On Overwatch’s Staying Power

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Overwatch is a good game. A mixture of Team Fortress 2, Street Fighter, DOTA, with a bit of Call of Duty that hits an atmospheric sweet spot. It’s backed by a triple-A developer with a long term plan, and an adoring community that has latched on and not let go. The Overwatch community has grown by leaps and bounds, and still has new peaks to come. But I have a few niggling doubts about its form and presentation. Overwatch is great to play now, but internal structural issues could hollow out the player base over the next few years. What factors keep a FPS title going beyond its expiration date, like Team Fortress 2, or falling into obscurity after a bright but brief flicker, like Titanfall or Battleborn? Here’s some things to consider in whether Overwatch will be worth coming back to down the line.

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Steal This Idea: SimSprawl

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By now everyone has come to accept that EA’s remix of the old SimCity franchise, titled SIMCITY, is a complete disaster. It was almost certainly the final nail in John Riccitiello’s career. From lies to just baffling game mechanics, the throbbing, pulsating slime creature that was rolled out on release date should simply be forgotten by this point, scrubbed out of history like some ex-lackey in a Soviet photo (Societies? Who?). But the hole in each of us which SIMCITY sought to fill still remains, and there is little on the market to fill it. There are many pretenders to the throne; CitiesXL, Anno 2070, Tropico 4, Stronghold, and the upcoming Banishedbut few offer the same quality of mayoral management, the bar set floating at skyscraper heights. No, only the Sim series can restore the dignity and honor of the city-building genre it itself has dashed. We need to jump start the series, send some real live current coursing through its dead bones, and do to SimCity what Alpha Centauri did to Civilization– take it to the next level, show us some place new, and pump up the self-awareness, all fit into a package indiscernible from its predecessors. The powers that be can do all of this and more in one elegant solution: SimSprawl.

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What Sets Papers, Please Apart

It’s safe to say that the gaming industry is currently enjoying a sort of renaissance when it comes to indie games. Not since the flash minigames and mods of the early 21st century has there ever been such an avalanche of new and innovating game forms, unbound by the common publishing hesitations of marketing or returning a profit. Thanks in large part to crowdsourcing platforms like Steam’s Greenlight, Good Ol GamesIndieGoGo, and Kickstarter, individual or small teams of developers can find an audience for their work and be elevated to the same digital store front shelves occupied by triple-A titles like Call of Duty or GTA. There are thousands of games that come and go through these services, some innovative and many derivative, but every so often one will shine through the rest and get the attention it dearly deserves. Lucas Pope‘s Papers, Please is one of those games, and it’s one of the most unique to come along in a while.

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That’s Math

It was recently announced that Adventure Time would be getting its second video game, entitled Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW. Finn and Jake’s first outing, in the 3DS title Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?! was met with generally positive reviews and was regarded as a decent adventure game, although limited in length. This follow-up romp through the royal dungeon of the Candy Kingdom is getting a much wider release on all the major platforms (Wii U, 3DS, PS3, Xbox 360, and PC), bringing with it the potential for even larger commercial success, and subsequently, future games.

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