That is right gamers! An entire month has passed us by since the last Video Game of the Month feature. It turns out all those ‘crazy old people’ were right when they used to tell me that time passes faster the older you get. I am pretty sure I was only putting last month’s feature together but mere moments ago.
But here we are, deep in the time of year where we are just as likely to wake up to a heatwave as we are a thunderstorm. The time of year where no matter what you decide to wear, it won’t reflect the weather. No matter what quilt you decide to use, you will be too hot or too cold. The time of year where you simply can not decide whether to hang your washing on the line or throw the heating on. It is a time of British uncertainty.
One thing we can always be certain of, however, no matter the time of year is this: games! Here's what our team have been playing this month!
So, I am a self-confessed Apex Legends addict; hence this is the first time I have written the video game of the month article and I am surprised that something has distracted me so much over the last month. Hat off then to the rather excellent Chivalry II.
I’m a history teacher – and a mediaevalist at that, so Chivalry II was always going to pique my interest. That said I have spent many an hour shouting at the television while watching historical films and railing against their inaccuracy (sad, I know). So maybe this wasn’t going to get a completely free ride.
And from a historical perspective this is a real hodge-podge; definitely not a simulation in the truest sense but instead an enormous amount of blood-drenched, history-inspired fun. It’s an accessible 1st or 3rd person close combat battler – a Call of Duty for the Middle Ages. Choosing from one of four classes, with three unlockable sub-classes in each you will be pitched into violent head-to-head combat. Each of the classes has different stats and a different loadout and there’s a great range of weapons and specials to choose from.
There are two play main modes to choose from: a free for all or a team-based objective match (with either 40 or 64 players). Both are fantastic in their own ways.
Most importantly the combat experience is fab. With jabs, swings, and overhead chops, against parries counters and feints, the game really rewards practice and skill, but even the lowliest noob can chalk up a fair amount of claret and kills. There is an enormous amount of gore: success is rewarding and death often laugh out loud funny. I recently reviewed Chivalry II, but my first impressions were that you should rush out and buy.
This month, my video game of the month title goes to Hitman III. Granted it came out in January this year, but with so many great releases, it took a bit of a back seat as I didn’t want to rush through this title. Me and the suited murder egg – Agent 47 – have been through far too much and killed too many people together across all of the Hitman titles for me to just rush through his latest set of contracts.
IO Interactive absolutely nailed everything I love about the Hitman series with their 2016 release and its subsequent sequel in 2018. From incredible locations to the inventive ways in which to dispatch your various targets. Everything, much like each one of Agent 47’s targets, is expertly executed.
So, with the release of Hitman III, the final game in IO Interactive’s trilogy, my hopes were, understandably, high. And I’m not disappointed. Hitman III shows that IO Interactive have become masters of their craft. The levels are some of the most imaginative in the series. Not only that, but everything looks beautiful, especially on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.
And there’s nothing more satisfying than meticulously planning the perfect hit. From finding the perfect disguise to gain entry to secure areas, listening out for opportunities to use to eliminate the target, to finally selecting the perfect escape route. A personal favourite of mine is calmly walking out of the front door while armed guards rush by me to the scene of the crime. I don’t want to spoil any details but every opportunity for murder across each of the six maps of Hitman III are wonderfully creative. I found myself immediately, and repeatedly, jumping back into each location until I had seen every single one of them.
Being a Mac user (Boooooo! Hissss!) I missed out on Doom, playing Wolfenstein and Marathon (Halo before Halo) instead. But during the shift to Doom 3 my interest had peaked. Doom 3 shifted away from the silliness of previous titles. Instead, it provided something more akin to a survival horror game than a true bombastic Doom outing. Though it was enjoyable, was it Doom?
We needed not fear of course as Doom and Doom Eternal have paved the way back to something that feels like Doom while also feeling modern at the same time. Doom is all about feeling powerful. Wielding stupidly big guns against overwhelming numbers and succeeding. Both modern Dooms take this philosophy and run with it in a big way.
You are arguably more fragile than ever but Doom and Doom Eternal reward you for taking the initiative. Depending on how you attack and kill your enemies you will earn ammo, armour, or health. And the tools you are given to do so are exquisite! Setting enemies on fire before jumping across and executing a finisher is exhilarating.
Just like the original games, you are forced to move and continuously attack. But the tools you are given promote this constantly, with multiple modes and upgrades leading to you literally swinging from demon to demon as you weave your way through the bad guys.
It’s like a visceral puzzle to solve at times and as your arsenal and mobility increase, you create a ballet of gore throughout the levels. The levels themselves are still filled with secrets to find too! Doom is not just a great reimagining - it’s a great game outright, it is my video game of the month!
I have a very love-hate relationship with Demon’s Souls on PS5. As someone who originally bought, and subsequently traded in the original PS3 release multiple times before finishing it, I have spent a ton of time on the title. I have yet to complete the PS5 version, as I feel as though I already have. Several times.
However, that being said, that is also a testament to how great this remake actually is. Sometimes when games are remade, certain creative liberties are taken. In Demon’s Souls though, every single part of the game has been lovingly handcrafted in delicious, crisp 4K quality. Every damn fire lizard is placed the same, every damn fat jester takes as much of a beating, every damn rolling skeleton is just as much of a fu[redacted for family viewing] pain in the fu[redacted] ass!
The challenge is what brings a lot of people to this game. For others, it is to make up for missing out on the cult classic that spawned the Dark Souls games. For me, and a small percentage of people, this game is all about reliving such a beloved game with the (undebatable, fight me) best graphics of any video game ever. The thing that pushes me on in the game is remembering certain areas, bosses, characters etc and wondering just how good they now look in glistening definition. And this game is yet to disappoint!
Patches and his stupid big nose look even more annoying, stockpile Thomas is just as useless of a character, the Valley of Defilement is still the most frustrating area of any game ever, the Maneater is still the most anger-inducing, cheap ass boss to ever roam the land. And I love it all! Undoubtedly my video game of the month!
So, there you go, a selection of some of the games our keyboard warriors are playing this month! We tend to get so caught up in the big new releases, but it is important to make sure we give titles the attention they deserve, no matter when they released. Any game can be a video game of the month!
Stay tuned for the next monthly video game feature, which will no doubt feel like I am typing up within the next few minutes. Damn my increasing age!