Great Games I've Played Recently

There have been a lot of great games popping up recently some big names others not so much and with a load more on the horizon I thought I'd do a little roundup before I forget.

Rebel Galaxy:
I think of this as Firefly the game it's basically redneck elite. You fly about a colourful space universe trading mining shooting(either good/milita or bad/pirates) etc your way along upgrading your ship with bigger and better equipment then bigger and better ships all to a cowboy rock soundtrack.

It's a lot of fun it is all functioning on the 2d plane and the battles revolve around broadsides (it's a lot like the ship sections of assassins creed 3/4 but in space) very colourful and with a story you can follow or not has fairly high production values for something indie like this.

Assassins Creed Syndicate:
Fixes almost all the things that were wrong with AC:Unity (ie puts back all the things it took out and adds some nice new mechanics).
Set in Victorian london this game follows the twin assassins Jacob and Evie fry as they try and take back london from the evil templars. The characters in this one are a lot more fun that the moping idiot in Unity and the setting is very atmospheric a beautiful game. Lots of fun to be had with the new toys like the grapple hook gun which makes getting around the rooftops much easier.

Racing through the streets in various horse drawn carriages is also great and there are even steam trains to ride on and or hijack. The story missions are fun and mostly well plotted the side missions now revolve around retaking territory for your gang and are fairly fun.

There are 4 territory mission types Kidnap (sneak in use the new kidnap mechanic to take some templar to the authorities), Bounty hunt (kill some templars), Orphan rescue (free some child workers in a factory), and stronghold (kill everyone) some districts of london have multiple of each and once you complete all of the in a district you trigger a boss fight where you can then claim the district as your own. There are also some other little missions like cargo hijack/protect where you make off with some templar goodies or protect your own guys.

The two characters evie and jacob bounce off each other well and for side missions you can choose to be either each have some specific skills but mostly they play the same. Story missions are usually specific to one or other of the twins. All in all a return to form for the assassins creed games a lot more fun that the mess that was Unity.

Crypt of the Necrodancer:
A rhythm game crossed with a roguelike.

Explore a dungeon to some catchy chiptunes beats moving in time to the beat to gain a bonus. Also allows you to use your own music. Quite a fun if hard game getting the timing and movement sequences right is tricky but it's fun and has a catchy sound track. As you collect stuff in the game you can purchase upgrades in the level and once dead unlock other weapons and spells for future runs.

Fallout 4:
Just out and I've only played a little bit of this but looks like it's going to be fun.

Story summary : War never changes blah blah blah apocalypse then hide in vault (111 this time) finally escape into ruined over world. Pretty familiar to anyone that has played fallout3 or new vegas with a new upgraded engine I wasn't blown away by the graphics they were ok and it looks nice but it's nothing astounding.

Gameplay wise it's pretty fun a lot of the normal explore the wasteland kill it's occupants steal their stuff and so on. I liked that even early on in the game it gave you access to some of the cool toys so within the first hour of the game I was stomping around in (admittedly rusty) power armor and wielding mini guns and laser rifles the sort of bits you had to get really leveled up for in the previous outings.

Looks like crafting will be a much bigger part of this game including building up a sort of settlement of people crafting everything from personal stuff like weapons and armor to buildings furniture defense turrets and supplies like water wells. A lot of the junk stuff you would find (spanners clipboards ashtrays etc) is now useful for raw materials for building things.

Combat is the familiar first person shoot or melee as well as the target assist mode of V.A.T.S. where it slows time and allows you to queue up actions. Looks like it's going to be a fun game to play so far.

Anno 2205:
Pretty fun city builder now has this interesting mechanic of three different territories (tropical, arctic, and moon) where each has it's own needs environmental challenges and specific resources but other areas for advanced settlers might need access to that stuff so setting up chains of supply from each area to the others to keep everyone happy is part of the game.

The core game mechanic of supplying various needs of your settlers starting with basic stuff then more advanced to level them up to better types will be familiar to anyone that had played an Anno game before. Story is something about the moon but it's not really important.

