This Week in Gaming

This was originally published at The Edge SUSU on October 12th. 

After a succession of high profile releases over the last few weeks, things have cooled down once again, as we get the usual offerings of re-releases and games that you’ve never actually heard of, and that I have to research.

Tuesday kicks things off with a next-gen re-release/port. These things are becoming like the procedural detective shows of gaming, in that, I’ll complain and complain about them, but if a week went by without one, I’d feel kind of lost and uneasy. Still, at least The Talos Principle has never appeared on console before, so its PS4 release is at least justified. The game has been championed by critics the world over as a perfect expression of video games as an art form, thanks to its challenging philosophical questions, and innovative puzzle based gameplay. Players take control of a robot with human-like consciousness, and follow the instructions of a disembodied voice, which promises some kind of enlightenment at the end of the test. An indie gem, with an emphasis on making you think, this one might be a perfect change of pace after all of those action games that have come out recently.

It says something when the two biggest releases of the week are games that have existed for ages. Whilst The Talos Principle only originally came out in 2014, Telltale Games’ Back to the Future: The Game has existed for upwards of three years. Which for modern game publishers, is like a lifetime ago. So we’re now getting a complete collection for the PS4 and Xbox One. The reason/excuse behind this, is that the original film is now 30 years old. The episodic games in question are not though. But whatever. This is still a 30 year anniversary release somehow. Anyway, the game is the usual Telltale affair: 3rd person exploration, puzzle solving, and dialouge trees. As well as this it features several members of the original cast, including Michael J. Fox and Christoper Lloyd. The game is released on 16th October.

Also released on 16th is Tales of Zestiria… I don’t know either. Apparently it’s the fifteenth main entry in the ‘Tales’ series. It looks like a pretty standard JRPG, with party based combat, open world exploration and a baffling narrative. Apparently there’s also an extra emphasis on the “passion of the characters”, whatever the hell that means. My own prejudice aside, it has received acclaim in its native Japan, with its story and characters being praised by many. The game will be available on PS4 and PC.

WRC 5 is yet another title that will be making its way to store shelves on 16th. This one is a rally racer, which focuses (reputedly) on realism and dynamic physics. Central to most of the marketing is the way that driving will be impacted authentically by environmental conditions. For instance, you will have to learn how to fine-tune your vehicle to handle driving in mud or rain. Whilst this is admittedly not a new concept, the focus they seem to be placing upon it, signals that this might be might be more central to gameplay than in most other racers. As well as this, the game offers an abundance of stages and an overhauled career mode. WRC 5 is available on Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita and PC.

There is no genre in all of gaming, that is harder for me to research than the JRPG. Most of the details are too hard to track down, so I apologise if some of these entries come across as a little flippant. That being said, wikipedia tells me that Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance is about revenge. And who am I to dispute wikipedia? Any way, that seems like a safe bet, given the title. Like Tales of Zestiria, this is a tactical RPG, which refines the combat mechanics from the previous games in the series. It supposedly has more of a wacky sense of humour than others games in the genre, which traditionally take quite a melodramatic approach to storytelling. The game is released on PS4 on (you guessed it) 16th October.

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