As your friends on Facebook always like to remind you, there are only a finite amount of sleeps until Santa crams his bulging sack down your gaping chimney hole. As such, video game season has once again arrived and the latest blockbusters are flocking onto store shelves. Whether you’re into Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Watch_Dogs 2, or Dishonored 2, there should be something out there to suit everyone’s violent fantasies. But what games have the discerning folks of Power Up Gaming been playing amidst all this festive ballyhoo? Let’s find out.
Staying a couple of steps behind the zeitgeist as usual, this week I have been enjoying Inside; a game which debuted on the Xbox One, but also found its way to PS4 a few months ago. As a fan of Limbo I’ve been looking forward to playing through Playdead’s latest effort, and I managed to finish it in two sittings. All in all, I was very impressed by the game. Despite it’s short running time, Inside is practically the perfect length. The animation is also top-notch, making those moments when you mess up particularly harrowing as you watch your character’s violent death.
Inside is a game which explores certain themes as opposed to crafting a compelling narrative. There are themes of isolation and collectivism that starkly contrast against each other and, despite the mostly monochrome colour palette, the ideas that are explored are far from being black and white. To say much more would veer into spoiler territory, but rest assured that this is a compelling experience that doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. It will certainly make the list of my favourite games of 2016.
Paul Conningham – Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Ah yes, espionage is by far one of the best way I can think of blowing off steam after a long day of work. Konami and Kojima may have had a bit of a tussle in the past year or so, but that won’t stop me from taking on the Cobra Unit once more as Big Boss. Its strange how often one can actually play a game and not get absolutely bored of it, but somehow the Metal Gear Solid series seems to do just that for me, especially since there are many different approaches one can take in order to complete the game. Stealth or run-and gun, lethal or nonlethal, or maybe a nice mix of the two?
Okay, maybe I have a bit of an obsession when it comes to the series, but can you blame me? The story actually makes the player think about why exactly they’re doing what they’re doing. It takes on a lot of different hard topics that a lot of different games wouldn’t dare touch, be it personal or political. Big Boss has to deal with a lot of stuff throughout the series, but so does Solid Snake and Raiden and everyone else for that matter. Plus the game just looks fantastic with it’s woodland and semi urban environments. I just couldn’t help but pick it up again. It’s story telling at its finest, even if the gameplay is a little tricky to grasp here and there.
Caleb Mina – Pokemon Red
The Pokemon franchise has come a long way since making its debut in 1996; what started as an idea has grown into a full-fledged craze. I’m a pretty avid fan of the series, so it’s not a surprise for me to once again dabble with the game that started it all (at least in North America) right before the newest generations’ release. This week, I decided to whip out my GameBoy Advance SP and do a clean playthrough; that is, start over. I relished that chance to pick my starter Pokemon again and begin my journey to become the Champion yet again. The memories rushed back, from the pixelated sprites, to moves, to having to walk everywhere, everything was exactly as I remember.
What’s great about playing an older, classic game is that it really does make you appreciate the newest iterations of said franchise. As we are all aware, Pokemon has come a long way since its Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander days, yet it’s quite easy to forget that. Pokemon Red (my preferred version of choice) is without a doubt a great first-step for the franchise, and has some amazing memories for people who have played it in the past. However, Nintendo has improved upon the formula so much with their newest games that it would be hard for a non-fan to go back, or even start, with the original games. Essentially, this week of gaming has made me appreciate any games I’ve managed to experience in their prime, and then having the wonderful option of being able to revisit them in the future.