After over a year in Early Access, Tripwire did what most Early Access games never accomplish and have released the game on November 18th mostly feature-complete. As I mention in this video, they finally earned my approval back through the high quality of their content and a faster release schedule than we had to endure for the first 8 months. Now the game is a genuinely-fun shoot-em-up with a wide arsenal of gorgeously-animated firearms. The new Survivalist perk is live and while most of the popular builds seem to be some sort of combat medic, I’ve still really enjoyed getting to blend whatever weapons I want into a single class. Another decision I’m glad Tripwire stuck with was their method for introducing difficulty at higher levels; the Zeds take almost the same amount of damage as they do on lower levels, but their tactics improve, letting them somersault, run faster and coordinate ambushes, not to mention unlocking new attacks like suicidal Crawlers, buffing Clots and flaming Husks. This is a welcome concept in a genre that almost always takes the easy way out of simply increasing enemy’s health and damage on higher difficulties.
And while we haven’t really discussed much Pokemon on this blog except a single article on the mobile app, the newest addition to the main series is hitting shelves at the same time as KF2. I’ve been following the development of the series closely as Nintendo revealed upcoming features and I cannot be more excited at the direction they’re taking the series. Not only are they finally retiring the railroading concept of forcing the player to battle each and every gym in a strict chronological order, they’ve also worked to make the Pokedex relevant in a world where the Internet has almost entirely superceded it as a source of information. Your Pokedex is now possessed by a mischievous Rotom who doubles as your map, can provide info in realtime on opposing or nearby Pokemon, and gives you advice on where to go next based on your conversations with NPCs! Rotom has been my favorite Pokemon since it came to be in Pokemon Platinum, so it’s something of a minor dream come true to see it being used in such a central way.
Also Alola Pokemon are adorable! Because the new games are set in Hawaii, certain generation-1 pokemon can be found in special forms that have different types and appearances. They can be a simple as a Rattata with dark fur or as badass as an undead flaming Marowak and all of them breathe new life into some of the oldest and most famous of Pokemon. Surfing Raichu is a thing I never thought we’d actually see in the games.
There are all sorts of other new concepts as well, from otherworldly chthonic monsters who might not even count as Pokemon to specific Pet pokemon who aren’t part of your battling team and let you fly and surf them so you don’t need to waste moves on out-of-battle abilities. It’s great to see how willing Nintendo is to scrap outdated concepts and try something new in one of their oldest and most successful flagship franchises.