Has this boat control game section that is a bit tedious. Fairly fun overall.

Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Final Cut:
Got this free for owning the previous games. Seems to be a repackaging of the Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing 1 2&3. Another ARPG with a monsters and mad science theme some interesting class types like the steampunk power armor and robot minion summoner as well as more conventional rogue/mage/fighter equivalents. Bit scrappy in terms of visuals but the theme is well handled.

If you have the previous versions 1&2&3 you can just get this for nothing by clicking a link but that being said it is just the combination of the previous three into one game as far as I can see.

Standard sort of diablo esq game with a steampunk monster hunter theme.

Mad Max:
Not related to the movie but released somewhat concurrently, this is an open world post apocalypse 3rd person action/car race/crash game.
It's a surprising amount of fun given it's a licences you race around the burnt up desert left behind after some unexplained apocalypse in the opening sequence your swish death machine car is stolen and you're left for dead and the game is basically building things back up.

It has various mechanics like you need to keep yourself healthy and health is replenished by water (you carry a flask with you and fill it from moisture catchers in the world) and or food (maggots or dog food are the two options). The game is of two parts the car based sections and the on foot stuff. The game world is littered with various encampments of varying size little camps based off a few cargo containers to huge sprawling structures build out of old planes or submarines or oil derricks. You race up to these and then fight through a variety of enemies picking up the games resource scrap used to upgrade everything from your abilities to your car to the friendly strongholds.

Fighting on foot is mostly melee there are some weapons (a shotgun some knives and the odd pick-able melee weapon) these are a little scarce and or fragile so most fighting if fistycuffs a standard game of punches counters dodges and so on. It's fairly satisfying.

The car based missions involve things like taking on enemy convoys that are found through the game world racing around with large crews of protective cars protecting some tanker type vehicle.

The car gets various upgrades from better performance to weapons like the harpoon (my favorite) a sniper rifle various bull bars or spikes or wheel shredders or armor. Small patrols run around the game world that attack or can be hunted for scrap you can also steal any of the enemies vehicles and then use them as a stealth type of thing where factions that own that vehicle will then ignore you.

You need to keep your car fueled and cans of petrol are spread around the world which you can use to fuel up or as explosive by igniting and throwing them.

It has a semi assassin creed style synchronize thing where you go up into a balloon to view the area around and scope out the area with binoculars.

The big camps are usually quite a challenge to beat you have to get in which can be a matter of taking out any exterior defences and ramming the main gate or often there is a sneaky route in. Once inside it's a battle to either kill all the enemies or destroy all of some building (oil pumps or oil tanks) or the boss fight based ones.

In addition to all that the friendly camps have their own set of missions you do to get resources and or upgrades to their strongholds. Each stronghold has various projects to complete that then offer benefits like refills ammo or refills water and so on.

It's a surprising amount of fun to be had here racing through the desert in you death dealing nitro fueled muscle car is great fun smashing your way through enemy vehicles and convoys to get scrap and parts. The harpoon is a lot of fun pulling parts off cars like doors or armor or tires or even pulling drivers out of their vehicles.

As you get deep into the game the story isn't as gripping and a little repetitive but it was great fun in the early game.


I keep seeing Crypt of the Necrodancer come up in my Steam recommended list, might have to give it a go.

I've been playing Psycho Starship Rampage a lot. It's a side-scrolling shooter (of an R-Type ilk), but you can completely re-build your ship in-between levels, and upgrade. It gets suitably nuts towards the end (my favourite being torpedos that suck everything in the screen in, then blow up), but as with all rogue-likes the random nature can doom certain attempts (I've had one run where I didn't get any upgrades, and ended up being unable to kill anything).

babychaos's picture

Another I forgot is
Another roguelike this time exploring derelict alien ships for salvage using your mech ship to explore and shutdown/destroy their remaining defenses while grabbing new weapons and various powerups. Pretty fun game but like a lot these very hard some interesting weapons like napalm and acid sprayers lightning cannons and various machine guns. 2d side on action with basic dual stick controls and some nice colourful graphics with randomly generated ships to explore.

