Something for the Weekend – 10th-11th July

Photoshop of today's Gareth Southgate consoling himself after missing a penalty in Euro 96
Brilliant image of today’s Gareth Southgate with himself after missing a penalty in Euro ’96

This weekend is going to be seeing most of England anticipating 8pm Sunday.  Not being particularly interested in this country’s national sport, I’m uncertain whether I will actually be watching.  Still, I wish good luck to a team that stood up for what they believe in and to a manager that has demonstrated what true leadership looks like, as well as what can be achieved when it is used appropriately.  No matter what happens when the final whistle is blown, I hope that continues and they don’t let others try to use the platform for their own ends.

Hope sports fans have a good one (and don’t forget about the tennis to get you in the mood).

Here is what I will be coming home to.


Onryoki boss from Nioh
I will play more of this… if I can get past this guy!

All the games I’m mentioning I picked up right at the end of the Steam sale, after expecting not to really get anything from it.  Gabe just can’t help getting into my wallet.

Being a big fan of Soulsborne games, I’m always on the lookout for other games that can capture even a dollop of the magic sauce that goes into From Software’s output.  Playing other games really makes you appreciate just how good and how difficult getting the balance right is.  Nioh looks like it gets the closest though.

Whereas From Software games, particular Dark Souls, makes the combat very simple, Nioh attempts to add a little bit of variety to the fighting with some combos and a skill tree for each weapon type.  Then there are also 3 different stances that can be used to mix up your playstyle: high, medium and low.

Even the stamina management is given a bit of twist, taking a page from the active reload system in Gears of War, where timing a button press after a series of attacks will allow you to recover some of the stamina.  All of this, plus a stat system much like in Dark Souls, gives you quite a bit to think about and it is a little overwhelming to begin with.  It does click eventually though and it feels really good when it does all come together.

I’m not very far in yet and I’ve hit a little bit of a difficulty spike with the first real boss, but looking forward to getting more into this.

Dead by Daylight

Killer from Dead by Daylight with fire in the background
Slash ‘n’ burn – even killers have prestige –

Bought on the encouragement of a friend who fancied it, this was a pleasant surprise when I played it last night.  The basic concept is a sound one (4 stock horror film characters vs 1 slasher film killer), but I wasn’t sure how well it would actually all come together.

The developers, Behaviour Interactive, have done a really good job of capturing the spirit of these films.  Playing as a survivor is suitably creepy and has you on edge as you slowly move around a small arena, trying to repair generators that take an uncomfortable amount of time to fix.  Playing as the killer is a delightful power-trip, that also has that uneasiness that evokes the opening of Halloween, as you stalk your prey. 

There is also plenty of smart mechanics that keep the balance just right, such as the first person view of the killer restricting your field of view, as well as there being quite a few bits of animation that can slow you down or lose track of your victims.

The tone is a little bit too grim in places, forgetting that many of these films don’t really revel in the gnarly depiction of what is happening and rely more on imagination than you might remember.  There are moments of humour that naturally comes from the mixing of real people, particularly when playing with friends, but a little more slapstick would be welcome. This is particular true with the design of some of the killers that are all trying a bit too hard to be grim (again, particularly true with the base game comparted to the DLC).  Having said that, there is clearly a lot of love that has gone into putting it altogether.  I particularly loved the animation that was done on the Huntress character, as she glitches around in her movement.

How much the content that is there will last is another matter that I can’t answer after a single evening (particularly as you aren’t able to access many of the survivors and kills without buying DLC).  Nor is it clear how enjoyable it will be when needing to include randoms in your game.  If you can find a group of 4 players (or 3, if you don’t mind a random killer) that would be up for joining you to see who can be the final boy/girl then I can recommend this as worth your time.

Nex Machina

Image of Nex Macina with lots of bullets and lasers
(Bullet) hellishly good

From two quite innovative and modern gaming experiences, to something that takes its inspiration from some of the earliest games around.  Nex Machina is unapologetically arcade.  This is purely about dodging reams of bullets and high score chasing.

I’ve played for about 30 minutes or so and I feel like I have seen pretty much everything the game has to offer.  That isn’t going to stop me going back for more though, as this is one of those games that reminds you the simplest ideas are often the most fun to play.

It also looks absolutely stunning, with voxels flying everywhere and plenty of colour to light up the screen.  Quite a far cry from the dreariness of Dead by Daylight.  And yet, even with all that is going on visually, Housemarque have done a great job at making sure that everything is still easy parse.  I never once had a problem keeping track of where I was and which of the dozens of things I needed to avoid.

Housemarque are obviously seeing quite a bit of success at the moment with Returnal on the PS5.  I don’t have a PS5 yet, but this confirms that it should be on the list of games that might convince me to get one when I can.


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