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Jan
2017
Wednesday 11th
posted by Morning Star in Arts

Escapist vehicles for the rocky ride ahead


THIS year is all set to be just as peculiar as the last. And while we’ll all have to deal with the ominous effects of Brexit, continuing global climate change and the Trumpinator, video games will be there yet again to help us all escape Kafkaesque reality and here’s five that should do the trick.

Horizon: Zero Dawn is a PlayStation 4 exclusive action-adventure video game set in a lush and vibrant post-post apocalypse world.

For reasons that will probably become clear to you later in the game, humanity has been reduced to Stone Age-like conditions and live in small hunter-gatherer tribes, while robotic animals roam across the vast expanse of nature in packs.

You play as Aloy, a young woman on a quest to find the secrets buried beneath the ruins of the “old world,” how and why humanity fell and her true origins.

The spaghetti-Western inspired Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR 2) was finally announced last year after an agonising six year wait. I

ts celebrated predecessor — set in 1911 as the old West was nearing its end — was an open-world, third-person action game telling the story of John Marston, a reformed outlaw forced by the FBI to “bring to justice” the remaining members of his old gang.

What followed was a characteristically in-depth story of revenge, loss and, of course, redemption from the game’s developer Rockstar Games, the makers of the Grand Theft Auto series.

The company tends to hold its cards very close to its chest and not a lot is known about the sequel yet. It’s out in the autumn and from what’s been shown in a minute-long trailer, the setting looks astonishing.

Rockstar have shown themselves to be the masters of solid single and multi-player gameplay experiences, immersive and realistic worlds and gripping anti-hero narratives and, if RDR 2 is anything like its predecessor, then we’ll have another classic on our hands.

We Happy Few is a first-person survival horror game taking place in an alternative version of the 1960s in a fictional British city. The people in this world are mandated by the autocratic and all-pervasive government to take “happy” pills — failing to do so meets with severe brutality not only from the state but also the over-medicated citizens themselves.

The game begins when protagonist Arthur Hastings stops taking his pills and beings to see the world for the dilapidated and dystopian state it really is. To escape the city, Hastings will have to blend in with the doped-up citizens, complete quests, craft weapons from the things he finds in the world and find ways around security checkpoints.

A portion of We Happy Few has already been released yet the finished game promises to have a compelling story, heavily inspired by the likes of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and Ray Bradbury.

Sea of Thieves is a third-person, multiplayer pirate-themed video game in a shared online world due to be released sometime this year. Players can form crews with other players or go it alone and take to the high seas in order to explore tropical islands, find buried treasure, plunder other player crews and steal their booty.

As yet, it’s unclear whether the game will have any kind of story but so far Sea of Thieves is shaping up to be a whole lot of reckless, cartoonish fun. Yooka-Laylee is a game so brimming with vivid colours and adorable whimsy that it’s impossible not to smile watching it.

This 3D platformer features a chameleon called Yooka and a bat named Laylee and they jump, float, fly, minecart, roll and cause all manner of chaos as they put an end to Capital B — a bee in a business suit — and Dr Quack’s — you get it — evil plans to convert the world’s literature into pure profit.

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