A great philosopher once said, if music be the food of love, I’m having seconds! This adequately reflects our stance on video games here at Power Up Gaming; if video games be the music that is the food of love, play on! Here are the video games that have been on our plates this week.
You know, I was nearly done with Payday 2. I really was. But then after I finished my eleventh or twelfth New Game +, an update came down that changed everything. Well, some things. First of all, microtransactions are gone. Before, you’d get safes holding rare gun skins as occasional job rewards, but had to pay real money to open them. Now you just get the loot straight up, though it seems much rarer than before.
The old skill trees have been completely redone, and they make a lot more sense now. I never understood why SMG skills had been shoehorned into the stealthy Ghost tree before; now they’re in the Oppressor line of the Technician tree, along with other rapid-fire weapon skills. Each of the five trees is made up of three lines as before, but each is completely self-contained from the others, essentially giving you fifteen archetypes from which to craft your build. You can also freely respec point-for-point, rather than having to junk the whole tree and start again. What this all means is that there are far fewer wasted skill points, as you only put them into exactly the type of heister you want to play.
A couple of other changes keep up the pace on the job too. Originally you needed certain skills to use each piece of equipment, the saw, or to use steel sight or your primary weapon when in bleedout. Now all of this is unlocked from the get-go, though upgraded equipment and saws still need points. Sentry guns can be repaired, reloaded and redeployed, making them a much more viable option for longer heists than they used to be. And possibly best of all, cops are a little easier to intimidate and convert, and you pick up extra cable ties as you fight. Where before, getting busted usually meant you were out of the game, as finding a hostage to trade for you mid-heist was just too much trouble, now the tables can be turned back a little more easily. This, in turn, allows you to be more reckless than before, though there’s a fine line between reckless and stupid.
Lastly, the Biker pack introduces a new job and playable heister, Rust, a grumpy old ex-biker played by Ron Pearlman. This feels about as close to a Sons of Anarchy crossover as Overkill could get, and the new heist plays well. Escorting a mechanic around an enemy biker clubhouse to repair Rust’s prized bike while hundreds of SWAT turn your world into Swiss cheese is a bit silly in principle, but the level is well-made with just enough cover and extra loot to make it a rewarding challenge.
Rocket League has been played often in my house this week, but I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about Gone Home, which I played for the first time as it was a freebie on PS Plus.
Gone Home has been quite a divisive title for a lot of people. Some people have praised it for its storytelling and presentation, while others have derided it as a boring “walking simulator”. I fall pretty hard into the former camp, and I thoroughly appreciated the story that was on offer. I also really liked the pacing of the game, and the way in which it telegraphed your progress through the house. Without spoiling the story, I enjoyed it for very much the same reasons as I enjoyed Firewatch; the feeling that there was something odd going on, but there was a very personal story that it managed to convey through that.
I also spent a quick 30 minutes with the Resident Evil VII demo. I’m not sure where people are getting the P.T. comparison from. Other than the fact that it’s a first person horror game, the two are almost nothing alike. Also, I just didn’t think the REVII demo was very scary, but games that rely on jump scares rarely get to me. Maybe I’ve just got a stomach of iron, or perhaps I’m lying and I’m actually a snivelling coward who’s trying to be tough on the Internet. In seriousness though, it’s a promising direction for the series, but I’m still not very convinced that they can deliver a frightening experience.
The main story of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been wrapped up – finally. My 110-hour playthrough is a clear indication of my side content-to-main story ratio, where I’ve now competed all available Witcher Contracts. It’ll be a while before I jump back into the game, starting with the Hearts of Stone expansion, but it’s been both entertaining and satisfying seeing all the fuss about this game firsthand.
In a segway that makes no sense, I’m currently reviewing this year’s Tour de France iteration, from Cyanide Studio, thanks to a code from publisher Focus Home Interactive. I can’t say too much, but what I will say is that it’s an entirely different beast from a previous version that I briefly played back in 2012.
Though, the graphics are still good, the cyclists move so quickly that you don’t get a chance to look at anything for longer than a second or two. Team communication and strategy are a big part of your success in each stage and it’s good to see this niche franchise making the right in-roads. Standby for the full review on the site later this week.
Surprisingly, after my terrifying Resident Evil 7 experience, and being forced to endure The Conjuring 2, I’m playing a horror game. Slender: The Arrival has found its way onto my PS4, and I’ve been learning about the notorious, but adorable, Mr Slender.
Wandering curiously, terrifyingly, through fields, forests, and farmhouses, I’ve been trying to solve bewildering puzzles, all the while being chased by Slendy. It’s not always the most enjoyable experience, or even the scariest. the second level saw me more annoyed than terrified by my persistent foe; he decided to pop up in front of me at every opportunity.
The later levels have proven a lot more riveting, and I’ve found myself completely terrified. Also the puzzles have improved, and they have a certain charm to them; they’re unrefined, and you’re trusted to find the solutions on your own. It’s a distinct change from Blood & Wine, at the very least.