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