Dystopian gaming picks

Dystopian gaming this month…

New tech arrives in Ortegaland in the form of a Playstation 5 and here are just three of the things I’ve been enjoying checking out, both new and old…

Days Gone has seen a renaissance, thanks to the immediately noticeable increase in frame rate going from a PS4 standard to a PS5. I’d forgotten how effective the atmospheric worldbuilding is in this zombiefest-meets-Sons Of Anarchy story-heavy open-worlder which, unlike a lot of the million zombie games out there, features somewhat less clunky dialogue and an engagingly uncomplicated take on the macho everyman main character.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition – simply the best rendition of every space-opera trope ever created in computer game form has returned to my screen with a much-needed update to the graphics and some of the clunkier aspects of its aging gameplay. I last played the ME trilogy on the Xbox 360, and was two-thirds of the way through a run of the whole thing on Hardcore mode when my old hard drive gave out.

It’s now a must for me to get through this remake and get that missed achievement, though the irony of buying a cutting-edge console to then play a game from 2007 isn’t lost on me. But who cares with a story universe this well-crafted just waiting to be experienced again? Also reminds just how many of the tropes ME does so well made it into my very own book, The Kassini Division.

Arizona Sunshine cover

Switching to PC VR again for my final instalment, where I’ve been enjoying another, more tongue-in-cheek, zombie game in the form of VR shooter-adventure Arizona Sunshine. The game had me at the very first scene, as you wake up to see the zombified head of your former companion roll into your hideout, whereupon your character cheerfully shrugs off this macabre turn of events as just another day in zombie America.

I can’t recommend it enough if you want to spend a couple of hours spinning around on the spot with your dual-wielded VR controllers held like a lifeline in panicking hands.

There’s only so much VR I can handle in one sitting, but Sunshine’s shambling corpse attacks from 360 degrees (name of my sex tape, etc) kept me coming back for three or four hours, culminating in the terrifying experience of being trapped in a deserted shack surrounded by half-spent mags as the zombies kept streaming in the front door.

I will say it’s a bit more of a room-scale game than I have space for, though – I tend to bounce off the walls of my den with that one more than say, Vox Machinae, which is the seated low-tech mech shooter I also put some time into.

I’ve only completed the tutorials and I think it’s a multiplayer PvP thing in the main, but of the two similar games I’ve played it’s definitely the most worthy, as its burning desert landscapes and chunky weapons are pure Robot Jox shlock mixed nicely with the oil-and-dirt veneer of the Millennium Falcon or perhaps the more relevant, recent iteration of BattleTech on PC. 

Either way, it’s always been on my wishlist to play in VR from inside the cockpit of a mechanical dreadnought with an overheating plasma cannon, so that’s that one ticked off.

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