Archive - Show of the Week
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The original BioShock is 10 years old this weekend. Show of the Week celebrates a decade of this influential shooter and also, in the spirit of Rapture's reckless genetic meddling, the most monstrous missteps by videogame geneticists.
Far Cry 5 is back on the discussion table this week, as we talk about the elements it has taken from previous Far Cry games, such as outposts, vehicles and a charismatic villain. It also continues the series' focus on animal companions with Boomer, a trusty hound who is the latest in a long line of videogame Good Dogs, as we discover later in the Show.
Agents of Mayhem is the new game from Saints Row developer Volition, and stars a cast of agents causing a great deal of mayhem, hence the name. You might think that causing loads of noisy chaos would be detrimental to a career as a secret agent but then they're all doing it in videogames, as you will find later in the show.
Fortnite is a co-op survival shooter game split into two phases: the construction phase, in which you build and fortify a base, and the defence phase in which you run around shooting monsters that are attacking said base. The idea originally sprung up from an Epic Games game jam, as is often the case with ingenious game ideas, as we discover later in the show.
The Destiny 2 beta is live RIGHT NOW, giving future guardians a look at Bungie's much anticipated sequel ahead of its September release date. In it, you can jump into a game of multiplayer, take on a strike mission, and play the first few story missions, in which we discover what is happening to The Traveler, the massive orb that is the latest in a proud videogame tradition of mysterious space spheres, as we discover later in the show.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is like Battle Royale: The Game, dropping 100 players from a plane into an open world then seeing who survives the longest. Among its many attractive features are a shrinking map that forces players closer together, driveable vehicles, and the phrase 'winner winner chicken dinner', which is sadly just a figure of speech and not a genuine hot meal. There are plenty of other actual delicious chicken dinners in games, at least, as we discover later in the show.
In Dead by Daylight one player is a supernatural serial killer while four others are regular chumps trying to not get murdered in a series of arcane trials. In these, the killer must sacrifice victims to the mysterious trans-dimensional Entity for which they work. That's just one of the eldritch abominations you don't want to wind up as your manager, as Show of the Week discovers.
Hope County in Montana is the setting for Far Cry 5, and it might once have been a relaxing vacation spot, but thanks to doomsday cult Eden's Gate and their psychotic leader Father Joseph Seed, things have taken a turn for the murdery. At least you can still go fishing and, as we find out later in the show, fishing in videogames is infinitely better than fishing in real life.
The recently announced Evil Within 2 continues the story of the first game, which revolved around STEM: a system that allowed people to enter a network of linked minds. Our first question is why people would want to, as it appears to be all rivers of blood and barbed wire zombies. We have other questions as well though, as you'll discover later in the show. Beware spoilers for the original Evil Within.
Middle Earth: Shadow of War is the sequel to sleeper hit Shadow of Mordor, that once again sees you play as a ranger called Talion who has the soul of legendary elf lord Celebrimbor living inside him. If early impressions are correct, it's shaping up to be very good. This breaks with the tradition of faintly rubbish Tolkien games, as we find out later in the show.
Friday the 13th: The Game is based on the classic slasher movie franchise in which unhappy campers try not to be killed by supernatural ice hockey enthusiast Jason Voorhees. Jason is as unstoppable a murder juggernaut as ever here, but other horror villains have suffered serious nerfing in being adapted for videogames. Pity them in Show of the Week.
In reality-bending thriller Get Even you play an amnesiac inmate in a dilapidated asylum with no knowledge of who he is or what he has done. So you try to piece together your past in a place where you can't trust what you see. That's not the only time reality has taken a vacation in videogames, though, as we discover later in the show.
Superhero fighting game Injustice 2 is out this week, continuing the story of Injustice: Gods Among Us, in which Superman killed his wife Lois, their unborn son, and everyone in Metropolis, after being drugged by the Joker. Naturally, he's a bit peeved, which makes it all the more baffling that a bunch of no-power scrubs are trying to take him on, as we discover later in the Show.
