eSports for indie | E4i

Nicholas Barkdull

Nicholas Barkdull

Nic is a writer and narrative designer with a PhD in Social Research and Cultural Studies. He thinks real time strategy games are still a valid form of e-sport, that true RPGs should be turn-based (with huge casts of characters), and that AAA games have a long way to go before they earn back our trust. He is the Lead Writer for Pathea Games's My Time at Sandrock, and his work can be seen in Playboy, South China Morning Post, The Daily Beast, and many other places.

Pixel Noir Early Access Review

Pixel Noir attempts to bring the best mechanics from the golden age of JRPGs and combine them with a gritty, noir atmosphere. It achieves uneven success with its mashup of interesting ideas, making it rough around the edges, but indie to its core

Sniper Elite V2 Remastered Review

An unnecessary remaster that, while fun to play, can feel drab and tone-deaf overall.

A Plague Tale: Innocence Review

A masterfully-narrated moving experience that could not be told in any other media. Imperfect due to railroaded gameplay, but otherwise it could've been a revolution instead of just a great game.

Tropico 6 Review

Tropico 6 involves a huge time investment and a steep learning curve, but it is a solid entry in the management/sim genre.

Monster Prom: Second Term Review

This DLC is more of everything that was good from the core game: More characters, more plotlines, and more satisfying story.

Yakuza Kiwami Review

A decent port of a classic, with an outstanding combination of rich story and comedic elements.

ACE COMBAT 7: SKIES UNKNOWN Review

A great Ace Combat title that follows its past formula too closely, giving you the great flight simulator you expect and no more.

Desert Child Review

Desert Child attempts to capitalize on nostalgia with a mish-mash of references from different decades. There are some mildly funny moments, but other than that it’s a side-scrolling shooter dressed up in a cyberpunk motif.

Tick Tock: A Tale for Two Beta Review

Asymmetric multiplayer — the idea that different players have different abilities, roles, and perspectives in a game — is an interesting concept. It’s also an area of gaming that has potential for a lot more exploration, even though there are already some very clever concepts out there. In Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, you work together to defuse bombs.

Life is Strange 2 - Episode 1 Review

Life is Strange 2: Episode 1 offers a similar experience to the previous Life is Strange title with a handful of game elements removed. Fans of the previous game will likely enjoy the quirky dialogue and aesthetic on display here, but not as much as the original.

Lamplight City Review

Lamplight City is a steampunk detective adventure with great voice acting and unique worldbuilding—but the gameplay is full of unrealized potential.

We Happy Few Review

We Happy Few is far from flawless, but ultimately makes up for it with its fascinating story of a comically-dark dystopia.

Empires Apart Review

This blend of the old with the new relies too heavily on the old, while the new stuff fails to thrive. In its current state it’s buggy and lacks some fundamental requirements for smooth play we’ve come to expect from the genre.

Bio Inc. Redemption Review

Bio Inc. Redemption presents us with a confused tone: part of it wants to be taken seriously as a realistic medical simulator, while other parts seem to be trying to get a cynical laugh with out-of-place gore and sound effects. Still, this title is well polished and the gameplay is interesting (save for the Achilles’ heel of a terrible point management mechanic that destroys the immersion and fun). Flaws in both balance and theme could have been overlooked if not for the inclusion of this one unfortunate element.

Apocalipsis Review

Apocalipsis’ art style complements its gloomy tale incredibly well. While the story is nothing to write home about and the puzzles range from boring and easy to interesting and difficult, the voice acting and visual aesthetic make this title stand out from other point-and-click games. If you’re a fan of games as visual art, check this one out.

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Preview

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (PoE2) is the highly-anticipated sequel to what’s considered by many to be one of the best RPGs of all time. An early April release date puts PoE2 three years after its predecessor, which definitely isn’t as long a wait as many notorious sequels (I’m looking at you, Half-Life 3. Lols just kidding; of course there will never be such a thing.), but the pressure is on and expectations are high.

The Red Strings Club Review

The Red Strings Club transports you into a gritty, 1980’s-inspired cyberpunk future to solve a mystery that asks more questions about morality and human nature than it answers. The nostalgic feel isn’t overpowering or gimmicky; rather, the setting could pass as something straight out of the Blade Runner universe, yet maintains its own style and originality. Modern technology is referenced, but the backbone of the plot takes your curiosity for a ride with its fantastical sci-fi elements. Add just a dash of that decades-old pixel art aesthetic, and you have a solid entry into the cyberpunk genre.

They Are Billions Early Access Review

They Are Billions isn’t your father’s RTS. Sure, you still build a base and armies, but you don’t use them to go out and conquer your enemies. Instead, you minimax your way through, clinging to survival as “billions” of zombies assault your colony.

TARTARUS Review

TARTARUS is a unique concept in that it makes computer puzzles come alive with realistic representations, where most titles try to make abstract mini games out of “hacking.” The plot and overall horror atmosphere don’t come together, however. Overall, this is a solid attempt at making light programming puzzles interesting, but more work needs to be done in this area before we see a title that is truly free of tedium.

Total War: ROME II - Empire Divided Review

The Rome II: Empire Divided DLC is the standard Total War that we all know and love. There are no huge surprises and for the most part, mechanics added do a good job at immersing you into the Third Century and a Roman Empire fallen into chaos. Banditry isn’t all that noteworthy but Cults are fun and thematic. In sum, if you can’t get enough of Total War give this one a try.

Page 1 of 2