Dec 15, 2017 Last Updated 3:01 PM, Dec 14, 2017

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Colt Kortekaas

Colt Kortekaas

Colt has always been a PC gamer first and foremost. His grandfather worked as a supervisor for the city mechanic's shop, and he would always bring home new computers and bits from his friend in the tech department. Where most of Colt's friends cut their teeth in the gaming world in the arms of Nintendo or Sony, he got his first taste with Commander Keen, Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure, and even Doom (when he could sneak it in). So it continued until he got a computer of his own, and with it a shiny new copy of Age of Empires. Ever since, his love of real time and turn based strategy has never waned. These days, that love shares a place in his heart with a wide swath of different games across almost every conceivable genre, from first person shooter to MMORPG, but he always return to my strategy roots. When he's not burying his head in games and gaming content he like to work on art and teach himself to program.

Solstice Chronicles: MIA comes to the table with a compelling horde-onslaught management experience, solid technical and audiovisual fundamentals, and a passable story. What it might lack in graphical splendor it makes up for in raw, mechanical fun, and emergent desperation as you fight to stay one step ahead of the endless mutant tide. Bring a friend if you can, and buckle up, because it’s a hectic ride.

Gamers will talk about Pyre for a good while. Vivid visuals pair well with energizing audio, and both complement the subtle, mechanical gameplay; Pyre, a stunning package,provides with aplomb a depth of strategy not found in some AAA titles, and couches the experience in an engrossing narrative. Supergiant Games’ strongest showing to date, Pyre is a must play, a delight that can’t be recommended highly enough.

In Starsector, Fractal Softworks has created a solid title that stands out in what is becoming more and more a saturated genre. While longtime space-shooter fans will find much that rings familiar, Starsector’s unique and polished take on sci-fi space-shooter economics, combined with frantic battles, strong fleet command options, and an effective character progression, set this title apart.

No70: Eye of Basir is an ambitious title; while the visuals and audio are noteworthy, in the critical areas of story and gameplay, Basir is passable, not exceptional. The brief plot explores, then seems to abandon, what appeared to have been a key plot point, and, at times, it’s a bit unclear who your character even is. Issues with performance and geometry clipping, combined with some sloppy foliage and prop placement, occasionally break immersion: No70: Eye of Basir is a flawed gem with some good facets.

Perception features  an unique narrative thread, though it isn’t ground-breaking. Claustrophobic at times, Perception is at once elegant and creepy, but the title’s own core mechanic defangs any deeper sense of dread or terror it might have achieved. Perception sits comfortably in a casual gray area in terms of puzzles and story, but it offers up some solid voice work and unique, ethereal visuals. Horror fans seeking something novel, though not panic inducing, may find it worth a look.

Not all efforts in nostalgia end in success, but with Nex Machina, Housemarque has crafted a fast and fun twin-stick shooter with crisp visuals and challenging gameplay. Flawed only by a problematic mouse adaptation, Nex Machina is a solid execution of a gaming genre staple that promises long nights with guns blazing (instead of sleep).

With sparse environments that burst into color as the action unfolds, solid level design, and a low hand-holding, high satisfaction difficulty curve, Gorescript is already a title worth picking up, but with the fast-paced, visceral combat of its early nineties inspirations and the tight, responsive controls of a modern engine, this release becomes the rare homage of spirit over form that understands what made the arcade FPS of yesteryear great, and adds only the modern amenities that make it better. Definitely worth a try.

Black Desert Online comes to the table with an intricate character sculpting tool, gorgeous graphical presentation, and a nuanced, exciting combat system overlying a less immediately apparent, but very unique, sandbox-style resource management simulation. Those looking for a rich narrative, complex or groundbreaking PvE questing, or highly unique monster design may be disappointed, but those seeking a mechanically rich, visually striking MMO will find themselves at home.

Starpoint Gemini Warlords is a fine title, though it’s not without the occasional rough edge. Solid gameplay, with smooth controls, is hampered by a frustrating camera, but an interesting (albeit sometimes compromising) mix of single-ship combat and 4X civilization management, and great graphics, seal the deal.

While I’m hard pressed to say the $25.00 price tag is something it lives up to at the current level of graphical and audio polish, I can see the mechanical strength of the title making it worth the investment for a particular sort. At the very least, I would certainly count myself among them.

Helldivers™ might be the most enthralling game I have had the joy to play since Space Engineers (for very different reasons, of course). To put it shortly, this is a very strong title with incredible, innovative gameplay elements, solid multiplayer, and a smooth yet visceral game-feel to rival the best in the business.