Connect with us


Don’t Grumble, Give A Whistle



Gamers are a demanding bunch. We want a full game experience (but not too long); we want adult storytelling and grown-up content; we want aliens, guns, and explosions. And when do we want it? Now.

The recent news that Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has been delayed from February 2016 to August 2016 was disappointing, in that I’m sure we all want to get our hands on the title after the great experiences that the first game provided, but it’s also gratifying, in that Eidos Montreal and Square Enix have faith in their customers to be able to discern something good from something great, and feel that delaying their game for six months could potentially turn one into the other.

It’s natural to feel disappointed about not getting something you want for another few months than you thought (or, in the case of very, very extended delays as in Team Fortress 2, The Last Guardian, Half-Life 3, or Duke Nukem Forever, years after), but our first reaction should not be to lash out at people who are not only making something you like, but are also wholly undeserving of you bashing them just for them trying to make something better.

A common theme on some of the more… well, childish parts of the Internet is that game developers owe you something, and they owe it to you on your schedule. This is obviously not the case. If a developer feels that they need more time to get project X into as good a shape as they think it can be, and their publisher agrees, then that’s something we should be applauding. We’ve seen the very real results that can occur when a developer tries to rush a project, and are either unwilling or unable to delay it to get it into a form worthy of release. The recent meltdown of Batman: Arkham Knight on the PC in particular is a abject lesson in this, and the irony is that Arkham Knight was itself delayed from October 2014 to June 2015. It seems that Rocksteady and WB quite severely underestimated the amount of work that the PC version in particular required, given what happened subsequently.

This is why your mother told you to eat all your vegetables

And let’s not forget: whilst a project is in development and not offered for sale, they are receiving precisely $0 in revenue from the game’s sales. Many developers may feel that whilst they actually need more time to make a title the best it can be, their financial situation may not allow this to happen. Many games come out with severe issues at launch that a developer is aware of but cannot fix with the resources available to them. They ship a broken product with the intention of patching out the issues down the line. Even bigger game publishers do things like this. A game like Assassin’s Creed: Unity comes to mind as a game that had quite extreme problems at launch that necessitated multiple patches post-release to get into something that resembled a playable state. So don’t just think it’s the indies that do this; the big players very much are part of the problem just as much as smaller developers. Many people playing the recent PC release of Mortal Kombat X couldn’t even get past the launch screen of the game; when it comes to “broken”, that’s about as clear an example as you can get.

So the next time you read something has been pushed back (please don’t delay Dishonored 2 or The Divisionplease), spare a thought for the group of people who have considered their options and decided that this is the best thing – for them and for you. They don’t want their name to be associated with a sub-par product, and they don’t want you to buy something that they consider to be anything less than their best work. Maybe they’ll be right (BioShock Infinite), maybe they’ll be wrong (Arkham Knight – and really really wrong at that) but they’re going into it with the best of intentions. We owe it to them to wait and see what the finished product looks like before readying our pitchforks.

I write about PC games and sometimes it even makes sense. I'm a refined Englishman, but live in Texas with my two young children whom I am training in the ways of the Force.


Three Single-Player Games to Watch Out for in July 2019



Three Single Player Games (July 2019) - Sea of Solitude, Fire Emblem Three Houses, Wolfenstein Youngblood

July, the middle of winter down here in Australia. Even in the bizarre New South Wales climate, the biting cold makes for a great excuse to stay inside and play games. 

Weirdly for single players, quite a few prestige games this month include additional co-op modes. With acclaimed designers behind them, such games will hopefully avoid the pitfalls of accommodating multiple players, as too many games have done in the past.

Sea of Solitude

Release Date: July 5, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

At first blush, Sea of Solitude looks like yet another story of a young adult struggling with questions of identity and mental health while exploring a beautiful but harsh fantasy world.

Actually, that’s what it is. ‘Quirky, life affirming indie adventure’ is a whole cottage industry these days, but the fact that such games are now more prevalent should never dismay.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was a masterpiece of refined design and storytelling, and Sea of Solitude appears be something similar—this time dealing with a fantastical vision of depression that turns ordinary people into literal monsters.

