Over the past few years, I (and many of you guys as well) have become rather tired of the moloch that is the AAA-games-industry. I won't say, that there are no worthwhile AAA-games out there to enjoy. Hell, from an objective standpoint, they are really rather competent games, yet I find them more and more lacking one thing: soul.
Assassin's Creed for example has become something of a forbidden land for me. The games themselves might be polished as crap, but I can't help but feel that these games get made because they make money, not because a team of talented individuals puts their heart into it.
This is why I always find myself browsing shops for those "7/10" titles. They might not be that polished and not offer you 35 variations of distractions from your main quest...but they focus. They want to bring you a game that relies on a mechanic and if that mechanic is fun and implemented well, I'm more enticed to give those people my money than the other guys.
In comes the Indie-scene. Over the past six years, Indie developers have surged in popularity and games like FEZ or DayZ showed, that even games from a single guy can be wildly popular AND commercially successful.
This of course led to more and more Indies getting screen-time and now, with Early Access getting more and more popular, it's really easy to lose track of what's coming, what's good etc.
Bbain is already doing an amazing job on keeping us up to date with small Indie-games and you should totally check out his blogs, yet today, I have two games to show you, that are also Indies, also totally worth your time and in some ways worth your money...because they are free.
Wings of what? Saint-Naizaire, young padawan. Saint-Naizaire was a decisive battlefield in World War II and it is the name of a capital human carriership...the one, where your squadron is stationed on. Oh yes, you read that right. A Space-Opera game. It prizes itself "In the vein of Wing Commander and X-Wing" and it's easy to see why that is.
What's really amazing is a technical quirk the small developing team uses to get even closer to the aforementioned classics.
Instead of using completely rendered 3D models, WoSN is sprite-based. Yes, you read that right. Of course, some things like the giant carriers are 3D models, but fighters, bombers, backgrounds etc. are all technically flat 2D pictures. These models, however, are highly detailed and in combination with the bright colorpalette and the truly incredible lighting effects create really stunning graphics that also look amazing on older PCs.
What I liked: There's not much to NOT like at this point. I mean: It's an old-school Space-Sim-Shooter. WHY ARE YOU EVEN WAITING AND HAVEN'T CLICKED DOWNLOAD YET???????
What I disliked: This is not a fault of the game itself, but the game is still VERY early in development. You can play an Alpha build (AND YOU SHOULD), just don't expect a full 30 hour campaign yet. The game is, however, on a very good way and will most likely be free even as a full product, so be sure to show those awesome guys some love and let them know what you think about their game in their forums.
And because it's so awesome, here some unmoderated gameplay of the version you can actually play (link in the title):
RWBY....just rolls of the tongue right? You are actually supposed to read this as "Ruby" and Ruby is the main character in the Anime of the name RWBY. What's so special about that? Well, RWBY happens to be an American-made Anime, made in the free-time of and on a very tight budget by the guys over at Rooster Teeth. For that, the result is amazing. Especially the fight scenes are a thing of beauty and while it's rather obviously CG-rendered, the style itself has some interesting, minimalistic quirks and sometimes evokes memories of Telltale's "The Wolf among us" series. As you might notice, I reference mostly "western" stuff and for a good reason: while it wants to be a western-made Anime, it just can't shake the "shackles" of Western Writing and especially Ruby sometimes comes over more like a Disney princess. Here is the first episode for your viewing pleasure:
But on to the game: RWBY: Grim Eclipse is a wave-based Third-person combat game...and not much else. This might sound incredibly dull right now, but as I mentioned above: I can find fun in games that do one thing if they do it really well and GE does a very good job of letting you play the angsty version of Red Riding Hood, wielding a Gun-Scythe while fighting Grimm's monsters.
What I liked: If you liked the show, this is for you. It perfectly captures the spirit and flow of Ruby's signature combat. The fighting flows very well, Melee and shooting are well balanced and learning new techniques and experimenting to find always new combos is something that every lover of Games like Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, God of War and the likes will be able to understand. The other thing this game captures picture perfect from the show is the look. With a rather minimalistic approach, yet nuanced faces and an intriguing mix of Cel-shading with lighting, this game looks at least interesting.
Oh, Rooster Teeth also already hired the ONE guy who made this game to make an official RWBY game....they are also very fine with Grim Eclipse being out there for free.
What I disliked: Well...repetition is guaranteed to kick in after some time. After all, you fight in one arena and after some waves and several bosses, the game is technically "over" yet you can continue to play versus waves of the same enemies you fought before, only getting continuously stronger. No, a ton of content, this game has not.
Sadly, due to the fact I mentioned in the "like" column, there is also not that much hope for additional content in the future.
And just because it's so awesome, here the absolutely AWESOMAZEBALLS theme from the show:
So what do you think? Am I just a madman, or are these games actually any good? I liked both games very much and am really happy, that WoSN is still in development yet already looking as good, as it does. As well as RWBY goes, it reminded me of those combat centric Japanese Indie games and that's something you can always get me with.