Future Game Show Reaction

Yesterday we got to witness the Future Games Show from Games Radar, which contained a lot of content and new games to look forward for this generation and the next. This is the first show, where we have seen a lot of games that we’re excited to play. While some continued to give us games that were previously revealed at other events. Here are some of my top picks from the game

The Captain is Dead

For those Board Games enthuasists who can’t meet up with their friends due to the lock down, The Captain is Dead, maybe the best new addition to your collection. Thunderbox Entertainment revealed the digital version of the game which is accompanied by ‘state-of-the-art AI, amazing digital graphics and a bitching synth soundtrack’ (note: this clearly satire). Your ship is boarded by aliens, each of your crew has their own unique which you must use to regain control of your ship. The game will have a top down view and will zoom in on certain sections of the ship as certain actions take place. Having a look at the physical board game, which has some impressive reviews, you have to balance your time for keeping systems online, which keep getting knocked out, defeating the aliens while simultaneously completing your objective. This will be released later this year.

Liberated

Now I love platformers and I love comics, so Liberated has to be here on my list of games the got me excited. Liberated is a platformer that is presented as a Noir comic and it looks awesome. It looks really well presented with missions literally taking place inside the comic pages, the style used just looks phenomenal. Coming with the typical gimics of a comic book with onomatopoeia appearing when you do critical damage and head shots, while the game will have a full voice-over of the narrative. There is a demo currently out on steam while the full game is out on Switch.

Dustborn

Another comic book styled game that I love the look of, is Dustborn. A post apocalyptic game, where you take control of a crew led by the protagonist, Pax, who seems to be some sort of super human. The crew are being hunted down by a military organisation, their motives unknown at this time and they must engage with the last remnants of humanity for their own safety. The developers at Red Thread say that each action has consequences and how you deal with people is important, I feel when this is said it’s not actually the case and the choices are often trivial. The game seems to be going either one of two ways, an open world game, as their is much focus on road trip or a narrative driven game. Dustborn will be coming our way in 2021 on PC and next gen consoles.

Maid of Sker

This next game from Wales Interactive is a survival horror is influenced by Welsh folkore fusing physiological, Gothic and British horror. Based in 1988 you investigate a manor that has all sorts of dark secrets. You must control your breathing and movement in order to maneuver around these creatures, while there are also options of sound-based weapons. Wales Interactive also announced 3 new levels, which won’t effect the level of scare but impact the focus on AI actions and limit the number of saves. Maid of Sker will be coming to all consoles and PC later this year.

Operation Tango

This retro cheesy spy couch co-op looks like it could be a lot of fun. You must take control of either an agent or hacker who must use each others skills to complete the missions. Not much was shown but I do love a good couch co-op so hopefully we’ll see more before the 2021 release.

Kena Bridge of Spirits

Kena Bridge of Spirits was revealed at the PS5 reveal on Thursday but we got an exclusive interview with Michael and Josh Grier, two of developers at Ember Labs. You play as Kena, who is a spirit guide who travels to a forgotten village. She must gather a group of companion called the Rot, who skills will help you investigate the forest, in combat and puzzles. Kena is a story driven action game which focuses on the evil spirits who are corrupting the forest and it’s up to you help free the trapped spirits. In order to do so you must understand what happened in their past life. It looks like this will be a timed-exclusive for the PS5 and maybe coming later in 2020.

Call of the Sea

Another that saw its reveal earlier this year, this time at Xbox Series X event back in May. A first-person narrative driven game set in the South Pacific. You play as Nora, in search of her husband in the 1930s. This looks like a stunning game as you explore an island in the south pacfic, you are limited to the technology of the time but only limited amounts of this tech. Every time I see this game I get a little bit more excited. There’s been no release date as of yet but I look forward to see more in the coming months.

Paradise Lost

Set in an alternate history, where World War II doens’t end in 1945 but rather in the 60s, after the Nazi regime destroy Eastern Europe with a nuclear attack in the hope of stopping the Soviet Union. The Nazis had hope of surviving this destruction through Project Ark, a series of self-sustaining tunnels that will host the Aryan Race. A 12 year old boy, who stumbles upon one of the bunker who goes dark, adventures in. This mystery adventure looks like it going to be a powerful story that’ll make the hairs on your arm stand up and one that truly puts the players in the driving seat. A press release reads: “Your choices will gradually affect the game’s characters, but also its visual style, environment and sound effects”. Paradise Lost will be coming to PS5 and Steam but no official release date is yet to be given.

