Ra the Sun God is smiling down upon us here in the UK this weekend as we’ve got that rarest of treats - a long weekend where it’s not pissing it down. Sunburn is for the foolish though, so we’ll be taking some occasional shelter from those UV rays and getting stuck into some gaming over the weekend.
We’re going through a bit of a quiet patch at the moment. It’s the usual pre-E3 lull, a bit like that bit in Jurassic Park where the cup of water’s wobbling. You’re sat watching a cup of water wobble on an 80-foot cinema screen, but you know what this innocuous nothingness means - something big this way comes. We’ve about four weeks to knock out the gaming backlog before things get crazy again. Here’s what we’ll be playing this weekend.
Jon - This week I found myself with a God of War-shaped hole in my life. I’m not really sure how to go about filling it, but I’ve tried my best by picking up Steamworld Heist on sale. It’s a rather neat little turn-based tactical strategy game in which you play as spacefaring robots that run on, well, steam, making water the most precious commodity. Where it differs from your typical TBS is that it’s actually a 2D side-scrolling point of view and you have to manually aim. This means you can pull off ricochet trick shots in order to take out enemies hidden behind cover. It adds a neat element of skill to a genre that is typically all about tactics, and so far I’m loving it. It helps that each level a nice 5-15 minute chunks so it’s great to bust a map out of if you’ve only got a little bit of spare time.
Aside from this, I’m also eager to get stuck into the first week of challenges for Season 4 of Fortnite. I’ve been reading all about the changes but I haven’t had a decent opportunity to, ahem, dive in just yet, but I’m planning to dive in with a few mates and hopefully try and rack up a few squad wins over the weekend.
Shaheryar - I’ve finally finished playing Northgard and written a review so keep an eye out for that shortly!
Felix - I have pushed through a reasonable number of hours of Battletech these past few weeks. Battletech is a turn-based strategy that puts you in charge of a few giant robots, each one controlled by a human MechWarrior. At first, I was seeing a whole bunch of game mechanics, weapon variants, mechs of different sizes, overheating, special MechWarrior skills, terrain, and basically a potential for deep strategy. But right from the first round of gameplay, where I moved my first mech and clicked on an enemy mech I was presented with a button that said “shoot enemy”, I feared that the devs had simplified a potentially in-depth strategy gem for mass appeal.
I was mostly right. But for a long while, Battletech was still fun, picking and negotiating my mercenary companies contracts, as I flew around the galaxy helping various factions with their problems, in exchange for cash of course. But the real spoiler in Battletech is the fact that it makes little to no sense editing a mech’s default loadout. If you managed to get a new giant mech up and running from salvaged scrap on the battlefields, then it would come with a pre-defined armament selection of lasers, armour, autocannons, missiles, jet boosters and heat sinks. To change the weapons you have to take the mech out of action for a week or two and you have to pay a bunch of money to swap the equipment. So it makes you really think twice. But I kind of like that. The real problem here is each mech can only be equipped with certain types of weapons in specific locations. That, mixed with the weight of the weapons you are trying to equip, stops you being able to build a fun alternative mech. The weapons are so heavy that your mech quickly gets told it can't have two heavy autocannons or there aren't enough spaces on the mech to put medium lasers all over it. I appreciate this is quite tough to explain, but that’s because the system itself is complicated and so not obviously an issue at first glance. But sadly it’s pointless to try and adjust any mechs to custom loadouts.
I wanted to have one mech sporting lasers all over it for cold planets that would disperse the heat build up more quickly. I wanted another with long-range autocannons ready for moon missions, where the low atmosphere would make lasers overheat quickly. Or perhaps a super tough, super fast, leg armoured titan that would jetpack itself on top of its enemy and then beat it in close range assault with flamers. But in reality, I never change a single mech as it doesn't make any sense to waste time or money for a weaker setup than the default.
But, despite this realisation, BattleTech’s a good, fun game to mess around with for a short while.
A busy weekend of gaming ahead for lots of us then, what are your gaming related plans? If you can't make it to your PC this weekend, have you got some other excitement going on? Spill the beans below!