Campo Santo’s Firewatch made it to the top of quite a lot of Game of the Year lists back in 2016. As always, I’m a little late to the party, but here’s my quick and dirty Firewatch review.
Firewatch is a first person, mystery adventure game. Released in 2016 – like we’ve already established – it raised quite a few eyebrows, and developer Campo Santo got a lot of awards thrown their way for the effort. One of the things that made Firewatch stand out, was the stunning visuals. The game looks absolutely gorgeous, there’s not doubt about that.
The game sets the scene in the summer of 1989, and you play as Henry, a 40-something who takes a job as a fire lookout in Wyoming. Why would someone want to spend months in the middle of nowhere looking for smoke? In Henry’s case, it’s because he’s having some family issues at home. Reluctant to face these issues, he decides to escape into the woods instead. Very mature, Henry!
But he is not the only fire lookout in the area. On arrival in his tower, Henry is hailed on his walkie-talkie by Delilah, who is working in one of the other towers. They start talking, and after a few days it gets very friendly, as in “don’t-forget-that-you’re-married-Henry”-friendly. But what happens in the middle of the Wyoming wilderness stay in the Wyoming, right? Not when they discover someone is listening in on their conversations, writing down everything they’re saying.
Dum, dum, duuuuum!
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Welcome to the quiet apocalypse. Here’s my quick The Long Dark review.
The Long Dark is a first-person survival video game developed by Canadian Hinterland Games. Despite the survival genre being amazingly popular, this is my first real go at a survival game. Back in 2012, I dipped my toes in DayZ, which was one of the genre-defining titles, but it didn’t sit too well with me.
Most of the popular survival games are multiplayer. Hinterland has decided to take a different approach with The Long Dark, making it singleplayer only. This suits me just fine, because multiplayer stresses me out. I prefer to wrestle with fairly predictable NPCs, instead of having to worry about other players bashing my head in for the lulz.
The Long Dark features three game play modes: Story, survival, and challenges. So far, I’ve only played the story mode – Wintermute – for about 12 hours, and I’ve not touched the survival mode, or any of the challenges. So this is basically a review of game’s story mode, and not even the entire story mode. After 12 hours, I’ve got the feeling I’m roughly 2/3 through. That might, or might not be the case, through. At any rate, 12 hours of entertaining gaming is quite good value for money. And there are still the two other game modes to explore when I’ve finished Wintermute.
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Do you hear that? The open roads of Euro Truck Simulator 2 are calling.
When I was a kid, I saw the Kris Kristofferson movie “Convoy” with my dad. Kristofferson stars as the truck driver Martin “Rubber Duck” Penwald, and the movie tells the dramatic story of Rubber Duck and other trucker’s vendetta against an abusive sheriff, the comradery among the truckers, and, of course, big trucks. Huge, 18-wheeler rigs speeding through Arizona dessert. I was blown away by “Convoy”, and there was no doubt in my mind. I was going to be a truck driver when I grew up.
But life wanted things differently. I’m born with an eye condition that make it illegal for me to operate heavy machinery like airplanes, helicopter – and big rigs. I can still remember when the eye doctor told me this. For him, it was just another footnote in his otherwise normal day. For me, it was like getting all my hopes and dreams for the future ruined in the blink of an eye.
But now, 30 odd years later, with the help of Euro Truck Simulator 2 by Czech developer SCS Software, I can finally live my dream of driving those massive trucks across the continent. And there’s no risk of me running over pedestrians because my eyes are all over the place.
Euro Truck Simulator 2: Embarking from Stavanger, Norway, with some very heavy cargo.
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In PlayWay‘s job simulator 911 Operator you answer phone calls. How can that possibly be entertaining?
You might remember the adventure game slash job simulator This is the Police by Belarusian developer Weappy Studio. I reviewed the game late last year, and while it was interesting for a while, it started to feel like a chore after a few hours. This is the Police had two major gameplay elements. You managed resources as a police dispatcher by day, and growing your retirement slush fund by night. Now Polish developer PlayWay has taken police dispatcher element of This is the Police, and turned it into a game of its own; 911 Operator.
911 Operator builds further upon the basic features of This is the Police’ basic dispatcher mini-game. You’re managing all three branches of the emergency services: The police, the fire department, and the ambulance service. You also have to handle vehicles, staff and equipment, assign teams, and make sure the teams have the equipment they need to deal with every situation effectively. Through your 12 hour work shift, you have to use your available units as effectively as possible, while juggling both reported incidents and incoming 911 calls.
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“I love my job” is what I would have written if reviewing video games was something I did for a living, and INSIDE was my current assignment.
Danish developer Playdead entered the indie scene with their puzzle-based side scroller LIMBO on Xbox Live Arcade in 2010. I reviewed it the year after, giving it my very exclusive two thumbs up. Since the release of LIMBO, Playdead has porting the game to no less than 9 other platforms, firmly squeezing every last potential out of that poor kid.
Last year, the company returned with a brand new game: INSIDE. Not only does the game confirm Playdead’s love for ALL CAPS titles, and young, male protagonists. It also shows that they are still very, very good at making puzzle-based games.
INSIDE somehow managed to fly completely below my radar. It wasn’t until Steam’s algorithms decided that it was time for me to buy something new that I realized it existed. And for once, Steam hit a home run with their recommendation.
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