War for the Overworld and Silent Hills
By Chris O'Neal 08/28/2014
• War for the Overworld available now in beta form via Steam, $29.99.
• The demo P.T. can be downloaded for free via the Playstation 4 store.
Back in “the day,” which may or may not have existed, there were two games that I spent a countless number of hours playing: Worms: Armageddon and Dungeon Keeper. While everyone else was out playing Doom and Barbie Dream House (which may or may not be a game), I was busy building a dungeon or blowing my friends asunder with worm-sized weaponry.
Sadly, my desire to play Worms has dwindled, but I have never quite lost the draw of building a dungeon in Dungeon Keeper, mostly because they (Electronic Arts) haven’t been bothered to release a modern iteration until last year, when they did, and I learned the meaning of be careful what you wish for.
Dungeons, the successor to Dungeon Keeper and its sequel, was a mess of micro-transactions, a DINO (dungeon in name only). It was so bad that most people have forgotten that it even existed, and so we move on. A recently announced Dungeons 2 will be coming soon, but don’t hold your breath. Instead, turn your attention to the recently green-lit Steam project War for the Overworld.
In the original Dungeon Keeper and its sequel, the player assumed the role of an evil overlord tasked with maintaining a, well, dungeon, built underground to house all manner of evil creatures. Each room attracted a different kind of creature. Building a library would attract a warlock, who would study and learn new magic; imps would dig tunnels; and generally you’d go along being evil as you built up your army to raid and destroy a bunch of do-gooders.
War for the Overworld is similar. Build out a dungeon, attract minions. What separates it from its inspiration is an expansive story line and campaign that will allow for an evil entity such as yourself to conquer the entire world. More than 60 rooms will enable fully customizable lairs, 20 or so different creatures available to lure to your bidding and, of course, traps, fortifications and all manner of trickery will assure that your dungeon is as resilient as Fort Knox.
I say all of this in the future tense because it’s still very much in beta. In January of last year, War for the Overworld completed a Kickstarter campaign that raised more than 200 thousand pounds, something like $20 million. (But not really. I can’t do math.) The project is currently in what the developers are calling “bedrock beta,” meaning it’s getting there but it will take time. Meanwhile, if you’d like to participate in the beta, War for the Overworld is available now on Steam.
Let’s talk Silent Hill. The last time we saw the survival-horror franchise, we almost drowned in it. Downpour was an interesting concept that never really took the whole “city burning from underneath opens a portal into hell” thing much further than it already had been. In other words, it was a bit of a yawn fest.
Last week, however, an announcement that three things are coming to the Silent Hill series sparked quite a fanboy (but mostly fangirl) uproar: Norman Reedus, star of AMC’s The Walking Dead, will portray the main character while a tag-team of Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) and Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid) will direct and potentially write the next installment. Also, they’ve added an “s” and deemed it Silent Hills.
This is like having a personal party thrown for you where the chefs are Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain and the entertainment is Fan-Girl Jesus. On top of that, it should be scary as all hell.
“If you don’t want to continue playing through the game, so be it,” said Kojima, streaming live from Gamescom. “We are aiming for a game that will make you **** your pants. So please make sure you have a [change of clothes].”
A demo released for the Playstation 4 simply called P.T. had gamers walk around in a circle for 20 minutes as a hamster fetus cried in a bathroom sink, with plenty of atmospheric scares along the way.
With any luck we’ll get an actual downpour of quality over a second Downpour.