Disintegration

A debut game from V1 Interactive which blends FPS and real time strategy mechanics. Set in a future where humans struggle to survive so integrate their brains into robots. Disintegration is a multiplayer game, where each player has a crew of 5 and must face off. The players must consider not only their ground crew but also their own Grav Cycle, abilities and weapons. V1 Interactive look like they could be on to something quite unique and I’m certainly excited to find out whether this is the case on June 16.

Conclusion

There were so many games announced yesterday, so I could go through them all but I’ll leave all the trailers below for your own viewing pleasure.

PS5: The Future of Gaming Show Reaction

After a delay Sony have announced some of the new games coming our way for the next generation of PlayStation. Here’s a round up of some of the games that we’re excited for here at UnCapt.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Lloyd: “Well, its a bit obvious we’re going to be excited for this one! I’m a massive Marvel nerd, so this game is right up my alley. I had a brief play of the original, and I was more than impressed with the vast majority of it. It looks stunning, and if the first Spiderman game is anything fo go off, this will only be better. In this game, you, of course, take control of Miles Morales from the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, who has become a fan favourite since his debut back in 2011.

Dale: “YES! YES! YES! YES! I’m a Marvel fan, not as big as Lloyd but I know some stuff. The Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is in my top ten films of all time and introduced me to Myles Morales (I don’t really read the comics, don’t tell Lloyd…). I Loved Myles in the movie, and I’m sure I will love him in the game. It looks stunning and honestly, one of the major selling points of the PS5 for me.

Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart

Lloyd: “Ratchet and Clank is a game so close to my heart. One of my childhood favourites and I can feel this is going to be a driving factor to me grabbing a PS5. It’s crazy how it now looks like a stunning animated film where the duo faces the collapse of reality. There is an exciting dynamic of shifting between different dimensions that I am keen to experience. I love that the world looks to be full of life and it looks to add more charm to a childhood classic.

Dale: “Who? Meh. I never really was into Ratchet and Clank as a kid, doubt I will be now to be honest although the different dimensions look interesting.

Oddworld Soulstorm

Lloyd: “This looks like is could be an intriguing IP and one with potential for a strong narrative. It seems that revaluations and hope are key to the story here, as the protagonist, Abe, must go on an adventure to go and save his people. It seems that this going to have a very emotional story but also some dark humour to lighten the mood up.”

Dale: “I absolutely LOVE the Oddworld games. I’ve only played one or two but I have such fond memories of watching my dad play them on our old PS1 when I was a kid. From what I remember the other games have a great and clever narrative and some humour where you least expect it. A stunning looking game, that holds true to what I remember as a kid. It still holds that “Horror” Factor and it looks like it is going to be packed with symbolism, I love it!”

Little Devil Inside

Lloyd: “At first I thought this was a cartoon rip-off of Monster Hunter but as i watched the trailer more and more, it took shape into what looks like could some awesome gameplay. You have to fight monster using a range of weapons much like Monster Hunter but the story goes much deeper than that. The story seems to focus on the contrast between you, the monster slayer and your master or employers lifestyle, so will be interesting to see the dynamic between those two. “

Dale: “This looks interesting. As Lloyd said about the Monster Hunter vibes… Well, I mean you are hunting Monsters, I like it. It looks to take Monsters a bit more varied than MH, Aknowledging the creepy and obsurd. The employee/employer dynamic is interesting, not like employers to enjoy their lives peacefully whilst employees get the brunt of it aye?”

Deathloop

Lloyd: “In Deathloop, you take control of an assassin who is caught in a constant timeloop and must you must use this your advantage. The gameplay takes clear influence from Dishonoured, while the style reminds us of a little of We Happy Few and it looks like an awesome combination. The crime thriller style just get me really excited.”

