Re­views & Rat­ings

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I still find its pro­ce­du­rally gen­er­ated worlds sort of life­less and bor­ing.

Outer Wilds ( go.pc­world. com/byow) may be the game for me, then. In­stead of a sprawl­ing uni­verse of “in­fi­nite” pos­si­bil­ity, Outer Wilds takes place in a sin­gle, ul­tra-de­tailed so­lar sys­tem trapped in a time loop. Like

Ground­hog Day, the so­lar sys­tem re­sets ev­ery 20 min­utes when the sun goes su­per­nova. Time passes dur­ing that 20 min­utes, with lo­ca­tions chang­ing around you—closed pas­sages open­ing, or en­tire cities be­ing buried by sand. It’s pre­sum­ably packed full of se­crets to un­cover, as long as you’re in the right place at the right time.

Fas­ci­nat­ing, and af­ter a long wait Outer Wilds is fi­nally due to re­lease some­time this year.

14. MU­TANT YEAR ZERO: ROAD TO EDEN

Re­lease Date: 2018

Okay, so it’s XCOM set af­ter the nu­clear apoc­a­lypse ( go.pc­world.com/mtyz), and your main char­ac­ters are a six-foot duck and a

boar car­ry­ing a shot­gun. Good? Good.

In all se­ri­ous­ness, even the Mu­tant Year Zero ( go.pc­world.com/bymt) team throws around XCOM com­par­isons, so why shouldn’t we? It’s al­most iden­ti­cal at times, down to the lay­out of but­tons on the user in­ter­face (and their ac­com­pa­ny­ing key­board short­cuts). There’s a neat stealth me­chanic that lets you pick en­e­mies off one at a time, as well as a more freeform gear sys­tem, but at its core this is just more XCOM with a stranger aes­thetic.

And who’s go­ing to com­plain about more XCOM? Cer­tainly not I.

15. THE OC­CU­PA­TION

Re­lease Date: 2018

Another game with a real-time el­e­ment and a tight fo­cus, The Oc­cu­pa­tion ( go.pc­world. com/ocup) has you play­ing an in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist in the late ‘80s. An ex­plo­sion’s killed dozens of peo­ple, and no­body’s been brought to jus­tice. It falls to you to pick up the case.

The catch: You have four real-time hours to solve it. The de­ci­sions you make dur­ing that time, the leads you pur­sue, the amount of time you spend read­ing doc­u­ments and so on—it all de­ter­mines what in­for­ma­tion you get, and how far you’ll get in the case.

Ex­pect to play this one at least twice, I think—once to get the ba­sics, another to ex­e­cute the same plan but twice as fast and with a bet­ter han­dle on the in­for­ma­tion. Maybe a third time, or a fourth, I don’t know. It looks in­cred­i­ble though, with that vague Bioshock in­flu­ence mar­ried to a com­bat-free de­tec­tive game. An ac­tual de­tec­tive game, I might add. I’m very ex­cited for this one.

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