It’s Saint Patrick’s Day for some of you, and you know what they say in Ireland: “Kiss me, I write about video game news.” Think I heard that somewhere.
This week we’ve got Mass Effect’s animation woes, an ultra-detailed sailing simulator, confirmation that Quake Champions will be free-to-play, a Civ VI demo, more free Planet Coaster content, and a collection of Capcom’s licensed Disney platformers for the NES.
It’s gaming news for March 13 to 17.
It’s the Return of the Demo this week—specifically, strategy game demos. Recently released RTS Halo Wars 2 now has a try-it-out option on the Windows 10 Store, featuring the opening campaign mission (it’s pretty short) and the Blitz Firefight mode that also showed up in the beta earlier this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if the game’s sales are a bit sluggish, so it makes sense for Microsoft to try and snag players.
This other game probably doesn’t have that issue: Civilization VI now has a demo on Steam. I can’t imagine who needs to demo a Civilization game in 2017 to know if it’s up their alley, but nevertheless it’s there, and you can play the first 60 turns to see if you’d like to buy turns 61 through infinity. (The game’s also on sale this weekend.)
The Marble Nest
Strategy not your style? Check out the demo/teaser for Ice Pick’s upcoming Pathologic remake. Released to backers last year,The Marble Nest is now available through Steam and functions as “a mood-piece, created to acquaint you with the world of Pathologic. It’s a self-contained short story that uses the same assets and premise as the main game, but works as a spin-off.” Recommended for your daily dose of weird.
Come sail away
Cue up the yacht rock, grab a cooler full of beers, and get ready to live the high life: Sailaway promises “to accurately simulate the wonders of sailing as realistically as possible.” And the developers really mean it—apparently a trip across the Pacific Ocean will take literal months, “just as it would on a real boat.” Here’s a four-hour Spotify playlist to get you started, and hopefully Logitech will design us some ship wheel peripherals before Sailaway goes into Early Access in April.
Planet Coaster is not just a great theme park sim—it’s one of 2016’s best PC games. And I feel even better about that decision given the amount of free content Frontier’s released post-launch, with a winter-themed expansion in December and now an upcoming “Spring Update” in April.
New to the game: Three coasters, a Go-Kart track, three flat rides, and “Crime and Security” features including vandalized scenery, pickpockets, and security guards. Oops, time to blow another dozen hours creating new parks…
More Quake Champions news this week. First up, the actual price structure courtesy of Polygon and id’s Tim Willits: Quake Champions will be free-to-play, “with the option to buy the Champion Pack and just get in and play with all the Champions.” Free-to-play users will be restricted to the default Ranger champion and then “rent” other characters with in-game currency. Or as Willits puts it in the Polygon article:
“I don’t want to use the word rent,” Willits said. “You do spend favor to have access to them for a limited amount of time, yes. But you don’t spend any real money on it.”
So yeah, renting. Weird, though it does seem like a safer bet to at least have a free-to-play option. I guess we’ll see how predatory/grindy the rental process feels.
If you’re more of a visual person, there’s also a new Champion trailer, this time for the tank-y Scalebearer.
Go west, young man
Teslagrad is one of those great, semi-overlooked indie games. It suffered from releasing in 2013, when everyone was pretty damn tired of Charming Puzzle Platformer-type games and the genre felt super-saturated. But it’s good.
I bring it up because the developers announced a new game this week, taking place in the same universe but with a different vibe—it’s top-down, for one. Check out the trailer for World to the West below.
DuckTales (and friends)
Remember how Capcom got WayForward to remaster DuckTales a few years ago, and then everyone gave a collective “Oh yeah, this game is very old and kinda not great” sigh? Well if you want to have that same feeling six times in a row, except without the remastered visuals, Capcom’s got a deal for you. April 18 you’ll be able to snag The Disney Afternoon Collection, featuring upscaled versions of Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers and its sequel, Darkwing Duck, DuckTales and its sequel, and TaleSpin.
Cool for those who want to own these games legally instead of taking the *ahem* gray market route.
Save the date
Yearly BlizzCon attendee? Or just looking to go for the first time? Better set aside time in April—tickets will be available in two batches, at 7 p.m. Pacific on April 5 and at 10 a.m. Pacific on April 8, for $199 each. Mark your calendars because they’ll sell out fast.
Friday night fun
Nothing much came out of PAX East last weekend, but there is this killer trailer for the upcoming Friday the 13th game. Four minutes of brutal teenager murders. Excellent.
Until next week…
Closing out, might as well post some of the ridiculous Mass Effect: Andromeda animations and dialogue making the internet rounds now, courtesy of live-streams and the five-hour Origin trial.
Check out this Neogaf thread for about a million more instances, or this tweet to hear a dozen people mention everyone’s favorite sci-fi trope: Floating rocks. Looking forward to next week’s review onslaught.