Dale: “The premise is pretty interesting. The timeloop does look interesting and the world itself gets me excited to play. I’m loving reading Dystopian books at the moment, so I would love to play more dystopian games. Loving the style and It clearly has a Dishonored vibe, so I’m game.”

Horizon Zero Dawn 2: Forbidden West

Lloyd: “Of course, would it be a PS5 reveal if we didn’t mention this? Horizon Zero Dawn 2 is coming, although i’m yet to play the first yet due to the release date being pushed back on PC. This series just looks phenomenal in everything from the action to the setting. You’ll continue to play Aloy as she continues her journey west, meeting more creatures and enemies to fight your way through.”

Demon’s Soul

Dale: “I was expecting a From Software announcement. Although I’ve never actually played Demon’s souls, I know there is a huge following around it. I must say though, the world looks absolutely crazy! This would be a definate pick up for me. What confuses me though, is that in a post they state that ‘Players can choose between two graphics modes while playing: one focused on fidelity and one focused on frame rate’.

Why? Surely the console is powerful enough to do both? No?”

Console Design

We’ve finally got a look at how the console looked

Lloyd: “It looks like a wi-fi router, so I’m expecting the best wi-fi speed on a gaming console ever. It certainly looks different, not sure on how I feel about it yet, quite clearly a modern design. I think it’s going to be something that grows on me in time”

Dale: “You know, the more I look at it. The more i dislike it. The fact that it appears you can’t place it horizontally is a big nope from me. But we will see, I’m sure the exclusives with outway the… strange design.”

That’s it from us here at UnCapt, what did you think? Were you impressed? And will you be picking up the PS5 on release?

Full list of release games here: Playstation Blog

Time for brands to put their money where their mouth is

On Tuesday 2nd June, Blackout Tuesday hit social media by storm and video game companies were some of those involved in the movement. Studios, Publisher and other companies such as ActivisionBlizzard, Ubisoft and EGX. were some of those who spoke out.

While other companies such as YouTube and Ubisoft stated, they were going to donate to the causes. Others such as PlayStation and Activation postponed presentation and launches to “allow more important voices to be heard” (PlayStation). Despite these many were criticized for just being words. Many went against what they have done and said in the past. Blizzard, for example, suspended Ng’ Blitzchung’ Wai Chang after he showed support for the protest in Hong Kong last year and banned three players following for the same reason.

It is great to see these companies support the Black Lives Matter movement as they extend the reach of these messages. Their message is reaching an audience who may have tried to ignore them or show people that there is support. Not only this, but it ‘normalizes’ the conversations. Large companies have an adequately large scale of influence and can help to encourage people to discuss these issues. However, it’s too soon to give the companies a round of applause until they show commitment in the long run.

Upper Echelon Games rightly said that companies don’t care about these movements or the people involved, often going for the path of least resistance. This statement is very much the case; companies were reluctant to get involved with the Black Live Matter movements back in 2016 when it started. Primarily due to its controversy with right-wing political parties and media often brandishing terms such as “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” in response. While companies often change their social media profiles pictures to represent the pride colours in their logos, in all countries except for the Middles East or other countries with an open prejudice towards the LGBT+ community. 

Blizzards ruling openly state that they don’t wish their participants to act on these issues, specifically in Hearthstone ruling their prize total can be reduced to zero.

Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player’s prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other remedies which may be provided for under the Handbook and Blizzard’s Website Terms.”

Hearthstone Grandmaster Asia Pacific Rulings

We need to hold these companies accountable for these statements. We need them to take actions. Companies need to start to diversify their workforces, ensuring that all are given a fair chance and not just in the near future but in the long run as well. There is no quota for a diverse workplace, there are no stats which can be brought to show how diverse it is at your place, there is no completion. This is ongoing. These games or employees shouldn’t be treated any differently to any other, just by simply promoting or hiring companies will be doing the right thing, there doesn’t need to be an award ceremony for doing the right thing. Just offering everyone the same opportunity naturally a diverse place should go ahead. But hiring different people is just one part of the puzzle.

