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Video Game Of The Month July 2022

Video Game of The Month 14 Sentinels

Our Video Game Of The Month July 2022!

You know, every month I tend to make some sort of joke in this section about the passage of time. How it feels like mere moments have passed since writing the intro to the previous month’s feature. If I was a wise man, I would smash out several dozens of these intros so they are ready to go to save myself time in the long run. But I am not a wise man. I am the kind of man to pre-order the ‘special’ ‘limited’ edition of No Man’s Sky for £100. The kind of man to fangirl over the initial trailer of Marvel’s Avengers. The kind of man who had faith that the XIII remake was going to be faithful to the original.

We all know how each of those turned out. No Man’s Sky being the exception of course as it is actually a playable game these days. Is it worth my £100 drop from six years ago though? This is not one of those bating questions that has a long, esoteric answer. The answer is simply no. So, with the passage of time being as speedy as it is, there is no joke this month. Just a sad reminder that all these gaming mishaps are still fresh in my mind as if they happened but days ago.

Sad times aside. Here are a couple of games that won’t bring you disappointment. But rather some games that we think are truly worthy of your time.

13 Sentinels: Aegis RimPaul Blyth

It’s difficult to talk about 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim without spoiling the magnificent story. But let’s just say it’s a surprisingly deep and complex tale. Especially considering it starts out with teenage girls who magically lose their clothes when they jump into giant, skyscraper-sized robots to fight equally large aliens.

Across the story you’ll take control of thirteen different characters. Each of their stories intertwine and feed unto a much larger narrative. After the initial introduction, the gameplay splits into three sections:

Remembrance, which involves exploration in 2D side-scrolling environments and interacting with characters. Keywords spoken during conversations are added to a “Thought Cloud” (basically the character’s thoughts). These can be used to initiate new conversation topics and even alter the ending of certain scenes. You can even go back into a scene with these keywords and alter the scene much earlier, giving you even more branching paths. All of this is tracked through individual flowcharts, which allow you to jump back to key points to collect all of the outcomes.

Destruction is where characters dive into hulking great robots engage in real-time battles. Each mission has different objectives. Typically, they’re to play as with certain characters or keep city damage below a certain threshold. You can also level up characters allowing them to unleash deadlier attacks to the enemy.

Finally, there’s Analysis - a glossary which documents event scenes and important items and characters. Trust me, you’ll be jumping into Analysis more than you think. And not just because points collected in Destruction mode can be used to unlock secret files here.

All-in-all 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is completely bonkers and utterly compelling. The non-linear storyline will draw you in as you make sense of everything and work out when, where and in what order everything takes place. Combat is fast, explosive, and great fun. All of this is wrapped up in a lovely, almost watercolour anime art style that really gives the title personality... it’s also not that hard to get 100% completion and a lovely platinum trophy on PlayStation, if that’s your thing.

Horizon Forbidden WestSophie Jones

Horizon Forbidden West was one of the biggest releases this year. As someone who still hasn’t made that jump to next gen, I was very tempted by a PS5 upon this games release. Thankfully, this game is optimised well on PS4 and apart from a longer loading time, plays great and looks stunning.

In this instalment, Aloy is exploring another area filled with new factions. These new factions also have an axe to grind with the Carja, get in line guys! But politics aside, Aloy must once again save the entire world, but people won’t make it easy for her.

Gameplay hasn’t evolved that much since the first game. To be fair why mess with a system that worked great the first time around. There are a few new items which make travelling through this massive world easier. My favourite is the addition of the glider. Nothing beats jumping off a mountain and gliding over snowy peaks. Just make sure you grab some screenshots on the way down.

But be warned, this game is huge! It’s going to take some time to get through if you want to clean up all the side objectives along the way. With 100 hours under my belt, I am only 65% of the way through. That could be because I am addicted to the games in house mini game called Machine Strike. Much like the Witcher's Gwent, I found myself searching for players and building my collection of wooden machines. Now I have got the Dreadwing piece, I'm unstoppable.

Overall, I have enjoyed my time playing this sequel. Its well-polished and explores a story that’s worth telling. Gameplay is fun and taking down monstrous machines still feels novel. Right, I best get back to the Forbidden West, there’s a world to save after all.

Death’s DoorJay D

This month I decided to take a look at an indie game I've had in my 'to play' library for a while now: Death's Door by Acid Nerve. Soon to be released on consoles!

Death's Door puts you in control of a soul-reaping crow who is proficient in swinging around weaponry and casting magic spells. The plot starts out simply enough, as you are tasked with reaping the soul of a monster that has lived too long. Things escalate at a rapid pace, and before you know it, you're at the heart of a plan to open the titular 'Death's Door'.

