of comedy any better.

    The bosses at least give some variability, but most of the time you'll be bounding around trying to reserve as much of your health bar as possible, whilst they press on bombarding you with their sweeping attacks. Thankfully finishing them off amounts to continuously blasting whilst dodging and evading all the obstacles in your path-which at least provides you with arcade-style competitive thrills.

    If you get on with the humor and the gunplay then High On Life will be a treat. It's a good game worth playing for the unique traits of each gun, but personally I find the swearing and gross-out humor too excessive.

  • I'm replaying Witcher 3. I wish most games had the kind of support this game has, 7(?) years later and it's still a beautiful game. Seriously the damn game looks like a beautiful oil painting.

    The combat still feels weird but I actually like it, once you know what you're doing you get what the developers were aiming for and it becomes an elegant dance. But so many weird design choices regarding combat. Still I absolutely love the flow.

    I don't know if I'm going to finish it but so far I'm enjoying replaying it. Maybe I should start to replay more games.

  • @jdincinerator
    I know Borderlands isn't the funniest game but comparing it to High on Life seems like a low blow.

    That said played a bit of High on Life and by God do I wish there was a "SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT THE FUCK UP" button

  • @dmcmaster Perhaps that comment was too rash comparing Borderlands to High On life in terms of humour- Borderlands never made me want to put the game on mute. The Gatlians in High On Life are just too much with the swearing-it's like listening to an improv of terrible comedians.

  • @jdincinerator
    To be fair most of them are terrible comedians.

    Except J.B Smooth, he can be pretty funny. Usally in small doses.

  • I really enjoyed the humour in High on Life but there's an option to reduce the chatter. Pretty much a giant Ricky & Morty show which is awesome if you're a fan.

  • @phbz I think it's best to play the game as intended. I'm glad you loved it more than I did, but the incessant swearing with no real depth or crux to it just grated heavily.

  • Alfred Hitchcocks Vertigo: The Game (yes, seriously)

    A rather cheap looking attempt at making a Quantic Dream style remake of a cinematic classic. It's not bad, but you can definitely feel the budget (or lack there of) at times. Granted I've only put like 2 hours in.

    Also digital Alfred Hitchcock looks.....weird.

  • @dmcmaster I think it's awful. I know there's some mildly entertaining bits, but I couldn't think of a blander more terrible offshoot to a revered classic the likes of the film version of Vertigo. I know the game would never be able to measure up to the film, but it could've stood to be more competently developed-the game looks hideous and the characters are flat. It's the quintessential antithesis of the film.

  • Crisis Core Reunion: Haven't actually started it yet, but looking forward to it. Was one of the few PSP games I actually owned (I had a hacked PSP) and I'm looking forward to actually getting to finish it.

  • I'm playing Hi-Fi Rush and it's damn superb game.

  • I am playing GoW-Ragnarok. It has been something near 10 hours I guess but it still feels underwhelming other than a few of fights/cut scenes. I am really not feeling it.

    Edit: 15 hours in and counting. Man! Why it takes forever to get things going in this story!? Feels like a slog already.