We need to know build for a future where diverse workplaces are commonplace. Companies should use this time to not only looking at their diversity rate but their community reach programs. There needs to be more encouragement for the younger generation to see that there is a place for them in any industry they may dream of being part off. If companies continue to hire diverse workforces in the future, we will see children will see that they too can join these industries and this will become almost second nature in the world.

There is already some fantastic work being doing, GamePad, an annual event in London, whose focus is to bring communities together. Mayamada co-founder, Lao, gave a great speech at EGX last year discussing what GamePad offer. They offer volunteer positions to people, supporting the development of their social skills and helping fighting isolation, looking to make gaming something for everyone to get excited about, new and experienced gamers. Mayamada are Manga Anime artists, so it goes to show that anyone can start these types of events. GamePad is sponsored by Nintendo, Ubisoft and Bandai Namco Games but this is something that is needed on a consistent scale. Conventions like EGX and E3 have a focus on game development which is great but having a focus on community development can encourage these younger generations to get more hands-on in the industry.

I honestly believe that if every company, not just the small, could promote games by diverse developers, hire various people for their workforces, get involved with a range of different communities and continue to do this in the long run, we could see a completely different industry landscape soon. This is the next step from the social media statements and posts for all companies large and small. We need to see lasting change and we need it too start now!

Why we need more black characters in Video Games

Video games provide a great voice for people, experiencing the world behind someone else’s eyes but do we have enough diversity in the people telling these stories?

Last night I finally broke my silence on this situation going at the moment. Of course, as a blogger that talks about video games, I originally wanted to do a post about some of my favourite black protagonists. Recalling some from memory, the only ones I seem to remember are C.J. (GTA: San Andreas), and Aveline de Grandpre (Assassin’s Creed: Liberations). Even doing research, I found that most black characters are relegated to support roles, playable characters in fighting and FPS games, depicted as criminals or the colour of their skin is changed to become an alien. I can’t begin to imagine how much that sucks. But I do recall, getting frustrated when I couldn’t have anything hair that resembles my own but that is minor in comparison. Growing up in a mixed-race family, I’ve been brought up pretty colourblind. Always told to never see colour in any situation, so the problem of representation has never really affected me, I just simply play the game. In recent years though as I’ve educated myself and gained more knowledge of my lack of understanding, I’ve started to see the issues. So my question is, do we need to see more black characters, specifically protagonists? Do we need to see more diversity throughout video game?

We are seeing an increase in games that support character creation. So you can be whoever you want, right? But the NPCs in these games don’t react to you based on the colour of your skin. Events in the past show it’s that we are treated differently because of the colour of our skin. We are not truly getting the same experience a person of that colour will receive during any situation. If I was to play Fallout 3, for example, entering the Brotherhood’s citadel, I would be treated the exact same whether I was Black, White, Hispanic or Asian. Unless I actively chose to act differently. There is a metaphor in how John Edan wants to commit genocide to all those inflicted by the radiation. This is right at the end of the game. It’s not prevalent throughout the game and therefore lack the experience. One that does a brilliant job of this, though, is Skyrim. Here race does matter. The way other races speak to you is different dependent on this, and this is throughout the game. This can be relayed to the real world, but does it have the same impact as experiencing life as a black person? Could devs do what Skyrim has done and put into a more relevant situation?

The Gray Quarter. Skyrim’s version of the Ghettos where Dark Elves lives in poverty and disease.

Narrative driven games could excel at this, further educating people who don’t experience discrimination. In video games, the player has control of the character at the tip of their fingers. Imagine a game that treats you harsher, doesn’t offer the same opportunities based on the colour of your skin. It would take a brave game dev to do this. But it’s uncomfortable. I’ve recently read Why I’m No Longer Talk To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. Even being mixed race, it was uncomfortable to read. But it opened my eyes to so many problems that excited in the modern-day. While films like 12 Years a Slave and Django almost had me in tears as I witnessed the complete injustice to these people simply based on this notion of skin colour. There is a delicate balance here, though, we shouldn’t punish people for picking another skin colour by making the game harder. I believe that would cause resentment. But carefully selected parts of the game and interactions with other characters that show the injustices that black people suffer every day.

