The Richie Report – Dr Frank’s Requies Experiment and 90046 Expedition

Stand by your beds! Hello, naughty poppets. It’s that time again. Richie Report in your face like a can of mace, baby. Is it burning? Well fuck it, now you’re learning. It’s August, and that means a summer drought with enough human misery to bring Bob Geldof, Lenny Henry, and the rest out while we sit here lazily batting the flies off of our faces on the shop floor of GAME, waiting for a retail release that is worth more than its weight in piss.

The story of the summer has really been that there have been no interesting retail games out but there were some odd digital releases out. The sleeper hit of the summer was Rocket League, an unassuming PS+ freebie that dominated everyone’s friend lists for a solid month or two (once they’d got the servers working correctly). This driving-meets-football arcade-’em-up was tremendously good fun, for a while anyway. Certainly more fun than real football (or any kind of motorsport).

Less interesting in the world of PS+ was the usual moody indie games about feelings. We had Ether One, a first-person emotion-’em-up or something (didn’t play it, didn’t even download it). At least that was free. I had to deal with indie piss such as Nom Nom Galaxy (a soup-based Terraria/Missile Command jam that had the most baffling tutorial of all time). I gave up after finishing the tutorial and realising I still had no idea how to play the game and even less inclination to figure it out.

May had a few things out on the shelves. Fans of hearing their PS4 whirr like a helicopter in a tornado had Project CARS (some driving shit that’s apparently good if you like car filth), another Final Fantasy game (I lost track after the tenth one but I think this is like the hundredth), and Ride (all the fun of being on a motorbike with none of the risk of paralysis). All shite.

Magicka 2, a digital-only wizard-’em-up came with lots of promise. A co-op-focused affair, the game sees you mixing and matching elements to create spells. For this that means mixing electricity and chaos to create DEATHELECTRICITY and kill my co-op buddies. For a solid five hours I thought this game was awful, but it grows on you and now I think it’s good, but only if you have a team of friendly wizards ready to join you.

Roundabout… whatever. Ultra Street Fighter 4… whatever.

Just before the month was out, Splatoon hit the Wii-U which meant that for a while there (like two days anyway), Wii-U owners proclaimed it to be the best game ever made. They need something to shout about and it may as well be a glorified XBLA game with a dodgy multiplayer interface. Still, it looks like a real game and not some sort of digital dark poetry which is what we seem to get on the PS4 all the time.

June didn’t have many legit games out there. The Elder Scrolls Online landed for PS4 but after the buggy borefest of Skyrim there’s no way I’m buying anything else from Bethesda (except maybe a HD port of Oblivion because I’m a slut for that game). Payday 2 also got a this-gen porting but I never really got on with it on the Xbox 360 and I was BORED BEYOND TABLETS by anyone who did. I always prefered the multiplayer on IO’s god-awful Kane and Lynch and that’s swearing. Another Batman came out. It apparently has a Batmobile this year. Fuck, they are getting worse than FIFA.

MotoGP 15 was the fifteenth motorcycle game to hit the shelves in fifteen days. I would legitimately kick Sarah Rafferty out of bed if she mentioned a passing interest in MotoGP.

The digital scene wasn’t much better. The Escapists landed and offered you the chance for some retro-flavoured prison-escape larks, but was apparently far too slow and difficult for its own good. Anyway, Denton Designs mastered this genre back in 1986 with Great Escape for the ZX Spectrum which managed to be great despite being an isometric game. Free-to-play scutters got to enjoy PlanetSide 2 but it might as well be a suck-a-tramps-cock-to-play game as far as I’m concerned. Online play with randoms is bad enough without the option for idiots to buy better gear than me. Riptide GP2 was the sequel to a game no-one in the world has played and offered cheap and cheerful watery racing in the tradition of Hydro Thunder. It wasn’t nearly as good as Hydro Thunder but was worth the cheapo price and kept me off of the streets for at least a week. BlazBlue, J-Stars Victory VS+, Red Goddess: Inner World, Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3. Nah, we’re done, June. Fuck off back to selling funeral insurance for the over fifties.

July was a bit better thanks to the aforementioned Rocket League and also the best PS+ freebie of all time, namely the Vita port of Geometry Wars 3 (the best twin-stick shooter currently available). Now I loved the shit out of Geometry Wars 3 and the Vita version was not only spot-on accurate but was just as much fun to play as its console big brother.

The shelves had F1 2015 (meh) and a remastered God of War III (overrated hack-and-slash tedium) but I had my eye on Godzilla. Now I love Godzilla shit, and this looked like it might have some cheapo EDF thrills but alas it got slated in the reviews. This of course makes me even more intrigued (I do love me a lemon) but the asking price (still fifty quid as of last week) is bullshit. I’m an idiot but I’m not a total idiot.

There were a lot more digital releases in July. We had The Fall which unfortunately wasn’t a Mark E. Smith simulator but was some sort of bleak platformer set in space. There was The Vanishing of Ethan Carter which sounds like a fucking Sunday night on ITV. Hatoful Boyfriend was a dating sim where you only date pigeons or something (fuck sake, Japan), Abyss Odyssey (not to be confused with Abe’s Oddysey), Legend of Kay HD (unwanted port of an old PS2 action/adventure game), N++ (sadistic ninja platformer for people who love frustration) and The Swindle, which is a steampunk crime caper that looks alright but also looks like a shoe-in for PS+ in the next year or so.

Hatoful Boyfriend – Gangbang DLC

Perhaps the most interesting release of the summer was Rare Replay. This Xbox One exclusive compilation bundles together a heap of titles from veteran developers Rare, including some of their output for the ZX Spectrum from when they were still called Ultimate.   Spectrum, NES and N64 fans will enjoy soaking up some of that nostalgia even if Ultimate were the most overrated coders on the ZX Spectrum with all but Trans-Am being bafflingly bummed clean off. And Trans-Am isn’t even on this compilation.

Goat Stimulator

That all brings us nicely up to August which we are currently half-way through. So far this month has offered the worst ever PS+ line-up of all time and a handful of digital releases such as AeternoBlade (Japanese 2D platformer with horrible looking graphics).

More interesting are my current go to digital games, Goat Simulator and Galak-Z. Goat Simulator has been around on other formats for a while but I’ve been having a ton of fun with the PS4 version. It’s not big and it’s not clever but I’m having a blast with it.

Galak-Z is a thrust-based, twin-stick shooter. Now I usually hate anything with thrust controls (that includes PixelJunk Shooter and even Asteroids from back in the day) and I really hate anime (the game has anime-style presentation right from the off) but the game’s tight combat and Rogue-like elements keep bringing me back for more.

The rest of this month brings this-gen ports of Dishonored as well as retail releases for Risen 3: Titan Lords Enhanced Edition (whatever that means), Until Dawn (miserable looking victim simulator) and another Disney Infinity thing. Christ.

Speaking of miserable, the UK games charts currently look like piss. I mean this.

1. LEGO JURASSIC WORLD – shoot it in the right direction
2. GRAND THEFT AUTO V – make making it your intention
3. THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE – live those dreams
4. BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT – scheme those schemes
5. FIFA 15 – got to hit me
6. RARE REPLAY – hit me
7. BATTLEFIELD HARDLINE – hit me with those laser beams
10. DYING LIGHT – time to come

I’ll hit you with those laserbeams next time, poppets.

Last five articles by Richie


One Comment

  1. Alice Bag says:

    Where’s this column gone. Has young Richard jacked it in then?

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