I was young and fool­ish then. I feel old and fool­ish now

EDGE - - GAMES -

Videogames are se­ri­ous busi­ness these days, made by hun­dreds-strong teams to bud­gets well into the tens of mil­lions. At the other end of the scale, indies re­mort­gage their homes in or­der to make a dream a re­al­ity. In an era where weapon-bal­ance changes, dis­taste­ful mon­eti­sa­tion mod­els, or slightly con­tro­ver­sial opin­ions are seen in some cor­ners as an ex­cuse to wheel out the death threats, it’s of­ten hard to re­mem­ber what got you into videogames in the first place. Games are play – and play is silly.

There’s cer­tainly plenty of that about this is­sue. We’ve lost a lot of sleep of late to Mon­ster Hunter: World, a game which clearly un­der­stands it should not take it­self too se­ri­ously. Yes, sure, there’s a plot about the New World be­ing un­der threat from some­thing or other, but we’re mostly there for the sport, and the chance to carve beastly corpses up and fash­ion them into lovely new trousers. The game has a silly core con­ceit, and Cap­com sur­rounds it with even more daft­ness. It’s all the bet­ter for it.

Mean­while, not even the sight of Kazuma Kiryu walk­ing off into the sun­set can dampen Yakuza 6’ s re­fusal to take it­self too se­ri­ously. It’s an­other tale of dou­ble- and triple-crosses in Tokyo’s crim­i­nal un­der­world. But we cher­ish Yakuza for its bal­ance of dark­ness and light; for its bru­tal vi­o­lence, yes, but also its phone-sex par­lours and cat cafes.

It’s not all clown shoes this month, how­ever. We hear of how indies are tir­ing of the App Store, how ded­i­cated creators are strug­gling on YouTube, and in­ves­ti­gate blockchain – which, de­spite the hype, sounds like it re­ally could change ev­ery­thing for­ever, and soon.

But it’s im­pos­si­ble to keep a straight face for long when you’ve got a Rare game on the cover. For over three decades, this UK leg­end has un­der­stood, as well as any­one, the ben­e­fits of be­ing smart and daft at the same time. Af­ter too many years in the Kinect wilder­ness, it is fi­nally back to do­ing what it has al­ways done best – and its new game sug­gests it is near­ing the peak of its pow­ers. The Sea Of Thieves story be­gins on p54.

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