But it’s not just the experiences that need to be shown, but also the depiction of these characters needs to change. I’m not saying that all black or other characters now need to be saints, but there needs to be more variety. White characters can range from hero to villain, bank robbers to a paramedic, so why can’t black people. There are a few, Grace Walker from Wolfenstein 2, Captain Anderson from Mass Effect all ranging from political activist to captain in the navy but these are far and few between. We need more. We need more variety. Through this variety, we can see prejudices towards groups of people diminish. As we see through video games and other media that black people aren’t just merely criminals or side characters to the narrative of the world.

We are seeing more diverse rosters in FPS and fighting games. But is it enough?

We are seeing improvement, a lot of the great characters representing black or other people have been introduced in the last five to ten years. Many of which are side and playable characters with a host of games featuring them including Star Wars: Fallen Jedi, Wolfenstein 1 & 2, Apex Legends and Overwatch. However, it’s not enough. It’s cool having more diverse characters in games. Still, we need their stories to matter and to be relevant to really show the differences in the world. We need these characters to matter, not just becoming a side note in someone else’s story. Most of all, we need them to become playable. Video games do such a great job of allowing you to experience someone else’s life through their eyes. I believe that could impact the world on another level, it could help people even slightly understanding even if they’ll fully not. It’s also another platform to project the voices of black people.

How do we get about making these changes? We need people that can portray their experiences onto these games, which means more diversity in the workplace. This is something that is going to take a while to change, but it’ll be great to see a greater variety of stories in the future. Listening to other people stories and experiences as well is a great way to gain insight. In terms of telling a fully fleshed out story. Still, you may be able to pick out enough to make some exciting side characters of different ethnicity, sexuality and such. But it’ll help enhance the world or narrative you are creating. While educating and learning about the world around is another way to help you strengthen your worlds, while simultaneously gaining a better understanding of real-life issues.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Invades PC and Consoles Holiday 2020

Yesterday, Ubisoft pretty awesome live stream leading up to a stunning piece and now we are treated with the cinematic trailer!

Ubisoft announced the latest entry in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Valhalla on Wednesday with a very extensive 4-hour long through a live-stream drawing with BossLogic. The stream ended with a beautiful piece of the game’s new hero surrounded by some stunning scenery where naval and hand-to-hand battles take place. I guess with the cancel of E3 this year and other conventions, publishers have to get creative, and boy did Ubisoft do it hear. Eccentric although entertaining. Today we had the Cinematic Reveal which announced that game would be released later this year. The standard, gold, ultimate and collectors edition will all be available to pre-order for PS4, Xbox One, and PC immediately.

This brutal and bloody cinematic trailer confirms that Valhalla will take place during the reign of King Alfred the Great (886 AD – 899 AD), the narrator. What starts as a romanticised introduction to the Vikings life it quickly turns as King Alfred utters, “The time has come to speak to them in a language they will understand”, all too unhappy about the invasion. War is coming, and Eivor must take a stand with his friends and family to defeat the Anglo-Saxon army.

Thoughts

I’ve got to say I’m excited. The Vikings are an era that I’m fond of, and Norse mythology is right up my street, it could be an exciting time ahead for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Reading through the Ubisoft store, it looks like we’re in for more RPG elements, more sea battles, and more gruesome hand-to-hand combat. If you read my previous AC post: The Beginning of the End, you will know I wasn’t a fan of Odyssey. Due to its size, it just felt empty at times, had little depth in the story, and the characters were flat. I still haven’t touched the game since that post. With reportedly 14 studios working on the title it looks like it could be bigger, but I’m hoping fingers crossed that they fill it with exciting content this time around.

