Terrific Tuesday

This weekend ended on a great note, with Arsenal beating Chelsea in the Community Shield. I could go on at length about that, but today’s post is about something else.

Continuing the theme of happiness, today is a great gaming day! Both Hellblade and Lawbreakers released today. I’ve spent a small amount of time with both, and I’m extremely happy with what’s on offer here.

First, Lawbreakers. I played the open beta, and the game impressed me. The gameplay is extremely rewarding, the skill curve is demanding and challenging while not being inaccessible. And one of my favourite features is that it has a functional netcode.

Thanks to there being no African servers (I honestly don’t expect any, so don’t read any bitterness there), my ping sits at a jittery 200 on a good match and 300 on a bad one. Despite this, the game isn’t unplayable, and I find myself still able to keep up with what’s happening. Judging by my average KD and objective score, I don’t think my ping affects my opponents negatively either, so that’s another relief.

The gameplay is so satisfying, that I often don’t get too hot in the face when losing or being killed. The game has an air of pure fun about it, and that’s one of the biggest pros in its favour. I’ll be playing some more, and putting more in-depth thoughts down in a week or so.

Next, Hellblade. I’ve been looking forward to this game since I first saw the trailer during E3 2015. When I briefly delved into reviewing games, I viciously fought for the right to review it (haha, oh well). This and Horizon Zero Dawn are probably my two most anticipated PS4 exclusives of this generation, and they’re both out now.

I’ve also been following Ninja Theory’s Developer Diary for Hellblade almost religiously. It’s been amazing following the transformation of this game as it has taken shape, seeing the studio’s approach to making a “AAA game on an indie budget”.

I’ve played the intro, and I’ve not gotten far at all. I wanted to go to sleep and be rested for the playthrough, so that’s also going to take place over the next few days.

However, my first impressions are quite positive. The game is gorgeous, as advertised. It’s best played with headphones, the better to hear the voices in your head with. I spent about 15 minutes playing as soon as the game unlocked after midnight, and the glorious views on offer made me spend most of my time in the photomode. Of course, I’ll be savouring the game’s story as much as the vistas.

There’s a lot to look forward to, with two excellent offerings during an otherwise quiet August. I’ll have more tomorrow.

The Triple Two

One of the major upsides of having a blog with virtually no readership (sorry if you’re the one person who reads this, I swear: you count in my eyes) is that if I forget to post for almost two weeks, nothing happens.

Anyway, I’m back. Again. Haha.

Yesterday was a big day in footballing news. Neymar was sold to PSG for €222 million. Yep. I find this scary and amazing.
While I’m a footballing fan, I’m no expert, and my opinion here means little. I do think this is ridiculous and exorbitant. I worry about world football and what this rapid inflation means for it. Player prices and salaries have skyrocketed. I have as much economical nous as a mole in a hole, but even I can see this doesn’t seem sustainable.

Frankly, €222 million (it’s over R3.5 billion, just in case any of my fellow South Africans were wondering) is more than I can fully comprehend. Yes, I understand the number 222. I understand a million. When you put 222 millions together, then my brain reckons you’ve gone ’round the bend. Come on.

This is where I make one of my unwelcome analogies between two things I love. Having caught up on gaming history over recent years, I learnt about the gaming crash of the 1980s. Keeping this in mind, I worry that football might see a similar crash. If you follow the history of football, you can see from the very beginning the amounts of money in professional football were terrifyingly high. It’s just an interesting thought, because I have no idea where this will lead. With even the prices of average players reaching ridiculous levels, how can this be maintained?

Kyle Walker for £50 million was an abomination, but it was merely indicative. We can blame the Premier League’s TV money, but I don’t think that’s the only thing to blame.

Anyway, let me venture back from things I have little right to speak about. Neymar is a good player, PSG might very well have bought him at a bargain in a relative sense, but it doesn’t change the fact that they just spent what is objectively more money than most of us will ever see in our lives.

In other news, the gaming world continues to excite and we’ll be coming off the “Summer Slump”, which was surprisingly eventful this year. Lawbreakers and Hellblade are two notable releases next week. I’m looking forward to both, so I’ll provide feedback on those when I can.

I played the Lawbreakers beta over last weekend, and the game looks promising. The skill curve is high, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of learning the classes. Class-based shooters are easily one of my favourite genres. It’s inevitable that people compare things to more popular things, so unfortunately Lawbreakers has been saddled with the Overwatch-like label. One I personally resent, because of my numerous issues with Blizzard’s over-hyped hero shooter. I think those thoughts are for another day.

On its own merit, Lawbreakers follows a familiar formula for class-based arena shooters, with class-specific abilities that rely on cool-downs. What I love about it, however, is the fact that the game throws you in the deep end. No hand-holding. It can be tough, and it will require a combination of skill, reflexes, and strategy. But let me stop gushing now, and leave that for the full release.

Until next time.