Players take charge of Kay, who has sought out the eponymous Sea—or rather, a flooded city based on Berlin—in the hope that there is a cure for monstrosity. However, despite its name, she is not the only person in the Sea. Avoiding the other monsters of the Sea seems to be a major part of the gameplay. These tense encounters are likely to provide rhythm and variety to the adventure and keep it from being a just walking simulator. (Not that being a walking simulator is inherently a problem.)

Although published by EA Originals, one would do well to remember that EA the company does not actually profit off the Originals that they publish. With a focused story and themes that still are not often explored in bigger games, Sea of Solitude should be of great interest to single player fans in a month otherwise dominated by multiplayer titles.


Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Almost certainly the biggest single player release of the month, and tied with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 as another massive Switch exclusive, Fire Emblem: Three Houses might be exactly what single players need right now.

Lately the Fire Emblem franchise has exploded in both its popular profile and sales success, buoyed by a hunger for both deep anime RPGs and polished tactics games. Three Houses seems to have doubled down on exciting trends and features in both genres: particularly a Persona/Harry Potter inspired magic school setting and an even deeper tactical battle system that ditches the rock-paper-scissors for more nuanced character progression options. As with many Japanese RPGs, the story is also a major focus and hinges upon a time-jump.

The early part casts the player as a teacher at the Officer’s Academy, situated in the center of the game world and attended by students from the three most powerful nations. Five years later, the second and likely larger part concerns the drama between the player’s teacher and their former students, whose nations are now locked in a massive three-way conflict.

As is to be expected for a series finally coming back to consoles after a long time on the 3DS, Three Houses is a massive technical leap over its predecessors. The game boasts better realised battlefields, more detailed armies, and a slick animated style that appears much more consistent compared with the three or four different art styles on the 3DS.

With such improvements, as well as the overall pedigree of the Fire Emblem brand, Three Houses should have no trouble satisfying single player fans looking for a meaty middle-of-the-year RPG.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One

The recent Wolfenstein revival series is such a remarkable achievement in traditional shooter design and great, if goofy, sci-fi worldbuilding that the co-op focus of this latest instalment is somewhat disappointing.

Yes, as with F.E.A.R. 3 and Dead Space 3, following a well-received second chapter the Wolfenstein series now pivots to a co-operative focused chapter. Though the game is not a mandatory multiplayer experience, combat encounters and puzzles have been redesigned to accommodate the two player mode, giving single players an AI-controlled partner and bullet sponge enemies.

However, all hope is not lost for Wolfenstein: why else would it be the third game on the list? The narrative has been pushed forward in time, as B.J.’s twin daughters are now in their adolescence, now giving players a glimpse at the 1980s of Wolfenstein‘s skewed universe. Additionally, the level design itself is more freeform thanks to development assistance from Arkane, the developers of the Dishonored series.

Will Wolfenstein: Youngblood successfully deliver more of the series’s goofy charm and crazy alternate reality? Almost certainly. On the other hand, will the game be as fun to play alone as in multiplayer? That remains to be seen. Last month’s E3 demo that raised such concerns was naturally only a snapshot of a game in development, so MachineGames and Arkane have had plenty of time to resolve these potential downsides to a co-op focused game.

Those are our three big single player games to look out for this month. Other interesting titles coming soon include Stranger Things 3 on July 4 and Attack on Titan 2 on July 5, both games hitting Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

On July 12 we will see the sequel to an almost-fantastic Minecraft-like RPG spinoff, Dragon Quest Builders 2 on Switch and PlayStation 4, as well as the Switch port of “anime Monster Hunter”, God Eater 3

The week after, July 19 brings us Switch-exclusive Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, and at an undetermined time during the month Klei Entertainment’s anticipated survival-sim Oxygen Not Included will finally leave early access on PC.

Have we missed anything that you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below and be sure bookmark OnlySP and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also join the discussion in our community Discord server.

Continue Reading