The size of the map is my biggest worry; however, the game taking place in England will have a smaller surface area to deal with and a lot fewer islands thankfully. It is also a place where many settlements were popping up over the place, giving Ubisoft a lot more idea on what they can use within the land. Valhalla adds a settlement-building mechanic that allows you to upgrade buildings and unlock new bonuses. Fingers crossed for York or Jórvík, one of the significant Norse settlement, which I feel that would be a nice touch. This seems to be your clan’s base of operation from which launch attracts on the Saxon armies and fortresses. Claiming their riches and helping expand your influence on England. You can also choose to develop relationships with several of the lords who rule over the divided country to aide you in your quest. Hopefully, these are well developed and realistic and add to the narrative of the game rather than becoming forgettable names.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Assassin vs Templar dynamic works in this invasion, I was hoping for an invasion of England in this game. I would have liked to have seen them take on the monasteries and strip them of their wealth. The monasteries and churches could have been the larger Templar Order within the Catholic Church. However, I don’t think the Assassin Order or the Templar Order will be given their most-known name in Valhalla, as the past two entries have focused on the origin of these two parties. A significant part of the trailer is the Norse warrior seeing Odin leaning on a tree during the battle, so I’m assuming there is some interaction with the Gods in this game. Perhaps part of the Isu. I’m sure Odin, Freyr, Thor, and co. will make a special appearance in the game.

I’m sure changes to the combat will be made, throwing axes look to be replacing the bow, and it seems to be more close combat rather than ranged. The Vikings prided themselves on skill in battle, so I believe that Ubisoft will consider this with the stealth mechanics as well. Odyssey and Origins both allowed you to take manoeuvre quietly around forts and such, I see less focus on stealth in Valhalla and expect Eivor to be a lot more about brute force. Lets not kid ourselves, the previous two entries were far from games where you played as a ‘stealthy assasin’ and that certainly looks the case in Valhalla.

Although I have issues with Odyssey as I do other games, I believe that some of the mechanics introduced in the previous two entries will fit better with the story and Viking setting in Valhalla. Despite this, there is a worry about the size of the game, lack of focus on narrative, and a bad levelling up system creating a bad experience, which was my experience in the previous instalment, valuing quantity over quality. Overall, I’m excited to play this game. Assassin’s Creed always gets me going and the Viking setting has added to that

More information can be found at https://www.ubisoft.com/en-gb/game/assassins-creed/valhalla

Welcome Back Spartan – Halo Reach

Welcome back to Reach, Spartan.

If you have not played Reach and care about the story, then I will warn you, there will be spoilers.

My central console growing up was the Xbox 360. I did play PlayStation 1&2 and countless Nintendo consoles, but the 360 was always something special to me. It gave me access to worlds like Assassins CreedThe Elder Scrolls, Gears of War and many more. But the most important to me, the Halo universe.


Developer: Bungie
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One
Release Date: 2010 (Masterchief collection 2019)


My younger brother, when growing up owned an original Xbox, and we had our first encounter with the Covenant in Halo 2. Fast forward a few years and Halo 3 was probably the most influential game we had ever played. Introducing us to vast amounts of fun in the multiplayer mode and the story just furthered how excellent Master Chief was. Then Halo Reach came along, and I think it was possibly the best Halo to date, sorry Halo 3. Reach presented us with a story in which it wasn’t going to hold our hands, the characters we loved were not going to be safe, and there wasn’t going to be a happy ending. Up until this moment, I don’t think either of us had played a game in which influential characters we cared about died, coldly, without a huge “I’m going out with a bang”. Well, I suppose that would be slightly wrong as the majority of them at least went down with a fight.

To say, as children, we didn’t take the deaths of characters well would be an understatement. I’m looking at you Gears of War 3, you know after that ‘big moment’ in Gears 3, we stopped playing. Yeah, we were that sour when it came to character deaths. We’ve grown out of it. Halo Reach introduced us to the fact that death was an inevitability within these games. I owe so much to the Halo series for the relationship with my brother. Spending hours upon hours playing the campaigns or in the multiplayer mode, we were hitting people with the one-two shotgun-melee combo like it was second nature. Okay, before he mentions it in the comments. Yes. He was better than me. (He will be happy to read that). Much better, but in my defence, he had dumb luck on his side. He could throw a sticky grenade from one side of the map to the other, and stick someone, I still think he would practice them throws all the time. Either that or he was the luckiest person on earth.

Fast forward a few years down the line, close to ten years, I had the opportunity to play through the fantastic campaign again with my wife (Lauren) and a close friend (Lucy). Now, some context, Lauren had never played Halo: Reach, or anywhere past Halo 2. So we decided that a playthrough of all games would be worth it, in chronological order, that meant Reach first.

