18th of March, 2021
Hello! Welcome back to our regular feature where we write a little bit about some of the games we've found ourselves playing over the last few days. This time: armies, skateboards, and hard-won victory. Of a sort.
If you fancy catching up on some of the older editions of What We've Been Playing, here's our archive.
Total War: Warhammer 3, PC
Total War: Warhammer 3 is one banger of a sequel. What I love the most is that we get to play as the Factions of Chaos (Khorne, Nurgle, Slaanesh and Tzeentch) and we also get a Chaos G.I Joe of sorts with the Chaos Undivided faction.
The combat is visceral, the sound design is immaculate. It's everything you'd expect from Creative Assembly. It terms of new stuff, diplomacy is also now a key mechanic in the game - that's not to say that you can't just fight and take what you want, of course. That's still more than possible.
I haven't played other factions like Kislev, Grand Cathay and Ogre Kingdoms, but I'm already raring to go back - and either rescue or kill Ursun.
OlliOlli World, PS5
There's always been a strong skate culture where I live. It's not just the people on wheels but the tone around them - the graffiti, the clothes, the attitude. There's a kind of daring noisiness to it, a 'come and tell us off if you can' kind of spirit. It's permeated my whole life because I grew up around it, though I was never directly inside it. And it's that which struck me immediately when I fired up OlliOlli World.
It's a skater's dream of a world, as though one bleary eyed skater fell asleep after a day in the sun and came up with it. A world without conformity, washed with neon-bright colour. A world of no rules but camaraderie through skating, a love of skating. And I love that. It feels ebulliently free.
It's also, of course, great fun to play. Flicking my thumbs around in OlliOlli World actually reminds me a lot of those little trick-deck finger toys people used to mess around with in school - remember those? Something to occupy fidgety fingers with until the bell rang. Ah, happy days.
Elden Ring, PS5
I finally know what it feels like to succeed in a Soulslike game! Embarrassing admission: I've struggled with these games before. I haven't been able to deal with the tension and frustration of difficult battles in the evening when I play. But Elden Ring has opened that formula up and invited people like me in.
Now I know what it feels like to conquer an enemy that fills my screen and rushes at me without invitation, and relentlessly tries to cut me down. Now I know what it feels like on the other side of fear - that feeling you get when a boss' health bar appears on your screen you wade into the unknown (or roll away, as the case may be).
More importantly: now I know something like progress in a Soulslike game, and it's intoxicating. I owe it to the open and more accessible approach of Elden Ring. And who knows? Perhaps, down the line, it will unlock much more than one game for me.
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