Influenced by the art style of Studio Ghibli, a lot of the enemies have a quirky look to them, and at first glance they don't always seem that menacing. However, developers Acid Nerve took a lot of inspiration from the Soulsbourne series too. As result, even the lowliest of mobs can prove to be a problem if they aren't dealt with in the correct way. It's not just the enemies that look good either. The environments are gorgeous and all have a unique look to them as you progress through the 4 main areas.

Death's Door took me around 12 hours to finish, but there is some post-boss content which will extend play time for those who want 100% completion. There's also a particularly fiendish achievement, requiring a full run of the game using only an umbrella weapon for the sadists out there.

If you are a fan of the older Zelda games or the recent re-make of Link's Awakening, Death's Door should offer a fun little play-through with a bit more bite.

And above all else, how many other games let you play as a crow with a sword?

Marvel’s Guardians Of The GalaxyLauren Skinner

Many consider this game to be a big surprise—and with good reason. Marvel’s Avengers was a flop, with countless bugs, micro transactions, and a story that just didn’t deliver. Guardians, on the other hand, presents a hilarious, action-packed experience that every Star-Lord, Drax, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot fan could want.

If you’ve seen any Guardians film or read any of the comics, you’ll expect a certain tone. This game delivers that, and more. Right from the offset, the banter between the main cast is entertaining, with Drax’s hilariously honest dialogue (“I too would prefer Peter Quill’s incompetence to the rodent’s lies”), Rocket’s angry snipes, Star-Lord’s goofy attempts to inspire the team, and of course, the impressive range of emotions that Groot can convey with just an “I am Groot”. I loved walking around listening to them bicker whilst I was exploring every inch of the stunning settings. Say what you want about Square Enix – their world building is fantastic, and they know how to design a beautiful vista.

The music and battles are also huge parts of any Guardians story. Peter sometimes calls a huddle to boost morale, which is always accompanied by a banging 80s track to uplift the fantastic combat even more. Peter’s blasters and jet boots are fun to use, and you can use the Guardian wheel to select one of his or his friend’s skills to rain massive damage down on their enemies.

Finally, we all know that the cast of characters in Guardians is fantastic, but this game introduces even more to adore. Kid characters that could easily be annoying are charming and witty. Enemies and allies you meet along the way are distinct and fun. Ultimately, whether it’s combat, exploring, or making a new friend or foe, the game is never boring. It’s everything you could want in a Guardians game and more.

I was a victim of low expectations: I picked it up only when it came out on Xbox Game Pass knowing I could drop it if it were terrible. Now it’s one of my favourite games I’ve played this year. Who knew?

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles MoralesDan Hilton

So, I finally did it. I finally got my hands on the semi-sequel to the absolutely spectacular Spider-Man game. I was deterred for a long time due to it not being classified as a ‘true’ sequel. I had read that it was essentially a game to set up Miles Morales and how his Spiderman form takes shape. And this is true. But it doesn’t make it any less of a decent game to web-sling your way through.

The game does a fantastic job at setting up new characters that are apart of the wider spiderman franchise. Alongside protagonist Miles Morales we also get characters such as Ganke Lee, The Prowler, The Mason family, and The Tinkerer. It also gives you full access to swing across the city again. The game itself is a lot shorter than the original game so it uses devices such as different collectables and training missions to give you motivation to explore. Which feels like an outdated mechanic these days, but they are not excessively intrusive to the overall experience.

The combat in the game feels like a slight sidestep over the original as opposed to a straight improvement. And honestly, that is a good thing. Miles is a different person to Peter so it is only natural that his fighting style takes a different approach. Especially given Miles’ unique power of channelling bioelectricity.

The story itself is well written, filled with completely predictable ‘true identity’ reveals and heart rendering character building moments. Everything we have learned to love and expect from a real Spiderman storyline. I would even go as far as to say that the story in this game is a step above that of its predecessor. You can’t help but connect with Miles much more on a personal level than you can with Peter.

Miles Morales is definitely a game worth picking up.

Credit Roll

And, once again, that was five more video games that we think are worthy of your valuable time investment. It was especially great to see some new names in this month’s feature. With new gamers joining the team here at Zatu, comes new perspectives, new experiences, and new preferences. And most of all, new gamers bring new suggestions for this feature.

Now the only question left to ask is: should I be a wise man and write the next month’s feature’s intro now whilst I am on a writing roll? Nah, that is for future Dan to deal with.

Happy gaming!