Gamedev Interview: Mohawk Games
Previous Bard Rock Cafe Episode 30: Born on the Bayou
We’re halfway through the year! Sure, we’ve had some slowdown in major releases lately, but this is already turning out to be a strong year for gaming. At least I do, anyway!. I was going through all my documentation for 2022’s games I’ve played, and the number of solid titles is staggering. While I had difficulty working out my Top 10 list last year, this might be even more challenging. Even with six months to go before the end of the year, I already have a great list of games I’d be happy to make my Top 10 this year. It’s going to be a very busy event once more! There have been a bunch of new demos and trailers with the gaming festivals and the Summer Game Fest on Steam, so there’s plenty for me to look forward to.
I hope everyone’s doing alright. I decided to take today to talk a bit about some games I’ve been playing, games I’ve finished, older titles I’m playing again, the usual shebang.
Yeah! It’s only a few months late, but I wanted to speak a little about it. I’ll admit, I haven’t got too much experience with the souls-like genre. It’s not my cup of tea, and I haven’t played many games from FromSoftware before this. I did play some Sekiro before deciding to try Elden Ring, so I wanted to see how it would appeal to someone like me.
Elden Ring had some incredible hype and expectations leading up to its launch back in February, so despite my own issues with these types of games, I was intrigued by how it’d be. It certainly deserved the attention! Would Elden Ring live up to those gigantic expectations? We know so many times that hype and promises are a double-edged sword, and the consequences are major if they aren’t realized. We’ve seen it many times as well. Anthem, Fallout 76, No Man’s Sky, Cyberpunk 2077, Battlefield and countless others have suffered various levels of failures and launch disasters from too much hype. Even taking into account how much I loved Cyberpunk, the launch was a mess. Elden Ring’s launch seems to have been smoother, despite issues with stability, especially on PC.
I only have a handful of hours in the game so far, partially due to my half-decent laptop, and partially due to a lack of time to invest in it. My laptop contains a GTX 1060 Max-Q 6GB graphics card, Intel i7 8750H processor, and 32GB ram, with the game installed on an SSD. While I was surprised that it ran reasonably enough, it heats my laptop up to no end, so I’ve been playing it in very short bursts.
Due to a lot of problems with my mental health, I admit I’ve played little Elden Ring since the beginning of May. While I’m not really qualified to review it so far, I do enjoy what I’ve seen and played. The world design is brilliant, and it feels like a revolution in how open worlds can be developed. Just like how Breath of the Wild did so in 2017, I imagine many games in the future will try to imitate Elden Ring.
I wish it ran better overall and I’m unsure yet how much I enjoy the difficulty and balance, but Elden Ring lives up to the hype and deserves the critical acclaim it has received. Whether you’ll see it in my Top 10 in December? That remains to be seen.
Pokemon Ultra Sun
I recently finished the main story of Pokemon Legends: Arceus, a game which I enjoyed far more than I expected. With all the issues in the Pokemon franchise in recent years, I went into Arceus with modest expectations. I love being proven wrong, and Arceus ended up being one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played so far this year. The exploration and gameplay loop is great, and I got sucked into completing little researcher tasks. There are a ton of post-game missions and I haven’t even scratched the surface of that, but it’s proving to be a solid Top 10 contender come December. The graphics are poor, yes, but they aren’t everything.
While I enjoyed Pokemon Legends: Arceus, the radical changes it brought had me hankering for a return to the classic Pokemon formula. Scarlet and Violet come out later this year and hopefully, it’s a continuation of form for the franchise, so I decided to return to some of the earlier Pokemon generations. With that, I started a new playthrough of Ultra Sun. Releasing in 2017 a mere year after Sun and Moon, I couldn’t help but feel a bit miffed. But that’s Gamefreak: releasing the ‘third’ versions and like a sucker, I still bought them.
That doesn’t matter much: I really like this generation. Alola is a beautiful region with vibrant world design, plenty of eye candy, and little mini-quests which flesh out the world and the characters are well written. Ultra Sun and Moon bring some minor improvements over the originals with a more streamlined opening: this generation is notorious for a slow and plodding progression. 30 minutes to get the starter in the original Sun and Moon games? 45 minutes of unskippable cutscenes after becoming Champion? A little too much. With added side quests, a cool little post-game boss rush, and other things, Ultra Sun and Moon is a generation I keep coming back to. They aren’t perfect and I wish they held my hand less, but the 3DS generation of Pokemon is underrated, in my eyes. I’ve been playing X again after several years away from it, and that’s a title I underestimated as well. I didn’t like that generation of Pokemon very much on the first run, but I’m appreciating it more now.
Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries
I wasn’t too keen on the campaign mode when this came out in 2020, and I was happy as a bunny when the Inner Sphere DLC provided me with a competent Career mode to try out and explore. That expansion made my Top 10 favorite games of 2021, and you can check out the review of that here:
Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries isn’t the most robust game. It has issues with the story, poor writing, and iffy AI at times. It’s a little buggy and it’s suffered major development problems in the past. Despite that, it’s one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played in years. With the Steam version recently joining the stellar Geforce Now cloud experience, I’ve jumped back into the game on campaign mode and having a blast. The mission design is repetitive but there are some solid handcrafted missions available, and there’s nothing in the market that provides the junk food fun Mechwarrior 5 has provided me recently. When you’re running about in a giant robot suit, beating the tar out of other mechs in gigantic battles with badass music blasting away in the background, it does wonder for getting through a difficult day.
A new, melee-focused DLC Call to Arms recently came out for the game, and hopefully, I’ll be able to pick it up soon and try it out.
There are plenty of plans and reviews still to come. I’ve recently gotten access to some brilliant indie titles, such as Captain of Industry, Dread Delusion, and Symphony of War: The Nephilim Saga. All three of these are proving to be promising experiences, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts on them. There’s another Indie Corner episode in the works, and I hope to have it out in the next week.