Seeing as my current laptop would probably swear at me if I tried to install the latest crop of games (plus we like it when they are sales me loves oh yesss), I've been returning to games of up to a decade ago :O
Call of Duty - In many ways the original and the best in the series, riding on the wave of Band of Brothers popularity, for cinematic WW2 action. Throw in United Offensive and you've got an intense sequel and I spent many happy hours on multiplayer, which in many ways a Battlefield 1944 beater.
Just Cause 2. You are a CIA operative, who is a barely concealed Antonio Banderas rip off, enacting regime change on a small series of islands, toppling the dictator one stronghold (be it be a village, a city or a military base at a time). For me this is most unbridled fun I've had in an open world type game, swinging from building to building, via a quick ride on a helicopter or car, using a grappling hook
So with the laptop increasingly becoming temperamental, and my daughter wanting one to play online with her friends we got an XBOX One a couple of months ago (sometime in Feb? ). As a long time PC gamer, I wasn't sure about the move, and to some extent, I still prefer the intimate "hands-on" feeling of sitting up close and personal on a desktop/laptop. However, with the new XBOX coming this year, the once-mighty XBOX One is being sold cheap, alongside a Game Pass (which we bought the Gold version so Evie can play online with her mates) which is sort of the Netflix of gaming. It is also nice to have games that just work out of the box.
I bought Borderlands 3 and it was as awesome as I had hoped. More guns, big personalities, the new worlds to explore were great. The story was is well developed, and the side quests are worth doing on their own to reveal more of the setting background. I've blasted my way through the main plot, and I'm now in the "play it all again, at higher levels with more guns and more MAYHEM" (there's a new mayhem mode that unlocks when you complete the game). Its taken up three months of my gaming life so I'm trying other games.
This I'm doing with newly bought EA Access, another yearly subscription, which I bought for £19 to give my daughter access to Sims 4 (which is her main game, and almost unplayable on the laptop due to having all the addons) and me access to ALL THE BATTLEFIELD GAMES, as well as a stack of Bioware games such as all Mass Effect and Dragon Age games, which I've dabbled in but never sat down seriously to play. That changes now
So I've started with Battlefield Bad Company, a well-regarded game from 2008 yikes!. Fortunately, it holds up very well, and after playing various military games (from the early Battlefield 1942 to the uber-serious Operation Flashpoint/Armed Assault games) is a nice mix of authentic-looking gun porn and just the right amount of black humour. You see you play a character who has been demoted to B Company, where the B stands for Bad and all the other members of the unit are similar bad apples who have been put in one basket to keep them out of the way of the serious army. It plays smoothly, and the cutscenes where you and your three NPC buddies interact and the story advances are entertaining and just the right length. Its a fun game without going down the Gonzo route
Oh dear. I've not played CIV since the original game back in the days of beige box PCs in the 90s. On a mate's machine, where it was the centre of a smoking session where I brought the beer Whole days were lost to the game. Sometimes I'd pop in to see my mate and there would be some lost soul playing a game of it sat down in the corner, completely engrossed. It was worse than drugs I knew then that if I was to ever achieve my dream of being a published rpg writer I would have to not have this game installed on my pc. EVER!
So is it still the same timesink that it was twenty-odd years ago? Yes, I lost a good part of last Saturday to raising the Chinese up from the Stone Age to currently the Modern Era. Still addictive as hell. I had to cheat on my family, "oh dear I'm just going upstairs to do the supermarket order", and flat out blank them for hours on end I'm completely losing my first game of it. I hadn't twigged the tech-tree and fell behind in terms of technology. I got a reputation as a warmonger early on, which I've never shaken with my prissy neighbours. Heck bloody Peter the Great doesn't like me because I'm not as cultured as his Russians, oh yes I forgot to advance culture for pretty much the first two-thirds fo the game And the age-old of tactic of going to war to advance my culture, isn't going as well because WAR COSTS MONEY, and even when I've got sweet Elisabeth I (of the English) on the ropes she always offers me a fortune in gold with a sweet smile, and I accept peace between our neighbouring civilisations. Then a couple of turns later she is looking down her nose and denouncing me as a warmonger But even though I know, playing the long game, I've got long term problems which I should have dealt with in the Ancient Period, I love my little Chinese civilisation and I'm not quite ready to give up on them and restart anew with a culture that I will take everything I've learnt and lead to VICTORY!
So CIV is back, I just have to keep on telling myself I've not got a problem, I can stop anytime I want (after this next turn)
Just acquired Black Mesa, a fan-created update and re-work of the origin version of Half Life. Thus far it's a very faithful rendering of the original game, although I've read things suggesting it diverges from the original later on. The graphics are really nice and it plays very smoothly. Even the music, while updated, is true to the sound of the original game while being much higher quality. As a fan of the original Half-Life, I'm really enjoying playing it again like this.
European Air War: Detailed but accessible WW2 Flight Sim from the early 2000s. Loads of fan made add-ons still available which expand the game massively. I'm having a go at recreating the exploits of the RAF's 616 squadron which flew the UK's first operational jet fighter, the Gloster Meteor, in the latter part of the war. Looking forward to taking on Jerry in his ME262 a la Killer Kane in Warlord Comic (strictly boy's own fantasy this as the two aircraft never actually met in combat).
Kicking my heels while waiting for Cyberpunk 2077. After a engrossing experience which is Ghost of Tuschima. A game I would recommend wholeheartedly. Certainly Game of the Year (so far) for me. It is the only Game where I have gotten most of the achievements just through playing the Game and not crunching special obscure requirements.
I am mainly playing CivilisationVI, Stellaris & Planetfall on the PS4. Getting that “just 1 more turn” itch scratched. Glad some decent 4x games are on the PS4 now.
Been playing a bit of Mars Horizon (Steam, currently on offer about £13), which is about running a space agency. A bit like the board game Lift-Off (Buzz Aldrin's Race into Space was the PC version) where you research tech, plan missions, train astronauts, launch test rockets, etc, etc from 1957 onwards. It's very nicely done and had ESA involvement for its design. Esach mission brings improvements, support, annual funding etc and you can bootstrap yourself up from firing sounding rockets into multi stage crewed missions.