Evilmatt's picture

I've played some Mad Max over the holidays and to add to EMW's excellent precis, the car physics is a lot of fun. I've upgraded the main car in lots of different ways, as increasing armour does slow you down so you can indeed create a glass canon or a turtle etc etc. I prefer the in-car battles (although both are equally challenging) and I love the script.

I've just started Fallout 4 after being convinced by an old Uni friend. I've got to Concord, went off-piste and then got punished. Yes, this is Bethesda. Not sure I can be arsed with all the settlement stuff but then it doesn't force you to, so big deal!

I'm in Minecraft again, having fixed the store. I'm working on a couple of other smaller building projects toward the "Light Inside The Wall" project.

brainwipe's picture

I'm still playing fallout 4 on my fourth play through having done an pistol wielding shooter, a stealth sniper I called Nin Jar, a drug addicted melee scientist who favored the super sledge I called Dr B Crusher (Ultra jet is where it's at), and now I'm doing a commando automatic weapon wielding guy who looks like a village people reject called Boodles McStash.

I've not really invested much in the settlement part of it I might do that this time as I'm probably going the minute man route. Each of those above I completed with a different faction I won't list them so as not to spoil anything. I've been really enjoying it the scope for different experiences and the discovery of little areas they put so much stuff in there that I'm still stumbling across new areas with their own little missions or story elements. Probably getting a little thin after this many goes makes me wonder if I should dig up New Vegas and give that another go.

Not looked at Just Cause 3 it was so horrendously broken at launch it rather soured things for me might have to come back to it and see if they've fixed things.

picked up a few things in the sales which I've not yet got round to trying the new tomb raider game rise of the tomb raider, and the new star wars battlefront. Have to find time to give them a go

Evilmatt's picture

Just Cause 3 seems to work fine 98% of the time, mine struggles when I get lots of explosions and people firing at me. For comparison I'm on a Nvidia GTX 750 Ti. Apparently RAM is important part of helping it to not slow down.

There is a good improvement over when I first started playing, where it was constantly slowing down. My only annoyance with JC3 is the "leaderboard", have blocked JC3 via the firewall so it doesn't keep checking online for the leaderboards (not sure if that helped with the slow downs on my machine).

Sparky Marky's picture

Fallout 4 has been my go to game for the past couple of weeks and is proving to be quite entertaining. I am still on my first character but I haven't progressed the main story line much beyond the initial Concord mission. Currently he is equipped for insane melee combat, to the point I only carry 3 weapons, 1 sword, 1 sniper rifle and 1 machine gun ... and the sniper is close to being put into storage.

Bigger Rob's picture

Some of the melee weapons do quite insane levels of damage in Fallout 4 being able to take out a super mutant behemoth (the swan) with two or three hits with the upgraded super sledge (admittedly psychojetted up to the eyeballs) was pretty awesome :D Though I started to prefer the ripper towards the end of that playthrough. You want to get the grognak costume from hubris comics it adds loads of strength I was stronger wearing that than I was in power armor.
I'd never used the drugs much in previous fallout games the time slow down that jet offers is really entertaining especially for melee you run round at hyperspeed smashing people in the face while they slowly try and get a bead on you.

It's possible the subsequent patches etc have resolved much of launch issues with Just Cause 3 I was running it on an older card but a powerful one (680gtx) and I have 16gigs of ram and it was completely unplayble at launch ran painfully slow and kept having out of memory errors. It didn't seem to be the graphics or at least not directly as changing the resolution or detail settings had no effect on the issue. The initial problems just soured it a bit for me I should probably give it another go again but I've been having so much fun in fallout 4 I've not felt the urge to try it.

Evilmatt's picture

I'll admit missing the boat with Just Cause 3. I know I'm going to love it, I've 100%'d in Steam JC2. I didn't want to play it until they had fixed it. Since I have Mad Max and Fallout 4, I think I can leave it be for a while and wait for the next Steam sale and snap it up for 20 squids.

brainwipe's picture