For the uninitiated, here's a little bit of context: Unreal Tournament drew first blood on the PC in 1999, with a fanciful, science fiction tone and particularly gory splatters. The game focused its efforts on online multiplayer. Never before, nor since, has Capture the Flag been so much fun.
Hatred is a twin-stick shooter that displays its dreary world from an overhead perspective. The player is cast as a nameless antagonist who's decided to go on a mass killing spree. Literally the only things he can do are move and kill. It's unveiling created ripples of outrage months ago and now that the game's here it's one of the top-selling on Steam. If only the people at Destructive Creations were as good at making video games as they are at marketing them.
"The game is stupid," Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon creative director Dean Evans proudly proclaimed during a recent press event — not foolish pride, but pride in foolishness. Ubisoft has done great and terrible things with the game engine, transforming it into a nightmare world, where wild boars roam the purple plains, backs covered with neon graffiti.
Blood Dragon's story unfolds through a series of 2D cutscenes that wouldn't be out-of-place in an NES-era adventure. And when those scenes end, it's into a day-glo nightmare from the early days of MTV.
Let's just get this out of the way: Yes, Quantum Conundrum is a first-person puzzler, just like Portal. Yes, it was designed by Kim Swift, the project lead on Portal. And yes, it shares some of Portal's core traits: there's a physics-altering arm device, a goofy omniscient narrator, and an alarming number of buttons that need to be pushed.
But Quantum Conundrum crawls out from its spiritual predecessor's mighty shadow and stands, triumphant, as a game that's unique, raw, and brilliant in many ways. Finally, Portal has a worthy rival.