You join Noble team as the sixth member, sent to get a relay back up and running. Carter, the leader of Noble team abigiously mentions that you are replacing someone that has passed. He states that any “Lone wolf stuff stays behind, we are a team”. This is interesting because before hand, the majority of Halo games were ‘Lone wolf’ style games. The game nods to that and places you in its world, you fight along side and protect Noble team. Upon discovering that the Covenant have attacked Reach, you scramble to defend what you can. We all got instantly stuck into the action, headshots here and there, they never stood a chance against us. But what initially was a defence, turned into a mission to give the galaxy a chance against the Covenant. Reach was, unfortunately, the collateral damage. We had to get Halsey’s secret research onto the Pillar of Autumn quickly, so quickly in fact that we panicked and rushed through as if time were really against us.

“Not going to lie to you lieutenant you’re stepping into some shoes that the rest of the squad would rather leave unfilled.”

Noble One – Carter

What I love about Halo is the ability to have a great story and narrative, while allowing you to have dumb fun with your friends. The hordes of enemies rarely presented much of a challenge, even though we were on heroic (Hard), so we would kill them in stupid ways. The fun became the chemistry between friends, while yes, we were defending a planet and trying to save the world from the Covenant. We were also killing each other, tea-bagging, blowing each other vehicles up and leaving each other to deal with bigger enemies alone. It was fun, okay, no hard feelings, hopefully.

That’s when the first emotional death happens, George. What a hero. Upon boarding a huge Covenant super-carrier, with a device that could destroy it and you in the process. Once you’ve done everything needed on the ship you return to George who has been defending the device, which will not blow on a timer, someone has to stay with it. Instead of fighting and arguing, George picks your character up and throws you into space, helpless. Helplessly falling from the destroyer, you see it detonate a sharp explosion that splits the ship into two, George is gone.

What was devastating as a child, was understandable now. But it still left a sour taste in my mouth, George was an excellent character. We explained to Lauren that ‘Spartans don’t die, they go MIA.’ This phrase did not soften the blow. When more covenant ships appeared over Reach, launching a full-scale invasion. George died, believing he saved Reach, we had to now do our best by him. Our new task is to get a package to a ship fleeing Reach called the Pillar of Autumn. The package, Cortana an AI that will be familiar to all those who have played through the Halo games. Spotting this as a kid was one of the most remarkable moments in gaming for me. We are setting up everything that we had done with Master Chier; without this moment, none of that would have happened.

Once we were able to reach The Pillar of Autumn and deliver our package, we would have to defend the ship as it got away. Emile steps into an anti-aircraft gun and lays protective fire while we attempt to clear a path for the UNSC to get Cortana from us. An offer, come on board spartan and save your life. But, we refuse. Knowing that if we don’t finish what Emile started, they won’t escape. Running and gunning towards the anti-aircraft gun, it felt like everything rested on this moment, one of us jumped into the gun while the other two rallied around to defend them. It was a blissful moment when we saw the Autumn leave the atmosphere; we had potentially saved the universe from the Covenant. Seeing that ship fly off gave such a wonderful feeling, both now and when I was a child. I knew where the package was going and who it was for, Master Chief would find out in a moment. The ending of the game links directly into the start of the first Halo game, providing both nostalgia and satisfaction.

Then the end credits mission started. Six was still alive and fighting. There was a momentary feeling of fight within Lauren, the same battle I felt when I was younger. I wanted to survive, me and Lucy knew we wouldn’t. We gave up early. The fight wasn’t going to end; they would keep coming. We both died, and Lauren shouted “There’s so many! I need to get a new gun I’ve got no ammo. I’m going to die!” End cut scene. She was shocked; we were solemn.

That end mission is something of beauty. Nothing much happens, you die. The inevitability of death is a strange feeling that the game presents the player. You’ve seen these Spartans kill hundreds of aliens, jump off buildings, escape explosions, sneak through an entire army and then watched as they die off one-by-one. They’ve done what they can to save the world, but sometimes that comes at a high cost. 

Are there any childhood games you’ve visited recently? Remastered games are often happening lately. I’ve seen a lot of you play through Final Fantasy VIIR lately and it is beautiful when a remaster lives up to past expectations.