20/01 Paperbark (PC) It's a short game about strolling around the Australian bush as a wombat. Same camera angle as Untitled Goose Game (indeed the devs list House House under their thanks section in the credits.) Don't get your hopes up though, this is a walking simulator with a bit of hidden object searching thrown in. It has a nice water colour style to it and I'd pretty much describe it as a short interactive child's picture book. At least that's how I would have described it two weeks ago. Now the depictions of Australian wildlife feels more like a document to all that we might have lost. What really hit home were all the familiar bird calls and insect songs that I haven't heard as much or at all this summer. It definitely wasn't intended as such but the ending seems bleak rather than the whimsy that they were going for.
Humble Bundle is selling this as part of a massive compilation of 29 games (Australian made, themed or with Australian connections) that can be picked up here for the next few days.
09/01 The Cat and the Coup (PC) It's short. (15 minutes long) It's free.It's an artistic representation the life of Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh, and his subsequent downfall through a CIA- and MI6-engineered coup during the 1950s. It was re-mastered to work on new systems this year, again along with Black Friday it's worth playing given what's happening right now. edit: Playing it again it felt a little different and by reading the notes I've read the developer has upgraded the visuals to 4K and there's more art now (each puzzle room transition was previously black whereas now it's a huge mural.) Worth replaying if you played the original back in 2011.
09/01 1979 Revolution:Black Friday (PC) Ultra short Telltale game that veers from frustrating to eye opening. Having you as the role of an aspiring photo journalist in the chaos of the revolution in Iran in the late 70's is inspired, allowing you to try and make sense of the chaos. And this is what this game is really good at, humanising the people who had to navigate this period along with the messiness of politics, friendships, class, religion and family. I was impressed with the photo taking which would then
If it's in your library now is a great time to play this (and The Cat and the Coup, also available on Steam.)
08/01 Wolfenstein:the Old Blood (PC) So reading some of the reactions back in the day some Wokfenstein fans didn't like the New Blood. "Why is this set in the 60's and not the 40's? Why isn't this set in castles and sewers and other grey places? What's all this plot stuff? And why is BJ a soldier? He's OSA you casuals!" The Old Blood feels like Machine Games reply, "All right you big babies. Here's what you want. Hope you're good enough!" A prequel to the New Blood it's all killer no filler. It has some early sections that are too reliant on stealth until you work out a couple of tricks but then it's a roller coaster ride from beginning to end.Great for fans of the New Blood and for those disappointed in the New Blood. This is what you want.
03/01 Wolfenstein:the New Order (PC) Bought this on a whim ages ago on a sale and then ignored it because I was bored of grey and brown FPS games. Played maybe 20 minutes of the first level last year and then abandoned it. Had another crack at it this year purely because you can sort your Steam games by space taken and expected to either trudge through out of duty or leave it aside given that the first 20 minutes felt like a guided corridor shooter. Blimey, this game is a bit special isn't it. I loved it. I was going to wisecrack how it was like Gone Home, but with guns but the alternate levels between action and exploration really give you time to breathe in the setting. I'd avoided all spoilers so I was under the impression that this was going to be all castles and sewers. Had no idea it was going to feel like The Great Escape crossed with The Italian Job. I had no idea that I'd end up
Seriously if it's in your backlog don't continue making the same mistake I did. It's now firmly one of my favourite FPS games of all time.
01/01 Detroit:Become Human (PS4) I enjoyed Beyond Two Souls most apart from a couple of problematic chapters. But the combination of receiving this for "free" via PSPlus and recommendations from friends I decided to run though it over the Christmas break. I do enjoy these sorts of games and was impressed by the branching narrative which appears to have real choices that lock you off from other paths. It's heavy handed in places but I'd recommend it to fans of Telltale and Dontnod games. Next to Death Stranding it's probably one of the most stunning games on PS4 and it's weak parts are saved by some great acting from the charismatic leads. More complicated than Telltale's output but less so than Bandersnatch. Recommended if you got it on PS-Plus. Edit: Something I almost missed here in summing up, there really needs to be a strong content for this game for the early scenes of domestic violence which might cause some distress.