What I've been playing this week

Escape From Tarkov

Battlestate Games' hardcore MMO/FPS 'Escape From Tarkov' has easily become one of my favourite shooters of all time. I love games like DayZ and EFT has a very similar feel when you're in a match. You load into a run, and have to kill players/NPCs, and try and loot better gear to exfil and add to your personal stash, either to sell or to use for future runs.

I'm in love with the PvP elements of this game: the suspense of not knowing when you'll see another player, the tension when you're searching through a building and hear footsteps or the gunshots of some poor sod's firefight, the realism of only being able to withstand a few shots without armour makes every shot count. It's always an adrenaline rush when you come out on top in a firefight against multiple players, take all of their gear, and manage to exfil from the run.

My biggest issue with the game is the amount of money you have to spend on medical supplies. Unlike the Alpha, n the Beta, you have to heal your character after every raid if you take damage/die, and it just costs too much money in my opinion. I get that they did it to stop people doing 'hatchling' runs (loading into runs with nothing but your melee weapon so you didn't lose anything, but could gain everything) but sometimes the amount you have to spend on medical supplies forces you to do hatchling runs anyway since you're unable to afford any real loadout.

Other than this though I love the game; the graphics are incredible even on the lowest settings, the PvP is incredibly fun, the feel of the game is great, I've been playing EFT since it's closed Alpha in 2016, and I fully expect I'll still be playing it for years to come.

Omerta - City of Gangsters

Out of anticipation for 'Empire of Sin', I decided to play the closest game I could get my hands on, and that was this. It's a fun game, but not what I was expecting. It's a strategy game through and through. The main part of the gameplay is done from an overview of different parts of the city depending on how far through the game you are, and there are different buildings such as your headquarters, breweries, deputy offices and even informants who you can bribe or bully into providing you with information on the area.

In this part of the game, your focus is to earn money (either dirty or clean) and to raise your liked/feared rating, this also depends on which mission you're doing. One part of the game is raiding enemy territories, this includes businesses such as protection rackets, gun runners, and breweries ran by other gangs. When you enter these raids, this is when the games becomes RTS and the combat plays out almost identically to the XCOM series. Each character in the scenario has a turn to do something, whether that's try and attack their enemy, flank them, or if it's a character from your crew then you can use their special ability. Different characters have different abilities, and different weapons - although you can buy new weapons if you want to change their combat capabilities.

My main character who I created at the start, and is the boss of my crew, was originally a dexterous knife-wielding maniac, but I changed him to become a dual-wielding revolver deadshot, just to keep him out of harm's way. Your crew can die, if the boss dies then you have to load from a previous point or start new, but if normal crew members die, then it's possible to continue the game without them.

This game has a very interesting concept, which was executed in a good way, it's nothing groundbreaking, but it's a fun single-player game, definitely building my excitement for what Empire of Sin could potentially be.

Holdfast: Nations at War

This is a game I didn't even know existed until the the end of last week. I saw some clips of it in a youtube video I was watching and it looked entertaining to play, so I bought it and lo and behold: it was. I jumped into this game with absolutely no idea of what I was doing, or what to expect, other than what I saw in the two, thirty second youtube clips. It's a multiplayer-only, Napoleonic-era shooter. You play as either the British or the French and have to defeat the other team.

The game is 3 years old now, so the player base has dropped quite a lot, only having 10 or so populated Official servers, and around 5 populated community servers, but the numbers on some of these servers go up to 150 people. I wasn't expecting to enjoy this very much, as I was playing it without any friends, no one I knew, but this was far from the case. Two of the roles you can fill in-game are musicians, and these musicians are completely useless in combat, but they walk round the map playing pre-set songs on the drums providing support (I think they maybe give their teammates in proximity stat bonuses?) but the real musicians are the random players who run around the map playing real music through their VOIP.

I spent a solid 15 minutes moving along to the Cha Cha Slide, and some kid singing a Minecraft version of Despacito. It started as just a few of us, but then gradually more joined us until there were roughly 30 people stood running circles and rocking back and forth to the music, all the while a big battle was raging around us. This game is incredibly fun, and had me bursting out laughing many times in the short amount of time I've put into it. You meet a lot of players who will talk as characters, maybe as really over the top war generals, or fools who have no place in battle, then there are players who will run round the map screaming at the top of their lungs and being dramatically angry, it's wild. All in all this game is one of the funniest gaming experiences I have had in awhile, and I look forward to jumping back into that chaotic battlefield for more.


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