40 Games / 40 Nights: Week 3

November 1, 2020
FEATURES

With the release of the PlayStation 5 on the horizon, I got to thinking about my enormous backlog of games on the current generation. Therefore, I thought I’d set myself a challenge. 40 games in 40 nights. Can I do it? I’m not sure. I’ll have fun trying though!

40 Games / 40 Nights has made it to its third week. We’re getting there. Only 2 and a half weeks left of this experiment. I’ve attempted to claw myself back into contention for doing this with a solid week of new games added to the list.

Another six games were covered this week, which is still slightly below average. However, I finally feel like some headway is being made. Plus, I even beat a couple of games this week, which felt pretty fulfilling. So, let’s get to it.


Inside

Inside has been in my ‘pile of shame’ for years at this point. Developed by Danish indie studio Playdead – they of Limbo fame – the team’s second effort may have actually managed to top what they achieved with their debut. 

Everything about Inside is executed perfectly: the atmosphere, the environmental storytelling, the puzzles and the moment to moment gameplay is fantastic. Honestly, having now finished the game, I’m ashamed that it’s taken me this long to play it.

At just over three hours long, it’s a wonderfully compact experience too. No section outstayed its welcome and it also wasn’t nearly as punishing as its predecessor, making for an all-round more enjoyable experience. Everyone should play this game.

Injustice 2 

Let it be known that I am abysmal at fighting games. Learning (and remembering) strings of combos has never been my strong suit and likely never will be. However, I do love a good superhero story and, having heard for a long time how good the campaign mode was — and in spite of my better judgement — I decided to pick up Injustice 2

Gameplay-wise, it’s great. There’s a lot of depth here and every character plays differently, but even a novice like me could pull off cool moves relatively easily. Coming from the team behind Mortal Kombat, it also boasts the same hard-hitting combat style, with every move feeling like it connected just as expected.

My incredible lack of fighting game skill aside, I ended up having a lot of fun with Netherrealm’s DC Comics-based fighter. Picking up directly after the events of Injustice: God’s Among Us, this legitimately dark take on the DC Universe and its cast of characters is immediately enthralling. Sure its twists and turns are pretty predictable if you’ve ever watched a comic book movie, but it’s better than Batman vs Superman. 

If you’re a superhero fan, you should absolutely play this, just for the story alone. If you’re a fighting game fan, even better. Injustice 2 doesn’t pull any punches (sorry!). It’s just been added to the PlayStation Now catalog, too.


Assassin’s Creed: Origins

On paper, I should love Assassin’s Creed: Origins. I’m fascinated with Ancient Egypt and I’ve been a huge fan of the Assassin’s Creed franchise since the beginning. However, there’s something about Origins that just isn’t clicking. 

I’m not sure whether it’s the game's RPG-focused systems, its clunky feeling combat or even other nitpicky things like frequent audio issues that are putting me off. Something just isn’t right. And after a few hours, I’m not sure I can carry on with this one. What’s more, it’s making me question whether later games in the series like the critically acclaimed Assassin's Creed Odyssey or the forthcoming Viking-em-up Valhalla are worth my time. 

I don’t usually ask for comments until the end but, in this case, I need your advice. If I’m not enjoying Origins, will I like the other games better? Let me know!


Rayman Legends

Speaking of Ubisoft games that I’m not enjoying as much as their predecessors, we have Rayman Legends. A truly beautiful game using the brilliant UbiArt Framework, the sequel to the excellent Rayman Origins — a game that I poured hours into on many a commute on PlayStation Vita — just doesn't do enough new to justify me clearing more than a few of its worlds.

Rayman Legends just hasn’t been able to recapture what made Origins so special. Alas, with Michel Ancel leaving the games industry earlier this year, it seems like we won’t get another one of these. I’d love to see how sharp and inventive a Rayman game in this style on next-generation consoles could be.


Hitman

You know when you’re not quite caught up in the zeitgeist and a game just passes you by? That’s me with Hitman. Agent 47’s return in 2016 was a surprise hit upon its release and the episodic format adopted by IO Interactive kept the game on the lips of the press for months after its release. Despite being a huge fan of the games in the PS2 generation — especially Blood Money — it’s not until now that I’ve ventured back into this super stealthy, often ridiculous, puzzle box of death.

Stepping back into Agent 47’s famous suit and tie felt incredibly comfortable too. The deliberate and restrained gameplay is familiar, but with enough quality of life improvements to have it meet modern standards. I’m also just as impatient a Hitman player as I have always been, which was nice to discover.

The biggest difference here that will likely keep me coming back time and again is just how many options 47 has at his disposal. The other games always felt very open, but this is something else entirely. I’m looking forward to seeing this one through if possible.


Deadpool

From the stoic and silent type to the merc with a mouth. Playing Deadpool’s first (and last, at the time of writing) solo video game was more a feat of morbid curiosity than anything else. 

Considering how video game friendly the Marvel anti-hero is — he’s a heavy quipping, fourth-wall breaking, one man arsenal with regenerating health — Deadpool is a very basic, linear and ultimately mediocre video game. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be though.

High Moon Studios may not have managed to capture all the over-the-top action you’d expect from Deadpool, they have captured the spirit of the character really well. Nolan North plays the leading man very well and the commitment to putting the typically sarcastic, crude and ludicrous voice of Deadpool into every aspect of the game’s story and dialogue is commendable. 

It’s that characterisation that actually kept me playing longer than the first couple of levels. Had it not been for that and for the fact that, on a lower difficulty, the game is ridiculously easy to play, I’d have likely bowed out before now. Finishing it, however, may be another question entirely.

                                                                                                       ***

So, week 3 was fairly mixed. The brilliance of Inside and the surprising quality of Injustice 2 meant that we started well, but there may have been a reason to leave some of these games lying dormant. I’ve seen the list for the next week and I’ve got a feeling I’ll fare much better.

How are your backlogs looking as we head into the new generation? Are they as bad as mine? Let us know in the comments!

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Ant Barlow

Started with the PlayStation, now I'm here... with a PlayStation. Once skipped school to play the Metal Gear Solid demo repeatedly. I love stories big and small. Trophy hunter. Recent VR convert. Probably a hipster.