The Surge is a sci-fi action role-playing game in which robots have gone rogue and started attacking humans. I don't know why anyone is surprised, in my videogame experience, robots do very little but attack humans, as Mike discovers later in the show.
Prey tells the story of Morgan Yu, a scientist on a space station overrun by mimics: horrible scuttling shadow monsters that disguise themselves as ordinary household objects to trick you into getting your face near them. That's far from the only time we've been tricked by shapeshifters in videogames, as we recollect later in the show.
Outlast 2 follows investigative journalist Blake Langermann who is investigating the murder of a woman in the Arizona desert when he runs into a cult, and things go all Outlast 1. Blake does ignore all the warning signs to get out of there immediately, though, such as spooky crows, weird religious art, and corpses, so this is partially his own doing. This is the case with many other videogame heroes, we discover later in the show.
Cities Skylines, the city sim that's not Sim City, has finally arrived on Xbox One, and we are raring to explore strange new roads, to seek out new nightlife and new specialisations, and to boldly create light residential zones where no mayor has created light residential zones before. But we're not going in totally blind - we've learned a lot about how not to build a city from videogames, as Mike learns later in the show.
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition brings the acclaimed 2011 shooter to Xbox One with prettier graphics, all its previous DLC, and a new game mode called Overkill. It's a great chance to get reacquainted with Bulletstorm hero Grayson Hunt, although, considering what a total jerk he is, you might be reconsidering spending any more time with him. At least he's in good company, as we find out later in the Show.
Snake Pass is an endearing puzzle platformer, soon to become your favourite game about a Snake that isn't a Metal Gear Solid or running on a Nokia 3310. However, not all snakes are as friendly and amenable to collaboration with hummingbirds as Noodle, the lovable hero of Snake Pass. Show of the Week ponders the serpentine jerks that won't make you say aww, they'll make you say oww, or possibly oww, does anyone know how to suck the venom out of a snakebite because I'm starting to get dizzy here.
Point-and-click adventure Thimbleweed Park takes place in the town of the title: a kooky slice of northwest Americana where a mysterious murder has taken place. Besides harking back to classic adventures such as Maniac Mansion, the game doubles down on nostalgic 1990s appeal by evoking inscrutable TV drama Twin Peaks. Show of the Week inspects the show's lasting influence on pop culture, and the other games Twin Peaks fans might like to try.
Mass Effect Andromeda steps away from the original trilogy to tell a new story with a new cast of characters, and, more importantly, a new planetary rover in which to tootle around: the Nomad. That's important because, unlike the M35 Mako vehicle of Mass Effect 1, the Nomad is a boss. Watch on for five reasons why.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War is the sequel to Tolkien-based hit Shadow of Mordor and whisks us back to the world of epic fantasy battles, bitter personal vendettas and unpronounceable names. The only downside is that anything Lord of the Rings-related instantly reminds us of Boromir actor Sean Bean and the many, many times he's died in various works of fiction. Keep watching for Mr Bean's dyingest videogame moments in this week's Show.
When you discover Lego is releasing a building sandbox game in the style of Minecraft, your first question is probably less "oh cool, when's it coming out" and more "what the ruddy hell took them so long". Lego has been the perfect foundation for a building sandbox game since forever, and it seems crazy that it's taken until future year 2017 for it to arrive on Xbox. As to your second question of "is it any good", Show of the Week has just the gameplay you need to see.
Halo Wars 2 is a Halo game in which instead of controlling one big space soldier, you control lots of little space soldiers from high above the battlefield. It's a real-time strategy game, yes. But aren't strategy games on consoles always terrible? Not always, as we discover in Show of the Week.
Sniper Elite 4 is out this week, bringing with it the sandbox stealth and anatomically rigorous killcams that the series is known for. If you want to succeed at it though, you'd do well to listen to the top sniping tips that we've picked up from other videogames later in the show.
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